Thursday, 12 December 2013

The perks and perils of online dating

These days most people seem to know at least one couple who met via the medium of the internet. As such, something that at one point was perhaps stigmatized has become a relatively standard way to meet ones other half. Since a significant percentage of our days are dedicated to screen time, its hardly surprising. Online dating also opens up the realms of choice; its far quicker to whiz through numerous photos to find someone who ticks your boxes than it is to painstakingly rely on chance and the possibility that you might bump into the ‘right person’ in real life surely? Though the prospect of options has its own issues; there’s so many people to meet you wouldn't want to settle, and god forbid, commit , may as well keep dating en mass because inevitably at some point you'll meet someone perfect, right? (wrong people!)

Despite this (relatively) new normal, a significant number of my single friends remain reluctant - and I don't blame them. the idea of perusing through numerous profiles as if one is shopping for the perfect pair of shoes does seem to quash any prospect of spontaneous romance, and hardly makes for a good 'how we met’ wedding speech. It also seems like a last resort; it hasn't worked out for me in the real world yet, so I'm having to venture into the realms of virtual reality, which is bound to be full of weirdos (which lets be honest, isn't entirely untrue).

Websites that eliminate the seriousness of the whole thing and turn it into more of a game take the edge off, tinder being the classic example. No need to agonize over the cringe factor of your cheesy all-about-me profile, its more like a game of snap, you get so caught up in the game it becomes less about actually meeting someone and more about the fun of 'yes’ or 'no’-ing random strangers, or friends of friends, and the number of matches you end up with.

Anyway, despite the pros and cons, I decided to take a nose dive into the online dating realm the first month I moved to London. Figured given I was about to meet a whole bunch of new people, there was no harm in throwing some free dinners in there as well. My mentality was (and still is) do it for a month then give yourself a brake. The whole process is emotionally draining, (as much as I pretend to be light hearted about it) and you (I) can only sustain that kind of intentionality for short periods of time (particularly if you also have a life, friends, a job etc. If you don't, go crazy, you could probably makes career out of it).
The bottom line is, the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to face rejection than if you do nothing, which, as we all know, is painful. Even if you don't fancy person you meet up with, it still hurts to be told 'no’. And face rejection I did, as you can see in the following overview of my online dating outcomes:

Date one: rejected (nice enough guy, I would have seen him again, but a text received the next day informed me that ‘God said no’. Sure.)
Date two: rejected (made the classic error of messaging for too long before meeting, and thus created and idea in my head of who he was, which, as it turned out, was wrong. This was perhaps more of a mutual rejection scenario),
Date three: tried to bust his way into my house (uninvited) post date, which was highly awkward.
Date 4: rejected me via email an hour after we’d met up - it was like getting results of a job interview, (thank you for your application for the position of Potential Girlfriend, it is with regret that we inform you that on this occasion, you have been unsuccessful…)
Date 5: was on the road to success, as he initiated a second date on the first date, but then failed to follow it up. How rude.
As you can see, since I only met up with each person once, it boasts very little success. Regardless, I'm glad I did it, if only to take the edge off tangible (as oppose to virtual) reality, where no one is asking me out.

Here’s the thing, as long as I don't allow myself to become defined by being turned down, each of these experiences can just amount to mildly amusing stories, though which I can learn something about how the whole dating thing works, whose out there and the kind of person I'm looking for, and maybe at some point, the outcome will be different.

Monday, 18 November 2013

stand still

So here I am in a London, 5 months in. Great job – tick, new friends – tick, housemates – tick, impending feeling of fear every time I find myself alone – tick.

Part of the reason I want to write about this is not because I have anything particularly original to impart, its more that I know that its not just me, but the lie that it is just me is partly what causes the fear in the first place (if that made no sense, bear with) It’s the same for the numerous other people that I’ve had this conversation with.

As we all know and various blogs never tire of telling us (this included), we live in an era in which we, and everyone we know, or have met once, five years ago, ceaselessly advertises their perfect live via a website that most of us, whether or not we would care to admit it, are addicted to. So on a day to day basis, we invariably find ourselves in a state of comparison.

