Saturday, July 19, 2014

The story isn’t finished yet.

Back in 2012 I’d written the perfect end to my Earthquake Recovery Memoir.  I’d finished counselling, was feeling pretty good, and thought I was “better”.

I was kidding myself.

I’m still in the middle of this story.  The end is not even in sight yet.  Each time I think I’m making good progress, the roller-coaster swoops down into it’s next downward plunge.

Free magnetic roller coaster available from

So I find myself experiencing tension and stress.  That’s okay, I can fix this.  I can use those strategies I learned back in 2012: relaxation techniques, meditative prayer.

Except in 2014 they don’t seem to be working so well.

I need to try harder. I need to pray more/harder/deeper/differently.  I need to…

You don’t need to do anything to earn God’s love.
Yeah, yeah.  I know that.  Free gift of grace and all that. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
You’re not living like you know it.

Huh?  Hmmm… “Try harder, pray harder, do more.”
But I don’t need to.
I don’t need to do any of these things to earn God’s love.
Is that what I’ve been trying to do?

“Getting better” is not about me doing stuff to make myself better.  “Trying harder” doesn’t work.

So what does work?

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:28-30)

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

I'm not sure why this photo fits into this post, but it just does.  Feel free to find your own metaphors from it.

Rest.  Trust.

I guess it’s worth a try.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flee while you can and other tips for Facebook Newbies

(Based on a message sent to a friend who recently joined the dark side Facebook.)

I think of Facebook like a large social gathering of my  friends with lots of conversations going on.  Whatever you might chat about in these settings would be suitable sharing, ranging from the weather, kids school achievements, moaning about government departments, etc.  More personal stuff you'd usually just talk to one or two friends about is best kept to private chat.

When posting and sharing, be sure to "separate the wheat from the chaff".  If it's something genuinely funny, entertaining, inspiring or informative then share away.

Show discernment and discretion in the following:

  • If it's too good to be true, it probably is.  If someone is offering a free iPhone for sharing a post, approach with a high degree of scepticism.  If in doubt, don't.
  • Warnings, unless they come from a reputable source like Civil Defence or Metservice, check with Google or a hoax-busters site first.  (Some spoof versions are worth sharing under the "genuinely funny" category.)
  • Anything along the lines of "Share to show you care about cancer/mental illness/animals/children/the environment etc."  These do nothing to really help those affected by the issue, they just clutter up newsfeeds and turn people off the genuine causes. (Again, some spoofs are worth sharing under the "genuinely funny" category).  It's better to share informative articles from reputable sources about the issues you care about.
  • Any video or website that makes you share before viewing the content, DON'T.  It'll most likely be objectionable material.
  • Videos, etc. that with headlines like "You'll never believe what happened next...".  A lot of these seem to be hosted on sites that are paid advertisers to Facebook, and get put to the top of your newsfeed, but most of them are not up to their hype.
    Stick of butter
  • Oversharing: What you cooked for tea last night is not probably something you'd mention at that large social gathering, unless it's a particularly special dish (like this Irish Cream Tiramisu) in which case share the recipe so we can try it too.
  • Cute animals and babies are popular and populous. Try to only re-share the best of the best otherwise newsfeeds tend to get inundated.

Speaking of newsfeeds: be aware that Facebook controls the newsfeed with algorithms, supposedly to keep it interesting.  Don't trust Facebook.  They tend to favour posts that link to their advertisers, and they've also been known to manipulate newsfeeds for psychological experimenting.  (I.e. they play mind games with you.)  "Most Recent" is better than "Top Stories" but still sometimes filters out posts you really would be interested in.  I'd suggest opting to receive notifications for anyone whose posts you don't want to miss.

On the other hand, if your newsfeed is getting crowded by annoying or boring posts from any individual, you can "unfollow" them without "de-friending" them which will help clear up that newsfeed a bit.

Oh, and NEVER leave your Facebook logged in on an unattended device (especially around certain people I could name but won’t – you know who you all are), otherwise you might end up with this for your status:
Status posts

Remember: Christ has no on-line presence but yours:


Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy  - think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

What other suggestions would you add?