Fruitful or Frivolous: Social Media

We are inundated with social media.

It is everywhere.

It is a part of life. Unless you live unplugged you cannot escape the reach of social media.

That being said, there are many posts on the misuse of social media. As well as some on the usefulness of social media. In this post I want to just give you a few questions to ask yourself about social media so that you can determine if it is frivolous or fruitful in your life.

How is social media your friend or foe?

What do I mean by this?

How is social media a friend?
-Do you come away from social media refreshed and encouraged? When?
-What good fruit do you see coming from your time on social media? Reconnection with friends? Blessing and encouraging others? Deepening friendship?

If these points are not characteristic of your time on social media consider that social media can be frivolous.

How is social media a foe?
-Does following certain people or accounts stir up the spirit of comparison in you?
-Does it cause jealousy to arise? Greed?Discontent with your life?

If so how do you need to deal with those sin issues? Prayerfully repent? Fast from social media? Unfollow certain accounts?

Let’s choose to use social media as a tool that bears fruit in our souls and cause others to do the same!

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Fruitful or Frivolous: Spiritual Disciplines

Discipline.

Either that word has a negative connotation to you—or it doesn’t.

The definition of discipline as given in Merriam Webster is:

  • control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed and punishing bad behavior

  • : a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders

  • : behavior that is judged by how well it follows a set of rules or orders

What is spiritual discipline?  I would define spiritual discipline as submission to the Holy Spirit — directing our will and passions towards Jesus. 

I have always longed for discipline in my life, partly due to my type-a personality. But that is not the only reason. As I sit here pondering the attractiveness of discipline I realize that a lot of it has to do with what was modeled for me. My mom’s reading and treasuring scripture, George Müller’s fasting, Mrs. McPeak’s reciting scripture, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s prayers, Steve Akin’s service, John Piper’s passion for study of scripture are just a few reasons that spiritual disciplines are attractive to me. I have seen them modeled and I have seen these lives bear lasting fruit.

This begs the question; what are spiritual disciplines?  We look to Scripture and Historical Christianity to see what practices are considered spiritual disciplines.

Richard Foster identifies 12 crucial spiritual disciplines I remember this sticking with me from my college days. Possibly because the way that he organized these disciplines made sense to me; splitting them between inward, outward, and corporate practices.

Inward Disciplines:

  • Prayer – communicating with God (Matt. 6:9)
  • Meditation – focusing on God and his will  (Phil. 4:8)
  • Fasting – a reminder of the source of all nourishment (Luke 5:35)
  • Study – careful attention the the reality that God reveals to us, especially through Holy Scripture (Luke 2:46)

Outward Disciplines:

  • Simplicity – seeking God’s Kingdom first (Matt. 6:33)
  • Submission – placing God’s will above one’s own (Luke 22:42)
  • Solitude – withdrawing from the world to spend time with God (Matt. 14:23)
  • Service – supportive action toward others (Mark 10:45)

Corporate Disciplines:

  • Confession – acknowledging one’s sin with and to others in the community of faith             (James 5:16)
  • Guidance – giving and receiving direction from others along the journey with Jesus       (Acts 15:8)
  • Celebration – taking joy is what God has done (1 Cor 5:8)
  • Worship – giving God glory through attitudes and actions (1 Cor. 14:26)

Holiness is not natural to our sinful nature. Thus we need these tools to correct our hearts and to point us towards Jesus.

Why do these practices matter?  What we give time and thought to shapes us. It is easy to just go through the motions, monotonously “doing” rather than fully “being”.

Spiritual disciplines can be fruitful. However, if they are done without connection to Jesus they are frivolous. Thus allowing legalism to creep into our hearts. Just like fruit must be connected to the vine in order to grow and develop, so our hearts must be connected to Jesus as we practice these disciplines. Disciplines become delight when they bring life.

For HIS glory and our JOY.

 

 

Other great resources on spiritual disciplines:

Fruitful or Frivolous: Journaling

It’s sitting there… Collecting dust.

Literally.

I’m a writer, that is how I process. So, the fact that my journal sits untouched can make me feel like there are things left undone. There have been hard seasons that have driven me to write. As well has hard seasons that have kept me from writing. I’m learning that writing is not the end-all-be-all.

Several seasons of life lent themselves to extensive journaling, study, etc. I loved it! I thrive off of words. These were fruitful seasons. I can look back and READ the fruit.

Some of my favorite things from those seasons include:

  1. Journables  – a favorite study tool AND fantastic gift
  2. Passion Planner – fantastic planner and journal-esque way to keep track of days
  3. Refillable Journal – like this one

However, right now it’s not a habit in the same way. I have had to let go of my single-life, pre-children ideas of journaling. Really. I love it. But, right now I have little lives to watch and nurture. So, it changes how I journal. Some of you mamas are able to balance everything AND write like a mad woman. To you, I say, you go girl! For me, I’m struggling to find enough time for that… And I am learning that it is okay.

Blogging this series of blogs has been a huge goal for me. A treat to myself when both littles are down for afternoon nap at the same time. What is serving as my journal right now is a Q&A For Moms, a thoughtful gift from my Mommee. One line per day. That’s it. Simple. Easy enough to catch up on if needed.

I am learning in this season that while it is incredible fruitful to “…remember the deeds of the Lord.” (Psalm 77:11) — what this does not say is pages and pages in your journal every day. It says REMEMBER.

How are you choosing to remember these days?