For me, this, combined with living in a city that is obsessed with being, just like, So Busy, Success and Productive and Having Lots of Fun All the Time, means the idea of STOPPING, doing nothing, fills me with fear and dread. As a result, doing nothing/spending time alone has not been a choice I’ve made since I got here – its been a situation in which I have sometimes unwillingly found myself, when someone has cancelled, or when no one else is free.

My dislike of spending time alone is not something new, I'm an extrovert and naturally thrive around people. However, if I never take ownership of stopping, it loses its richness. I've found that instead of doing things that I enjoy; playing music, running, cooking, I flounder and panic, scroll through my contacts and text people to see whose free, incessantly check facebook to confirm everyone isn’t actually at some party I have not been invited to. It’s ridiculous because actually, there is stuff I love doing on my own, but it’s no fun if my internal state is anxiety ridden rather than restful.

I was at a party yesterday where three of us were talking about what we’d been up to that week, and we all realised that we’d each spent Friday night chilling out in front of the TV, assuming ‘everyone else’ was probably raving it up somewhere. Here’s the thing, people spend time on their own sometimes, they just don’t post it on facebook.

Since I moved here I’ve heard people talk about ‘FOMO’ (Fear Of Missing Out), which I have been told, is like, and actual, ‘thing’. More that anything, its probably a mindset that causes people (me) to live reactively, running from thing to thing, without intentionally carving out space to just BE. This mentality can make spending time alone feel more pronounced in a negative sense, a thing to be feared, rather than a rich space in which to rest, reflect and enjoy.

So, to conclude my self talk session, in the times of being by myself, is to engage with creativity, allow myself to come into the presence of God, and simply be loved my him. It’s very easy to be anxiety driven and reactive in a city that is constantly buzzing and full of super hot hipster people living their aspiring super hot hipster lives. To stand still and be loved by God allows us to engage with people from the perspective that we have something to bring to those relationships – rather than requiring everyone around us to fulfil out unmet needs.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

in the interim

October 2012

Currently in a cafe making my way hastily through a box of Kleenex.

On this occasion I do not happen to be having an emotional meltdown in public, (totally not my style anyway...) I have a streaming cold and therefore, instead of my usual coffee, I'm drinking a dark greenish substance made from liquidized vegetables which promises to transform my insides and give my skin an instant radiant glow.

I am currently in-the-in-between, and despite having ample time to lounge around in cafes, it is not a comfortable place.

When a half of your friends leave the city you live in, and a bunch of them get married, and you have no money, and are about to start a job working with some of the most troubled teenagers in the city, and haven't been out of England for 2 years when your hearts desire is to see the world and have adventures, it sort of puts you on edge.

My journal over the past couple of months has been a continuous re assessment of my life to discern whether or not I am doing 'OK' and heading in the right direction, and trying to convince myself that I haven't missed out on God's plans for my life, or my own desires for my life. However, what has struck me, is that although I would have liked to tick a few more of my 'to do in life' boxes by now, and perhaps feel a bit more comfortable in the present moment, I by no means want to 'settle'...which leads me to the conclusion that I have to learn to be content, and at peace, in the interim.

People's lives vary significantly in their mid 20s...single, married, living abroad, living with parents, living alone, living with friends...and for the most part, it is not a 'settled' stage of life by any means. It is inevitable that my life circumstances/job/location will continue to change over the next few years and beyond, and I certainly hope that that is the case, but with that, there will be unavoidable times, like now, when I ask myself 'what am I doing? who are my people? where am I going?'Where I essentially feel...uncomfortable. And if my sense of peace, fulfilment, and joy, comes from trying to manipulate my circumstances to feel comfortable and OK, I am essentially setting myself up to fail.

So I guess what I'm learning, or what God is wanting me to learn, in the interim, is that he is my sustainer, he is the definer of my identity, he is the constant, unchanging factor from which any sense of security can and must derive. If I miss this fact, then I'm missing the point. If my energy is taken up by trying to make my circumstances 'OK' & 'sorted', then I will neglect my heart...and it will only be a few months before I am going through exactly the same emotional upheaval all over again...and to be honest, I've been round this circle a few times too many already.

So, in conclusion, is an opportunity for my heart to be exposed, my insecurities to be laid on the table, and for God to essentially establish himself as the foundation of my life, as I learn to be lead by him into the unknown.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

the cost of comparison

Uncomfortable uncertainty is the space I am currently inhabiting, along with thousands of other graduates, probably...except having acquired a vocational skill which is considered to be in high demand, my expectation was that I would be instantly propelled into the working world of salaries and holiday pay. But no.

Granted it has only been a month, but fellow course mates one by one find employment, it is hard to ignore the sirens of sheer panic going off inside my head. What do they have that I don't? Who is doing better than me? Why? How can I better them? What do I have that they don't?

Comparison, is a killer...

Clearly, the boundaries of comparison are not limited to acquisition of jobs...whether it is a relationship, a house, a holiday, a 'business venture', money, a car, more friends, less friends,likeability, attractiveness, weight, hair, appetite, wardrobe, 'coolness', 'holiness', athletic ability, wit, shoe size, future prospects....EVERYTHING can be compared, it is the driving force of consumer culture.

The conclusion to comparison will either be 'I suck - strive! buy! eat nothing!', or 'I'm doing pretty well, too bad for them'. As such, as we encounter different people/images/circumstances, any sense of 'worth' becomes highly volatile, and we live in a world of uncertainty in which our aim is to show no weakness, and 'better' everyone around us.

Dwelt upon, comparison builds a wall in our relationships that prevents us from being vulnerable and honest, because we assume that others relate to us in the way that we relate to them. If we show weakness, they will be smug in the knowledge that they are more successful (and I for one, cannot STAND smugness) best to go into 'protection' mode, and not tell anyone anything about how I'm REALLY doing.

My awareness of all this is certainty more tangible when my circumstances feel crap...and I don't really have anything to lean on that confirms that I'm a doing 'alright'. The result can be 'hyper-comparison' mode, in which I clutch to something, ANYTHING, to confirm that I am valuable. Once sourced, those things become a rather pathetic 'defence' mechanism in response to feelings of failure...

...unfortunately, this kind of 'survival' mentality, that sets me up in opposition to other people, not only masks a deeper issue, but leads to superficial relationships, and results in bitterness and resentment, which inevitably destroys our ability to love one another. This rooted in a poverty spirit which says that 'there is not enough for everyone, therefore, I must strive to win'.

So in the spirit of being vulnerable, and not comparing or valuing myself on the basis of my circumstances, or the success/failures of those around me, I would like to announce that
even though I am unemployed,
and have no money...
even though I am single,
and do not know how to drive,
and I haven't been abroad in over a year,
even though I do not own a car, or a house,
and I am not, and will never be, size 8, and will always, ALWAYS have a mighty appetite for food
In the eyes of the Lord, I am amazing,
designed for success, adventure, fun
I have an fantastic future ahead of me,

That is the self indulgent truth...I do not apologise for the cringe factor

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Life to the full . . .in the mundane

So at the moment i dont have am currently wasting 3 of my English pounds for the use of it in my home for one hour. So now of course feel under pressure to come up with something profound in the space of the fifteen minutes I have remaining. Needless to say I probably won't.

Been thinking about a few things of late, for a start, the fact that my summer is looking to be relatively mundane - with not a single foreign adventure planned. Added that to the fact that I'm struggling to make ends meet on part time minimum wage and BOOM. Wild. To be fair Im not the only one in such situation. Even so, felt a bit sorry for myself, envying excited holiday makers wondering around the highstreet purchasing maxi dresses flipflops and suncream so they can go and lie on a tropical beach near the equator and look the part. Meanwhile I shall be serving coffee in its varying forms to the general public, wearing a hideous black polo shirt. Joy.

And then I remember something Jesus said about having life to the full...and im like, ok so what does that like, actually MEAN??

