Posted in What I'm Learning, Work & Life

Walking Away

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people walk away from Facebook or take breaks. I’ve thought about it many times myself but have never actually done it. After all, that’s where my work “office” is and it’s the way I interact with various groups for ministry and productivity purposes. And, in all honesty, there are certain people I only interact with via Facebook because of our distance. Frankly, I don’t think it was the right time for me to pull back before now.

Now, however, it seems to be a different story.

I’ve come to realize three things.

1. When I rely on Facebook interaction for local friends, I am much less likely to interact with them on a face to face level. I’ve already seen their pictures or heard about their week. Why ask? Ouch. Facebook can only go so deep. I need to be face-to-face if at all possible.
2. There is far too much to wade through in a Facebook stream. Too many friends. Too many statuses. Too much time. And the important stuff is too easily missed.
3. When I rely on Facebook to interact, I don’t write. I can look back over the last few years and see this as a proven fact. Posting to Facebook instead of to the family blog reduced my posting there. Facebook posts are short, uninformative, and easily lost. On the blog, however, I have to force myself to explain and give details – and I can easily read and reread the posts as the kids grow! That’s a big deal to me.
I also wrote less on my personal blog because it was so much easier to offer a Facebook blurb than to process my thoughts enough for a blog post. When you can share brief thoughts, why bother to hash them out?

Why? Because I need to.

So, now I believe it’s time to start walking away. I’ve narrowed down my friends greatly and will continue to do so in the coming year. Those who are left will be there for very specific and personal reasons. It’s not that I don’t enjoy keeping up with the people I “unfriended.” I do! I just want to keep up with them more intentionally and personally.

(That word intentional just keeps showing up!)

It’s not easy. I still have Facebook. I still have quite a few nonlocal friends to try to keep up with. But, I have already seen a positive change with local friends as we are more intentional about our face-to-face interactions.

So, if you don’t see me on Facebook anymore, that’s why. I’ll be writing more here and on the family blog. And I’ll be trying to interact with you more personally. I might need help, and it will take balance as I still have to manage a full homeschool, writing, work, and church schedule. But, I look forward to seeing how this choice to walk away strengthens the ability to be more intentional in writing and in relationships.

Meanwhile, here’s my question for you. As you work to walk more closely with the Lord and with your community of believers, is there something you need to or have walked away from? If you feel comfortable, I’d love for you to share either here or in person! After all, I had to wrestle with this decision because other people have mentioned their own wrestling. That’s community, my friends. You are part of my community, and I’d love to see us encourage one another in this journey!

Posted in Marriage, Thoughts, Thoughts from Life

Marriage Monday: The Things He Loves

When my husband and I first got together, I loved rock music and hated country. His taste for rock was limited to a handful of songs, and he couldn’t get enough of country.

But we did have one music love in common: Wayne Watson.

The same was true of other aspects of our lives. We had different interests and tastes. We enjoyed different activities. But we could always find something that we had in common.

Beyond the Common Bond

It might surprise you, though, to hear me say that those common things are not what have grown our marriage. No, the growth came when we decided to stretch beyond what we had in common.

He started to enjoy some rock with me, and I discovered that I actually liked some country.

We started expanding into each other’s interests in movies, activities, and even ways of thinking. As each of us learned to branch out beyond our own interests, we also became bold and began exploring interests that were new to both of us.

Recently we contemplated some of our current tastes and realized we never would have even given some of those things a second thought ten years ago. But we like them now because we were willing to try something new. To branch out a bit.

Something New!

Leaving and cleaving involves creating a new being. Two becoming one. And that one becoming much more than the two ever could have been individually. But that doesn’t happen if we cling stubbornly to what we know and love, refusing to branch out.

Now, don’t get me wrong. What you love does not have to go away. But, it does need to grow. When Doug and I got married we had wide ranges of personal interests that merged into a relatively narrow joint in the middle. Now, that middle joint is huge, and the personal interests on each end are much smaller. I don’t need my “Ann” fixes like I did early in our marriage because there is so much in the joint department that fills the need. And to be honest, I would much rather do something enjoyable with Doug than without him. I want to share with him! I want to be with him! When I’m not, it is odd. Something is not quite right.

Take a look at the bar of interests between you and your spouse. How big are the personal interest ranges at each end? How do they compare to the joint in the middle? If the joint is small, I encourage you to expand a bit. Dive in to something your spouse loves. Learn about it. See what makes it so fascinating. Maybe it won’t “grab” you, but it could. I guarantee, though, it will open your mind to new interests. Before you know it, you just might find something new to enjoy together.

That cannot help but make you stronger together.

Posted in Marriage

Marriage Monday: Becoming

My husband and I love marriage. We are halfway through our sixteenth year of this journey, and it has definitely taken us on some loops, climbs, and dives. I hate roller-coasters, so you’d think I would also hate the ups and downs of marriage. And, to be honest, I have not always enjoyed them while in the middle of them. But I have no desire to get off the ride. None whatsoever.

The Sustaining Secret

So, what is it about marriage that is so absolutely wonderful? What sustains us through the insane roller-coaster ride?

Ultimately, it always comes back to the Lord. But, sometimes it is helpful to break that down in light of what our world tells us about marriage.

Completion?

When I was in college, quotes from Jerry Maguire flew constantly. Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger led us to believe that the crux of a solid relationship is completion. Do I complete Doug? Does he complete me?

The answer is no. Doug and I each had to be complete in Christ before we could become a new life together.

Fulfillment?

So maybe we fulfill each other?

That might be a little closer to reality, but I think it still falls short. It was not so much that we fulfilled each other when we got married. Instead, when we came together as a couple, we were able to more completely fulfill the goals God had set before us.

That alone is powerful. Christians should hunger to serve Christ to the fullest of our abilities. I recognize that there are some ministry roles that I could not have filled as a single church member. Certain aspects of my passion in ministry fall into place because I live the experience of marriage. The same is true of Doug. I believe he is a more effective pastor because he is married. No, I am not taking credit for his success in ministry. I am, instead, saying that our unity in marriage makes us who we are in ministry.

So, joint fulfillment is a big deal. But I think there is something else.

Ultimately, marriage becomes us.

We joke about marriage being the death of a man. Popular cake toppers show a bride dragging the groom, indicating that she is coercing him or he is only agreeing to marriage because that is the only way he knows to keep her. Men are not supposed to want marriage.

My husband has never seen it that way, and I am so incredibly thankful. I have watched him blossom and bloom as my husband. I have seen him both fail and succeed, but above all I have seen him become.

He has always been perceptive, but he has become even moreso over the years, seeing needs in others sometimes before they know they have them!

He has always been brilliant, but he has become an increasingly amazing steward of that brilliance, using it in incredible ways.

He has always been wise according to the standards of Proverbs, hungering after a continual increase in knowledge and wisdom. But in that pursuit, he has become someone whose wisdom others covet.

God has fostered that becoming in him – and aspects of becoming in me – as He has grown our marriage. As He forges us together, He also forges us increasingly into His likeness.

Yes, more than anything else, marriage becomes us.