Introduction - social media is….
So as usual, the deadline of this article crept up on me by surprise and I am writing this in a bit of a sweat, wondering if I can conjure up some life-affirming or earth-shattering revelation about myself or God.
I feel like it is a thing now – that people write or speak and they have to make a statement that blows assumptions out of the water or takes us to the next level of understanding in our lives.
I have been there before – both as a recipient and as an “aspiring” giver. I have felt the need to write something revelatory and sensational about Jesus or about myself that will give me an edge or some sort of subtle self-promotion.
It appears that I am not alone – social media has accelerated this form of communication. We communicate, not to interface with others now, but to subtly or openly promote ourselves in some way.
It is perfectly understandable. The more popular forms of communication invite us to put our feelings down, however deep and hurt we are into a pithy soundbite; almost as though our mess can be packaged into 200 characters or less and made an emoji out of – like that is how humans actually work!
I wonder at the speed and strength of our communications infrastructure now; we have email, text messages, social media – I guess my question is – is it all a bit too much now? Am I over seeing another picture of a pet or hearing another update about someone’s life?
I enjoy hearing where people are up to but does it need to be constant – have I just grown into a grump?
Soundbites and Jesus
It was genuinely interesting as I woke up and did not have anything burning to write about and yet clearly as you can all see – I needed to get something off my chest. I wonder, as we have become dependent on the constant soundbite and shouty nature of communication; whether we have become a bit like that in our walk with God.
I was reflecting on this a bit as I looked at my devotional today; which spoke specifically about what to do when you do not hear directly from God. I guess I do not necessarily mean in a large issue like what do I do with my life; but more when the daily guidance is not forthcoming – what do I do?
The devotional was suggesting that hearing from God on the minutiae of my life is not necessarily a given; but that when we do not hear, we can seek His presence anyway, and that can be our guide. I thought to myself “OK, that is fine”; but I was also thinking that seeking his presence sounded awfully wooly as a response to a question I might have about something.
It felt like I was just going to have to SIT and STAY in the presence of God without a short phrase or pointy finger. Not the response I necessarily wanted from my devotional.
Look at the disciples
I am going through some things at the moment – nothing drastic but stuff that needs direction. Am I meant to just sit at the throne of the Almighty without soundbite, and somehow, expect this stuff to just go away? I wonder at the attitude of the disciples with Jesus.
When they first met him, they must have had a lot of questions and perhaps they continued all the time. Where did you say you were going? Who is your real father? Why are you taking us here and why are you disobeying the law if you have said that you are coming to fulfil it? Why are we always getting into trouble? I do not think that they went from knowing nothing to knowing everything under the guidance of Jesus.
But I wonder if, in spending time with him and in his presence, their questions reduced because, in being in his presence they could fathom the answers to their questions. Being in his presence was the beginning of their peace and journey towards destiny. They were not so reliant on soundbites or daily nudging; they could walk and figure it out for themselves.
Take the slow walk
When I walk without agenda with God, I find myself drawn to things that are not on my prayer list. I am drawn to where I might go on holiday and we have a chat about that, or why I like that leaf shape and we discuss this. I giggle with God sometimes as a memory comes flooding back or we think something through together. I am not seeking an answer; but I am enjoying his presence. This then feeds me when I come to direction and guidance. The presence of God becomes a backdrop, or a map that I can then use to guide me.
When God speaks to me in his love tones about the small stuff of life, I feel his character shine through. A God that cares about me that much and that tenderly would – I know, want me to choose life and choose well. I feel like when we chat, he asks me my opinion and listens for my answer.
We have an actual discussion. It is like he is growing my reasoning capacity. When I journey on something and experience a fork in the road, it is like that specific discussion becomes a training ground for my mind - I feel like in the discussion God trained me in making a decision. The presence of God in the discussion fed me in my decision making. God got to me via long-form communication. There was no sound-bite or nudge needed in this case.
God speaks to everyone differently; but I would strongly encourage you – if you are experiencing issues that need God’s guidance, choose His presence and peace. STAY! And let his guidance lead you.
Rosie Robinson is a PSI young writer based in England.