A generation screened to death

(9 minute listen)

When life loses its wonder

When one of my boys was young elementary, I chaperoned a field trip to an aquarium. Everything we encountered was magical and enchanting, yet a little boy in my group continued to complain, “This is soooooo boring.”

Initially, I ignored him. But he wouldn’t stop.

“When are we leaving?”

“This isn’t fun.”

Each comment he made sucked the joy right away from all the other kids. The rest of the group quieted down their own excitement. I saw these other kids question what they thought was cool and exciting.

Negativity is like that. Spreading like the vicious cancer it is.

I asked the little boy, “What do you think is fun?”

“Video games.”

A rock wrapped my heart and pulled it straight to the depths of my stomach.

Of course this kid was unimpressed with life. His brain was being rewired. He was being screened to death.

Video games seem innocent. They are not.

The goal is to addict

Dig in, do some research on how these games are created. The goal of the developers is to addict our kids. This should be common sense to us. It’s a business. If they can’t hook you, they lose money.

Many tech developers send their kids to tech free schools and their kids aren’t living on screens. They only put them into the world for our kids. Not their own. What does that tell us?

It’s only getting worse. Each new fad game released has to up the bar. It has to beat the game losing its grip.

These games do NOT have your child’s best interest in mind. They have a mission to entertain all the way to addiction.

We are screening our kids to death.

We are killing what could be in them and our families. You may think I’m being overly dramatic.

Listen, satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And he comes as an angel of light. And he’s a master deceiver. In other words, we will see and encounter life threatening choices and see them as no big deal.

Parents, we are modeling peer pressure to our kids.

I can’t tell you how many parents have said to me the reason they give in is because all the other parents give in. Lord, have mercy on us.

We are stronger than this, parents. How often do we tell our kids, “Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to.”?

Yet, what do we do when we see all the other parents letting their kids feast on these games? We follow the masses. We let peer pressure decide.

We need to be stronger than we are.

Do you know what I’ve never heard a parent say to me? “I wish smart phones and video games were this popular when I raised my kids.” Never, not once have I heard this.

I am constantly overhearing conversations on this topic. I have to literally bite the sides of my mouth to keep from piping into a side conversation. I listened to a mom and a dad (not married to one another) discussing the problems they were facing with their kids’ attitudes and behaviors they believed linked to video games.

The mom ended by saying, “But the games are really good for them. It teaches social skills because when they go to school they have something to connect over and talk about with each other.”

We’ve bought justifications.

In the history of the world has social skills ever been a mainstream issue? Nope.

You know why? Because we were created in the image of God for community and relationship. This is what we were made for!!!! We don’t need to be taught how to connect with each other. Especially kids. Kids are so natural and innocent as they enter friendships and relationships. They talk about everything and nothing.

Screens are killing our ability to connect socially.

Screens are creating death in so many forms in the life of our kids, and we must wake up before an entire generation is lost.

Kids need to be bored.

Boredom is a friend of childhood. It is not our role to remove boredom and keep our kids entertained, occupied, and busy. Yes, they drive us crazy when they are bored, but so what? If they see we don’t budge, they will figure out their own boredom issues.

Kids can’t solve problems because we are too good at solving the problems for them. Oh, you are bored, here watch You Tube, play the XBox, watch movies.

In this state of constant screening:

  • imagination dies
  • invention never gives birth
  • insight lies in a dark cave never discovered.

A mind screened to death.

Something powerful happens in boredom. We become still and quiet. Inventive and creative. Deep thinking begins.

A mind never bored never has the opportunity to discover deeper insights. And we all suffer for it.

We are exchanging long term joy for short term convenience as parents when we put a screen in the hands of our kids.

It’s not easy to grocery shop with babies and toddlers. But how else do they begin to learn the world doesn’t revolve around them and their needs and their entertainment. So much life to see at the store, but more often than not all I see are glowing faces of kids head down in a cart.

They don’t encounter the smiles of strangers or small talk with the bagger. They don’t have to worry about developing patience in a long line. They can simply bury their head in a screen, entertained as the subconscious thought develops that their needs, their entertainment is of utmost importance.

As these kids are screened to death, they are numbed to real life. We all lose in the long run.

We are setting up patterns of addiction.

Kids are living on dopamine hits they are saying are as powerful as any drug on the market. We can’t live with our head in the sand over this issue any longer. The research is available. The resources to understand what is happening to their brains is astounding. The question is – do we want to know?

We are partly living not wanting to know. When we know, we suddenly are faced with making choices and decisions we’d rather not deal with.

When we know, we can’t un-know.

Say cocaine was legal, yet I know the ramifications it would have, would I allow my child to enjoy it simply because all their friends were? That’s ridiculous. Of course, I wouldn’t.

Screens are legal, but lethal in many ways. Over time, they kill so much of what could have been. They kill moments. They kill memories. They kill relationships. They kill creativity and imagination. They kill passions and desires.

They are killing families. Suicides and teen depression at record highs. When will we pay attention? When it’s our own kid? Then will we care more?

We have a choice.

  • We can choose to create a culture of connection in our home.
  • We can share with our kids the whys behind our choices. When kids understand the why, everything changes. They understand.

It’s never too late to make a change.

It’s easier to set healthy boundaries and patterns when our kids are young, but it’s never too late either.

The last thing I’ll say in this post. I get many letters privately on this topic. I’ve cried over some of them. It’s why I just can’t stop talking about it. One theme I hear repeatedly is that mom and dad aren’t on the same page. I don’t have an answer to this. All I can say is pray. God desires unity.

 

For more posts on this topic, browse through the Electronics category of my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Scrolling through life – Are we living distracted by screens or focused on life?

Living distracted by screens?

I sat behind this family. A pre-teenish aged girl, head down except for brief moments coming up for air, or rather, back into real life. Head back down.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Scroll.

I struggled to disengage following her phone habits. Her distraction from life around us was totally distracting me. The thing is, this is the norm for many teens today. But let’s be fair. The struggle is real for us adults as well.

When she engaged in real life, she complained to her parents about being bored. When she was bored, she picked up her phone.

Scroll.

She bounced from one social media platform to the next.

This isn’t unique to this girl. It’s all of us. It’s me too.

How often do I reach for my phone out of boredom, looking for that next hit of entertainment or distraction?

How often do I reach for my phone for the high of escape?

When I don’t feel like listening to one more complaint or argument, I pick it up.

Scroll.

When I feel awkward waiting for a friend to meet me, I pick it up.

Scroll.

We watched an entire family sitting at a table at a restaurant never looking up until the food arrived. 2 parents, 4 kids – scrolling through life. Missing the life of each other right before their eyes.

What stories went untold? What laughs never broke free? What impact or influence never passed one to another?

Real life vs fake offering

So much life missed trying to stay up on the fake life a screen offers.

We are missing the best and accepting the counterfeit.

This is nothing new.

‘When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”’

Exodus 32:1

They were tired of waiting, so they reached for the counterfeit.

They chose fake over real. They chose immediate gratification over lifelong satisfaction.

The very next verse shocks me.

‘Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’

Exodus 32:2-5

Aaron so quickly went along with the people and not only joined the masses but led them in their rebellious desires.

We do too.

We know we are trading real life, real connection for the false idol. Yet, we follow. We accept what never satisfies.

As we scroll through life, we are indulging our flesh. We indulge our desire to be entertained. We’ve created our modern day golden calf. We worship at the altar of our screens.

We have a choice to make.

These screens we scroll through will never give us what we truly crave. It’s like eating a diet of candy. Over time we will become sick.

I believe at various times God brings us enlightenment and we have a choice in what to do. We can continue down a path or make corrections.

