Breathing Room

 

God, the Writer of history, the Creator of the Universe says “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10).” God says Jesus is the name above all names exalted to the highest place. So I wonder…

If He planned for Jesus to be known to every person, I wonder why He sent him to live here in a time of no technology. There were no typewriters, no printers, no iphones, no Facebook. God could have chosen any moment in history to bring His son into the world…it was perfectly thought out and planned for centuries, and He chose to do it then. Wouldn’t it have been easier to accomplish this Son being known if God had sent him to live today…in a time when there are over a billion users on Facebook and the word could have spread to continents in seconds? Instead, he came before the camera. We have not even one picture of him.

If God wanted Jesus to be His most important message, why did He send him in a time with no technology? Maybe because there’s a treasure there He wants you to discover about Him for yourself. Through a relationship. He is gently whispering, “come and see”… there’s something beautiful He wants to reveal. And it’s only found on the inside. Aren’t we like that too?

I wonder if Jesus were here today…would he be on Facebook? What would he post? Maybe if one of the disciples had pulled out their iphone and caught a shot of Peter walking on the water, we would have a better grasp of it? We could replay it over and over and forward to people in doubt. The word would be out! Hmmm. Would anyone then feel left out of that boat ride and misunderstand the heart of the most inclusive man of all time? Maybe someone could have taken a panoramic shot of him feeding the 5,000 and posted it so everyone would know and believe in his miracles. What about before and after shots in an instagram collage of the lepers he healed. Surely God knew how effective that would be. A video of the paralytic walking. Then anyone who wasn’t there would believe, right!? His friends would be a motly crew. Would he have many? Or maybe if Mary Magdalene had just taken a shot of the empty tomb and posted it…or if when he was ascending into heaven saying “you will be my witnesses” someone had caught it on their iphone…then God would have instantly been able to get the word out about the resurrection…talk about a witness tool!

There are two questions my heart is always wondering..what is real? And what is real about me? And when I spend time on social media, to be honest, I get frustrated…what is real seems to be slipping away. I feel a desire to create it for myself and find I have the power to do so. Please hear me, I am not saying Facebook is bad; not at all! It’s a wonderful tool for getting great messages out and reconnecting! But, for me, it’s not a place where the questions to those answers about truth are found. When I look for the ocean in a puddle, I’m always going to come up short! For the 1% of my Facebook friends whose hearts I know, the pictures are a fun enhancer to that foundation. Great icing to the cake! But to the other 99%, who I am and who they are is frozen in hand-picked images. It’s certainly not false, but it’s not the whole truth. And it leaves me yearning for truth more than I did before I logged on. And scrambling to find it in the people behind the pictures.

Facebook wasn’t anything I cared much about until I became a stay-at-home mom and started spending my days with little adult interaction. My job is an invisible job to the world and Facebook was a wonderful way to share life! But it didn’t fill my need for relationships. I felt connected but strangely disconnected. Perhaps because in my very limited time for adult interaction, I was filling it with icing and no cake! And no bread of life either!

And I believe my dissatisfaction came because Facebook was Katie’s attempt to define Katie on the outside…but Katie was never supposed to have that job. God is the only One who defines me. He defines me in Christ. And Jesus is an inside guy.

Some of the most amazing Christ followers I know use Facebook as their platform; what a blessing to the world! Many jobs and ministries rely on it. It can serve a great purpose. Perhaps one day God can recreate it for me! There is no one size fits all way for being a social media user, mom, wife or follower of Jesus. I am just realizing my own struggles in this season and have found freedom in doing so. But one thing is for sure, in a day when we’re bombarded with hundreds of messages a day, we have to be intentional about how to LEAVE ROOM for God to breathe His truth into our seeking hearts. And room to share what’s inside with people in real-life conversations. We have to fight for that! And it looks different for all of us.

For me, I’ve hit the off button on Facebook for now. Because when I’m on it, I’ve discovered that while sometimes I’m genuinely engaging with others, sometimes everything slowly starts to become about me…my image, my pictures, likes, comments, who I’m tagged with, and the spiral goes downward. I start comparing my insides to others’ outsides and it feels empty. When the outside of my life, my interests, what I’m doing, who I’m doing it with, and who likes it subtly starts to define the answer to “who is Katie?” I get in trouble. And it’s so tiring when I’m on the throne! It wears me out! Maybe no one else has ever had this issue…I hope you haven’t! Perhaps I am one in a billion :), but maybe a few people can relate, and so I write.

My friend Kelley told me she was getting off Facebook two years ago and I thought she was off her rocker. She is going to miss out on so much. Days with toddlers can be long and a bit lonely…it’s wonderful to share pictures with other adults. To make the invisible job visible. To make sure no one forgets you’re here! But then for me, sweet moments on playgrounds, etc. started to become photo opps. Come on…don’t say you’ve never done it :)! Even a casual picture can take a few tries with toddlers and suddenly the real life moment has…totally passed you by. My husband caught me doing this and pointed it out. I laughed! Yes, okay…life is to be experienced, not advertised. And maybe I don’t need my phone when we’re playing in the yard. Maybe that moment was meant for just my kids and me. Like when I was growing up.

