Posts Tagged ‘social media’

The People on Facebook are Real (Synchronized Prayer)

Monday, May 14th, 2012

synchronized-prayerAre the people on Facebook real? I’ve had so many people tell me that virtual friends aren’t real people. Well, I have a Facebook friend that I’ve never met. She lives in an exotic country I’ve never visited. But one day she was going through a crisis in her life and was asking prayer over Facebook. I began praying for her every day.

Suddenly God woke me up in the middle of the night to pray fervently for her; then I went back to sleep. The next day I told her on Facebook that God woke me up to pray for her, and another Facebook friend said God had woken her up at the same exact time. The odds that this would happen is impossible. This woman I was praying for was making a major life decision at the exact moment we were praying, and since the country she lived in was on the other side of the world, God used two American women to pray for her in the middle of the night by waking us up. We had synchronized prayer. The woman we prayed for decided to recommit her life to Christ, after having gone through an agonizing decision.

You see, God considers my Facebook friend a real person, or He wouldn’t have used me spiritually in her life.

This is not to justify spending hours upon hours on Facebook, neglecting the flesh and blood people in our lives, especially our spouses and children. Facebook can be idolatry just like anything else. The key is to ask God what you should be doing at each moment. If you feel guilty that you’re not doing something, for heaven’s sake, get up and go do the thing that you know you should be doing.

The Joy Dare

Friday, March 30th, 2012

the-joy-dareAt the homeschool Moms’ Night Out a month ago, a woman handed out pages from Anne Voskamp’s “The Joy Dare,” based on her book One Thousand Gifts. It was a list that would help people to find joy in everyday things. You were supposed to list 3 things you were thankful for each day, to come up with a grand total of 1,000 gifts from God in the year 2012. I went ahead and took the challenge for just one month, posting on Twitter once or twice a day what I was grateful for. This one month made a difference in how I look for things to take joy in, that I probably would never have thought of.

Many of the items on her list were unusual, like “3 gifts behind a door.” I had to think about that for several days before I came up with a hot shower, my back porch, and antique books. I don’t take hot showers for granted because having grown up in Guatemala, for many years we had to heat up water on the stove in pots just to bathe. So I’m grateful whenever I can enjoy a hot shower. My back porch was a gift from God, too. It was decaying and rotten, and God provided miraculously for us to replace our deck a couple of years ago. (You can read that story about God’s provision here.) And when I lived in England, I always looked at leather bound antique books of poetry, which were almost always behind a glass door. I own six of these antique books (if I was rich, I would have a huge collection), and I forgot all about them until I had to think of something behind a door that I was grateful for.

I was also stumped with “3 gifts found in giving/serving.” I thought long and hard about it, and I answered “the expression in the other person’s eyes, fulfillment, the Holy Spirit loving through me.” When God supernaturally loves someone through me, I feel such a sense of joy that I can’t describe it.

The last one I did was “3 gifts hard to give thanks for,” and I wrote “suffering, lack of money, and growing older.” These are three things that have been blessings in my life, so I’ve praised God for them many times, even though it’s hard. James (from Scripture) tells us to count it all joy when we suffer, because through it God produces endurance in our lives, and I can bear witness that this is true. My lack of money for so many years has made me more dependent on God and caused me to see miraculous answered prayer for provision, kisses from God that would never have occurred if I had all the money I needed. And then growing older has given me perspective on life and has caused me to pay attention to what matters the most in life, because my remaining days are few compared to when I was younger.

The reason I stopped is that I’m poetic and philosophical, and this list was consuming my mind. I found that I was thinking about it sometimes in the middle of the night. For this reason I quit. But I enjoyed it while it lasted, because my tweets on Twitter were poetic, deep, and spiritual, and that represents who I am. It was as if I was writing a short poem daily, in less than 140 characters. If you want to read my entire list (which consists of 126 things I am grateful for), you can read them all on my Twitter (SusanCEvans).