When we find our scroll is invading our life, maybe a break is what is needed.  A fast in order to refocus our attention and reclaim the moments we’ve been missing.

Focused on Life?

There have been moments that happened I’ve looked back on and thought, “If I’d been buried in a screen, I would’ve miss that completely.” At the same time, I know for a fact I’ve missed countless moments as I’ve lived distracted by the scroll of my phone. I’ll never know what I missed. But I have a choice in each moment to claim it or let it pass.

I want to live a life full of beautiful moments. I want to have relationships that can stand the test of time and life. I want to create memories we can talk about around the table in 20 years.

Living an intentional life means looking ahead at what we desire and choosing today the steps we need to take in order to arrive.

It’s looking ahead and deciding what we want our Thanksgiving table in 20 years to look like and realizing it takes action today to achieve that. Meaningful relationships and moments take nurturing.

Intentional living is living life on purpose rather than scrolling through life mindlessly.

What are we nurturing today?

If you’ve followed along here for some time you know I’m passionate about guarding our families from screen intrusions. When I started writing online my goal was to encourage others to live an intentional life. Ironically, this was before screens were at play. It didn’t take long for screens to begin to dominate in homes and I’m determined to keep preaching this message.

The first post I wrote on this subject circulated into millions of homes. I received messages from parents who felt alone in their desire to raise children who could live with heads up and eyes ahead focused on life. They realized they aren’t alone. If you’d like to read that post you can find it here A Letter to My Sons – The Real Reason I Say No To Electronics.

You can can find other posts I’ve written on this topic by clicking here.

And if you aren’t subscribed to receive posts via email, click here. I rarely post more than once a week and promise never to spam you. I count it a privilege to encourage and inspire you to live an intentional life.

 

 

 

 

 

How to control screens in your home so they don’t control your family

When I began writing about limiting screens in our family, I was surprised to discover I wasn’t alone. It seemed many of us felt the encroachment of electronics in our homes and were searching for ways to protect our time and our hearts.

One common comment I heard, and still hear, is along these lines.

I wish my kids played outside more.

I wish my kids liked to read.

I wish I could get my kids off the screen more.

I wish…..

What do you wish for your family regarding screens?

The parents who make these comments genuinely mean what they said. I hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes. They truly feel at a loss and in need of ideas, help, or direction.

Over the years, I’ve spent much time talking, reading, and listening to families on this topic.

Two things to consider in taking control of the screen issue:

  • It starts with the culture we create in our homes.
  • It starts with starting with the end in mind.

Set the Home Culture

When we moved to Nebraska and visited our church for the first time, we immediately sensed the unique culture. Over the next several weeks, we saw it was a church that had a deeply established culture of servanthood and self-feeders. The congregation didn’t show up to be served and spoon fed the Word. They showed up eager to jump in and serve. And they showed up with their Bibles having spent the week studying the Word on their own and in groups.

It started with the leadership of the church. These were values important to the leaders. They modeled and lived out the culture they wanted to create.

In a similar way, we as parents are leaders in our homes and have the unique opportunity to create a family culture. In order to do this effectively, we can’t be concerned with what “everyone else” is doing. We have to keep our eyes in our own lane. Where do we want to drive our family?

How to limit screen time

In our home we never had the tv on in the background, and we never allowed our kids to simply turn on the tv whenever they felt like it. The same holds true for gaming devices or any screen for that matter.

We have a time and place for screens. We control screens so they don’t control our family.

When our kids were small, we had dedicated tv time. From the beginning screens functioned within boundaries set by us, the parents. As the parent, this is our role to set and monitor these boundaries. We didn’t hand this over to the children because children don’t know what is best for them. Two hours on a device is like 5 minutes to a child.

As our kids grew older, those boundaries remained. They earned more time and greater freedom with age and responsibility, but our family culture remains today the way we created it all those years ago.

Start with the end in mind.

