Happy New Year everyone! I’m sure I speak for many of you when I say that 2017 was a crazy year. I know that I only have a little over 40 years of experience on this Earth, but never have I seen as much turmoil and chaos in my life. With the advent of social media, we’ve seen society blossom into a very communicative and informed culture, but at the same time, a very argumentative, opinionated, and dangerously misinformed culture. If you spend just a little time on Facebook or Twitter these days, you’ll quickly find yourself rising on the anxiety scale. Political arguments, religious debates, wars, natural disasters, terrorism, murders, homophobia, racism, sexism…its all so crippling to the soul. Now as a passionate Christ-follower, I could easily get into why I believe all of this is happening, but I’ll save that for another post. 🙂 Today, I would just like to share a couple thoughts on my hope for 2018. On how I believe we…yes you and me…can make this new year a little brighter.
We need to know how to hit the off button. Literally. Sure, keep up with the happenings of the world digitally, but know when to say when. Turn off social media. Turn off the news. Interestingly, there is now clinical evidence that shows how scrolling through negative stories, even beeps and notifications on our phones and devices, all incite a stress-hormone response, that in time, becomes damaging to not only our physical bodies, but our psychological state as well. Its a classic and constant “fight or flight” response. So with all of this around us all day, why wouldn’t we all be anxiety stricken and stressed out? Interestingly enough, the same evidence shows that when we turn things off, that stress response starts to go away. So do yourself a favor…hit the off button more. You’ll truly feel better.
Let’s find a way to organically connect with each other. I love to use social media (and blogs :)) just as much as the next person. But, there is something special about looking someone in the eye when you’re talking. I am very fortunate that my career (and second career) allows me to talk one on one with people everyday. I hear their stories. I see their joys…and their pains. I’m able to share the same with them. This is pretty priceless when I get to think about it. I can verbally and visually encourage someone if they are having a bad day. I can also celebrate with them when things are going great! It’s also much easier to find a solution for a disagreement if you are looking someone in the eye. Friends, there is no substitute for organic connection. Let’s all do our best to encourage one another face to face and get involved with others organically. It will truly make a difference.
I have found that a great way to settle arguments is to learn more about not only why I feel the way that I do, but why the other person feels the way that they do. We are ALL entitled to our opinions. But, when those opinions meet up with other opinions, for some reason we think ours is only one that is right. Never mind the real possibility that those could be grossly under-informed opinions. Add in the fact that we can share those opinions behind a keyboard without apparent recourse, then it inevitably turns into a mess. Personally, I love to ask questions. I humbly admit that I always have more to learn. Of course, I have opinions on many things…some strong…some not so much. However, I think the moment I realized the fact that I don’t know everything is one of the most critical moments of my life. The amazing thing about learning more, is that it is never ending! It helps us to grow and to know why we feel the way that we do. It also helps create wonderful discussions and allows us to bridge gaps with people we didn’t think we could ever agree with. So, keep learning…you might be surprised what happens!
Friends, we ALL can make a difference. Even though you may think that this world is a mess, YOU can have an amazing impact on changing it for the better! I pray that each and every one of you can find your place in improving the lives of those around you, and because of that, be able to have an amazing 2018 yourself! Invest in others. Work hard. Play hard. Love more. Know that God has created you for incredible things. May you be able to see those come to life this year!
More to come soon on what we can do with all of this…
Love to you all. -bkt