Monday, December 26, 2016

Encouraging one another: God's social media addiction solution #2

As I mentioned in my introductory post on social media addiction inspired by an article on Breslev Israel's site by Lori Steiner, I believe our individual identity is firmly rooted in our relationship with God. Her article identified the recent social app driven surge of fear in youth stemming from being part of the wrong social crowd and its confirmed influence towards a general state of unhappiness. Ms. Steiner recommended three Judaic solutions for combating social dissatisfaction for these disaffected souls including encouraging one another through inspiring or educational words.

Educating others

As an educator I know that it's more important to give a student encouragement for effort than to give an assessment on their quality of work. Anyone can get someone these days to tell them what they think is wrong with the world, your life, or the president. I think it may be a too common habit learned from the educational process to find flaws and set yourself up as an expert in a logical experiment to find a new premise and support it even if you're not very good at it and it's really just a pedantic style of complaining.
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Pro 12:25
Students need the self-confidence that it takes to keep grinding away at the same problem or topic for years without losing hope that it will be wasted. Even students who are not looking for a degree have the same need to come to terms with the complexities of business theories as they work their way through life and their career. Sometimes that difficult day is just improved by a smile and a recognition that doing a mundane process is being noticed and appreciated.

When God encourages

A critical spirit will sap the life from a creative spirit and turn an idea into an impossible journey when it's the journey that is the joy. To bring an inspiring word to someone who is on the path to a seemingly unobtainable goal is to dispel the despair of existentialism by letting the light of our Lord God who shines in us into the shadows of life.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Pro 17:22
Sisyphus forever pushing a boulder up the hill represents the Greek standard we are bound to that excludes any hope and creates a crushed spirit. But in this season of Hanukkah, the Greeks are the defeated ones, and our Lord God, who encouraged Zechariah through a vision for the rebuilding of the second temple begun also on 25 Kislev, brought encouragement through the miracle of purified oil on that same day.

Inspiring others

Family members and friends need that support also for trying to do things the right way even though they may be using bad tactics or old habits that irritate you.  But I would always choose a kind heart over a unfriendly demeanor to be with. And if they need some reinforcement, there's nothing like recognizing a good trait in them.

Even our leaders need a good word even when they seem like they are doing just fine. But the tasks of leadership can be overwhelming and hidden from the people they are responsible for. I think it's important to take a minute and let your boss know that you like a particular decision or bring a small gift at an appropriate time.
But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” Deut 3:28
I don't think Joshua would have been so willing to take over the leadership role to lead the children of Israel had Moses told him that he'd never live up to his standards but it was still God's will for him to follow in his footsteps.

Your inspiration

Words about God are words that will inspire you. The mere existence of the world and its wonders should inspire you. Sunrises and sunsets are worth paying attention to just because it's a divine art gallery that you can visit twice a day. Let's look for where our Lord God has put a canvas painted with life and practice to finds words to appreciate that. I can suggest a chapter if you need one.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy. Psalm 65:8
So, with all this encouragement and inspiration, the glamour of social media should lessen. The words on the Facebook posts should look weaker and the followers should turn into just numbers that can't become a person you confide in. The weak links of relationships in social media can't become strong because it isn't built that way. The only way to get a meaningful relationship is through the power of God and following his commandments.

May the Lord God of the universe give us the eyes to see the abundance of examples of encouragement in the world and the amount of detail that exists in harmony to inspire us. Let us give back in worship and praise to the creator who has seen that all parts of our physical world encourage and maintain all the other parts of these perfectly aligned systems. And let Him who has allowed us to live and toil in this creation be blessed by our praise and our encouragement to others to praise him.
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