Content Fatigue

I first heard the term “compassion fatigue” in a meeting for volunteers. It was about not trying to pour from an empty inner cup. Giving is good, but we have to be resting and taking in what we need to have anything to give. Excellent concept – and important for all of us to avoid compassion fatigue so we can say yes when God calls on us.

Then, in trying to grow as a mother, after walking through my young son’s suicide attempt, I sat in the middle of my bed, with books stacked on the nightstand, pod casts sending notifications on my phone screen, books due back to the library, and YouTube channels subscribed to, but the videos mostly untouched.

I’d read some. Listened some. Watched some. And soon the messages were blurring together, I wasn’t uncovering anything that I hadn’t just read/listened to/watched. But I was trying to keep up with consuming all this media to help me grow through this experience.

Good idea, bad strategy. It was too much. I was deep in the throes of content fatigue and not gaining ground in the whole growing-through-pain thing I was shooting for. I was momentarily caught up in so much content that I forgot to reach for even the hem of my Savior’s garment. I’m not really a “self-helper” so my piles of media were Christian based. Or at least Christian sprinkled.

I was overwhelmed and not seeing God in the mess – especially in the part of the mess that I was making for myself. I took books back unread. I deleted pod casts. I unsubscribed to YouTube channels and emails. I even stopped multiple Bible plans in my YouVersion app.

Not all of them, Bible plans are good food for our spiritual journey. But I am a busy mom and I needed to live in the mess, not in the piles of media, trying to become an expert or something. And when I crawled out of the rock pit of too much media, I was able to apply what I’d read, listened to, or watched. I was able to see the hand of God moving in my life, through people, and in the midst of painful circumstances.

Maybe you are drowning in content, not because of a tragedy, but because you are trying to learn something new. Or you are just greatly interested in something. Whatever it is, it’s okay to not consume it all. You cannot consume it all. There is too much content being created and released on a daily basis for one person to consume it all.

Read one book at a time. Listen to one or two pod casts at a time. Watch one or two YouTubers at a time. It’s okay if you don’t “complete” all of their content – get what you can for a while, then unsubscribe. You have to use what you’re learning to keep learning more. You have to apply it before it really starts to sink in.

Don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t watched/seen/heard the latest thing that is a craze. Pick content that makes you more of who God is calling you to be. Pick content that stretches your mind, challenges you and keeps you focused on Jesus.

Until next time,
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Social Media: They Are Watching

I think this is my last post (for now) about social media. This one is huge, in my opinion. As big as protecting our marriages by watching what we post, I think.

Our kids are watching what we post. No matter where you fall on TOS and letting kids younger than 13 create an account, or not letting them create one until they are 13. Or not until they are on their own as adults. It doesn’t matter how old they are, they are watching what you post.

In fact, my 7 year old watches everything I post, every chance he gets. He asks me, “Are you putting that on Facebook?” when I’m typing on my phone. He reads over my shoulder if I’m not paying attention. Because of his interest, his younger brother is taking an interest, too. And I’m friends with my stepson on FB, so he can see everything I post.

We are always talking about monitoring what our kids are posting, gently correcting them when they go too far, or post something they shouldn’t. Hopefully we are monitoring who they are friends with, and teaching them not to share too much personal data. No matter the level of involvement we take with them and their use of social media, we have all probably said something about using it carefully.

What are they learning from our example? Are we careful with what we post? Do we keep our words kind or say nothing at all? Or do we gripe about bad drivers, rude store clerks, and complain about our spouse and kids? It takes 10 positives to ease 1 negative. So just think, if we complained about the kids on Monday, it isn’t until Wed/Thursday of the following week that they are feeling better about that negative thing. (Assuming we post once per day, and don’t post any other negative in the time period.)

Ouch.

That’s not the end. Our kids are learning to lie or tell the truth based on what we do and say. Little white lies, even on social media, are telling them it’s okay to lie. They are also learning how to talk about other people. They are learning when to keep their mouths shut based on when we do the same. So, is it okay to call people stupid? I think not, but if I’m posting about that stupid driver that cut me off &%*$(, then they are learning it’s okay as long as you bleep out the yucky words. But let’s face it; it’s not really okay to talk about people that way, even if they weren’t driving the way you wanted them to.

They will also learn how to treat their spouse in the public eye based on how you treat your spouse in the public eye. Are you lifting yours up or tearing them down? Yes, the things you do in private, at home, teach them, too. But when hunny hurts your feelings and you blast it all over social media, those little eyes are learning that’s okay. And then, the will hurt their spouse the same way.

End the cycle now. Ask yourself, as you type out your next status update, what am I teaching my kids by posting this? Would I want them to see this? If the lesson is negative, or it’s not for their eyes, then don’t post it.

 

Social Media: Watching What We Post

First and foremost…while there is such thing as freedom of speech, I don’t think there is any need to tell everyone every time we do something. I’ve known a few people who post an update to their status nearly minute by minute, and quite frankly, I don’t want to know when you use the toilet.

This is way more about personal opinion, I know. Some people think all the little updates are amusing. And I even have times where I post a lot of updates because I’m bored. (Like right now, sitting in the hospital…it’s tempting to post every time someone comes in my room to check on my baby, to check my oxygen, to draw blood….and you know that stuff happens like every 5 minutes or less!!) But, I find myself asking, “What is the point?” I really like to find a purpose in many of my status updates…whether it is personal and expresses gratitude, or something like a verse from the bible in hopes of encouraging someone else.

Quotes from kids can be great, and even updates about the things we are going through are good. But the biggest question I ask when I’m looking at a picture to share, or thinking of things to write is how does this reflect on what I believe? I say I don’t believe in male bashing, but if every other joke or picture I share is bashing males, am I supporting my own belief? And how do my posts reflect my faith? Am I a Christian on the Internet, or do I pretend like God doesn’t see/know about/care about the content I’m posting and sharing?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily believe that every single post has to be “preachy” or only scriptures, or anything like that. Just that, if I wouldn’t tell that joke to Jesus, or I wouldn’t stare at that picture with Him sitting here, then why is it on my wall? We cannot truly separate God from any area of our life, including social media. He knows, and sees, and is worthy of our praise, honor, and obedience even when we get online.

The next threat I’ve noticed is spousal bashing, and whining, and complaining, and social media nagging. First off, we all get our feelings hurt, and sometimes we need to talk about it to work through it, I know this for a fact. Social media is not, however, a healthy outlet for this. It is best to choose a mentor, someone who is pro-marriage, and will give you sound, Godly advice. Occasionally in life we are blessed with a friend that will give us this kind of advice, but most often, we must be intentional about finding this type of person.

By posting on social media when things aren’t going our way, we open ourselves up to the advice of many people, and not all of that advice is good or healthy. Plus, put yourself in the other person’s shoes (and maybe you’ve really experienced this…) how bad does it hurt for the person you love most dearly to ridicule or put you down publicly? Whether online-public, or amongst a group of friends out to dinner, that is humiliating and instead of repairing the hurt feelings in the relationship, it makes them worse.

Pick positive things to post. Yet, I think it’s important to keep it realistic. Did your hubby bring you home flowers? A short post that displays gratitude for his thoughtfulness is great, but there is no need for a short novel about it. I think it’s important to not only focus on the good things our partner does when we are online, but also when we are talking to our friends, as well. It’s an everyday, all day, and conscious choice to edify our spouses, kids and friends. When we stop doing that, and instead tear them down, we destroy them, we destroy ourselves, and we destroy other people that are affected by our actions and relationship.

Has anyone ever ridiculed you on social media? How did you respond?