Intentional Living | The Facebook Edition

I’m becoming increasingly passionate about living intentionally. It sounds vague but it’s actually really simple: it means taking a step back from daily life, looking at the components and asking myself this question “why do I ________?” (Insert, binge watch Netflix, wear makeup, drink coffee, etc.) I’ve been amazed at the depth of insight I glean about myself this way. Sometimes this method of questioning leads me to have stronger reasoning behind my behavior and yet other times I’ve been surprised by how compulsive or reactionary some of my actions are simply because I haven’t taken the time to think about them before.

*Note! If you’re inspired to try this out in your own life, I have a simple tip for you: approach this question in a firm and kind way. Firm in the sense that you are willing to ask a hard question and willing to make a change in behavior (if needed) after examination. Kind in that you avoid harsh self-defeating language. Example: Don’t ask yourself “Why do I lash out at my loved ones all the time?” ask instead “What is causing such regular irritability in my life?” The first question starts you off on a negative platform. You already feel like you need to defend yourself, or apologize, or something! The second question doesn’t put you immediately at fault, but rather allows you to look for the heart of the problem. Moving on! 🙂
As you might have gathered from the title of this post, I have an intentional living boundary with Facebook. 
 
I was inspired by a conversation I had months ago with my close friend. She had decided to give up Facebook altogether in an effort to heal her heart in a specific way. She’d discovered that she had a growing discontent with a facet of her life that was fueled by frequent Facebook use. She recognized this in herself and decided to pull the weed which was choking out joy from the garden of her heart. I thought her actions demonstrated a deep understanding of herself as well as impressive determination to heal the damage she had unwittingly caused her own heart.
Motivated by my friend’s wisdom, I took a step back from daily activities and asked myself about my own social media use. For about a week I took note of the way different social media platforms made me feel during and after I spent time on them. Not surprisingly I discovered that Facebook had become an unhealthy compulsion for me and also something that robbed me of joy. Oddly enough, I was not even a heavy Facebook user! I would go on once or twice a day for about 5-10 minutes and that’s about it – yet those few minutes had a very dramatic effect on my mood. I realized that I had begun to use Facebook as a way to feel connected to “my real life” – the community of people back in California. It was also keeping me from recognizing that this is my real life, here in Alabama not in California.
I quit Facebook after that. Not in a legalistic way – I don’t think Facebook is bad! I think Facebook is bad for me, right now. It’s been nearly 4 months since this decision was made and I am ever so glad I made it. It was a healthy decision for me at the time and it has helped me to recognize how important it is to ask questions of myself. I want to live my life with purpose and this line of questioning has provided me with a way to refresh my life’s perspective and habits.
*Disclaimer: I have gone onto the Facebook site a few times in the course of the past 4 months and each time it was for a very specific reason – again, I didn’t give it up in a legalistic way that forbids it entirely! I gave it up in recognition of the state of my heart.

California Girl Meets Tornado

Storms are the topic of interest in my life right now. Let’s talk about storms!

When I was 15 I remember visiting some friends while on a family vacation in Kansas. (That sentence is kinda funny all in itself. Yes, my family took a vacation in Kansas. Is that normal?) They were a sweet older couple, very grandparent-like and had lived in the Midwest for ages. They fed us a yummy dinner and the husband told stories from his childhood in Nazi Germany. He talked all about how his parents disagreed with the way the government was forcing children into Hitler’s youth program so they asked their doctor to write a note excusing him from attending. He told about how he had to walk through a field even though it was peppered with landmines as he and his mom were escaping somewhere on foot. (Dang memory – I wish I remember all of it word for word! But alas.) His stories were pretty crazy and awesome in a “you lived through that!?” kind of way.

Anyway, that night they set me up in a little guest room all my own while my parents and brothers shared a great-room down in the basement. I felt totally spoiled. Then there was a huge and horrible storm in the night, the likes of which I’d never met with before and I didn’t feel spoiled anymore. I was in a strange house and a strange room all by myself in the dead of night. It thundered so loud I remember trying to plug my ears and hum to myself to drown it out. I don’t think I slept much that night because I remember it all so clearly a whole decade later! So that was Notable Storm #1.

Only a couple years later I was on a mission trip for hurricane Katrina Relief in Biloxi, Mississippi. Our group stayed in a concrete bunker-type place that was owned by the Salvation Army so we were more or less sheltered from anything too scary. One night as our youth pastor was praying after our daily debrief he said something along the lines of “Lord, the storm tonight is an awesome reminder of your power…” and then a harrowing explosion of thunder erupted overhead and we all opened our eyes and laughed while secretly feeling a little shaken (or was that just me?). Notable Storm #2.

Okay so this could get long and obnoxious and I really shouldn’t talk about every big storm I’ve ever encountered, but here’s one more before I get to the good stuff:  it was last summer! Michael and I were engaged and he had moved far far away to the land of Kentucky while I was back in California planning our wedding and working full-time. I flew out to visit him one weekend in mid-July and we planned to spend every stinking minute of that weekend together! There was a severe thunderstorm on the first night of my visit and we spent hours just sitting on the living room floor talking, nervous-laughing and trying hard not to worry about the fact that we had no freaking idea what we should do if a tornado hit. The lighting and thunder was so constant it basically looked like daylight outside. Agh! I think of this as THE STORM the holy grail of storms I’ve lived through. All storms hereafter shall be compared to this. Notable Storm #3.

Which brings us right up to last Friday. Good Friday! It was a pretty low-key day, Michael had a three day weekend and we were happily snatching some much needed rest and quality time. I went grocery shopping and he was able to have a phone conversation with his good friend back in California – life was normal! We happily sauntered off to a Mexican food place for dinner. (Michael had the most delicious beef burrito on the face of this earth! I’m proud that I only snitched one bite!) On the way home, we knew something was brewing in the heavens because we saw some awe-inspiring flashes of lighting followed by it’s noisy friend, thunder. Also our iPhones told us there was a storm – thanks weather app!

Unrelated: a fat possum jumped right in front of our car. Ack!

We arrived home just as the tornado sirens began blaring. My very first tornado siren. The real kind – not the test kind. I ran around grabbing everything we could possibly want to have with us for however long we had to hunker down. Laden with random items – my purse, my bible, my computer, my book, my sunglasses(?), my cell phone charger, my chap-stick – the engineer and I booked it down the hall and set up camp in our guest bathroom for an hour. hahahahaha yep, that’s our storm shelter. There was much nervous bouncing of the legs, much texting with sympathetically freaked out California friends, much listening to the weather radio, and much praying. Mostly for the sake of keeping the brain busy and heart from attacking. Notable Storm #4.

Well anyway. The storm passed, we survived. We didn’t like it. The end!

All storm imagery for this post brought to you by this post on smosh.com.