And if I’m on my phone, maybe I’m the one missing out. On fleeting moments. Did I hear what my daughter just said? Did I see the other person in the park who may need a friend today? Did I notice what my son just did and how he wants his mommy to look his way? To make eye contact. I am communicating with 1,000 people; he is communicating with just one…and it’s me. I wonder how many people we are supposed to communicate with in a day? And if being on the Internet increases or actually decreases that number? My son will have a phone one day, and if he’s glued to it when I want him to listen to me, I don’t want him to have learned it from mama.

As a mom of toddlers, I need some margin more than ever…some empty space in my day and mind. That’s something I have to fight for! We all do! Margin to pick up the phone and call a friend. Margin to open the Bible. Margin to sit still. Margin to be intentional. Margin to read a book. Room for discovery in relationships. Freedom to decide who and what I let in because there’s not room for all of it right now!

Perhaps Jesus came before the camera was invented because God wanted those of us who didn’t live during his time to decide if he’s real for ourselves…through faith and through getting to know him, not just knowing about him. There is a mystery there…one we have to take the time to discover and uncover. Not at internet speed, but at a slow pace. One on one. In a relationship. We have no pictures of the resurrection, but I’ve witnessed it…in my own life, when I went from dead to alive in an instant. It looks different for each of us, but He lets us find it with our own spiritual eyes, and paint our own timeless picture.

There is a mystery to you and me that people can only discover in real life…it has to be slowly unraveled and uncovered over many moments, life on life, insides to insides. My loved ones gather insights from behind the scenes moments and learn the answer to their main question about me…what is real about her? Isn’t that what you really want to know about people and about God? And the more inside stuff you know, the deeper you are drawn into intimacy and trust. There is some mystery and discovering I still have with my husband who has been in the day-to-day for almost ten years…it’s beautiful and no camera can capture what’s between us.

God doesn’t come in the clutter and loudness of the world…but in that quiet place, when the computer is off, in a still, small voice. Technology is a powerful tool for getting the word out. Without it, there would be no blog post right now! If I am to get a message out, I need the Internet. But God doesn’t. He is bigger and far grander than technology. He is not dependent on man or anything created by man. Because He’s God. And I wonder how much of technology we NEED to know the truth, experience friendship and be the people He made us to be.

Whatever your path is…if we’re going to have any empty space in our mind, in the day of iphones, we’re going to have to fight for it and set boundaries. No one taught us technology boundaries growing up…our parents are still learning from us, so we have to create the boundaries ourselves. To learn what is necessary and leave out the rest. Or it will eat us alive! I am learning I have to be intentional to leave breathing room for the One who breathes life into me. Room in my day, but also in my heart and mind. To leave some empty space. “The boundary lines for me have fallen for me in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6).”

So, being a mom with toddlers can make me feel like I’m invisible sometimes…but God is opening my eyes that I am sharing each day with Him. The Creator of universe walks beside me. Wow! He’s only One I’ve never had to send a picture to because He’s seen it all. The outside and the inside. The deep thoughts, the dark places, the thoughts I’d never say out loud, the secrets no one knows, the last thing I would post, the inner most place…He has seen it all. And still loves me. To Him that inner most place is the best part. And He whispers…slow down and look in My direction! Can’t you see…I’m crazy about you!

God has set eternity in our hearts. He has placed in our hearts the search for unconditional love, for depth we can’t measure, for mystery, awe and wonder. He has given us a deep longing that can only be satisfied in Him. So my desire is to make space to turn in His direction.“Let us run the with endurance the race that is set before us….fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).” “Fixing our eyes” by definition means “to turn eyes away from other things and fix them.”

“What is real?” and “what is real about me?” He’s the only One with the answers. And I have to remind myself every day to turn away from other things and listen! Not because it makes me feel better, but because it’s TRUE.

JESUS is the way, the TRUTH, the life. He is before all things and in him all things hold together.

THANKS TO JESUS, I am altogether beautiful, there is no flaw in me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, God’s thoughts toward me are as countless as the sand on the shore, I am precious and honored in His sight, I am the righteousness of Christ, seated in heavenly realms, He takes great delight in me, He HEARS my prayers, all of them. He knows about all the bad stuff, yes all of it, it was nailed to the cross with Jesus, my record is wiped clean, past, present, future, I don’t ever need to fear because my problems don’t scare the One who holds the universe in His hands. He is taking me to a place of no darkness or death or tears, He loves me. Nothing will ever separate me from His love, His Son died for me so things could be right between us no matter what I’ve done…so I could come home and He could hug me and welcome me back. I am His beloved daughter. I am fully accepted. His Kingdom lives inside me RIGHT NOW and Jesus holds the key that unlocks it…it is finished but he is not nearly finished with me! He says I am radiant, brilliant, chosen. He gives me a choice but He wants me to let Him in…to breathe life into me, life to the full…He is my God. He wants me to know Him and commands me to BE STILL.

