Roots & Wings

Iphones and Snapchat and Facebook, Oh My!


We've all been there. It's a "look at this" and "did you see that?" world. Our screens drive our communication, our social networks, and everything in-between. Surely, isn't it all quite harmless? Today, we have access to the most elite technology, filling our pockets with innovations of which previous generations never could have dreamed. Connection is easier than ever, and for the anxious-of-mind, it can be less awkward, too. What's not to love about that?

As a society we have come to accept the constant use of our devices. And we've come to anticipate that our social time will be interrupted by buzzing and brightening screens and we're all okay with that...right? 

Well, it seems that research says otherwise. 

According to one study by Nancy K. Baym (2015), 92% of respondents indicated that they have felt ignored by a loved one who was using a mobile device during a face-to-face conversation. While such behavior has become so prevalent that it is easy to assume that it is widely accepted, this percentage should signal a new thought: maybe it's not okay. It begs the question: will our inability to separate from our devices ultimately cost us our relationships?

In addition to relational problems, consistent screen time and social media use have been shown to have some alarming effects on mental health and well-being. In her book, iGen, Jean M. Twenge discusses various alarming relationships between screen time, social media, depression, and loneliness. In summary, greater screen time and social media use were linked to greater measures of loneliness and unhappiness, respectively. Greater screen time has also been linked to greater risk of depression, whereas in-person interactions result in being 20% less likely to be unhappy. 

These findings present a sobering reality for both personal and relational well-being. While it is tempting to look at our digital habits as simply echoes of a new era, the implications here are hard to ignore. But what can we do about it? Isn't technology here to stay? 

While I think we would all agree that we aren't going back to the dark ages any time soon, integrating even micro-adjustments to our approach could prove to be fruitful. Rather than throwing our phones off a bridge, or going cold-turkey on all social media, what about finding some middle ground?

Here are a few possible suggestions:

- In light of the findings on relational strain due to use of phones in face-to-face interactions, try putting your phone away-- even turning it off-- the next time you meet up with a friend. Certainly, if the interruption of a phone can be hurtful, the intentional choice to not use one could be deeply meaningful. 

- Due to the way screens can increase feelings of loneliness, try replacing one screen-based activity per week with a personal interaction, such as getting coffee with a friend or going on a walk with a roommate. 

- In order to combat the unhappiness that can be bred through social media, try taking one day a week or even one hour a day, to turn off your phone and engage in an uplifting activity, such as reading your favorite book, adding to a gratitude journal, or working on a creative project. 

These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. No matter how small the changes you make, even baby steps can lead to healthier habits and relationships. Simply start small and enjoy the analog adventure. 


7.8.17

Summer around here has been the slow, sweet kind of summer. Quiet days, a fairly empty house, and just enough to keep me busy. Not too busy, though. It's actually been in the slowness that I've learned, grown, and drawn near to the Lord in sweet ways.

In this season of transition, I feel caught between two cities and two stages of life and sometimes it's hard to know where I fit or how to find community. But I'm coming to realize that in this season, at least, community looks like a lot of different people in different places at random times. It's all grace and I'm receiving it gladly with open hands.

This morning it looked like piling in a car at 5:30 a.m. with friends, new and old. We set out to capture the sunrise and a handful of other sights around the city. I think the four of us got about 10 hours of sleep collectively, so the day had its share of coffee stops, overused jokes, and nuttiness. There was roof climbing and flower buying and dog petting. Good light and good pastries. Fun friends and rad times. Overall, just a lot of grace and I'm thankful.


























4.28.17



It turns out that the only times I blog are the times I have no time to blog at all.

I suppose that might be because once it's past 1AM, I'm bound to procrastinate on something pointless like Facebook, and if I'm not going to sleep anyway, why not write?

It's simple, really. I don't have all that much to say. Here you go.

After almost three years, my time as a graphic design student is coming to a close. With less than a week until the climax of this whole adventure, I am finally feeling the stress that being a procrastinator eventually leads to. In the midst of this time, the busyness, the stress, the uncertainty and anxiety can fight to swallow up everything. With a large handful of unknowns ahead, it's easy to become anxious and catastrophize until I either cry or just say, "it's all gonna be okay." With desires that are growing and unmet, I'm prone to worry. Over and over and over, having to surrender, yield, trust in the Lord.

