I haven’t written much over the last few months, but not for a lack of life happenings. The truth is that I took a break from social media and blogging. I was overwhelmed by all the input I was getting, and the places it was coming from. I couldn’t write as a result!
I also wanted to take time and focus on the relationships that mattered most as we got ready to to move to Indiana. These two things led me to deal with the “jumanji” in my life, the stuff that was negative, untruthful, or downright unnecessary (NUU) in my brain. This stuff was growing like an invasive species and negatively effecting me!
I began attacking the jumanji by slowing the flood of these NUU input to my head. In doing so, I also began to regain space in my brain. And clarity.
How did I do this?
I removed FB from my smartphone. Eliminating the ever-present distraction.
I stopped scanning news on the Internet. Constantly.
I re-evaluated what “friendship” meant. I realized that my social media connections were supplemental to my real ones–and not the other way around. If I was close to someone in the non-digital life, or even if I was close to someone primarily through my digital world, I prioritized those people over the ones that were on the periphery.
I jumped into a book study called #struggles. The discussions showed me I wasn’t alone in all of my struggles with relationships and social media!
The process didn’t stop with slowing the flow of the NUU! It meant replacing it with something else–in my case, a polished monitor for receiving input. One that prioritized information and relationships that were positive, true, and necessary (PTN) in my life.
I called people.
I talked to (gasp) people.
I prayed with (gasp, gasp) people.
Then, right after all of this, I got a new smartphone and with it all my social media apps back on it. But with re-instituting these, I kept the following in mind for dealing with NUU.
When it’s not positive: I will listen to those who struggle with their trials in life and those who are surrounded by and even adding to the sphere of negativity. But instead of allowing that negativity to saturate my spirit, I will keep in mind that relationship and prayerfully enter those conversations so that I am in tune with the Holy Spirit and what I may be being prompted to say (or not say).
When it’s not true (maybe): I will not refuse to read something I disagree with when it comes from someone whose relationship/reputation I value. In fact, if I disagree, I will more likely read it so that I can understand the author’s perspective. And then I will consider the value of and how to respond. (Before my mind would sag under an invisible, intangible tension–one-sided I’m sure–that I would simply miserably exist within. Alone.)
When I’m not sure if its necessary: When I process different types of input, I will respond in light of what truth I know. I realize I may be wrong now and I keep my mind open to seeing that. As long as I am pursuing the path the Holy Spirit is prompting me to, I can be confident he will show me the relevance to me. What’s more, it’s through mutual vulnerability that growth in two ways is possible! This means stopping the knee-jerk reactions like refusing to listen or stingy-behavior like refusing to engage with loved ones and friends.
It’s critical we interact with each other on issues we don’t understand or issues we disagree on; but likewise critical that I understand I don’t have to engage with just anyone or everyone (something that I felt I couldn’t figure out with all the jumanji in my life before).
And I absolutely could not see how to do this just a few months ago with all the jumanji springing up!
I’m not saying there are no more weeds in my life or that I’ve got it right. But with these words below in the front of my mind and a summer of filtering out the NUU and slowly adding my social media channels back in, I’m at least back to being able to write.
And that’s a result I’m willing to explain!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.