And Now…Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program – LIFE

In the interest of life balance and having time for spiritual reflection, here’s a piece about life balance and social media.

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The glitter covered black hole we call social media has slid its way into our hearts and homes, and we have welcomed it with open arms. Well, most of us, anyway. It introduced itself as something fresh, exciting, and full of potential. It became our communication, entertainment, relaxation, our eyes into parts of the world we couldn’t see; even a source of income. It was everything we needed in our new found relationship.

Then like any relationship, the true colors and intentions started to reveal themselves. Now there’s a decision that needs to be made by us. Do the negatives outweigh the positive? Are we willing to give our whole beings to this entity? Have we done so already?

You were born an original, Don’t die a copy – John Mason

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.– Aristotle.

The understanding and meaning behind these philosophies have died with us. In this day and age between Instagram, reality tv shows, and going “viral,” everyone is becoming everyone else. We need to all have the same bodies, the same mindset, the same clothes. If you god forbid dare to be different, you’re not “in”; you’re lame, primarily, you’re not enough according to the younger population. A lot of people are generic while screaming authenticity. All while shaming and gossiping about those who are so bold as to just live, being themselves.

Social media has pulled the curtain over our eyes and told us the lights were off. There have been several cases where based off of what people have posted or said on Facebook or Twitter, someone else has ended up fighting, dead, or in the hospital. It was supposed to be an outlet for us to express ourselves without criticism or hate. Yet, the world we live is has turned that dream around and twisted it into something we can’t get rid of.

Everyone is watching everybody else and forgetting about loving themselves.

The negative side of social media has shown its horns while convincing people
that it simply comes with the territory. Humans are already fickle, to begin with, so we begin to make excuses. We have become slaves to what we see and hear. The way that we all in some way or form depend on our phones and apps as ways to escape our everyday reality is disheartening, but it is honest. With the media and social media, we are rarely given the opportunity to make a truthful decision for ourselves. Although I believe social media has its perks, it also can pit us against each other. It can pit us against ourselves and who we truly are. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and what we’re seeing is tainting us.

There should be a balance, we can’t let this outlet for communication and connection destroy our communication and connection to those around us. Social media has rudely interrupted our regularly scheduled program called “ Life’. It’s not just going to go away, but sometimes it’s good to put the phone or laptop away and read a book, go outside, talk to a stranger. There’s more to this cycle that we’re living. It’s time to live our lives, and not from behind a screen. Besides, it’s just social media.

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Written by Guest Contributor

Sydney Milton

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My daughter Sydney is a professional stylist, a mom, and a student at Harold Washington College.

Be sure to share your comments below!

No Capes! The Day I Stopped Fixing Other People

There are times I must refuse to be a hero for other people’s causes.

e48df3c7d48dd4cd41c2ff3aae8b2722My goal this upcoming year is to stay focused on the here and now. This year I’m taking the philosophy of Edna Mode, the fictitious designer of superhero costumes in the Incredibles.

I’m going Mode mode. Renee a la Mode. Ok. Enough.

Her sentiment about “never looking back” is fantastic but that can be hard when you’ve got a lot of life to look back on. Staying in the present require changes that keep me in the right frame of mind. Facebook contacts may have to be blocked or less contact made with negative people, but I have to do whatever I can to remain on the upward track. I feel the tug from above to face forward and keep my emotions from getting tied up with the past.

I don’t mean to sound weird or schizophrenic, but all of us have an inner voice. The voice that tells us it’s time to move on and start a new chapter.  The voice that warns us in our gut about dangerous people. That gut feeling, Malcolm Gladwell calls it the Blink moment. Continue reading “No Capes! The Day I Stopped Fixing Other People”

Pride & Dunkin Donuts

Not feeling successful is a blow to any man. He was working at a world-famous restaurant a short time before and moving up the ladder and now he was scrubbing baseboard at Dunkin Donuts at 3:00AM.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8: 2)

download-24Sometimes God allows us to go through situations to try our hearts. Pride can really hurt us in our natural life and our spiritual walk.  The scripture above talks about three things: humbling, proving and knowing.   Being put in circumstances that are humbling, can be trying for anyone and it can lead to knowing and understanding what’s in your heart.

