It seems like forever since I sat down and blogged but that is an over-exaggeration.  It was a purposeful absence for me as I went on a bit of a media fast this summer and re-evaluated some of my goals in writing and using social media in general.  Going on a long vacation, away from WiFi and the inability to connect online was just the break I needed to appreciate the value of unplugging more often.  Instead, connecting with my husband and family re-energized me as we gathered at the lake and spent great quality time together.  Face-face conversations rather than the daily quick texts and playful emojis made me once again remember to cherish the interpersonal connections I have in my life.  I laughed at my grandchildren’s antics as they splashed in the lake, chased bubbles, or climbed trees.  I could tell that they too benefitted from a break from their usual screen-time overload.  Although this was the first vacation that I did not curl up with a book for long periods of time, the family activity around me kept me thoroughly entertained.

Although unplugged from electronics and the internet, I was thoroughly connected to God.  In fact, I spent quality time building my relationship with Him and spending time with Him.  I waste so much time online scrolling through posts that have no eternal value but always seem to rile me up.  Being unplugged from news reports and political upheaval, and opinionated gossip that permeates Twitter and Facebook for the most part, allowed me to instead find peace that is only found in the Word of God.  It was such a welcome rest from the discouragement that always assaults me on social media platforms.

It also made me very much aware that when I am online, I need to be a voice of encouragement rather than allow myself to get caught up again in the controversies, and conversations that pit people against one another.  Journey Thoughts is all about joining God on this incredible journey of LIFE.  Life is found in Him alone.  I needed this break this summer to be reminded once again that writing this blog is to encourage believers and point others to Jesus Christ.  I may have my opinions about social issues and political actions that affect me, but I need to stay focused on my main purpose in blogging.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the “bad” news, and the divisiveness of opinions that permeate the media these days?  Are you feeling weighted down, and overwhelmed by life circumstances?

Here are some practical ways to connect to God:

  1. Unplug.  Purposefully fast from social media, television, and electronic games, computer etc.  Try it for one day.  For those who must use a computer in the work place, consider fasting from Instagram, or Twitter or Facebook for an extended period of time.  Replace the time spent online connecting with God.
  2. Read your Bible.  On Journey Thoughts I’ve compiled topical lists of Scripture.  These verses can be used as a starting point if you have trouble following a Bible reading plan, but ensure that you don’t just read snippets of Scripture without reading them in context.  Start with these familiar passages: https://lynndove.com/2014/01/08/25-encouraging-scripture-verses-for-every-day/
  3. Pray.  Praying is talking with God.  God already knows what you want to talk about, did you know that?  He wants the conversation.  Don’t do all the talking.  Listen.
  4. Connect with others.  God speaks through those He brings across our path.  Some relationships challenge us in our faith either by being contrary and difficult, or to mentor and encourage us.  In either case, God loves each and every person and we need to see them through God’s eyes.
  5. When you are online, focus on the positive not the negative.  A good rule I follow is, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it”.  God wants us to build up the Body of Christ and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world.  I have created two great Facebook pages, Encouraging Bible Verses and Quotes and Word Salt that share daily encouragement.  Feel free to follow and share!



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