It was highly important to me to have teenagers who wanted to hang around us, who were respectful and kind, and who didn’t live in their own selfish worlds. It’s impossible to one day mold a teenager when they are 13 into what we hope they will be. Instead we begin the day they are born. We spend time with them, we pour love into them, we teach, mold, and develop for years.

With screens, because they can be so invasive in the home, we begin with the end in mind.

If I want a teenager who lives connected to our family more than a device, then I’m careful when he’s a baby or toddler not to put a screen in his hand as a babysitter. What we do in the beginning sets patterns for later.

At the same time, it’s never too late to start again. To create new boundaries and communicate your love and commitment to your family.

If I want a teenager who isn’t completely selfish, I don’t as a baby give him a screen to calm him down or get him to do what I want as we go through our day. I don’t give him a screen so I can do what I want.

It’s hard, it’s sacrificial. It’s a long haul view for sure. But it is so very worth the time and energy it requires of us as parents.

Now when parents tell me the greatest struggle is getting their kids off the screens, I ask them if they allow screens to be turned on without parent permission. I know that if from the beginning we had allowed our kids to turn on the tv or play a gaming device whenever they felt like it, that is all they would want to do to this day. They would have never chosen to play outside or read a book. But screens weren’t an option to turn on whenever they felt like it.

We grow what we feed our appetites.

If our kids feed on screens, their appetites for screens grows. Same for us as adults.

Screens must live within the family’s boundaries. If not, screens will attempt a takeover of the family, and before long, it will feel like screens are in charge.

There is hope. There really is!

Over the years I’ve received my fair share of ugly emails from people telling me how my kids will end up hating me one day. How they will feel excluded and left out. I believe this is a fear many parents have. Often we cave to our fears and begin to allow screens to rule.

When kids understand the why and the heart behind the why, they get it.

From the beginning we discussed the issues and dangers of allowing screens to dominate our lives. We discussed the heart issues. Most importantly, we focused on building the relationship. As Josh McDowell wisely says, “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” Build the relationship.

Our kids understand we are for them not against them. As a family, we are on the same team. We are Team Robinson.

The issue runs deeper than many parents have yet to consider. It’s deeply spiritual. When we place screens within protective boundaries, we are training our kids to master the cravings of the flesh rather than live slave to their flesh.

One argument is to give the kids all the screen time they want so they can learn to handle it.

Well, they can’t. Instead they will often find themselves bound to it.

We don’t place before a toddler a bounty of vegetables and candy and say, “They need to know how to handle this on their own.” No, we know what they would choose.

Over time, they would lose all taste for vegetables and find themselves highly sugar addicted. And we all know the spiral of the sugar crash in a child.

Screens are addictive. When our children are in their growing and forming years, it’s our job to protect their hearts and their minds. To teach them what is best for them.

My middle son leans more toward being a spender over a saver. When he was much younger, if he had $5 for 5 minutes that was a miracle. Money in his hand didn’t remain long. He was very impulsive too. We’d go into a store, and if he had money, he’d suddenly find something he thought he had to have.

For awhile I let him try to control his own spending. I told myself it was his money and the best way to learn is the hard way. But I began to see something quite sad take shape. He couldn’t control himself. No matter how many hard lessons, he didn’t seem to learn. In fact, the struggle only became more difficult for him.

He would feel guilt and shame over his choices. He’d be filled with sadness and regret. He saw all the lessons, but he felt powerless in the moment of decision to make the right choice.

Parents, this is so often what happens to our kids when we let them control their screen time. What takes form in their hearts is damaging over time.

So Zachary and I worked together on his spending. We discussed the heart issues. We discussed how this is a small issue now but at 20, it would be a bigger issue. He trusted me and knew I wanted to help him.

So when we went to stores, even though it was “his money”, I no longer allowed him to spend the money impulsively. If we hadn’t planned for it, we didn’t purchase it. He would leave without spending the money and spend a week thinking about it.

You know what happened? When the chemical rush wore off, he never went back to the store for those purchases.

