About 6 years ago, I joined a message board for women due in January 2002. I was pregnant with my first son and found a much needed support group. From that point, I checked the board daily to find funny stories, great tips, a lot of useful information, and a bunch of friends. I have traveled to meet up with some of these women, and we have always had a great time.
A month ago, I started feeling convicted of something. I found that this board was taking away from my life. At times, it caused me to put my children second. I was being more impatient with them. I was checking the boards several times a day. And the only thing my 'friends' and I had in common, was the fact that we had a child born in the same month. We didn't share the same faith, and I began to realize that it was pulling my mind away from Christ, and I was much more me-focused.
These women, who had been such a huge part of my life for almost 6 years, were not edifying to me the way a real relationship should. This is not to say that you shouldn't have friends that are outside of your faith. But having been a part of this group for the time that I had, never once had I really shared my faith fully or had anyone be receptive to anything I had to say. Instead, the opposite would happen, and the things I would say would be misinterpreted by their worldly views. Even the few Christians on the board were too meek to really stand up for things being said.
I decided that I had to just stop visiting. When I shared my views, I was tired of the personal attacks. I felt like I should be able to say what I believe and not cringe when I clicked on the post button. I wanted to be edified by like-minded believers. I had been thinking of this for awhile, but I just kept holding on. I freely admit it was my flesh holding on to this board. I kept trying to rationalize it....that it couldn't really be that bad. But I wasn't getting any sort of real support from this group. Yes, they were there when I had a question about feeding my baby solids, but I needed more than that.
It'll be 4 weeks this coming Saturday night. I logged out, and I have never logged back in. My mind does wonder how some of them are doing. I care about this group of women a lot. But it was not healthy. I can't go back. I don't want to. I have been freed from it. I wouldn't say it was a real addiction...I could go days without checking in, but something just wasn't right, and I was starting to really feel the effects of it.
I started to read Shopping for Time and realized that it was time to reevaluate. In the book, they say that every now and then, you should make up a list of your friends and make a note of how edifying they really are to you. It didn't take long to realize that this message board needed to be cut out.
I can honestly say that the Lord has replaced this online support group with real friends. The kind of women who are like-minded, have a love for Christ and family, and a love for our friendship. There was a time when that message board was all I had, and I am grateful that they were there for me when I needed them. Like anything in life, that was just a season, and that season had to come to an end.
I am so thankful for the people that have been placed in my life...not really as a replacement, but more of an example of what true relationships are supposed to be. I have been truly blessed and thank God daily for the work He has been doing in my life.
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