Leaving for Cambodia is literally around the corner, and with this reality comes a mix of emotions. Of course, we will dearly miss our family and friends. Our community here in Colorado Springs has been so rich and have given so much. We feel so supported by them. In fact, yesterday we were prayed for and sent out by our New Life family. It is such a blessing to be supported by such an awesome body.
While thankful for our friends, family and church here in the U.S., something has been weighing heavy on my heart this past month which brings me to the topic of this blog. Social media. In my opinion, social media is simply defined as informing, giving feedback and receiving feedback.
Twitter & Facebook are powerful tools and ways to connect with not only friends, but classmates from your kindergarten class. Maybe you heard a sermon recently on forgiveness and by chance remembered that kid from 6th grade you constantly bullied. I have a solution. Just look him up on Facebook and ask for forgiveness. Ha! I actually wouldn't recommend that, but Facebook is a place to start. As Facebook evolved it became the norm for most teenagers, Moms & Dads, Uncles & Aunts, Grandpas & Grandmas. It allows anyone to connect with anybody in a virtual world. It's been amazing how easy it is to type someone's name in and see what their world looks like...on a daily basis. As Facebook becomes the way in which you connect with people, be warned. It can create this false sense of "knowing" someone and can even introduce a torpidness in your relationships. It's sad really. Don't get me wrong, Facebook makes it possible for me to keep up with friends all over the world, and for that, I am thankful. But however great you think Facebook is, don't get lazy and substitute a "Happy Birthday" on Facebook for a genuine birthday card. Remember what those are?
Twitter. I think of Twitter as a stream of thoughts, messages or informational tid bits. You can choose who to follow, choose who can follow you and then stare at people's streams all day. It's great! Actually, Twitter is a powerful addition to the social media world. I use Twitter to see what my friends have to say in short messages (140 characters or less). I also read news streams so I can stay updated on what's happening in the world. Interested in technology? Check out Twitter! There are 1,000's of Tweeters out there tweeting about technology. If you are reading this blog, chances are, you've heard of Facebook and Twitter. In fact, there's a good chance you are my Facebook friend or I'm following you on Twitter. At any rate, like I've said, Facebook and Twitter are wonderful and if you are so inclined, you should check them both out.
Because social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter can be all-consuming, we are taking a break. This is the heart of my message.
When we move to Cambodia, we will be establishing a new community. We are truly looking forward to that, but there will be many challenges. We will be homesick, trying to press through culture shock, learning a new language and dealing with transition. It will be difficult and normally when we go through hard times, we look to our friends and family. Thanks to technology that will be possible, but it's important for us to endure the hardships and persevere. The Internet is practically everywhere which means Facebook and Twtter are too. This also means we could stay in this stagnant state of "in-between." It would be easy always looking to Facebook in search of a feeling of belonging or something familiar. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but I think it will be easier for us if we disconnect. I feel the Lord has been telling me to be fully engaged - meaning establishing our new home, loving my wife, making new friends, learning about In His Steps, looking to God for vision, purpose etc. (Read Matthew 19:16-30 -- passage of inspiration) I feel like giving up Facebook and Twitter is a testament of sacrifice - a symbolic way of to saying to Jesus, I am fully yours.
The good news is that we are taking a temporary break :) And because we feel it's super important to keep everyone updated on our progress and lives in Cambodia, we will continue to update and check our blog, so if you would like to leave us a little comment, we'd love to hear from you.
Also, it's you'd like to follow us on Twitter, you can follow Noelle at twitter.com/Noelle_G or Jacob at twitter.com/JacobusM.
Lastly, I know some are experiencing difficulty in establishing boundaries with how often to spend on Facebook. A good friend and pastor wrote this: Time for a Facebook Diet? You can also check out another blog by Glenn Packiam on his perspective on why Twitter is better than Facebook.
P.S. Our Facebook/Twitter Break is for 2-3 weeks and it starts once we hit the ground in Cambodia...so be looking for that "arrived safely" tweet!