Life as a resident assistant at a Christian college would have been a lot easier if I could have texted my female resident, “I know there’s a guy in your room after visitation hours.” It would have saved me a lot of hassle from knocking on her door, coaxing a confession out of her, and then weaseling my way into her room to find him hiding in the closet behind her laundry basket. Then again, I would have never learned how to confront situations and resolve conflict well. In a culture where we have more screen time than face time, we’re more worried about cultivating the art of showcasing our dinner than the art of our interpersonal skills. As a result, our social media outlets are killing four major social skills.
To everyone who follows my blog:
While my blog may have flatlined this past month, my heart has not.
Don’t get too excited now.
So where have I been these last few weeks?
AKA: watching a lot of Netflix.
(I’m pretty sure the devil suggested making the next episode automatically start after 10 seconds.)
While I needed a relaxation hiatus, I’m still working on some important writing…
I’m crafting a book proposal to make this blog into a book!
So I’m still here, I’m still alive, and I’m still writing.
And I’d love to keep hearing from you– and especially what you would like to read in a My Letters to G book!
And most importantly… thanks for reading and waiting patiently for my return.
Sometimes I wish BuzzFeed quizzes told me more than what font I am (Futura) or how many Justin Biebers I could take in a fight (14).
While taking on 14 teen pop sensations in skinny jeans during a fight seems overly ambitious (I would probably be more comfortable with 12), sometimes I wish making relevant-to-life decisions was as simple as answering a few questions online in a few clicks. Especially when it comes to ending relationships.
And I’m not just talking about roses are red, violets are blue kind of relationships. I’m talking about the platonic kind: friendships.
Before you do another Facebook purge or delete another contact in your smart phone, take this quiz:
I’ve been listening to that latest Hillsong song a lot. You know the one. The one that goes on somewhere between 8-12 minutes. And everyone that’s singing is Australian.
OK, it’s the one about oceans and feet failing and being called to step out upon the waters into the great unknown.
I’m a good hour and a half drive from the Atlantic right now, but I feel like you have me ready to jump onto some mighty waves before the ocean reaches optimal summer temperature.
And I’m nervous.
And I’m not ready.
So instead I worry. I worry about taking the wrong step, hopping onto the wrong wave, feet failing. Sinking. Sinking into the great unknown. Where there are probably sharks.
But just like the song says, You are there in the unknown:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown
Where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand
My faith is like my arm muscles. They don’t become strong unless I put them to use. My faith isn’t going to get stronger if I’m sitting in the safety of the boat. My faith becomes stronger when I actually listen to the call to get out of the boat and step onto the waters.
You didn’t let Peter drown. I know you won’t let me either.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surround me
You’ve never failed
And you won’t stop now
Help me choose not to waste a single hour of my life worrying about the mystery of my life, because it’s not a mystery to you.
My great unknown is your great known.
So lead me. Call me out from the boat and onto the waters. Wherever that may be. Whatever the temperature. (Preferably with Flipper not Jaws.)
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Life as a resident assistant in college would have been a lot easier if I could have texted my female resident, “I know there’s a guy in your room after visitation hours.” It would have saved me a lot of hassle from knocking on her door, coaxing a confession out of her, and then weaseling my way into her room to find him hiding in the closet behind her laundry basket.
Then again, I would have never learned how to confront situations and resolve conflict well.
In a culture where we have more screen time than face time, we’re more worried about cultivating the art of our dinner than the art of our interpersonal skills. As a result, our social media outlets are killing four major social skills:
Let’s face it—nobody enjoys confrontation. It’s uncomfortable, unnerving, and sometimes unpleasant. But Jesus didn’t call us to run away from conflict—he called us to speak the truth in love. And instead of speaking the truth in love in person, we pull up his/her Facebook page, type a message, and hit send. We hide behind the comfort of a social media wall to protect us from the awkwardness of uncomfortable face-to-face conversations. So we miss out on an opportunity for a dialogue that allows us to approach, discuss, and resolve an interpersonal issue and grow in the skill of speaking the truth in love to our neighbor.
2. Quality time
Think back to your last dinner date with a friend. Was your phone out on the table the whole time? Was your Facebook status updated to: “Grabbing some grub with Katie at Chipotle”? Did your burrito with a side of chips and guacamole become the objects of an Instagram collage? How many times did you refresh your inbox for notifications on all the likes and comments from your Facebook status? We have become so accustomed to a world of constant stimulation, we can’t seem to stop and focus on one sole activity at a time—quality time with a friend. Instead of being content with a friend’s company, we are consumed with the need to know what’s happening with all our other friends on our News Feed. If we aren’t distracted by what’s happening outside the moment, we’re too busy distracting ourselves from the moment by trying to capture it on social media.
Today our thumbs get more exercise than our vocal chords. Like a premise for a dystopian novel, our generation has almost forgotten how to speak because we’re too busy typing. We’re guilty of texting instead of talking over coffee and Facebook chatting instead of conversing on the phone. It’s as if we’ve sacrificed the art of conversation for the art of convenience. We’d much rather have three-hour text conversations than face-to-face ones. Texting and Facebook chatting allow us to step away and take time to think and respond, while talking in person allows us to cultivate our skill of asking, listening, and responding in the moment.
4. Written Communication
I receive a lot of e-mails for my day job that always end in “Sent from my iPhone.” I’ve had people leave off the “o” in “Hello” along with all forms of punctuation and capitalization. We could make Auto Correct the scapegoat for a multitude of grammatical sins, but we really have ourselves to blame. In a world of 140 characters or less and abbreviations for “laughing out loud,” we’ve forgotten how to write an e-mail, spell, and clearly articulate ourselves well and professionally. We become dependent on spell check to fix our errors. We think e-mails are acceptable without any capitalization or punctuation or signing our names at the bottom. Our written skills have become like our texting skills—short, sweet, and prone to auto corrected error.
I wonder what would have happened if Jesus would have just mass texted all his teachings, Facebook posted all his parables, and started a blog with pictures of all his miracles, before and after. “Follow me by putting in your e-mail address!”
I’m thinking it wouldn’t have had the same impact as his face-to-face ministry.