Friday, September 27, 2013

Hello World

Facebook.

It is so present in our lives, isn't it?
I still remember when facebook first came out of hiding from Harvard and made it's way to Baylor University.  It was spring of 2005, and I had just transferred to Baylor.  I remember the night my roommate introduced me to this new thing everyone on campus was into, and her showing me how to set up my account.  I still remember her helping me pick a picture and us cropping it together to look good on my profile.   

Eight years later and facebook is nearly a cornerstone in our relational lives.  Crazy to think.  Don't get me wrong - I most definitely do not hate facebook...actually that is where my husband and I sparked the relationship that led to us becoming best friends, then dating, then engaged, and now wonderfully in love and married for nearly seven years now.  (If you don't know our story - it's a good one - we went to high school together with less than 500 people in our school and all the same friends but never spoke to each other...God has a sense of humor, my friends, so feel free to ask about the whole story some time.  We love to tell it!)

Anyway, back to facebook.  It's just crazy how when I think about something or something happened good or bad or when I need help - I think "Facebook!"  I go there to post my thoughts, to post my pictures, to "keep up with friends", and in less mature moments to stalk "enemies".  

There are so many great things about it, like it's easier for me to keep up with what is going on in the life of one of my besties who lives eight hours away, and my group of girlfriends can message each other all together at one time to set up playdates and share struggles.

Facebook is not an enemy.  But lately, it's become my frenemy.  Don't laugh.  I know you did,but hear me out.

I'm a stay at home mom.  I just began homeschooling my young children and had to pull back from a lot of other commitments to make time to take care of them, myself, our home, and of course my sweet hubbie who works 90+ hours on a regular week.  So let's just say adult interaction is sometimes sparse.  

It's ok, though, I know I am right where I am called to be, and I have a wonderful friendship with God.  I also know that to be healthy and whole I need to specifically schedule social interaction on many levels to ensure that I can function and remember how to converse with other adults.  My kids need it too.  

But this last month, we were all sick.  Cycling through colds and stomach bugs and the like, and I really did not have time to get together with friends or go to church.  So facebook was sort of my connection to the outside world outside of conversations with the person who bags my groceries at HEB.  

That's great!  Just like the fact that I can watch church online when I'm home sick, so I don't feel totally isolated!  The problem is, if you read my last post, I have a tiny fear of intimacy.  And facebook, well, facebook is a great way to "feel connected" and paint a pretty picture on it, without having any true connection at all.  Unfortunately, I fell into the habit of letting it be my connection with friends.

I realized I felt so lonely and I didn't know why, I was talking to friends daily and they were posting response to my thoughts and pictures.  But the truth is, no one even knew we were sick and out of the loop for a month!  Yikes!  So, I took a brief hiatus from good old fb, and if I needed more proof that I was using it as an unhealthy crutch I felt like I was going through withdrawals.  I felt more lonely than ever, and I did not know what to do with those few minutes of down time when I sat at my computer...what, check my email again?

But taking this breather from facebook has given me room to talk more with God, to actually call friends, to take the time to write a letter to an old friend (shocker - I know!), and generally gauge how connected I really am and how often I think of something and my first thought is to make it my status on fb.  It's made it much easier to know who my real friends are - the one's who know what is going on in my life if it is not posted on fb.  (Ironically they are probably the only ones reading this post)

It's been nice.  I know it won't be forever, but it's worth fasting from every now and then to get some fresh perspective on the real connections in life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Intimacy

Intimacy.
I still remember studying this term in undergrad Interpersonal Communication, and our professor telling us the definition and saying “into – me – see”.  Closeness, familiarity, the ability to predict one’s behavior – all staples of intimacy.
And it terrifies me.
Does it scare you?  I don’t know about you but I have been burned, my friends.  Burned badly.  And I pray and beg God for close friends, for close mentorship relationships, and as soon as they get close I feel terrified and I run!  I begin impression management, and trying to seem busier or more together or less interested so I’m not “too much” or this or that – the list could go on and on.
Especially if I gain respect for someone…whew, that is a rough one, because I am afraid that if they see who I really am, they might not respect the me who does not have it all together or has made some mistakes or is not always holy or not always kind or mature.  What if they see that I am sometimes lazy, sometimes controlling, often insecure…what if what if what if???
And I don’t even realize what it is at the time, it’s just like I feel this pressure and I run or withdraw or hold up an impression, and it isn’t until later when I realize I am dreading contact with certain people that I realize what happened. 
Time and time again I have taken this to the Father.  Lord, I am so afraid of being hurt, of being rejected, but also of being lonely and without friendships to turn to and wise counsel to seek.  Over and over again, He comforts me, and the answer I keep hearing resounding in my heart is to just be real. 
Don’t try to water down my affection for them or inflate who I am or my abilities.  Be sincere in how I feel, and be the kind of friend I want to be, not hold back because I am afraid they will reject me.  Be the kind of friend I want. 
And when I have done this in the past, the relationships that are with unsafe people flesh out quickly because of their issues and not mine, and then God can heal my heart and move on, but the people who are safe and mature and healthy accept me, accept the real me, and we build connection and intimacy.  Safety, security, real intimacy. 

Intimacy.  It scares me.  But I have a choice to make and so do you – loneliness, a life of insecurity and doubt and no one to hold you up and help you when you fall, or risk intimacy, perhaps fall a few times, but find true and lasting friendship and full life.