Are you lost in the self-guilt of not preforming? Are you feeling self-pity because you do not have the time? OR are you choosing to take moments to snap a photo, write a line, post a card, shoot a text to someone and REMEMBER what the Lord is doing today?

It’s a struggle. Just because my journal is sitting there collecting dust it does not mean these days will be forgotten. I’m just trying to remember them and in thus doing so honor the One who gave them well.

Fruitful or Frivolous: Daily Rhythms

Rhythms.

Life is all about rhythms. Whether its work, school, family or other life activities there is a cadence to life that we cannot deny. Some people function on a planed out schedule. (Hand raised) While others live a little less scheduled lives.  Either way, there are rhythms to life.  I want to share a little about daily rhythms, goals, etc. with you all. Hopefully this will be of some encouragement to you all in the midst of full days.

This begs the question… What ARE my rhythms? With my oldest just turning two and my baby only five months old one might laugh and ask how I have any rhythms… While this is true there are some things that have to happen everyday. In a busy season I have to step back and make sure my goals and rhythms are realistic.

We eat.

We play.

We sleep.

Some days this is the only thing that we can count on in a full 24 hour period.  I began to ask myself how I could make the most of these moments. So, here are some of my solutions.

We eat.

We pray together at meals. Modeling this discipline is so good for our boys and good for my heart to stop and acknowledge the Lord’s presence.

When we eat breakfast. The boys and I listen to my daily Bible via the YouVersion App. Yes, it READS the BIBLE to you.

When we eat lunch Bruce and I work on Key Themes of the Bible.

When we eat supper we enjoy conversation with each other.

We also try to use meals to meet with people and share life. That covers our meal times.

We play.

When we play we practice sharing, role play about good behavior, and find joy together.

We play with friends of all ages. Sharing in others lives gives us teachable moments and opportunities to speak truth and receive encouragement.

Part of our play is reading. As much as my boys love reading, we want to encourage this great habit and fruitful love. One rhythm is reading our Jesus Storybook Bible. If you need a great baby gift (Thanks Jami!) purchase this Deluxe Edition it comes with narrated CDs. They are fantastic. As much as my boys need to be hearing these stories that whisper Jesus’ name, their mama needs it too!

We sleep. 

Sometimes more than others.  Let’s just get that out there! It’s a mom-win in my book when BOTH boys are down for afternoon nap time. Hey, its real life.  We read our Jesus Storybook Bible, pray and sing a song, or two.  This is our rest time rhythm.

I’m seeking to teach my boys that we need to rest. We cannot be caught up in constant doing.  Their little bodies need the rest, but its a deep spiritual reminder for their mama. A reminder to put my full weight in Jesus and what He has done for us. A reminder that He restores us.

This seems simple. That’s the point. Connect meaningful things to the routines already present in your life.  These will be different with the seasons and life stages that you find yourself in but seek fruitfulness in the mundane. Look for His glorious presence.

Fruitful or Frivolous: Overview

This next series of posts will concentrate on the idea of things being either fruitful or frivolous.   It’s easy to get caught up in things be good or bad. However, often it’s moderation that’s the problem for our generation.

Some of the ideas I will be considering are:

  • Social Media
  • Discipline of reading
  • Journaling
  • Memorization
  • Rhythms (schedule)
  • Rest

I am excited to explore these ideas with you!

Grace Over Guilt

Learning.

It never ends.

In this season of two-under-two I am taking this phrase “grace-over-guilt” to heart.

These little ones bring so much grace into my life. I could wallow in the guilt of dishes, unfolded laundry, and the list of things to-do left undone. Instead I’m choosing grace.

Learning.

It’s always growing.

Living in the here-and-now.  Pausing to read our favorite books again, to answer one million curious questions, to snuggle these little men. I know that these moments will not last long enough… This is a season of grace, not guilt!

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A Letter To My Son

 

 

Dearest Bruce Michael,

My son, you are only seven weeks old.  I want you to know how much your daddy and I love you.  It is almost impossible to express or explain the love that a parent has for their child.  We rejoice in your precious life.  It is a gracious gift from God to us.

Life is a gift.  Your mama learned this in a deep way in 2007.  I was living overseas and loving it.  I lost a good friend, great-grandmother, and your name sake Bruce Ashcroft while she was overseas.  Today marks seven years ago that my uncle Bruce passed away.  I clung to this scripture that day “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

Let me tell you a little bit about the man who I pray you will imitate.  My uncle Bruce was one of the most optimistic, passionate, gentle men that I have ever known.  He wrote notes, sent a book If You’re Not From the Prairie  to help me feel at home as I adventured overseas.  He wanted to sit down and hear all about my trip when I got home.  Little did I know that our talk would not happen on this side of eternity.  Your great-uncle Bruce passed away at the young age of 56.  He was well loved because of his generous love for others.  My heart still aches but gratitude outweighs the pain.

So today, if I hold you a little longer and squeeze you a little tighter, you know why.  I miss my uncle Bruce.  I am thankful for uncle Bruce, the man you are named after.  Your great-aunt Judy, Bruce’s wife, says that you have the greatest of guardian angels in Bruce.  My prayer is that you will be the type of man he was.  I am sure that you will become an avid reader and love full-contact-softball games just like he did.

BruceLibrary

Your mama loves you Bruce.  I am so grateful for your precious little life.  The LORD has given you to us.  As our family chose to bless the LORD in the loss of our uncle years ago we bless the LORD that you are a happy healthy boy.

Life is a gift, baby Bruce.