Is it, (like many of the Christian phrases we throw out there) merely a referance to inner contentment that we're all supposed to pretend we understand? Is it simply refering to the fact that we won't spend eternity without God? Is it refering to the kingdom? or covenant? Or the fact that what we're really meant to be doing is walking round with cheesy smiles plastered on our faces whether or not we're feeling crap? Is it that we're meant to just enjoy our life, "take responsibility" and do the things we love to do, and thus have a "full life"?

Life to the full means many things to different people. Does my life look exactly the way I want it to right now? No. There are millions of things I would rather be doing than earning barely enough in a job im not wild
about (and yes, I am "taking responsiblity" and looking for other jobs and not simply being "reactive" etc blahblah), but the fact is, I cant simply jet off to Mozambique or Asia and any of the amazing places I would like to go which to me would be "living life to the full" because at present, it is not physically possible.

Anyway, as we all know, Jesus did not mean "when your bank account is full and you are having a foreign adventure with your husband and seeing poverty eradicated and human traffiking abolished and millions set free healed and delivered, THAT is when you will have life to the full" (although im pretty sure Jesus is well up for all of those things).

What I think he might have meant, is that I can have life to the full, now, in my cafe job, on minimum wage.

Maybe im coming back to the contentment thing. I probably am.

So is life to the full knowing you are completely loved and being free to be 100% who you are and love others no matter where you are who you're with or what you're doing?

Gonna have to end that there due to the fact that the internet will cut out in approx 30 seconds.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Cultivating contentment in the tension of waiting

“Contentment” and “waiting” to me have always seemed somewhat contrary. If you’re waiting, you’re not content, because you are living in anticipation of a change in circumstances. If you’re content, all you want has been achieved, so at last you can relax and be satisfied. No?

Whenever I moaned or complained about my situation in life, my mum would remind me of Philippians 4 – where Paul goes on about how content he is, there in prison, all beaten up with no food. (This was rather annoying, as I liked to feel justified in my complaining). To be content whatever the circumstances is to refuse to allow circumstances to be the defining factor or the source of the contentment.

 If our pursuit of contentment comes from a primary emphasis on circumstances, we will either end up squashing vision, or growing in bitterness (if we are not presently feeling “contented” that is). Contentment is not to say “give up on your dreams, just be happy with how things are”. There is definitely a tension between pursuing what it is God has laid before you that hasn’t yet manifest itself in the present, and basically enjoying the present. We are made to go from glory to glory, so in that respect, becoming “content” with where we are could lead to a level of complacency – contentment is never opposed to vision. On the other hand, when what we want isn’t right here right now, our disappointment and frustration can lead to bitterness if our hearts aren’t kept soft.

The challenge I have felt recently in the midst of deferred hope is to give my entire attention to what God is doing right now. That’s not to say never think about the future, more that it is easy to miss the “right now” breakthrough or revelation God has for us because we’re hung up on something we don’t have.

For example . . .I had a couple of weeks recently in which money I was anticipating didn’t come through when I expected it (a theme this year I think!). It was pretty annoying. I was literally maxed out, couldn’t withdraw a single penny, forget catching the bus, paying the rent. I was checking my balance about ten times a day, hoping that the cash might materialize, but it didn’t.

So how did I respond? I made a list of all the things I needed to buy that week but couldn’t, thought about clothes, obsessed about money and what I would do with it if I had some, envied people withdrawing ten pound notes from cash machines and generally got offended at God in the situation. I went to the park after work one day intending to listen to God but I just sat there reluctant to pay him attention because I knew he’d probably remind me of something I didn’t want to hear, like “I’m teaching you to depend on me”, rather than the answer I wanted, which was more along the lines of “don’t worry someone will right you a big fat cheque this evening” (which , in this instance, they didn’t). Eventually I calmed down, and realized it was easier to relax into trust than take up a permanent residence in stress city, big fat cheque or not.

