Freefall to Fly

In the middle of this Lenten season, I encourage you to carve out some intentional time to reflect on what you are learning through your fast.

If you are giving up some form of technology, you might be wrestling with some of the ideas that author Rebekah Lyons discusses in her book, Freefall to Fly.  Reflecting on social media’s affect on her, she writes:

freefallThese worlds are fun to create.  They allow us to imagine a world that’s a little brighter, fuller, shinier, fancier and more fashionable than the ones we actually live in.  The “Rebekah” on my Facebook page or filtered Instagram profile is a moldable piece of clay, and I am the sculptor.  I can shape her to be as hip and glamorous as I want her to be, and she doesn’t even have to look, sound, or behave like the real me.  These alternative realities fill our waking hours and give the impression that we are contributing to the world when deep down we feel unremarkable.

These technological creations, while interesting for everyone else, have the opposite effect on us.  Instead of confirming our worth, they only add to the pressure to perform and strive.  Have you made every recipe on your Pinterest board?  I haven’t.  How many of us have homes that look like the images we pin?  Perhaps a few pins are accurate, but over time it becomes too much to keep up with.

So the images created to bring us meaning end up making us feel worse about ourselves.  Because we know how unlike our true selves they are.  When I create a bliss-filled Pinterest fantasy, for example, it may send me to a dreamy place for a brief moment.  But then I’m reminded that my closet – and my décor – is already outdated according to the latest trends.  So off I go to spend.  To update.  To consume.  The experience is worsened on those late nights when I need a mental break and find myself watching and observing, wondering if everyone else is living a better story than I am.

Worse still, these fantasy-laden lives isolate us from communities where we are truly known.  To be sure, I love knowing what my friends are up to, near and far.  Technology helps me feel more connected to them.  But unless I reach out and actually talk to them, the closeness is limited to a newsfeed.  A faux sense of friendship.  I feel connected with them even though we haven’t spoken in months.  And when we do speak, I sense a most awful pressure to keep up appearances I’ve worked so hard to construct online.

Gabe [her husband] is a helpful barometer to keep me accountable.  He knows when the real Rebekah and the virtual ones grow disconnected.  And he raises a red flag when my iPhone gets more attention than he does.  It makes him jealous when I act as if I’d rather be somewhere else than beside him.  Only those in our midst – our physical lives – can accurately assess when we’re embracing our true selves.

Like Rebekah, perhaps the Lord is revealing something to you about how technology impacts you in order to help you live an authentic life.

All is well,

Lisa

Anticipating Easter

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…that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself…

— Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Although the majority of Christians would agree that Easter is the most significant date on the Christian calendar, if we are honest it usually doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.

Maybe because the date changes every year it is difficult to get into the rhythm every year to plan and prepare.  As a result, it can often feel as if Easter simply sneaks up on us.

And, part of the enjoyment of an event is the anticipation.

A child longing for the presents under the tree…the pregnant woman wanting to hold her baby…a baseball fan eager for opening day…an engaged couple counting down the days until the wedding.

Creating space in our busy lives to anticipate Easter is one of the benefits of Lent.  Although a completely optional spiritual practice, Lent reminds Christians that Easter is coming.  And the beauty of participating in the practice of Lent with our church community is that we can remind each other that Easter is coming.

This year, the church leadership wondered if asking everyone to give up something similar would help make this sometimes solitary spiritual discipline a community experience.

With the current dialogue at Calvary about technology through the Sunday night Rewire series, giving up some source of technology seemed to be a natural connection to what the Lord was teaching us a congregation.

How does technology help us anticipate Easter?

The pervasive and constant presence of technology in our lives makes giving up something technological a frequent and recurring reminder that Easter is coming.  If you usually post or check Facebook four times a day, you will now have the blessing of 160 reminders that Easter is coming.

Omitting a technology from our lives can force us to slow down and experience life.  As a family we gave up the dishwasher.  We now have several minutes every evening where we are all working together to complete the task of cleaning up from our day to remind each other that Easter is coming.

Technology whispers in our ear that we are independent of God, and turning off some form of technology allows the anticipation of Easter to shout that we are utterly dependent on our creator.

Technology always disappoints.  While great good has come of technology, few (if any) technologies live up to their promises.  Removing technology from our lives reminds us that because of the resurrection, Easter always satisfies.

Looking forward to Easter with you,

Jim and Lisa

Lent 2014

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As we begin Lent, Calvary’s devotional book encourages us to start by reading our benediction for the Refuge series, I Peter 5:10-11, every day this week.

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As we take time to reflect on the promise of this benediction, we remember that we cannot read the words of Peter without reflecting on the life of Peter.

Peter, writing to encourage us to be strong, firm and steadfast, knows what it means to sink under doubt and suffering (Matthew 14:22-33; Luke 22:54-62).

Peter, writing to let us know that God will himself restore us, knows what it means to experience that forgiveness (John 21).

As we reflect on God’s great promises, we hope this song, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), will be a beautiful reminder of these truths this Lenten season.


May God bless you as we prepare for Easter.

Jim and Lisa

 
The verse design is from ToSuchAsTheseDesigns.