A few years before we learned this lesson; my husband went through the torment of losing a $30,000 a year job. In 1988, that was a pretty good salary. My husband worked for an exclusive restaurant that catered to celebrities.  It was normal for him to serve Michael Jordan, Governor James Thompson and various high-level Chicago businessmen, politicians and actors.  Nice work if you can get it and great tips.   My husband lost this job because unfortunate for him he had a personal conviction  about serving drinks as he moved up in the ranks  He was one of their best workers, but he was given an ultimatum to serve drinks or quit. The way the job was structured everyone was in training for the next step up.  He felt he could not keep that job and his Christian testimony.  It was at this juncture in life that he learned what he now calls the “Tarzan” rule, “Never let go of one vine, unless you’re holding another one”.  So instead of waiting to ease out, he quit and ended up bouncing around in  a variety of jobs he didn’t want and that were barely meeting the bills.

To keep things going, he found a job at an all-night Dunkin Donuts working the night shift.  One night he was scrubbing the baseboard and an old friend walked in. Now, he wasn’t so much embarrassed at where he was working, but what he was doing—scrubbing floors and not managing the place, he had been in restaurant management level jobs on and off for years., and was just embarrassed at his situation.

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Even though his friend did not seem to care and gave him praise for being willing to work hard, all he could see was that he was scrubbing floors for a living. He quit the next day, saying he would find something else.  While his friend said he was so proud of him being willing to take a tough job for his family. All my husband could think of was that he was working this low-level job, and his other friends were all doing well. It’s funny how the enemy makes you think that you’re the only one in a tough situation–the liar.  Anyway, he was too embarrassed to continue.  Well, he didn’t tell ME that he was quitting.  He was just eaten up with humiliation about the whole thing. He didn’t consult with ME about this at all.  I was hot.  How could he do that?! We needed that little bit of money he was getting.  We patched that up, and  he apologized to me about quitting but it helped him to see something about himself–PRIDE!  Yep, that big ol’ thang that sticks out its foot and trips many of us.

He failed to see the big picture which was working for the good of this family, keeping food on the table and keeping a roof over his head. Not feeling successful is a blow to any man. He was working at a world-famous restaurant a short time before and moving up the ladder and now he was scrubbing baseboard at Dunkin Donuts at 3:00AM. However, he realized that pride was playing a part in all of his recent decisions.  Like most people, my husband could not have foreseen the chain of events that would follow from a decision to quit. In the end, though, we all do what we have to, to survive. So he went back to school and  got a trade that led to a great career. He currently owns his own trucking company.

Most people do not live their lives perfectly and make perfect decisions. God understands when we are ill-advised or hasty in our decisions and some of those decisions can be devastating and will send us on the wrong path.  Yet, if our love for Him prevails, God will open our eyes to the root of the problem.

–excerpt from How to Walk on Water: A Christian’s Survival Guide for Going through Trials at Amazon.com

Monday Meditation: 

  1. Will pride keep us from seeing the big picture of God’s plan for our life?

  2. Do other people’s perceptions of us affect our decisions about our lives? Is this what God wants us to do?

  3. When we stay honest about our mistakes, God is faithful to come to our rescue. Is it harder to be forgiven or to forgive ourselves?

The Advantage of the Long Road

Problems drag on and on in our lives, and it’s a challenge to keep your head up.As circumstances begin to play out in a comedy of errors, mishaps, and (sigh) waiting for the wind to blow the sails, the temptation to look at how long a situation is taking becomes overwhelming.

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Don’t be discouraged.  Problems can drag on and on in our lives, and I know, it’s a challenge to keep your head up.  How often do we sit through just an excruciatingly long speech, or movie and even though it may be good, it’s a natural inclination to say, “hey, how much longer is this speech going to be anyway?”  And whether this question is asked out of frustration or just pure curiosity, we feel justified in asking. We as humans live in the realm of time and we get mighty concerned about our time here, as we should.  As circumstances begin to play out in a comedy of errors, mishaps, and (sigh) waiting for the wind to blow the sails, the temptation to look at how long a situation is taking becomes overwhelming. Continue reading “The Advantage of the Long Road”