What point am I making? Whenever we experience discontentment or a lack in our lives, there is an opportunity to either grow in bitterness, or in breakthrough.  The choice is ours. My experience is that I usually begin on the journey towards bitterness before coming out of my sulk and realizing that releasing it to the Lord is a better idea, which is still often painful, but so, so much better in the long run.

Think of it like this, contentment is the norm. Imagine that. In my mind its often like this far and distant land that I will arrive in when I have money/marriage/seen worldwide kingdom breakthrough etc etc. None of these are bad things of course, and if we’re not seeing kingdom breakthrough, dissatisfaction is probably a good thing. However, if this is my constant perspective, discontentment is the norm – we never fully embrace the “right now” call on our lives. When we view contentment as the norm, dissatisfaction and lack (as real as they are) are like a nudge in God’s direction, because there is always a call on my life and a breakthrough and revelation he wants to give me NOW.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Form eNcounTer weeKeND reflections . . .

The assumption most of us make when told we are going to have a healing weekend with two hours of extended prayer, is that most of the two days will be spent sobbing on the floor, surrounded by highly skilled spiritual warfare warriors (probably with an MA in “Deliverance”), breaking spiritual ties left right and centre . .. only to rise out of the ashes at the end of it, like a shiny new phoenix. Perhaps a bit of a sweeping statement to say that’s what we all assume, but you know what I mean – I thought it was going to be complicated. What is going on within me that is so complicated and beyond me that I need the professionals to spend TWO HOURS sorting it out? This mentality makes inner healing stuff feel so confusing and inaccessible to the average joe! So perhaps more intrigued than anything, I went along with it, hoping to nail what was secretly wrong with me. Surprisingly then, what the weekend really showed me, was the simplicity of repentance and freedom, and the massive amount of joy that comes with it. We lose out when things get over complicated because of the intellectual way we seem to like to engage with things. Not being much of the intellectual sort myself, I love the fact that we’re meant to enter the kingdom like kids, and have FUN, for goodness sake. Anyway, for me, the encounter weekend involved speaking out forgiveness to people, receiving forgiveness myself, as well as receiving a bunch of exciting prophetic words. (I love prophetic words, its great to hear who God says I have the potential to become – so long as I actually do something about them! Not much point in having a collection of dormant prophecies).

So, yeh . . .to“conclude”, it is very easy to have a scheduled in “event” that we assume is going to change our lives forever. And yes, sometimes they do. However, one does not want to become an “event” junkie – it robs us of the mindset that we can actually walk in that level of freedom daily. Thus, the encounter weekend has not made me into a brand new person, more that, I have had deeper revelation of how free I actually am. God has given me all this freedom, yet half the time I forget to actually occupy it. When you know who you are and what you have, and live like its true every day, nothing can stop you.

ReVIvaL. . .

Revival is something I am excited about, and that I most definitely want to see in my life time, if not in the next few years. The question I would ask then, is whether or not revival, as we have seen in the west over the past few years, is a true reflection of kingdom living, or whether in fact, such outpourings have never reached their full potential, due to the churches tendency to “centralize” moves of God, rather than following the decentralized model of revival that Jesus taught, and that we read about in the book of Acts. Since “revival” is not a word we come across in the bible, it is the name we have given to phenomena that is primarily based on human experience – and a pattern that has repeated itself over time. Thus, definitions tend to be along the following lines; that it is a “period of unusual blessing” where “God works deeper than ordinarily in the hearts of men” during a “seas on of refreshing.” Personally, I am not convinced that such outpourings of the spirit were ever meant to be deemed unusual, or around for only a season. My guess would be that revivals that we have seen across the west that have come to an end have done for several reasons: they have not been stewarded properly, and the level of hunger that attracted the power of God in the first place has not been sustained, or, as in recent cases, the move of God became focused on one individual leading “meetings”, rather than the body of Christ as a whole.. None of this has anything to do with God intending his salvation, fire, blessing and signs and wonders to be manifest for a “season”.
The words “revival/awakening” cannot exist if not in the context of their opposites – for something to be “revived” or “awoken”, it has to first be dead or asleep. According to Charles Finney, “revival is the return of the church from backsliding”. The implication is that, if the church is not moving forward and expanding, it is moving backwards. There is no middle ground. This being the case, if revival is deemed “unusual”, we have a problem, since, from what I can gather, the church is meant to be in a constant state of “revival”.

