Vicarious Living

Why are we so obsessed with other people? I’ll be the first to admit that whenever I have a free moment I love to hop on Facebook and see what’s up with the people out there in internet land, even if all the posts are the same because my last free moment was literally only two minutes before.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook is a great way to share our lives with others, and for expats that makes it especially valuable. But how much of me scrolling through my newsfeed is actually trying to intentionally communicate with those with whom I want to maintain solid relationships? A lot of days it’s almost next to none. I’m too busy trying to take in the output of people who are on my friends list but I haven’t talked to in five years, or even worse, who I don’t remember in the first place. It’s so easy to get sucked into glancing through windows into the lives of others because it keeps us from looking deeper into ourselves which, admittedly, can be a lot more difficult. It’s so much more entertaining to see who from college has kids or who’s got a new car or who likes this article than to sit and study Japanese for fifteen minutes.

I see this thing on tumblr a lot where people post selfies of other people or pictures of other people doing things they wished they could do/were doing right then/could look more like etc. while I know the people on Facebook (most of the time…) I think I end up doing the same kind of thing. Being able to only see the sides of people that they’re allowing us to see often leaves me thinking “What if I…. Went straight to grad school? Had kids already? Cooked more gourmet food? Read more? Wrote more?” The list could go on and on. I find it harder and harder to live in the moment and enjoy where I am because I’m trying so hard to live in the moments of others. But that shouldn’t be the case at all. I definitely don’t want my memories of my twenties to be more of other people than myself.

All that to say I’m not completely quitting Facebook, but I definitely am going to start cutting back. It shouldn’t be my go to time filler. One of the mottos I’ve tried to implement is “Live with intention.” I think it’s time to start doing more of that.

Finding the Joy

As I sit here at 12:30, wishing I was asleep, I think through my New Years resolutions and all the things I still want to do tonight.  But, as I have been learning lately, there can still be joy and gratitude.  I’ve been reading blogs and and books and the theme this past week seems to keep coming back to these things. Everything can somehow tie into that. I’m reading through a book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper (hey, guess what? It’s a free download!)  In chapter 4, he talks about the joy of Jesus and how that joy can be mine if I would only allow myself to experience it, to let go of my minuscule notions of what I think joy should be.  Then, I read this post on John 1 and this post on gratitude by Ann Voskamp.  They reminded me that if I remember what things are important, if I put Jesus first and remember the things that I’m grateful for instead of living through each day without paying attention to the beauty around me, the joy will follow.  And I’m not talking here about the temporary happiness that is so very fleeting, I mean the joy that pushes you through the tough weeks, the deep knowledge that I am a child of God and that not matter how crazy work is, or how much I want to just disappear for a few months, it will be ok because He won’t change. Not ever.  So that has been on my mind, and then I saw this awesome video of John Green talking about creativity and boom! Motivation, priority, it all ties in! If you do something just to make money, you’ll never make enough.  If you do something because you love it, well, there will be really hard days. But my gracious the good ones make it all so worth it.

So tonight I had the opportunity to skype with my roommate from college and my friend who has truly seen me for me and still loves me, and it was so good to talk about where our hearts and priorities are.  It is so good to know that there are wonderful people who I get to walk on this path with, even when I don’t really deserve it.  One of the projects that Anna Voskamp does every year is keep a Gratitude journal and I am thinking about starting one. But tonight, I am grateful for my friendships, my relationships with people who love me even after they’ve seen the ugliness inside, and I am grateful for a good God who gives me love and joy for when mine runs out.

Oh hey, welcome to 2014!

As I reflect back on the past year, I realize that my blogging career probably won’t be taking off anytime soon… That being said, I would like to start blogging more and have made it a goal to blog at least twice a month.  We’ll see how that goes… So along with a new year comes some updates!

I believe that I shared our new website before. We have both been blogging over on that side as well as our new Hubpages site. Our goal is to slowly create a larger and larger web presence. We’ve also been adding to our Youtube, tumblr, twitter, and Facebook accounts.

So here’s what I’m thinking for the new year. To make it better, I have goals set.  They’re small daily goals as opposed to really huge ones, though.  I saw a create idea for calendar check lists that basically gives you a visual to motivate you to complete small things each day.  I have one for 15 minutes each of language learning, quiet time, exercising, and working on music.  I also have plans to blog more, read more, create more, and promote more.  I’m also doing a month long health challenge with some friends that Adam and I did last year. I’m pretty stoked for it! All this productivity means less time for time wasting!

So while of course taking care of my body and becoming fluent in Japanese (ha!) are important, my spiritual life is definitely of greatest importance and one of the parts of my life that I have tried to take the most time to reflect on this year.  One of the verses I have been reflecting on as I begin the new year is 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  Then today I read a couple of things that I really want to take in to the new year with me. The first is from Matthew 11:27-30.  Three sections that seem kind of disconnected when read on the surface are really well connected when taken deeper.  The first discusses things being hidden from the wise and revealed to children.  The second discusses knowing God through Jesus.  These contrast head and heart knowledge of God.  While both important, heart knowledge is necessary for the third part, which is coming to Jesus completely openly where He offers to give us peace and rest. But until we are willing to drop our pretensions and assumed knowledge of him, until we can come to Him like children, we won’t be able to fully come to Him.

Speaking of dropping pretensions, I read a great post today by John Piper, “Don’t Waste Your Weaknesses.”  It encouraged me to drop the facade of strength that I have so that I can fully allow Christ to work His plan through my problems and weaknesses. That’s good for me to remember.  One of these days I’ll get it. Anyways, have a great New Year!