God has been teaching me a hard lesson lately; a lesson that leaves me with a feeling of regret about how I could’ve lived the past decade or so of my life in a more godly way.
The lesson boils down to me having my priorities all mixed up. Something that should’ve been a priority was being replaced by things that were much smaller priorities or things that shouldn’t hold the title “priority” at all.
Now what do Facebook, the Hunger Games, a dream, and my Mom have to do with anything? Well, those are the tools God used to teach me that I have not been putting my brothers at a high priority level in my life. I’ve not spent the time with them they deserve. I’ve miserably failed as a “big sister” in so many ways. I turn them down when they ask me to play or do something with them because there are other things I’d rather be doing. I speak harshly to them. I make degrading comments. I make so many mistakes…
Facebook’s role in this lesson:
A couple weeks ago, I was lying in bed one night and God put it on my heart to take a Facebook fast. I wrestled with this for a while wondering what the point of it was and why I needed to do it.
God spoke to me with an argument entirely unbeatable, “Tell me, what would it hurt for you to take this fast?? If your account was deleted right now, what would you truly be missing??”
The answer to both questions: nothing.
God won my heart and I decided to take a four day Facebook fast. That sounds like a short amount of time…and it is…but to me it felt like forever as I anticipated it.
At first, I didn’t want to tell Mom and Dad simply because I knew if I told them I would have to stick with it. However, if I was going to do this then I needed to actually do it and not bail from it right?? Soooo…I climbed out of bed and shared my plan with my parents.
God brought a lot of things to my attention while I took this fast. One of those things was how much I ignore and don’t take a lot of time to spend with my four younger brothers. Facebook has its place and it’s not a bad thing per-say. However, when I refuse spending time with my brothers because I’m “busy” on my computer, how often do I have a valid reason?? Alex, Jackson, Anderson, and Cameron are far more important than Facebook and I need to treat them that way.
Lesson #1- People are more important than technology.
My Mom’s role in this lesson: Saying “I love you.”
“How often do you tell your siblings you love them?”
Mom asked my four brothers and I this question early last week. Right when she asked the question it suddenly hit me that I don’t tell my brothers I love them very often! I tell them now and then, but it’s not something I’m intentional about.
Double-whammy: I tell my friends I love them. I’m fairly intentional about that. Why was I telling my friends I love them when I’m not even telling my own brothers?? Punch to the gut right there…
Lesson #2- Tell the boys I love them.
A Dream About the Hunger Games:
I haven’t even seen all these movies. In fact, I have yet to completely finish the first one (nobody tell me what happens). However, it came up in a recent dream…
In my dream, my 9 year old brother and I were chosen to represent our district in the Hunger Games (I realize 9 year olds are too young, but remember it’s a dream). The games had begun and I allied with a small group of friends. We wound up finding my brother, Andy, in my grandmother’s bedroom (don’t ask me why that was the location…if it has significance I have yet to discover it).
Andy’s image in my dream was incredibly vivid while every other image was a bit clouded. Andy’s face wore a look of pure terror as he feared what could come. He was looking me square in the eyes as if hoping I would save him somehow.
One of my allies was like the voice of satan in my dream. She kept saying, “You have to do it! Just kill him!” I struggled internally and told her repeatedly I couldn’t do it!
“He’s my brother! I CAN’T kill him!!”
My ally: “Well, if you can’t kill him, just injure him.”
My internal struggle was so real in the dream…Andy’s fear-stricken face pierced my heart, but my own fear won over and I took a sword and stabbed my brother in the shoulder.
The heartbroken look on Andy’s face mixed with the bitter weeping from physical and emotional pain struck my heart in the dream (and even in reality) and I immediately fell down, wrapped him in my arms, and cried; sorely regretting what I had done.
This is obviously a moot scenario and I can honestly say I would never EVER do this, but it put something into perspective for me, similar to an object lesson: How many times have I “stabbed” my brothers with my words? How many times have I broken their hearts and damaged their trust when I constantly say “no” to their requests for me to play with them?
The first thing I did the morning after I had this dream was find Andy, give him a big hug, and tell him I loved him. I was actually teary-eyed and later on when I told each of my parents about my dream I cried again. It was dream, yes, but it was so vivid and Andy’s emotions were so real in the dream!
Lesson #3- My actions and words can either encourage or damage my brothers. I need to be more thoughtful about my words and actions. Both leave lasting scars…the question is: do the scars bring back good memories or bad ones?
For anyone reading this, whatever title(s) you bear (sister, brother, mother, father, daughter, son, etc), make sure you put your family first!! Waking up and realizing I hadn’t been and realizing how much precious time I wasted…time I can’t get back…was heartbreaking.
I’ve spent 17 (well, technically 13) years of my life not being the best sister I could be. Of course I’ll fail, but the problem is, there was a lot of those 13 years I wasn’t even trying to be a good sister! I’m a decent sister, but that’s not good enough. I want to live every area of my life with every bit of my God-given potential. The only way to do that is through Christ. I haven’t been seeking Him to help me in this area like I should, but I’m incredibly grateful He saw fit to open my eyes to this sin in my life.
It has been a hard and painful lesson to learn…after all, I may not have many more years under the same roof as my brothers. It’s saddening to know I spent a majority of the years I should’ve been developing bonded relationships with them putting our relationships on the back-burner.
I can’t change the past, but I can do better in the future….and that’s what I plan to do!