Perhaps then, the whole paradigm in which the concept “revival” exists is throwing us off course, leading to complacency and limitations, rather than cultivating a constant hunger for his presence and a desire and expectation to see his kingdom come every day. There is something wrong with the mindset that says; “when revival happens, THAT’S when i’ll see heaps of people saved” , or “when revival happens, that’s when ill see all the miracles”. That’s really not what Jesus ever said, or implied. Such a mindset limits our ability to be a constant vessel for God, because we’re not expecting him to move until “revival time!!”

In a lot of ways, that’s what it comes down to: expectancy.

When I go to a healing conference, I expect to see healing, I expect to encounter God on a totally new level, and I expect to leave with a bunch of cool testimonies and a new experience of God’s power, and most of the time, this is what happens. Expectation fuels hunger, and when we are hungry, we stand in agreement with the kingdom, this alignment creates a channel for heaven to become manifest on earth. I don’t see the same level of power on a day to day basis as I do in those conferences, not because God cant be bothered, or because he is in a different mood, but because I’m not expectant. I’m not hungry. Somewhere down the line we’ve got confused. Its not that we don’t pray for healing when we’re not at a conference, its perhaps more that our faith levels are far lower.

This got me thinking about revival and evangelism, and how we often associate God’s power with “events”, miracles at “events”, salvation at “events”. This has happened lots, and that’s great, however, it creates a model for centralized revival, revolving around one person leading a meeting, and whilst some have lasted longer than others, most of them have drawn to a close. Yes, Gods power does move in ebbs and flows, even so, when kingdom outpouring stops short at a meeting, it is not fulfilling it’s purpose. Did Jesus model this? Did Jesus tell us to expect things to work this way? I don’t think he did.

For a start, Jesus brought revival to every situation he encountered, it was not confined to a season. He modelled a life that sustained an awareness of God’s presence, a communion with him that it just leaked out wherever he went. Secondy, he gave us a framework for how encounters with him should lead us to the lost: (luke 10: prayer, people, preach, power, person of peace, plant, persecution, which inevitably leads us back to prayer)

Acts then clearly demonstrates this pattern, a pattern that suggests that an outpouring of the spirit in such a way always seems to be the response to hunger in the people. The day of Pentacost came after the disciples had been in the upper room praying for ten days. Significant outpourings across the world are usually God’s response to hungry people, rather than sporadic. However, imagine if the disciples had then thought “wow, the holy spirit is amazing! Let’s gather everyone we can possibly fit into this room so we can carry on! This is where the presence of God is!” No. They do what Jesus told them, and totally drunk in the spirit, they spread the good news like wildfire with boldness. Thousands come to faith and the good news spreads well beyond Jerusalem.

I guess what ive been asking myself, in relation to all this stuff, is when im praying for revival, what is it im actually asking God for? I guess it needs to start with a revelation of him, so that I can bring revival to every situation I encounter.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

tHE rESpoNsIBilITy of MuCH

I spent 6 months in the Philippines a few years ago and was privileged to meet some amazing people, the most physically poor yet spiritually rich i have ever met. The first day i arrived we were taken on 'outreach'; going into the slums, telling people about Jesus and praying for them. The first person i met was a young woman, whose two year old child didn't look any older than six months. Their house, made of sticks and rubbish, was about three square metres, they had no food and her husband was abusive. I was told to give them an 'encouraging message' . . . and promptly burst into tears. I had never witnessed such brutal poverty, and it was utterly heart breaking. We prayed for her, then moved on to the next hut, in which we met more people in similar circumstances. Person after person. With nothing.

Six months later I returned to England, indignant and frustrated with 'Westerners'. How dare they march round shopping centres, spending their hundreds and thousands of pounds on pointless objects, when there were people who could not afford to eat?