In all of it, it's just really easy to wind up in a worried, complain-y, exhausted, self-centered, Word-deprived, sleep-deprived, un-trusting ball on the floor.

And I hardly know how to say it-- how do you keep truth from becoming a cliche? Where are the words to describe it?

I'm at a loss, but this is all I know-- more deeply than my anxiety or uncertainties; more than my own pain or messiness-- that He is good.

He is good.

So, so good.

Really, truly, He is our sustainer. Our provider. Our savior. The truest thing I know. The most tender and loving voice. A God, not of coincidence, but of intention. A giver of good gifts. A giver of Himself. Present. Never leaving. Always calling. The lover of our souls. The One who satisfies.

He satisfies us because we were created to be satisfied by Him. Our souls were formed with an appetite that can only be cured by Him. Not by seeking the desires of our flesh, but by seeking His kingdom and righteousness we find that we are filled simply by seeing His face.

So I stop to reflect on this; to remind myself once again of His goodness. I look at these photos and see so many instances of His kindness to me. A million little graces. I see the God who speaks to me in songs and sits with me in my tears; the God who provides the little things that delight our souls; the God who gives us days that are less productive than we would like so that our souls can be refreshed by relationship; the God who has the best sense of humor. He is the One who shows us that He is better, and in experiencing that, we can say, it is well with my soul. Thy will, not mine. 

So may we cultivate a heart of thankfulness in the face of chaos. May joy overrule our (my!) tendency to complain, and instead turn it into praise. May we find in Him rest for our souls.

Perfect peace, y'all. (Isaiah 26:3)

















1.30.17



I've been wanting to share thoughts here for months, but the time never seems right and the thoughts never quite come together. So naturally, it's 12:25 AM when I'm tired, crying, and in under the covers that the tangents all seem to jive.

For the past [long] while, I've been pondering the idea of vulnerability. Buzzword though it may be, it has brought out a lot in me on my journey to understanding who I was made to be and how I was made to relate with others.

I find it such an interesting concept. As a friend of mine put it, vulnerability is putting our own reputations at risk of being jeopardized. Essentially, tearing down the walls we build for ourselves of how we want to be seen. And while the idea of vulnerability is kind of nice, kind of romantic, kind of #authentic, it kind of sucks.

I mean, really. I'll go first in the name of vulnerability.

There is something fierce in the core of my being that hates it. There's a hard part of me that despises itself when I allow my weakness, my sinfulness, my inadequacy, my insecurity to be seen.

It must be the part of me that is so dead set on being strong and capable. 

It must also be the part of me that knows how weak I am and how much I wish I could deny it.

I think the deal with vulnerability is that it cuts to the heart of our deepest desires-- to be fully seen, fully known, and still fully loved. And when we allow ourselves to be seen and known, we are also throwing ourselves into the possibility of being misunderstood. You know how it goes. You share, maybe overshare-- essentially you share something deeper than what you had for lunch with someone who you believe to be worthy of your trust. And one way or another, you find yourself backpedaling because not only did you give of yourself, but your openness was not stewarded well and suddenly you feel misunderstood, weak and alone.

I have come to see that that often this triggers self-protection. It looks like turning into someone we are not and building some major walls. Because to be fully and unflinchingly ourselves, walking in the confidence of Christ-- that is strength. But it never fails to feel the complete opposite: weak and vulnerable.

And as a desire to be strong grows, it brings with it a temptation to become hard and avoid vulnerability at all costs. While the world (and something in me) says to be a BA woman who can do it all, keeping the walls up and my facade in tact, in a contradiction I find truth: that strength is a humble, gentle perseverance that admits "I can't do it all." Strength is 'working with all your heart as to the Lord' but declaring "The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation."

It is a beautiful mystery in which we grow most in our own lack of strength. In our void we find His abundance. In being misunderstood we find that He understands us. In our vulnerability, we remember that He sees us and still loves us completely. 

And I can honestly say that I've experienced few things sweeter than when his personal love and understanding of our complex selves becomes tangible in the void of earthly love and understanding.

It is when we draw from His unending storehouses of strength and love and joy; when we walk by faith in realization of our true reality and stop trying to muster up everything on our own-- then we experience His fullness of life and the joy of depending on a loving Father who will never fail-- and who can and has done it all.