Motivational Mondays, Uncategorized

Do we NEED a following?

Long ago, in a place far away, Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage.”  Little did he know how much truth would be found in that statement in the age of YouTube and Instagram stories.  A little over a year ago, Jon Acuff wrote a post, “The old rules don’t apply” and the following paragraph really struck me:

When my grandfather was my age, he couldn’t build an audience easily. What would he have done? Run for local government? Try to get a radio show? Write for the city paper? He couldn’t reach a million people with a tweet. He couldn’t live broadcast from his own house with his own phone. He couldn’t sell something on Amazon.

The conclusion of the article is that now we CAN build an audience easily.  We don’t have to run for local government.  We don’t have to get a radio show at a radio station.  We don’t have to write for the city paper.  We CAN reach a million people with a tweet.  We CAN broadcast from our home on our phone.  We CAN sell things on Amazon without ever actually seeing or touching those things.

I guess the question I have is although we CAN do those things, SHOULD we?  Don’t get me wrong.  I am obviously typing this on a blog, trying to reach people and establish a following.  I love listening to podcasts.  I have a Twitter account.  And I have tried selling things on Amazon (failed miserably, but I tried).  But, our world has become so much about “likes” and “followers” and “vlogs” and “pods” that we often fail to give those who are actually going through life WITH us (not following us, but walking along side of us) enough time and attention and love.  I also fear that we have lost our ability to move through life quietly and contentedly.  And I fear that our society has now become more likely to reward those with large followings than those with large hearts or large minds.

What does it do to us when our values are more tied to how many strangers follow us and like us more than giving to others or making the world a better place.  It is hard to be a parent in these days.  It is hard to be a teacher in these days.  It is hard to be a human in these days.  Changing our focus towards the One we follow rather than how many followers we have will be helpful.  So, this week, I plan to do just that.  Stop focusing on posting things on Facebook to be liked.  Stop worrying about whether my blog is being read by many or only a few and focus more on the message I am sharing with others.  Stop looking backwards for followers and start looking up to follow the One who leads best.

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Dog holding a shoe.
Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Loyal

I am once again joining in at Five Minute Friday this week.  I am glad to be sharing feelings and findings in a short five minute burst once again.  No pressure, just a word and my words that follow.  This week’s prompt is “loyal”.  Here we go…

Dog holding a shoe.

When I saw the word loyal, I immediately felt guilty.  Why?  Because I sometimes feel like I lack loyalty.  This photo of the dog with the shoe in it’s mouth captures perfectly my feelings on this subject.  I think I’m a very loyal person, but I come with a lot of flaws.  Just like a dog who loves you more than anything in the world, but eats your shoes (or toys, or door frames, or furniture – just as general examples) every chance they get, I love God and my family and friends, but I can sometimes be found doing the metaphorical equivalent to stealing and chewing on their shoes.  I always have a decent excuse.  I don’t have enough time.  I’m tired.  I have so many other commitments.  I have spent my energy on people at work or at my daughter’s school and can’t face using more energy.

All those excuses are real things.  I am tired.  I do have a busy schedule.  I do have too many commitments.  I do spend a lot of energy at work or volunteering at my daughter’s school.  But, in the end, I have only myself to blame.  I could go to church each and every week that I am home.  I have that much energy and it usually fits in my schedule.  Does it take energy for me to go to a place by myself where I don’t know many people?  For sure.  But, that energy is usually worth it.  I could go and see my sister much more often.  Does it require a drive and a half a day at least to do so?  Yes.  But, I spend half a day doing less important things.  I could spend more time taking care of my house and cooking for my family.  Am I tired?  Yes, but not so tired that I could not cook a meal or clean a room.

In the end, I make the choices I make.  I have to take responsibility and make the choices that are good for me, not easy for me.  I need to remind myself that I am loyal.  And although I am flawed, I can still remain loyal and I can do better.  I can make better decisions and lead a better life.

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Okay – that was a little longer than five minutes, but it was a good flow.  I love Five Minute Fridays that go this easy.  What about you?  Will you write for five?

loyal

Stewardship, Uncategorized

Hard Resetting Life

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Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

School has begun for my daughter.  I start teaching on Monday and continue at my second school the following week.  Our schedules are already filling up.  I am beginning to feel a little stressed out already.  Although our house has gotten much cleaner over the past few days, it is still not where I want it to be.  Although I joined Terrafit at the beginning of the month, I have not been following it for the past two weeks.  Although I want to be eating more healthy, I am not.  Although I want to be walking the dogs each day, I am not.  There is so much in my life and although it seems like incrementally changing would be easiest, I feel like I can’t take the time to do that and even if I had the time, so much of it is related to the other that to make serious changes in one area, I need to change the other area.  So, I’ve decided my life needs a hard reset.

A hard reset, also known as a factory reset or master reset, is the restoration of a device to the state it was in when it left the factory. All settings, applications and data added by the user are removed.  –Whatis.com

So, what does that mean to me?  Well, I’ve added a lot of data as the user of my life over the past five decades.  Not all of that data is good or useful.  I need a restoration to the state I was in when I left the factory.  When God sent me to this place, He had all the settings I needed, but I wandered off the path and started getting new applications and gathering data.  And as the saying goes, Garbage In, Garbage Out.  I’ve got a bit too much Garbage to deal with at this point, so it is just easier to restore to God’s settings.

So, what does that mean moving forward?  Well, first, it means living life with a sense of stewardship.  I was listening to an episode of the podcast Woven last week about stewardship.  It is part of a series and I haven’t finished listening to the series yet, but it made total sense to me.  God has given me all these great things.  A home, plenty of food, friends, my family, a great hometown, not one but two good jobs that I enjoy, access to technology, and so much more.  And I don’t take care of those things the way that I should.  Instead, I am constantly seeking more or better or seeing the lack or the mess.  I am tired of living life that way.  Instead, I want to recognize how blessed I am and not take that for granted, but instead steward those gifts from God to the best of my ability.

So, I’m hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL on my life keyboard and looking more deeply at what my factory settings were.  I’ll have to dig out the owner’s manual (Bible) and see what it has to say about starting over my system and keeping it healthy and happy this time.  Luckily, my factory producer is forgiving and full of grace, so I think He will make this hard reset a little easier.

What about you?  Are you keeping your system well-maintained or do you need to clean some data and applications out in order to steward a better life?  It is a question worth asking!