Friday, July 26, 2013

Describe Yourself in 100 Words or Less

It's been said that actions speak louder than words. What does this mean in a digital world where words are often all we have to judge by? Pictures give some vitality to the words in a caption and we know that a picture is worth a thousand words. What about videos? Instagram recently included a video option to their popular photo blogging app. So here we have thousands of words being expressed in short videos.
But how do you capture a human being in words? After spending a lifetime with close friends and family, can you with confidence accurately depict even one of those people in words? Perhaps with the help of some pictures in an old album or maybe with home videos can you begin to paint a picture in someone else's mind.
And yet, the description never does seem to justify all that this human being is.
This is where we are in the digital world; at odds against an impossible task of giving some inclination as to who we are in a 100 words or less and maybe a few photos or videos. The framework of social networks limit the human being in description. Because of their popularity we have stampeded towards these in hope of fulfilling whatever promises we may think exist. In glancing at the doorway into this world we see one size to fit all. It doesn't matter how magnificent or amazing you might be, you must attempt to depict yourself in 100 words or less just like every other person wanting to go through this door.
What do you bring with you? What do you leave out? Why are you censoring your own being? Doesn't matter when the party on the other side of that door is going on. And yet it does.
Before coming to the door of that digital party we will have conditioned ourselves to live within the limits of that door. But is that who you really are?
Though I might be able to show you a picture of my smile it doesn't mean that you will get to see what my face looks like as I smile. A girl I dated once told me how she loved that part of my lip caught on my teeth as I smiled. This is a small but important example.
If some aspects of your humanity escape the extreme criticism of your mind it doesn't mean they don't exist. Who you are isn't simply defined by what you think of yourself (though it takes the most precedence). Your being is defined also by the perception of those around you. If all anyone sees of you is your Facebook profile picture and a 100 words of less of what you think you are, how narrow is their perception of you?
After reading that the next question is why bother thinking about this?
There is danger in limiting our perspective on who you are. When we begin to define ourselves simply in terms of our fascination with photography or with what we find mildly amusing on the internet then we limit who we are. When those few things begin to disappoint us what else is there to make us happy? And what if you simply can't express your queer interest in how dancing makes you feel because words feel constricting?
Attempting to funnel your being into a such a concise definition endangers your self-perception because what you think becomes who you are. Don't let taglines, status updates, About Me's or even photo albums limit who you are. You are a human being, and even more, you are a child of God. Imagine trying to describe that in a 100 words or less.

Monday, July 22, 2013

For Love, the Cure

As it is written, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)
Doing anything for Jesus Christ or for His sake is to, " . . . love one another. . ." (John 13:34) and so when we lose our life for His sake it is meant that we are to lose our lives in the service of others.
Whenever you are hurt emotionally there is great temptation to withdraw and focus inward; a natural reaction yet debilitating and potentially destructive. The problem is that emotional pain comes when love meets no return. As you withdraw and build walls to insulate from the pain you also barricade yourself against the cure.
In turning outward and seeking to help another we are giving love and in return we will be loved, either by our Father in Heaven or by those we help. In loving and being loved we are cured of our emotional wounds. This process never starts until the individual decides to try.
There is real risk in giving to someone who seemingly has nothing to give you or potentially has nothing by which you can benefit. But this is a lie. All who live are capable of love. It is within each of us as children of God and should be if all were commanded to give it.
With prayer any of us can begin to heal from emotional pain by seeking that person who today needs our love.
And think how much stronger, happier, and pleased will you be when it wasn't you who waited for help but instead sought and helped another.

Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment--he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.