Today, being the avant-garde sociologist that I am, decided to perform an experiment using the social media platform FACEBOOK. This internet phenomenon features a “Check-In” function, that basically allows you to share your location at any moment. I do have my biases against using such a feature, but for the experiment, I decided to use it quite extensively over the span of 12+ hours, checking in as much as I could during this time.
Here are a few of my personal observations and findings:
- This eats up a surprising amount of time for each check-in. Roughly 20-30 seconds depending on your typing accuracy.
- I was surprised how many people actually followed along, “LIKE-ing” and commenting during the process.
- You really have to be dedicated in order to be consistent with your Check-Ins
You set yourself up to be stalked and preyed upon by anyone
brilliant social experiment to my Lenten Reflection Challenge, I observed that Checking In and the Act of Prayer (or praying) almost have the same requirements and at times, the same outputs.
- Prayer takes up surprising amounts of time for each check-in. Roughly 1 second to 1 hour depending on honesty.
- Those who are friends, will follow you along and encourage you by doing the same
- Prayer takes dedication and a consistent effort in order to be truly effective
- You set yourself up for blessings and peace for anyone to see
From what I can conclude at this moment: I wish I was more consistent with my Prayer Life than my Facebook Life. Lord have mercy on me.
So yesterday being Sunday (in Lent that means it’s the pause button for fasting), I decided to fire up the ol’ XBOX 360, and squeeze in a few quick games of Halo:Reach before the day ended.
Getting into my third game, I decided to play the 2 vs. 2 game type. So this partners me up with a complete stranger, and we basically have to work together to rack up 25 total kills against the opposing pair. Now for those who don’t play any type of online competitive play, the dialogue between players is quite interesting (to put it VERY VERY VERY lightly). Usually the vulgar comments come from your opponents, but mine came from my assigned team mate during the match, after the match, and he even left a message for me while I was playing another match afterwards. The message essentially said he would “rape” me if we ever played against each other. Now don’t worry friends, “rape” in online gaming banter essentially means “I will defeat you in a humiliating manner.”
Considering I’ve had my XBOX LIVE account for 6 years, stuff like this usually doesn’t bother me. That’s just what you learn to put up with when you play competitive online games. But for some reason, it really left a bad taste in my mouth, and after playing one more game afterwards I shut down the console.
Maybe not playing online, has softened up my thickened skin to these things. I think God, through this fast, is putting some perspective into something I invest a lot of my time into. God was using this annoying player, to highlight what happens when we invest our time into things that are non-productive. Don’t get me wrong, I love video games, but I have to put it into context. It’s just… GAMES. I don’t think being obsessively competitive where it warps your perspective and demeanor (online or not) can be all that good.
I think it’s God’s lesson in Moderation for me. Everything has the potential to be unhealthy if not put in the right context. I don’t think God is saying to me “Stop playing video games!” I think he’s just reminding me, that when I pick up that controller, that I truly am in control… and that the off button is just a button press away.
P.S: Big shout out to my wife, who will totally use this blog against me. I love you for it, even though it may not seem like it.
It’s interesting that during Lent, it seems that we get days off. Sundays are those days where we don’t have to fast and abstain. Now some would take this day and simply pig out and gorge on whatever they’ve been fasting for 6 days. But I think, God in His goodness has a greater purpose for it.
Simply put, I think Sunday is that day where I can have whatever I want, but being more mindful that I’m in the presence of God. Do I gorge and indulge after 6 days of fasting and abstaining, or can these 6 days show that I have self-control in front of God when it comes to these things.
A huge point of fasting, is really detaching ourselves from worldly things in order to fill that space with God. Sunday puts us face to face with these worldly things, and we’re given a chance to show God one of two things:
1) That these things we fast somehow have a control over us
2) We have control over these things
So enjoy your Sunday! Not because you don’t have to fast, but because God is present and you have a chance to show Him you’ve got a handle on things.
I’m actually blank as I begin typing this entry. And maybe God is trying to tell me something through this writer’s block.
Stay faithful, even when you have nothing .
The commitment I made to complete this Lenten Challenge, is just a microcosm to my own spiritual commitment. Even though I feel I have nothing to give, share or say, I’m still asked to “show up.”
I literally spent an hour typing and deleting sentences in effort to post something substantial. I guess sometimes, what’s substantial to God is just that simple decision to try. My commitment to try, combined with his grace and Spirit has produced what you’re reading right now.
It may not be the best entry I’ve had so far, but I think it’s probably the most important at this point of the challenge. Although I came with nothing, God in his goodness gave me something.
He gave me integrity by helping me honour my commitment.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.
Matthew 7: 9-11
The tough part of trust, is giving up control. Sometimes I say I trust God, but I still act like I really don’t. I just linger on the border between trust and control, hoping to do both. Trust God, but do it on my own terms and my own way. Looking at, technically I really don’t trust at all.
So when I ask God for something, I have to kind of put it in the perspective that “beggars can’t be choosers.” We want to be blessed, and loved and all that good stuff, but we can’t really choose How God will fulfill those prayers. Sometimes it’s through hard times and suffering. Sometimes it’s through letting us go from one bad decision to another, and sometimes it’s just plain and obvious. Regardless, He gives me exactly what I need.
If anything, I just have to get my heart and my head aligned, when I ask God for something. That whatever I’m asking for, really does not come out of selfishness, but out of a true desire that what I’m asking for is in line with His bigger plan. Giving up the “want” and truly desiring what I “need.”
Trusting in God is a also practice of gratitude. That whatever is given is truly good, and that I need to say thank you. That these burdens need to be unfolded patiently, gently and carefully to unveil the blessing that’s necessary at that very moment.
Sometimes I forget that God has His best interests when it comes to me. He did create me after all didn’t He?