Sharon

Following the Bread Crumbs to Freedom

Sharon Uncategorized 17 Comments

As a mom, there are some days when I am SO grateful for social media.

Like those days when I’m home alone for hours and hours, and by 3pm I still haven’t brushed my teeth or changed out of my pajamas and I barely feel like a human being.

On those days, social media feels like a God-send. I can send out a distress tweet to commiserate with other moms, or I can simply peruse Facebook as a reminder that yes, in fact, there is still a world out there where people are living normal adult lives, doing mature things like washing their hair and going to work and eating in restaurants.

On those days, social media keeps me from feeling quite so disconnected. It keeps me relatively sane. On those days, I wonder what stay at home parents DID before social media.

But social media doesn’t always make me feel good. Some days it makes me feel rotten. There are days when social media leaves me feeling jealous, insecure, left out, angry, or behind in life. It makes me feel inadequate, invisible, less than.

For some reason Twitter sours me more often than Facebook, but no matter the source, I hate those negative feelings. I also hate the way I respond to them.

In addition to sulking about, I respond to those feelings by doing more. I feel the need to write more, to get my name out there, to build my “platform” (whatever that means), and to keep up with everyone around me.

And whenever that motivation takes hold, Jesus gradually gets pushed out. And when Jesus gets pushed out, my freedom and joy depart with him.

It’s a spiral of awful.

In Galatians 5:1, Paul describes the freedom we have in Christ, and how fleeting it can be:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

What stands out to me about this verse is the notion that we can forfeit our freedom. Freedom is not a given; I don’t have it simply because I “prayed a prayer”.

Instead, freedom is something I must fight for. I must “stand firm.”

Otherwise, my soul will slip back into spiritual bondage like an old habit.

At the recent IF Gathering, Christine Caine articulated this concept when she made a distinction between deliverance and freedom. Recalling the story of the Israelites, she explained that many of us have settled for deliverance, but we are not truly free. Rather than walk in the freedom of Christ, we continue to dwell in captivities of our own making. As she put it, we’ve come out of Egypt, but Egypt has not come out of us.

How, then, do we find our way to freedom?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot, and I realized that the first step is to identify the nature of my captivity. What exactly is keeping me in bondage?

Well I certainly have a clue. Those emotions I described above–the insecurity, the anger, the jealousy, the need to produce–together they form a trail of bread crumbs that points directly to my captivity, which is this:

An unhealthy relationship with social media.

Social media is not bad in and of itself, but somehow my heart has twisted it. Social media has become a source of temptation, a source of untruth. It makes me feel bad, but I can’t stop indulging in it. I can’t stop serving this master.

As a result, my soul has suffered and my ministry focus has wandered. I’ve become me-centered, and human-centered.

In that emotional and spiritual muck, I find myself living delivered, but not truly free.

But as I said, identifying the source of my captivity is the first step to freedom. If social media is the problem, then the answer is clear–I need to cut it off. I need to fast.

As luck (or Providence!) would have it, the season of Lent begins two weeks from today. Over the years, I have used the season as a time to fast from things in my life that have become false idols.  It recalibrates my heart and soul, and it’s liberating.

So this Lent I plan to fast from all social media–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even blogging. I need a soul Sabbath, a time to pull away and focus on why I serve, and who I serve. For me, this is the way back to freedom.

That said, I want to invite you to join me in finding your own path to freedom. Your fast might look different than mine, but in the coming weeks I invite you to examine your own emotional bread crumbs. Those bread crumbs will lead you to the source of your bondage, which also means they’ll point you to the way out.

So, what stands between you and the freedom of Christ? What needs to be pruned?

BgsUTZOCIAA2pJGSome extra motivation…

I promise I’m not trying to be gimmicky with a serious thing like Lent, but as an added incentive to think about your own Lenten fast, I’m doing a book giveaway! The book is a Bible so I don’t feel too bad about it, but if you leave a comment sharing about your own plans for Lent, I’ll enter your name into a drawing for this nifty new Women’s Study Bible. It’s nice and big and heavy with a brown leather cover (this picture is just the box that it comes in).