We’ve spent years doing this with him now. He is gaining greater control by allowing us to help him by placing boundaries around his spending.

This applies to screens with our kids. They often simply can’t see what is best for them. They may not know they need us to place those boundaries, but they do.

They will never choose today based on what’s best for them in 20 years. They can’t possibly because they don’t have an adult brain yet.

This is our role as parents. It is loving and kind to place screens within our limits. When kids understand the why behind what we do, they may not love it initially, but they respect it. And over time, you may be surprised when they thank you for placing those limits around them.

I have written for the last 5 years on this topic. It’s a passion of mine because I want to see deeply connected families thriving. If you want to read more, simply choose Categories, Electronics from the Blog page or click here.

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Nearly 5 Years Later – On A Letter to my Sons-The Real Reason I Say No To Electronics

Nearly 5 years after I wrote the first post I ever wrote that reached viral proportions, I look back realizing the decisions we’ve made regarding electronics were some of the biggest and best to date in our parenting journey. Hardest. Anti-cultural. But it is choosing a living life of moments over a zombied existence.

If you haven’t read that post, I encourage you to read it first before moving on.

When I wrote the first piece, I quickly turned off the comment feature on my blog. I’ve never turned it back on. While I received exponentially more positive response than negative, the negatives were so vile, I dared not let it infect my readers. Much of the opposition came from a place of fear. “Your kids won’t be normal. They won’t fit in.”

Is that my parental calling? To make my kids look like the world? To make it so they fit in whatever the cost to their souls? To hand them over to the online world? To give their developing brains over so that all that is still being shaped and formed can be disconnected and twisted by dings and beeps and compulsions and addictions?

I will do whatever it takes to protect my kids. When we place a connected device into their hands, we are removing an umbrella of protection to the souls.

When we place a phone in the hand of our child so we can get through a store, we are training them to be impatient and selfish and distracted. This is hurting their social skills. They don’t see the people around them. They don’t have to respond politely to the nice lady telling them what a darling they are. They don’t have to carry on small talk with the cashier. No, they are buried in their own world of games, separated from actual, real life.

And we wonder.

And we discuss how to teach them social skills.

And we wonder why they pull away from us in teen years buried in an online world we know nothing about really.

And we wonder why they struggle to find purpose and meaning.

And we wonder why depression rates are at all time highs in teens.

And we wonder why they are confused.

They’ve been buried in false realities, lit by the glow of a screen rather than the magnificence of actual life.

I sat at a sporting event overhearing a conversation that took every ounce of willpower to keep my mouth shut. I remained silent only because I’d not been invited into the conversation. Oh but how I wanted to speak.

Two parents discussed their children’s obsession with Fortnite. One said, “I recently read in Psychology Today that it’s actually a good thing how much time our kids spend playing these games. Because if they don’t, and they go to school, they are unable to fit in with their friends. This is actually teaching them social skills. Because they can talk to each other about the games.”

True story.

The other parent wasn’t bought in but shied away from a looming debate. The response was general and light.

When in the history of our culture have we ever had to teach our children social skills?  It’s never been an issue of concern to the point we are scratching our heads trying to figure out how to get our kids to connect with each other better.

Have you ever watched babies that haven’t been given a screen? They search out eyes. They move toward people. They delight in the simple. They are captivated by the wonder of the world around them.

We’ve lost our wonder.

We are being trained and conditioned to stop thinking, exploring, and creating. This is what is happening to our youth.

The average age of pornography exposure is now 11.

We are experimenting in this social experiment with our children. This should cause us to halt and question everything. Why doesn’t this scare us more?

When I see teenage girls with Instagram friends in the hundreds and the thousands, my stomach hits the ground. I have a ministry with a fairly large blog subscription, yet I don’t have a fraction of the followers of teenagers today. Why are we ok with this for our children? I’ve lived for 41 years and don’t have the online network teens have. This is scary!

