Guest Post: By Katie E. Linnartz
this post is written from my own personal experience, but i hope that most can relate to in one way or another
I want to pack for CSU. It’s 6 months away and first, I have to at least make it through this semester, but I want to pack for Colorado. Plans are being discussed, arrangements being finalized, and this 6 week adventure is in the foreseeable future. Memories of summer 2013 are growing sweeter and making themselves more comfortable in my mind, all while building upon the escalating anticipation for the summer of 2015. Maybe there’s something I can do to draw the days in closer; FaceTime far away friends, browse through old photos, and I might as well just pack my bags! Yes, it is ridiculous, but what’s a girl to do with so much to look forward to?
Now while dreaming of the future is exiting for a moment, I can never fully indulge in my thoughts. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I know this is not how it is supposed to be. It’s the same feeling accompanied with seeing a 12 year olds’ wedding board on Pinterest. It’s the idea that maybe there’s something better I could be doing with my time than thinking about another day. Even if the most fun of your life is concentrated into 6 weeks, it’s not worth wishing away the 2 years between.
So what’s the harm in reminiscing about the past and thinking about the future? Well nothing, if thought of accordingly. Paul says in Philippians ” I thank my God every time I remember you” when talking about his dearly loved friends. He is thinking of his missed ones, praising God for the time he got with them, and praying for their well being. But note, Paul is not saying “like OMG all I do is think of you, and just wait till we are reunited!! xoxo.” It is not a sin to long for something greater, in fact it’s the way we were created; to be constantly yearning for heaven. But It can not always be so wholesome if we let it become a little too much. Excessively longing for something on Earth will almost always distract and discontent.
In the story of Esther, Esther’s cousin Mordecai warns Esther to not remain silent and to take action for her endangered people by making the most of her royal spot in the palace. He declares that God has placed her where He did “for such a time as this.” Esther definitely did not ask to become this stupid King’s wife, and I bet you she would give a lot to be somewhere else. But God put her right where she was to be present and to be an advocate of His cause. Esther didn’t let herself become distracted by what life used to be like or how it might one day be, but listened to God’s perfect plan for where she was right then. We have been placed at our schools and communities for such a time as this. So wake up before it’s too late and today has slipped away. Ephesians 5:15-16 says “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Multiple times this summer we spent vulnerable moments in worship singing “no place I would rather be.” “No place I would rather be, than here in your love.” But not just there in his love. Right here, where ever you are. I wouldn’t rather be at CSU, I would rather be fully and completely abiding and covered in my Savior’s love. It is available and waiting to be experienced anywhere on this great Earth. God doesn’t give us beautiful experiences to idolize them, but because He truly loves his children, this makes him more worthy of praise than any amount of time spent in Fort Collins. We can always be content if God is our joy and our hope, not people or places.
God is I AM. Not “I was” or “I will be” but I AM. So when I’m in Fort Worth, Texas, I am going to be completely in Fort Worth, Texas. And eventually when that day comes, I will be fully present in Fort Collins, Colorado. Some people might say I have left my heart in many places. From summer projects and staff conferences, to living overseas and short term mission trips, I have lived lots of life in many different places, all of which I love dearly. But my heart is fully intact, and in fact, it is overflowing. I have not left my heart in any place, I have taken them all with me, in sweet spots that make me smile. So with a full heart I will live every day, glancing ahead occasionally, but focused on where God has me, and content that He is with me.
Imagine the situations you put yourself in online suddenly became reality. Imagine if your social media was real.
You enter into a room. It’s a large room full of hundreds of familiar faces; faces of people you recognize, but people with blemishes, and imperfections. They all look different than they do in their profiles. And so do you. You find yourself on stage insecure because of your flaws and self conscience because these people do not know you, but they know where you go and what you do.
There are nearly 1,000 people here, all staring at you. These are people you met at camp and haven’t seen in months, people from your middle school, people you met on summer trips, and people who you pass in the school hallway. But these are all people who are not directly involved in your life. These people are interested in your life but don’t know you. They are staring at you while you are on stage. These people do not know your feelings or emotions; they have never seen you cry. These people have only seen your life reflected in snapshots. Pretty photos carefully edited and cleverly captioned. These people have only seen your highest moments.
You realize they are your online followers.
You fell uncomfortable standing on stage in front of the people that you pass in the hallways at school but never hang out with. Your posted photo appears enlarged behind you. It was taken last week and has a casual caption that explains very little. It’s positive and punny, so the curious people ask to hear the story behind this photo.
On the night you posted the picture, the event that you attended wasn’t as exciting as you had hoped. You were bored and it was awkward. But it was your Saturday night and you were determined to show the world you were having fun with your friends and enjoying life.
You look behind you at your enlarged photo, it is perfectly posed. Your make up looks good, your hair is done and your outfit is trendy. So naturally, your photo gained many comments based on how pretty you are and how cute your clothes are. A couple hundred people even tapped on your photo twice, “liking it” and making you feel important.
You stand in front of your crowd of followers and admit that your Saturday night wasn’t as fun and exciting as it appeared. People around murmur, “I post like that too”… “I can relate to this story.” You realize that your followers don’t need to see another edited photo of you faking your perfect life. They do not need to see you smiling again and again. They need a breath of fresh air. Someone who is not afraid to turn it all off and get rid of these apps.
You find yourself wanting to be known, really known. Standing in front of all these followers, you don’t want people to just see your life. You want people to live your life with you.
You want friendships so real you don’t need to post a photo to prove that you know them. You want to hear from real people I real life who really know you: “I like who you are” rather than seeing a comment online say to you “ily girl”.
At school in your classes instead of getting to know your classmates, you always just look at your phone. You don’t speak to them in person, but you creep on their twitter, while sitting only 20 feet away from them. Instead of talking in real life in the silent classroom, your eyes are glued to a screen smaller than your whole hand. You realize you don’t really know the students around you. And you are too busy looking at the top 5% of their lives they decide to post online. You see their happy smiles on instagram, their witty thoughts on twitter, and their hilarious creeper pics on snap chat stories. But you don’t know them deeply.
The time wasted spending on your phone is time you could be getting to know the people in front of you. If you took a day without your social media apps, what would that be like for you real non phone socializing? You realize as much as you may deny it, a small device is running your life. You post things because you are crying out to be known, but it is impossible to be fully known without being real.
You decide to try taking a step back from your online profiles and who you want people to think you are. You want to be who you are you and find out who that is without people’s likes or comments. You want to take a break from social media, but you feel like you can’t.
What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed. They’re just longing to feel loved and understood.
//I am preaching to myself here, with a new perspective that I think is worth sharing. I would love to hear what you think of this topic. ~Kelsey //