Just got off the phone with a broken hearted pastor friend of mine going through a brutal beating right now. (I got his permission to blog on this). He's a great man of God. I find myself extremely Blessed to never have been through what he's going through, but broken hearted for what he is going through. After all, he's a friend. Real friends feel for one another, good and bad. Don't get me wrong. I've had my disappointments, my hurts, my pains. I've felt as abandoned as the next pastor who poured himself into people, only to be hated for his decision/opinion/council. 
But nothing like my friend is going through. He feels brutally betrayed. I've known him long enough to know his character and have 0 reason to NOT believe him. He's led a godly lifestyle and from a insane point of humility. He puts Christ first and his calling at a very high level. He's a servant/pastor to the core. He just feels betrayed. He feels forgotten, he feels abandoned.

     If people are FUNNY, then people mixed with ministry is HYSTERICAL.  The servant/pastor type can struggle with this as my friend is right now. It's amazing how you can literally be a hero one day, and totally despised and forgotten the next. I listened to my friends story and felt for him. I've talked to a lot of pastors who have gone through this. If my friends church really stopped to think of how much he loves, has sacrificed, and would do (and has done) anything for them, they would probably be embarrassed by their actions. They've forgotten his heart for them (haven't we all done this to someone at some point?).  They don't like one thing, and they've let that one (non-essential thing) to define their relationship now. It's the sin of immaturity, and it can tear churches, but more importantly people apart.

      I scrambled my brain for scripture as he was unloading his story on me. I couldn't think of anything! I couldn't think of one story, one Psalm, even Solomon abandoned me. So I listened, I encouraged, we prayed, and the only thing I could think of to tell him was the thing that should comfort us all when we feel we've invested and then feel abandoned. 

3 powerful words.

Fasting: primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some "thing", for a period of time. 
     So at the beginning of the year I decided to take a "social media" fast. I only checked emails on a DIRE need basis. I shut down my Facebook, tweeted only once, and even started off on the wrong foot with wanting to "blog" and write more.
But I felt I needed to focus more. As Jackie Chan put it so elequotely in the next Karate Kid. "My foooocussss neeeeeed mooooo fooocuuussss". So I decided for the first month of every year I'm going to "shut down the system...stick it to the man....reach for the sky (ok WHAT?)". So I did just that. I shut down all social connections, to work on my spiritual connections.
Here's what I learned.

1. "Wearily must we be on things that are meant to bring us closer, least they tear us apart". 
Remember, what you read on a status PROBABLY has a story behind it. What you write on your status, MAY have implications on how others view you. Anyway how many convo's start with "He/She wrote it on Facebook", "He/She facebooked, "He/She deleted me on facebook".

2. EVERYONE wants to know EVERYTHING. This means people stalking/watching your every 
post, pic, response, re re response, like, group, etc etc. We as people have a incredible need to know what EVERYONE is thinking at EVERY moment of the day. We have to unplug our need to know EVERYTHING.

3. NOT EVERYONE CARES....NOR SHOULD THEY...The only thing worse then the person who wants to know what everyone is thinking about everything. Is the person who THINKS everyone wants to know what HE/SHE is doing, thinking, eating, reading, dreaming EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY. I say it with love love love. LET'S ALL JUST GET OVER OURSELVES. Leave a bit of room for mystery please. Plus, what's better then revealing a dream, anger, resentment, heartache, happiness in the company of your closest friend face to face ( - =

4. QUIET THE NOISE.......You can watch on a regular news feed/tweet feed how much time people are putting into their status/stalking efforts. Remember, SOLITUDE is a spiritual discipline. If your someone who is REALLY REALLY uncomfortable in silence. It's probably the very thing God is calling you to. Heres a great song by Upton to get to my point: 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAqKj9toFo4Btw Doing this I noticed my Prayer life increased, my reading doubled and I'm a avid reader, my focus seemed sharper, my exercise routines went from 0 to 3 in the month ( don't judge).
Social media is great and I love staying connected and sharing a good laugh. Cell phones are convienient, video games are a blast, and all can be used as such great resources for your personal life, ministry, or entertainment. But just remember shutting them all down is a great discipline to regain FOCUS, to establish BOUNDRIES (personal and professional), to stay CONNECTED to the real world (and not hide behind a social network system).

Live wisely,