Virtual or Real? (Part 2)

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

virtual-or-real-2Being on the computer is not necessarily sin any more than reading a book is sin. Some people go overboard on book reading and forget to spend time with their children, but nobody talks about that. Excessive time waste is what we eventually regret.

I keep hearing people talk about balance, but that’s wrong. It’s not about balance, it’s about abiding. If we are sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in our lives, we will know what we should be doing every moment of every day. Abide in Christ. Yield to God and ask Him what to do each moment.

My problem is distraction. God might prompt me to get onto the computer, and I write this deep spiritual article that surprises and convicts me. But then other things on the computer call my attention, and without thinking, I go off into cyberspace. That is where my time wastage occurs. Yet even then, I sometimes stumble upon a blog where I’m able to spiritually encourage another mom, and God uses it anyway. But that’s not to justify my distraction. It’s to say that the line is fuzzy, and maybe I was supposed to hop around in cyberspace, or maybe that God used it for His glory despite the fact that I had my priorities wrong.

You know, like the times when you sin by yelling at your kid. But then you go back and apologize, and you end up having a deep spiritual conversation that could never have occurred had you not yelled in the first place. Yeah, like that.

The other thing is, I’ve known moms who hover over their children where they don’t have any space to breathe. If I spent all my days hovering over my children every moment, that would not serve them well. Creativity is developed through solitude, and so are deep thoughts. Children need down time. They need time that is not directed at every moment by their parents.

So when all is said and done, am I living the virtual life or the real life? The answer is both. Because behind my virtual life lies real people. I pray for the people on Facebook. I hurt for them. Those people are real. When I give them encouragement, they are lifted up. My time on the computer is not worthless.

What I must remember is that I must reel myself in, and check in with God from time to time. I can ask, “What do I need to be doing right now?”

Virtual or Real? (Part 1)

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

virtual-or-realI had a nightmare a couple of nights ago that my daughter got thrown off a horse and died. I screamed and ran over to where she was, covered in blood. Her body was in a position where she couldn’t possibly be alive. I felt unspeakable pain; then I abruptly woke up.

I splashed my face with cold water, and walked into the kitchen to make coffee. I looked through the dining room door to my six-year-old daughter, who was diligently doing her math, dressed in her night gown. She’s always the first one up.

But today I stopped. I drank in the moment. She’s alive. She’s still small. I haven’t missed anything. I walked over to her, hugged her tightly, and kissed her head.

Then I walked away, turned on the computer, and posted my blog entry for the day. I went to post it on Facebook, and there I saw my friends and what they were doing. Soon I was drawn in…

Half an hour later I realized I hadn’t had my coffee, so I walked back into the kitchen to pour it. Then I walked straight back to the computer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The next day I watched the movie “Secretariat,” which I had found on DVD at the library. My kids were munching popcorn as they watched the horses racing. But what struck me the most was an off-handed moment at a party, where the husband dances with his daughter who is all grown up now. And I saw my daughter grown up, and I started bawling that I had missed it.

My daughter is still six. She was cuddled up beside me, wondering why my eyes were watering, but I don’t want to miss her life, or the lives of my sons. I want to live.

I want to LIVE.

I don’t want to be sucked into the virtual world, the world that is online. Yes, God has called me to it, and He keeps putting things on my heart to write about. And yet where is the limit? Where is the boundary? How do I remind myself… Look, my kids are alive… My kids are here… I want to be present with them, to be living in the moment.

One of my sons was praying in the dark tonight, and I suddenly came up with the title “Virtual or Real?” I wanted to write it down before I forgot. But another son wanted to pray. I’m ashamed to say it, but I told my son, “God can hear you. Go ahead and pray without me. I need to write something down.” I closed the door and walked away.

I stopped halfway up the stairs and screamed in my soul, “No! This is exactly what I’m talking about!” In the dark, I ran back to my sons’ bedroom and opened the door.

“Are you still praying?”

“Yes,” said my son, and he continued his prayer. As soon as he finished, I said good night and shut the door. I paused and stared into the darkness.

(Stay tuned for part 2…)