Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

Fighting For An Inch

I’m reading a memoir about a woman who was neglected by her mother and constantly abused by two strangers she was forced to live with when her mother gave her away. (The book is called Raised by Strangers. Click here to buy the book.)  True stories like this rip my heart apart and the broken glass of despair embeds itself into my subconscious. I can’t shake the horror and sadness of it all. I don’t read books like this often, but when I do I binge read hoping to come to a resolution, a resolution that sometimes does not appear.

What is awful about reading this is recognizing the horrible capacity in ourselves to engage in the same exact behavior. The slippery slope that today is an unwanted, unsolicited temptation, can over time lead down an evil path.

An addict starts with a single drink.

A molester starts with a single look, touch.

An abuser starts with a single, degrading word, a single strike.

Yes, we have self control, yes, we can be bigger than those temptations. But they all start with a single thought in our minds. Do we recognize it? We either choose to agree and take that first step, the first drip falls, or we disagree and fight and tighten up the faucet. 2 Corinthians 10:5b (The Message) – “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”

The enemy wants to create evil and kill good and steal our ground one inch at a time. John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The horror in reading this memoir is that it takes on life in my heart and I can’t bear it. I can pray and I start there and God is near. And as I go forward into the next day, I choose a peaceful word instead of yelling and I reject evil thoughts and temptations that threaten to take an inch of goodness away from me. I pray that I can recognize and call evil what it is when these thoughts enter my mind and have God’s strength to fight. Ephesians 6:12 – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Facebook Fast – Thirty-One Days

I wake up blurry eyed and foggy and fumble to turn the alarm
off my phone.  Before I even sit up, let
the silence sink in, or turn on a light, I login to Facebook.  What am I missing that happened in the five
hours since I last logged in?

One of the kids asks me a question, but I don’t hear them as
I scroll through the newsfeed – blue and white glow discoloring my face.  She asks me three times more, “Mom, mom! Can you
hear me?  You need a time limit for your
phone, just like you give us.”  I hear
her this time and put it down.

It’s October 1 and I’m reading the latest rant over
the government shutdown and Obamacare as my federal government employed sister
sits at home wondering her fate.  Suddenly,
a wave of anger envelopes me.  Livid that
I’m wasting time reading garbage from arm chair “politicians” insisting on an
opinion they know nothing about. 

I leave a couple of posts on groups and my wall that I’m
logging off – for the whole month of October. 
I sign off cooling my heels over ice water. 

Oh, I’ve logged out before for a whole month – did it just
last June, but it didn’t lose its hold on me. 
I logged in ravenous consuming Crackbook oblivious to the dissatisfaction
and frustration that continued.
trudged on for more than a year, unchanged and unrelenting.  I meant to write about it back then – to share
with the world the revelations uncovered from a month “disconnected”.  The truth was the epiphany never came.

This time was different. 
The first couple of days, I pondered my struggles with the blue and
white frames.  I remember signing on for
the first time over four and half years ago under the guise from family and
friends to stay “connected”.  It was fun
finding old college friends and grade school pals that I had not spoken to in
over 30 years.

Months go by and our third child is born.  While I wish I could remember vividly the
times I snuggled close and gazed into her perfect sweet face, I barely
can.  The memories I recall are thumbnail
pictures scrolling by, blue letters, red notifications delighting me.  I’m ashamed at these cheap excuses for

When I stopped working to be home with our kids, I craved
any type of adult interaction.  My phone
stayed logged in, I stood at my laptop in the kitchen until my legs ached,
relentlessly scrolling, devouring “social interactions”.  In reality I was feeding my addiction,
barking at the kids when they interrupted me, recoiling at my shallow
existence.  I was terrified to admit it –
I envisioned the audience at a 12-step meeting. 
I stand trembling before them.  “Hello,
my name is Jennifer and I’m a Facebook addict.”

The vision fades and I step away for short bursts…a week
here, a week there, holidays, birthdays, many Sundays.  But I always wake up the next day and I log
back in – as if I had never left – returning to where I left off. 

After the first few days of this fast, I get an email from
my “dealer” – I am missing notifications.  Sorry Crackbook, I can’t do that.  I delete the message.  Again, an email – two days later.  I ignore it. 
After day five, I get an email  On day eight, I unsubscribe.

By day 15, I don’t think about Facebook anymore.  I have a big announcement I want to share, so
I login quickly to post it.  I do not
look at notifications.  I do not look at
the newsfeed.  I realize in despair that
I don’t ever want to login again and that soon I will have to decide how to
manage this.

The world seems brighter and calm and there are no
distractions to keep me from reading a book or playing a game with my children…some
of them old enough that they have stopped asking me to do those things.  Is it because I hardly reciprocated?  Because I wasn’t listening?  I shudder at the thought.

My eight year old asks me to sit with her and talk.  I’m floored and honored and my phone is not
on my person and I do not hear it and I am fully here with her in this
place.  I hug her and count her freckles
while I tell her that I will always listen and for once I really am and please tell
me God that I have not missed too much!

October 31 rolls around and I wait.  I do not login until nearly 11pm on November
1.  Most of the notifications are not
worth reading and I can’t get past the second item in the newsfeed.  I start hiding things like mad in a desperate
attempt to focus on those people that drew me to this “connecting” tool in the
first place.  I don’t login again for a
couple of days and I don’t think about it and I’m not drawn in and is this what
normal life is like?

I close up my laptop having spent just a few minutes – but a
few minutes more than I wanted.  I walk
out into the living room where my sweet four year old is singing and dancing
and I take her hand and join in.