We were created for connection. We were made in the image of a relational God. We were fashioned and formed to fit as one body. The body parts can’t exist apart from one another. It is the design of God that we socialize. This doesn’t have to be taught.

Yet here we stand in a culture living distracted and disconnected as never before in attempts to connect with the wider world. This type of connection only leads to a disconnection with the ones closest to us.

In the 5 years since writing the first post, I’m only saddened greater at the state of our parenting in this department. Where are the parents who are willing to fight and stand against culture?

The first post I wrote I believe reached so many because of the tone I wrote it in. I wrote it not with the intent to persuade, but only to share my heart. It was a heart desperate to not miss a moment of this beautiful, fleeting life with them. It was an alternate perspective compared to most pieces written on electronics I later realized. It was a mom’s heart poured out.

With children now on the brinks of 15, 13, and 10 I’m overwhelmed with gratitude we didn’t give in.

A question I commonly get is “Do your kids resent your limits and fight against it?”

They don’t. The reason is that we began discussing our whys way before it was an issue. We explained exactly why we said no. We showed them how much we loved them which is why they can trust us. They know we would never withhold good from them for the sake of being mean.

When we were at dinner, we talked to them, we enjoyed them. We understand this time is a breath, a vapor. They began to notice on their own families unable to talk at dinner because they all lived behind a screen. When they saw with their own eyes, they realized this is not what they desired.

When they tried to make friends with kids who couldn’t talk about anything other than a video game, they moved on to find the friends they could connect with. These people still do exist.

By withholding at younger ages, we are able to begin giving greater freedoms now. Boundaries are healthy and good. We must parent our kids with boundaries for their good with electronics.

When I hear parents say, “I wish I could get my kids off the screens”, I can’t understand this. We are the parents. When they live in our home, we provide shelter, food, clothing, and safety. We are given a responsibility by God to shepherd these kids. We aren’t responsible for how they turn out and the choices they make of their own free will. But we are responsible for how we feed His sheep.

Jesus told Peter if he loved Him, he’d feed His sheep.

If we are charged with feeding His sheep, how does this look in our parenting choices regarding screens? What are we feeding them when we allow them to feast on the online world? What is being digested into their hearts and souls?

Normally, my writing is much softer and more encouraging. But at times I feel compelled to shout from the rooftops to parents with a voice so different from my normal because this is a big deal!!

In church last week our pastor preached a message from Ezekiel about the watchman on the tower. Ezekiel was called to warn the people of what was to come if they continued in their ways. Sometimes this is how I feel. Like I have to stand on the watchtower and shout to parents everywhere to watch out. Danger is ahead. Don’t go that way. Stop. Retreat.

Every moment we have with our kids is a gift from God. Why do we want to give those moments over to the screens who don’t care at all about our kids beyond the trap of the moment?

Parenting is for the long haul. Making daily sacrifices for our future.

Maybe we start here. What do we want our relationships with our kids to look like in 20 years? What kind of human citizen do we want to raise?

Well, that is determined by choices and actions we make and take today.

To read more I’ve written on this topic, visit this link. At the bottom are links to many screen-driven posts. Also if you go to the blog page and scroll to categories, choose electronics, you will find many more on this topic.

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How To Stop Facebook From Deciding What You Want To See – My Facebook Breakup

Cut the Facebook cord

When you get on Facebook, how do feel after you leave? Do you feel uplifted? Inspired? Encouraged? Happy? Satisfied?

Many of us express feeling anxious, stressed, jealous, discontent, or frustrated after our social media time. Studies are revealing the level of addiction to social media is pretty startling. We reach for our phones hundreds of times a day to scroll through social media.

Many of us have experienced how much happier we are when we’ve taken a social media break, but we feel we will miss out if we aren’t there hanging out.

At the same time, we are finding great frustration with Facebook these days (and Instagram is close behind). Facebook is deciding for us what they will show in our feeds. They don’t really care what I’ve chosen to like and follow. They feed me what they want to feed me. I’m pretty fed up with their feed quite honestly.

