A Year in Social Wilderness

I know things from Bohemia have been pretty silent and I should probably apologize for that and unpack what’s going on here.

At the close of last year, I was finding myself distracted, disappointed, and disquieted. I was desperately in need of rest and I really had no idea where to find it. I would spend time in the word, but that time would barely sustain me and I had no idea what the problem was.

Until I was confronted with my view of God.

I was attending a conference in Atlanta and found myself sobbing next to my bed in the hotel taking in the knowledge that the Almighty wants my attention.

And you’re probably reading this going, “Duh, Lex,” but really, this struck me at my core.

There have been so many times in the last few years I have been scrolling through Facebook feeling discontent because my life isn’t as glamorous or godly or phenomenal as my “friends” lives appear in the news-feed. And I scoff at the life I have been given and strive to make it appear to be more. More exotic, more fabulous, more… in my control.

In the midst of that striving, my time with God lacks quality because I’m not there. Because I am half-heatedly praying for Him to make my life my version of great all while scheming to make my little patch of ordinary look extraordinary to the online world.

The Almighty God wants to spend time with me and I am trying to just fit him in.

I ignore the creator of the universe because I just don’t have the time for him.

And this struck me in a very tender place and the only thing I could manage to do after the conference that night was to wander back to my hotel room and bow before Him on the floor of my hotel room and cry.

So what does this have to do with the lack of online presence?

Currently I am a month into a year long hiatus from my personal social media accounts… ironic for a social media marketer…(Obviously, I will be keeping up with accounts for work, but my personal channels will continue to be silent for the year.) I’m spending my twenty-third year without use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest… and LinkdIn for that matter, but let’s be honest, who uses LinkdIn?

I want to make time and space for the Lord and the interests he has given me to pursue. I want to remove the temptation to wallow in my discontent that is stirred up by my time online. I want to push past my tendency to relate on a shallow level through and only virtual presence.

After the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, God guides them in the wilderness, explaining what it is to be his Holy people and who he is as their God. He forms them in the space of the wilderness and that is what I am seeking in this year: space and silence for the sake of formation.

This is not a fast, but a break to restructure the way I live my life and the view I have of God.

This is not something I expect other people to stick to. I struggle with discontent and that is intensified through Facebook and Pinterest. I do not see other people struggling in the same way so please understand that if you are using social media, I am not writing this to condemn you in anyway.

I’m writing this to apologize for my lack of posting as of late and to explain how this will work moving forward.

I will continue blogging throughout this year, but it will be reduced to bi-weekly posting. I will spend one post a month describing what this year off the social media grid is stirring in me and another discussing whatever is on my mind per usual.

This will be the last post I promote via my social channels, so from here on out, if you’d like to share one of these posts with friends on your own channels, I definitely encourage it. If you’d like to comment, please do! I try to respond to comments on a post within twenty-four hours… though I make no promises.

I am excited to see what this year will bring as I enter into this adventure with the Lord. I have already been able to pick up my writing more and spend time reading and meditating.

The wilderness is quiet, but that is not a bad thing at this point.

I’ll keep you updated as the journey continues.

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The Obstacles to My Enjoyment

The weekend after I was laid off from the internship, I led on a youth retreat. Not exactly how I wanted to spend that weekend. I would have preferred to spend those couple days wrapped in self-pity and a blanket in bed with kleenex and what was left of my chocolate supply.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls! But I felt like I had just come off of one of the more hellish weeks of my life. Not only had I been laid off, but I was denied a promotion at my second job. 

And I felt lost.

The speaker for the weekend presented us with a quote from Larry Crabb that put it all in perspective for me:

We cannot count on God to arrange what happens in our lives in ways that will makes us feel good. We can, however, count on God to patiently remove all the obstacles to our enjoyment of Him. He is committed to our joy, and we can depend on Him to give us enough of a taste of that joy and enough hope that the best is still ahead to keep us going in spite of how much pain continues to plague our hearts.

Let that sink in. Read it again.

God does not want me to feel good. He is not out to make my life happy. He desires so much more for us!

God has taken captive the events of our lives, even those that were meant to be broken and twisted, and is bending them to his glory! He is a passionate father, seeking to remove every obstacle in order to be in right relationship with us.

His plan cannot be foiled! His love can only be ignored for so long before we are aching for it again. He is committed to our joy. He desires us to take joy in the plan he has laid out for us. They way is going to be hard. It is not always going to be the most comfortable or even bearable at points. But it is the end goal that gives us hope.

This does not mean He expects us to be happy all the time. To be honest, I am not happy right now. I still feel lost and a little sad. But there is joy in this season. There is a quiet moment each day when I am asked to come and be still with my father. A moment to refresh myself in the joy He has given me–a moment to realize that life is not about my comfort, but my enjoyment of the father.

God is not an ego maniac, forcing us to mindlessly worship him with happy faces even when life sucks. He is a father who yearns to be in relationship with us where we are–happy, sad, downright pissed. His desire is to be enjoyed by his children through their trust in His way, even when that way gets hard and uncomfortable. His desire is to be relied on in those moments. To be given a chance to comfort and guide his children through the dark and show them the light that is ahead for them.

Therefore, since we have been justified<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> through faith,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> we have peace<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> by faith into this grace in which we now stand.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> And we boast in the hope<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> does not put us to shame, because God’s love<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> who has been given to us. –Romans 5:1-5

Friend, I encourage you to sit down with the father today. Remove the obstacles that are keeping you from enjoying him. Find peace and a taste of joy in that quiet moment with Him.