Divorcing Social Media While Still Using It for Good

Do you feel like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. are stealing your time and energy but don’t know how to stop? Here’s a PRACTICAL way to reclaim all that precious time while still using social media for good.

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Breaking Ties with Halloween

Warning: this post concerns Halloween. If you love Halloween, you might want to keep scrolling. But if you’re feeling the nudge of the Holy Spirit to steer clear of it, keep reading.

Are you struggling with how to align your love for the Light of the world with that time of year that endorses fear, death, and darkness? Are you on the verge of saying, “I can’t do this anymore”? I want to encourage you to follow your conscience. Contrary to popular belief, your kids won’t die without celebrating Halloween. They’ll probably wail and feel persecuted, but they won’t be damaged. Think about it: When has obeying God, even when it involved sacrifice, ever damaged you? It might have caused you discomfort or even pain, but it also made you stronger, more settled, and perhaps even joyful. If you’re hesitant about forfeiting Halloween simply because it’s fun, ask yourself—Do you really want to make decisions about how to live the Christian life according to what’s fun? Good luck with that. (And no, I’m not implying that the Christian life is void of fun. Far from it! But I will say that when you stop indulging in certain types of “fun,” you start having joy.)

If you decide to replace typical Halloween festivities with something else, please consider a movie or pizza versus a “Christian replacement.” Don’t teach your kids that Halloween is so important that avoiding it altogether is simply out of the question. Dressing up in costumes and going someplace to collect candy equals Halloween. Your kids won’t be fooled into thinking otherwise just because it takes place in a church parking lot. If it looks, sounds, and tastes like Halloween, it’s Halloween.

And please don’t fret about robbing your kids of a childhood tradition. No doubt your children have iPads, soft beds, ice cream, trendy clothes, and more toys than they know what to do with. To deny them of one night per year because it flies in the face of everything you’ve tried to teach them the other 364 days of the year is not robbing them, it’s teaching them to have a backbone and to put the Lord’s wishes before their own.

I’m convinced that there’s at least one person who will read this who knows it’s time to break ties with Halloween but needs someone in his/her corner who will say, “You can do it!” Like I said, if you love Halloween, I’m not here to talk you out of it. Maybe I’ll do that next year. But if you’re in the “I-don’t-feel-right-about-this-but-my-kids-will-disown-me-and-my-friends-will-think-I’m-a-religious-nut” frame of mind, where you’d love to put a stop to it all but feel like you have no choice, I’m here for you. I’m here to remind you that you definitely have a choice, and this is a perfect opportunity to exemplify what it looks like to stand firm in your faith and devotion to Jesus. This year, turn off the porch light and order a pizza. Watch a silly movie. Play Uno. You’ll never regret forgoing the glorification of darkness and death in favor of what pleases the Lord.

Don’t continue to team up with unbelievers in mismatched alliances, for what partnership is there between righteousness and rebellion? Who could mingle light with darkness?  —2 Cor. 6:14, TPT 

Are You Burdened by Regret?

When it comes to testimony, there are the Mary Magdalenes (those whose list of past sins could fill a ream of paper) and there are the John the Baptists (those whose past sins are so inconsequential they’re not even mentioned in the course of their story). I know some John the Baptists—people who made good choices even as children and who devoted their lives to the Lord before making the sorts of mistakes that throw one’s life completely off course. I wish I were a John the Baptist, but I’m not. I was Mary Magdalene, racking up sins (starting at the tender age of 15) that had lifelong consequences and leaving a path of debris and pain. I hurt others and myself, and, although I loved God, I wasted years that could have been spent for the Kingdom just trying to survive the fallout of my choices.

But then I remember that all are lost, all are hopeless apart from Jesus. It’s strange to think that Billy Graham was just as lost and hell-bound as the worst of sinners apart from the cross, but it’s true. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, needed a savior! No one deserves heaven. And those like me, who are ever-aware of the years they squandered and the wreckage they left in their wake—sometimes I think we’re even more mindful that we don’t deserve the mercy we’ve been granted. We don’t deserve those million second chances we’ve been given; we don’t deserve joy and love and beauty. For me, this awareness produces deep, deep gratitude and the determination to spend the rest of my years wisely. It propels me to give my time to the poor, to love the addicts and alcoholics who have (like me) made a mess of their lives. When you see yourself in “the worst of sinners,” there’s no room for smugness or complacency. I am a hair’s breadth away from the prostitute on the corner, and I pray I never forget it.

I’ve been known to throw myself into worship in an undignified way. I’ve danced until my feet were literally blistered. Why? Because, like Paul, I know that “Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, came into the world to save sinners, and I am the worst of them all” (1 Tim.). He didn’t have to save me, but He did. He didn’t have to grant me mercy again and again and again as the years passed, but He did. So when it’s time to worship, how can I do anything less than unleash my love on the One who unleashed His grace on me? I don’t care what the person next to me thinks about me—that person didn’t pluck me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock, Jesus did. My days are numbered, so each time I worship, I understand it could be the last opportunity to do so while here on earth, and I want to go out while giving Him what He deserves: ALL of me.

Are you a Mary Magdalene too? Don’t waste your energy, much less your time, on regrets. Regarding your past, let it go—but don’t forget it either because those who remember they’ve been forgiven much love much. Love your Rescuer without restraint or limits! Allow your scars to propel you into the heart of God until He turns those scars into gold and you begin to dispel light everywhere you go. Love and serve those who are still floundering and whose scars are still bleeding. Trust that God will redeem the years you wasted if you’ll simply do what He tells you to do from here on.

“But it is for this reason I was given mercy: by displaying His perfect patience in me, the very worst of all sinners, Jesus the Anointed could show that patience to all who would believe in Him and gain eternal life” (1 Tim.).