So, I’m breaking up with Facebook. I’m cutting the cord.

I’ve found that if I struggle to let go of something, it’s a strong indicator I must let it go. If I feel I can’t live without it, it has a power over me that isn’t healthy for my soul. It’s become an idol.

We’ve given control to Facebook, now it’s time to take it back. God has been telling me to go on the offense and gain back ground from the enemy for quite some time now. I believe this aligns with what He is showing me. I think you will be able to relate to what I will share even if you don’t write online.

We all want the choice of what we see. And we all know what Facebook is doing. So let’s stop letting them.

If you decide not to read this post, I do want you to scroll to the very end so we can be sure to stay in touch!

Steve and I, followed by a large group of people, were driving to the interstate. As we approached the interstate we saw roadblock and detour signs. We turned to follow the detour. We got to the detour only to find another roadblock sign. We looked at each other and wondered aloud what we should do. I found the in charge road construction man sitting in a roadside trailer office.

I asked how we were to get to the interstate if both access points were blocked. He shrugged his shoulders saying no one knew and they were trying to figure it out.

Everyone in my group seemed to accept his answer. In fact they pulled out camping chairs and camped out. AT THE ROADBLOCK.

Well, I refused to sit at a roadblock. It was crazy. There had to be another way, and I refused to settle into the roadblocks like everyone else.

I began telling everyone we shouldn’t settle into this roadblock place. We needed to be ready to get up and go at a moment’s notice.

Suddenly, it hit me. It seemed so obvious that I didn’t understand why no one else had voiced the thought.

Why don’t we simply go back the way we came? I mean it might take longer, but we’d get there for sure.

Then I woke up.

It was the kind of wake up where my mind said, “No, no, no, no, no. Take me back to the dream.”

I know why I desperately wanted back in that dream. Because it was God speaking to me through it.

God has given me many dreams. Not frequently, but enough that when I awake from one, I want nothing more than more of it. So I ask Him all the time to speak to me.

We all hit roadblocks in life. Currently I’m facing a couple, but one specifically is Facebook.

Facebook has completely and totally stopped serving my posts. On my author Facebook page I have almost 4,000 likes and followers combined. Yet, when I share a post to Facebook, they serve it to an average of about 20-30 people. Yes, you read that right. My Facebook has gone silent.

Here’s where it gets interesting. I never wanted to be on Facebook. I knew it would prevent me from being as intentional with my children as I wanted to be. I knew it would steal my time and create in my heart thoughts and feelings that don’t belong. But I was a blogger and it was the way everyone else was going. So I jumped in too.

About a year and a half ago I began asking God for a way out of Facebook. I felt almost an obligation to be there as a voice of encouragement, inspiration, and sharer of God’s goodness. There was so much yuck on it.

My soul hasn’t handled it well. I’m sensitive and tender. Not easily offended interestingly enough. But issues weigh heavy on my heart. I get annoyed at “friends’. I’ve been hurt by “friends”. I’m just being honest with you.

In 2016 I wrote Breaking My Phone Addiction and Experiencing Freedom. When I’ve taken social media fasts, it’s felt so good I never wanted back on. But I never felt the Lord releasing me from using my gifts in that space.

Until recently.

I’m on Facebook, yet no one hears me. So I began praying, “God speak to me. Show me clearly what I should do and where I should share. Show me what to do about this Facebook thing.” I actually asked Him to speak to me in a dream simply because He gets my attention and I’m on alert for His confirmation.

He always confirms first in His Word.

Before this dream God brought to mind Daniel 10:13.

“But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

There was a roadblock. That roadblock required the powers of Heaven to clear the path.