Nevertheless, within a few months I was right back there with them. Acquiring more 'stuff' that I 'needed'. It was too easy for me to forget what had broken my heart a few months before when removed from it and immersed in a materialistic culture.

I'm massively challenged by this, because if what i have witnessed on mission trips does not infiltrate my day to day lifestyle, then such trips have simply become yet another form of Western consumerism.

'From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, more will be asked' (Luke 12:48)

 So how can my life reflect and acknowledge the responsibility that comes with 'much', when i am part of a culture that is essentially built on the exploitation of the poorest of the poor, the people closest to God's heart? Surely a massive part of this has to involve a lifestyle that stands out and refuses to support such explotation. Yet how often do i just turn a blind eye and buy a t-shirt for £3 from high street retailers, ignoring the real cost involved, even though it completely contradicts what my faith stands for? As a Christian in an economically privileged country, what does it look like to intentionally live my faith in a way that reflects God's heart for humankind, aware of the responsibility I'm going to be held accountable for?

Monday, 18 May 2009

has facebook normalized stalking?

Facebook has normalized stalking. Five years ago, if anyone was caught hoarding 300 pictures of one specific person, you would think they were pretty strange. Now, this is simply part of most people’s daily experience. You only have to catch sight of laptops in workplaces and universities alike to see people scrolling through picture after picture of people they have probably never even met. We are a nation obsessed with stalking. And it’s right at our fingertips.

Back in the day, when my parents got together, my Dad did not sit and look through 500 pictures of my Mum, he did not check her ‘status updates’ and he did not see who else was writing on her ‘wall’. He actually spoke to her in real life, because reality was the only realm in which communication was possible. Whilst on some levels it has its benefits, there is most certainly a point at which a line needs to be drawn with this parallel world, where for some people ‘friends’ are people we might have seen, from the back, once, or friends of friends of friends.

In accepting someone as a Facebook friend then, what we’re basically saying is ‘I’m happy for you to stalk me’. Not only is stalking now ‘normal’, we actually give people permission to stalk us. I suppose that’s what makes it ‘ok’. Of course then, one must be sure to be represented as well as possible by their Facebook profile, since this is the only version of our ‘self’ that the majority of our Facebook friends will encounter.

here are a few conclusion:
- Its a sad story when people sit round on Facebook instead of engaging in real life communication
- The idea of random people i hardly know scrolling through numerous photos of me freaks me out.
- Given that I have 6000 words plus a presentation to write in 8 days, I am clearly procrastinating.

the end

power of agreement . . .

I’ve been challenged in the past year or so about my words and the power of agreement. Proverbs 18:21 says ‘The tongue has the power of life and death’. Scary but exciting truth. I wonder, if it were possible to count up all the conversations I’ve had and set them against each other in categories where I’ve spoken either ‘life’ or ‘death’ (about both myself and other people), which one would outweigh the other? Perhaps that’s not something to be pondered too much, but it challenges me.

It is important to talk about the stuff we are struggling with and acknowledge that it’s there, but this has to be accompanied by declaration of God’s truth. All too many times I’ve chatted with friends about how rubbish I feel about myself, which in turn has reminded them of their own insecurities, and before we know it I’ve succeeded in dragging them into my pity party. For some bizarre reason, wallowing in woes feels quite good - I’m not going to lie, its comfortable to indulge in a bit of self pity, it’s nice to feel justified in our struggles and squeeze sympathy out of people, but there comes a point where we have to make a choice about whether or not we’re going to stay there.

If our words contain the power of life and death, in conversations we’re essentially embracing one or the other. I find this really exciting because in speaking life we both counter the agenda of the enemy and agree with an awesome and powerful God all in one swift move. When we notice the potential others have and tell them what we see in them, we agree with God who made them in his image, and when we agree with him, earth is in agreement with heaven, and when heaven and earth come into alignment, the kingdom gets released, because people are walking in their true identity – sons and daughters of God, rather than in a lie.
Spot the lie, and counteract it with the power of life in the tongue.