7 thoughts on “Breathing Room

  1. Wow! Brilliant. Amazing thoughts. I relate to every word. I’ve never seen these thoughts that run thru my head written so succinctly. Amazing. Praising The Lord for margin and room to breathe.

  2. Katie – you have once again crushed it. God bless you. I love these – they are so meaningful. So absolutely meaningful. KEEP WRITING – YOU ARE CHANGING MY LIFE AND OTHERS!!!!! Liz and I are so thankful for you and Will and your leadership. Our lives are enriched by your words.

  3. Love this Katie!! Yes it is easy to get caught up in the world of technology and I’ve unfortunately found myself one too many times with my phone in my hand while a little voice is saying “Mommy watch me do this!” With regards to the FB world I remember Andy Stanley sermon series on comparison and he used the analogy of comparing your everyday sometimes worst days to someone else’s “highlight reels”… That rang so true to me!! No one (that I know ;)…) post pics when things are chaotic, the house is a mess, you haven’t showered in 2 days… Haha! Thank you for your open heart and sharing how Christ is working in your life! It certainly has impacted mine!! Xoxo

  4. Katie- thank you for sharing your heart & for using the beautiful gift of the written word in an age of endless technology. Please continue to allow Jesus to use you as His vessel – He has given you the talent & blessing and it is both challenging and encouraging those of us who are privileged to read His words thru you! Keep it up sister! this momma knows how quickly these next 15 years will go by so enjoy, savor and remain fully present as possible in those precious moments with M & the next 17 yrs with J – So Thankful our paths crossed my last year at First Pres preschool! xoxo

  5. Thank you so much for your sharing your heartfelt thoughts and deep and probing questions for all of us to ponder! I can relate to your words and feelings so much! For example, regarding Facebook: “I felt connected but strangely disconnected. Perhaps because in my very limited time for adult interaction, I was filling it with icing and no cake! And no bread of life either!” So true! I find that while Facebook is alluring and I am engaging with people I love dearly, that the lack of face-to-face will often leave me feeling more isolated!
    Regarding technology, and whether it helps or hurts our faith journeys ( ugh I wonder this myself!!), a story from my life from just this week comes to mind: I saw a spiritual poem/ essay on Facebook which was posted by former co-worker. Now, I have not seen this person in 20 years. So, I was so blessed by it, in that moment, and without FB, I would not have seen it. I shared it via email with a friend in faith and promptly forgot about it!!! So – was FB really helpful in nourishing my soul? Likely not. However, it touched my friend as well, so she emailed me back with some comments. This was several days later, so, fortunately, I ended up with a second chance to see it 🙂 — in this case. How many other re-shares fizzle on the spot? Poof! Gone! Precious time wasted! Wouldn’t it have been better if I had copied it down by hand, shared it over tea, eye to eye, heart to heart, and it could have blessed us both in a real connection? Or, maybe I should have been with a friend or reading a book of life instead of on FB that day anyway? I think this means that moderation is key- I received via technology but, perhaps ought to share more in person – to share the bread of life for real with those yearning to receive.
    As for Jesus’ time: I believe it was perfect, not just because God does not make mistakes ;), but because storytelling and witnessing are the ways in which Wisdom ( cap on purpose!) are passed. Not all of us are struck by the bolt of lightning and suddenly feel Jesus’ love – more often, I think, it’s via trials and faith and by His grace and mercy as evidenced through these hard times. If we only had tv and internet for the Word, it would all become difficult to relate to. We all know that there is a veil or barrier between ourselves and what happens in tv or online. We know it’s not real. Professions made via technology are questionable and carry less weight.
    In my life, God works through people a LOT! Twenty different people can tell me the same thing, but I my heart may hear it from just one person’s way of saying it. It takes a heart connection to lift the veil and see clearly. This is why I think the storytelling method – the only method available at the time – for forwarding and receiving news about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, were perfect. News spread in different tongues, across the continents, and the interpretations of the story vary ( in the Gospels and among the rest of us) but, we ferret out the Truth together.

    Second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself -perhaps this is because He wants us to sort through the words and find His deep Truths through intimate heart-to-heart dialogue with one another (love), as well as through intimate dialogue (love) with Him ( first greatest commandment). Matthew 22:26-40.
    Sorry for overtaking your blog!! Thank you for saying it better than I could. I don’t know you, but I do :).
    You are a gift.

    • Thank you for your heartfelt and thought-provoking response, Barb. And thanks for being a sister in Christ!!! Thankful for the blessing technology has given us of connecting with each other from miles away :).

  6. Beautifully composed Katie …such an honest and loving message. Please keep writing and be encouraged…what you’re doing matters immensely!
    Love and miss you,
    Holly

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