Is there a roadblock in your life that needs the powers of Heaven called down? What is your first instinct when you hit a roadblock? Where is God leading you toward greater surrender and leaning into His light to lead you out?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”
 Matthew 24:44
Thinking on my dream these verses came to mind.
I continued praying for wisdom, answers, and guidance. God gave it so precisely that I almost dropped my phone when I saw it in my inbox. The title read Beating Facebook’s Algorithm and Being Your Own Curator.
Challies writes:
“I tend to think the future lies in the past, in a brilliant little technology called RSS. Essentially it works like this: Almost every web site generates what is called an RSS feed—a little file that contains the site’s most recent content. It’s kind of like a web site, but for computers to read, not people. You can use an app or site known as an RSS reader to subscribe to that content on your behalf. When you do that, it will “translate” it to an understandable format, and present it to you. The job of an RSS reader is not to curate the content, but simply to provide it to you in chronological order. You get to be your own curator by choosing what you will add in the first place.”
That’s it! The future lies in the past. God has been telling me to remember lately. In my dream I had the obvious revelation to go back the way we came.
I started blogging in 2008. It’s my 10 year anniversary writing on the internet. Cue the streamers and party horns. A lot has changed in the blogging world.
God is telling me not to settle in at the roadblock. He’s telling me to go back the way I started. You know how I started blogging? When I fell in love with reading blogs. I loved stories. I loved when the stories reached the reflection point and I could find my own story nestled in the author’s story.
You know how I read these blogs? RSS Reader. That is how I controlled what I saw without being on social media. I read my blogs at night after the kids went to bed. I emailed the ones that touched me to specific people the Lord led me to share with.
I’m leaving Facebook. I’m living my life ready to hear that trumpet at any moment. And until the Lord calls me home, my desire is to inspire and encourage you to walk faithfully with your Savior.

2 ways you can be sure to receive my posts.

  1. Subscribe via email. I highly recommend this. It arrives to your inbox and you read when it suits you.
  2. RSS feeder/reader. I found Feedly incredibly user-friendly. I actually love it. I searched my favorite blogs and subscribed to their feeds. It’s as simple as adding  /feed to the end of the web address.
You end up with your own personal feed of everything you actually want to see! No one decides for you if you see that post or not. If you get sick of a particular feed, just delete it. No biggie.
You can subscribe to the feeds on the sites you love with your computer or with your smart phone. I downloaded the Feedly app on my phone. Then I searched for the sites I really enjoy. In the search box you type the web address with no spaces adding /feed to the end. It will bring up the site feed and you click the plus sign to add it. You can customize if you want pictures or no pictures, newest first or most popular. Basically, you create the reading experience you desire. And you control what you choose to read.

If you don’t use your phone, you can subscribe to feeds a few ways.

  1. Just type in the address bar the web address followed by /feed. It will bring up the feed for that site and a box at the top of your screen that says “Subscribe to this feed using Live Bookmarks. Always use Live Bookmarks to subscribe to feeds.”
  2. Visit Feedly.com or another free RSS Reader site (there are plenty). Sign up and simply use their site for creating your own reading experience.
I think Tim Challies is right. I think the way of the future is in the past.
It’s time to simplify and declutter. Feedly is helping me do that.
Goodbye for now, Facebook. I may be back one day, but for now, I’m taking back control of what I see and I’m breaking the control social media has over me.
I’ve prayerfully created a resource for you that will give your soul a much needed break from this fast-paced, screen-driven world. Our souls long for us to tenderly care for them. Take a 14 day journey with me through Illuminate – Seeing God by the Light of His Word. I’ve created it in such a way that you will receive 14 emails, one per day. Each day will include an audio and a print link. You can simply hit play and allow yourself to relax and listen. Or you can read if you aren’t an audio lover.

I’ve heard from many Illuminate listeners that it’s become their favorite part of the day. It’s a break from the race and a redirect to the One who desires to walk with us intimately.

Purchase your copy today. And then buy a copy for a friend.

If you have been blessed by Illuminate, would you kindly share with your friends and family?

audio devotional