So, I invite you to reflect and to share. I hope you will take the time to investigate the areas of your soul that are delivered but not fully free, and commit to stepping out of captivity.

For it is for freedom that Christ set us free.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 9.59.09 PMSharon

Sharon

Sharon

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Comments 17

  1. Laura

    My own plans for lent… will be the same! Time away from Instagram and Facebook would allow me to spend more time focused on the Lord. So much of my day is spent on these social media sites.

  2. Kristin Dillow

    Sharon, I too struggle with the “bondage” of social media at times. I gave up Facebook last year for several months and it was so refreshing. You have inspired me to give it up again this year for Lent and focus on the One who has set us free!

  3. Marcy

    I’m so glad you posted this! I was already thinking about cutting out social media in some capacity for lent and having a friend to help do it with would help I’m sure! As pitiful as it sounds it’s almost as if God gave me your blog today as a reinforcement of what I already was thinking about doing. It’s been totally consuming me now that i’m staying at home with jude and i think taking a break from it would help me refocus and use my time more wisely. So i’ll think about it some more and come up with a plan 🙂 Thank you for always challenging me 🙂

  4. Karen Graham

    For Lent, to give up processed foods and replace with clean food. This year to live in freedom in Christ, not only in deliverance. To walk in the good works He has planned for me by being intentional in Christ-centered relationships and advancing the Gospel.

  5. Sarah Elizabeth Farish

    For lent I’m giving up lent. Just kidding. But I’ve noticed a sin pattern of legalism in my life and heart and after prayer decided maybe giving up something for lent wouldn’t be the best idea.

  6. Ivy

    Hi Sharon! I’m a long-time fan and reader, and what you write usually resonates really strongly with me. Just this once though I had another thought- I feel like the root of your lack of freedom in this case isn’t necessarily a bad relationship with social media, but an unhealthy placement of self-identity/self-worth. (DEFINITELY something I don’t have the answers to.) But it seems like as Christians, we CAN (by praying/abiding/asking God to do His work) experience joy and freedom when our identity is based on the Gospel. I think when our identity is solidified, things like social media won’t shake us as much. Housewives before social media probably sat around and judged or envied the women passing by their windows 😉 Social media is just a symptom. This is probably even something you’ve written about before- Thoughts?

    1. Post
      Author
      Sharon

      Hey Ivy, I totally agree! That’s why I’m not giving up social media forever–just for a time. For me, social media is more like a stumbling block that trips me up in seasons of weakness. So, I’m taking a step back from this stumbling block to work on on myself and strengthen myself in the Lord. Then I can come back and use it in an edifying way. For me, these occasional breaks from social media have helped me to do just that!

  7. Lesley

    Thank you for putting words to something that’s also been on my heart for several months. I’m planning to also give up all social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, Pinterest, etc.) I feel the need to confess something… when I first read through you post, even though it resonated with me SO MUCH, I also became jealous. My first thoughts were, “I feel the same way, but she says it so much better than I ever could.” I think there’s no better sign that I have a problem with comparison and envy, right? See you the Monday after Easter! 🙂

  8. Vea Emory

    For Lent…I will be taking on morning/evening prayer in an effort to heed our Bishop’s call to “Go Deep” into our faith this year. I’m bad about routinely setting aside any kind of prayer time, so I’m giving up my old habit of not making time for God! 🙂

  9. Oriana

    I am at a similar place as you, Sharon. I’ve already deactivated my facebook and plan to keep it that way until Lent is over (couldn’t wait). It was stripping me of my joy, my free time, and my contentment. Thankful for ladies who also desire to live in freedom!

  10. Jen

    I’m challenged to consider how I could give up social media for Lent. Wondering about how I can still keep tabs on my 12 year old daughter and her friends? 🙂 (Looking forward to having you speak at the Summit this spring.)

  11. Starr

    I forget that I am reliant on Gods strength. I also forget that I need to ask for discernment on even where to use my talents and energies. I start to use my own strength and forget God and I crumble.

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