Monday, March 31, 2014

Minimalist Living: Social Media and Internet Downplay {ie Pinterest}

Having a child really makes you want to simplify and get back to the basics of life - those things that really matter. Before Declan, I did have time to waste on social media. It was my time to wind down after a long day. Of course, I still had laundry and cooking and dishes, but not nearly as much as I do now!!!

After reading about the Minimalist lifestyle, I began to clear out and purge our belongings {Minimalist Living: The Closet} and {Minimalist Living: Books}. That was very therapeutic, but that only helped purge things. I needed to make more time as well. I also felt the desire to begin really fostering close friendships with people who had children Declan's age and could help support me in this new role as mother. 

It all started with a book lent to me by a neighbor - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. My neighbor is very interested in Chinese culture and reads novels based with an Asian setting and storyline. Being married to a Chinese man, I was intrigued.

A Little Background

One particular theme of the book that stood out to me was the theme of friendship. In the book, daughters were still matched to their future husbands through the use of a matchmaker. Women would then, following Chinese culture, MARRY INTO THEIR NEW HUSBAND'S FAMILY. They would leave the natal or family home of their childhood and would live with their husband's family. They would not see their birth families until big holidays. This was quite a lonely life for these women because they were going to a new place and living with a family they did not know. They were leaving everything familiar behind. {This is much like the lives of many women today - lonely}

But, these women did find a way to happiness. The matchmaker would also match the young girls early on with a "sworn Sister" or "sister for life". In Chinese, the term is Laotong. These "sisters" were to serve as a support for each other through life's hardships and everything they would be facing. Sisters were matched based on birthday, family status, size of bound feet, etc. This was a match that was to never be broken.

True Friendships (as opposed to FB friendships)

From this book, I took the idea of such a deep friendship to heart. Yes, many of us have hundreds is not thousands of "friends" on FB and Instagram and Pinterest etc...., but how many TRUE "Lao Tong" relationships do we as women truly have? Women need these deep relationships. We need other women who can be there through thick and thin and through all of life's ups and downs. People who will truly share in our joys and sorrows. Women who will be there no matter the distance or time apart. You know the friends I am speaking of (hopefully you have been so lucky) - the friends we have that we can just visit with or talk on the phone to and just pick up where we left off even after a long period of time.

Being a woman is hard! Being a mother is hard! We as women are our own worst critics and sometimes we are each others worst critics!!

My husband and I have both been very lucky in friendships of this kind. I have several friends who are always there for me whether we see each other very often or not. {Nora, Holly and Regan I love you all!!!} My husband has one friend, John, who he can call on at any time even though there is distance between them.

With the beginning of social media, I believe true friendships are falling to the waste side. True friendships that are fostered through time spent together. I am as guilty as the next person about not calling people or sending cards on their birthday since I can wish them a Happy Birthday on FB - I am even reminded by FB when to do this!!

FB Purge 

So, my FB purge began. I have recently felt convicted that my time is being wasted way too much on FB and Pinterest. I won't cancel either because they do provide a way for me to show photos of Declan to out of town family and Pinterest does help with research for my business projects. But, I did began to delete a lot of "friends" so I wouldn't have so many things jumping out at me when I log in to just post a photo which in turn ends up being an hour long viewing of what everyone is doing!!

I believe there are people who are brought into our lives for a season when we need them most. All friendships are not going to be these LaoTong types of friendships. But, we should all strive to have at least one person in our life that is our LaoTong - someone who we can spend time with and someone we can talk to and someone who will support us. Someone who will not judge. Someone who will be there for us no matter what is going on or what is not going on. This takes effort on the part of both people.

My friends were there for me through our struggles with infertility even though both of them had beautiful children already. They were there when I had my appointments and they were there when our IVF failed. They were there to support us through our adoption and they are still there to provide deep friendships for our son and us as we travel this hard road through parenthood.

As a Christian, these true friendships are Biblical. Forming friendships based on commonalities of belief and life stages is important. You need someone who will give you wise counsel when you need it. You can go to the following passages to read about what the Bible says about friendships:

  • Proverbs 27:17 Friends can help you stay strong 
  • Proverbs 12:26 Be careful in choosing friends
  • Proverbs 18:24 True friendships
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9 Laboring together
  • Proverbs 17:17 Friendship is lasting 
Don't get me wrong, FB has its value. FB can also take our time when we should be focusing on much more important things in life. 

My challenge to you today is to put down the phone, log out of the computer and spend time doing something wonderful with a true friend. Whether it be lunch or time at the park with your kids or just talking on the phone. Spend some time fostering those relationships. 

If you have any more verses on friendship, feel free to post them in the comment section!! 

No comments: