The Dirty Little Secret that Is Keeping You from Connecting with Your Child

I admit it. I am addicted to my devices. I obsessively pick up my smart phone anytime I have downtime. Sadly, I even will do this when I am with my son. For example when we are at a fast food restaurant, or when he is bathing, or I am “playing” with him in his playroom, within a few minutes I pull out my phone. There, I said it.

Photo Credit: bill.sarris via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bill.sarris via Compfight cc

I know I am not alone. It’s an epidemic really. People hardly look where they are going anymore because they are looking at their mobile device while they are walking, riding a bicycle, even driving a vehicle.

My wife and I went to a movie not too long ago. After the movie, we made our obligatory trek to the bathroom. We looked down the hall and both laughed out loud. Two men stood on opposite sides of the hall obviously waiting for their spouses. Both had the same pose leaning against the wall staring at their smartphones seemingly unaware of the other. I would have felt as if I were interrupting if I needed their attention.

I know that is how my four-year-old son feels when I pay more attention to my mobile device than I do him. Sometimes  he physically lifts my face up so I will look him in the eyes. Ouch!

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What an Unhealthy Brain Needs

Brian and Jeff sat on the public transit on their way back to their downtown San Francisco hotel. It was getting late when a homeless man entered their car. They knew he was homeless. He had several bags tied together and piled on a cart that he maneuvered carefully into the public train. A stench filled the air as the two guys instinctively covered their noses with their hands.

Lost in their own thoughts Brian and Jeff watched the homeless man fidget with his belongings. Brian began to wonder why this man ended up living on the streets carrying every possession he owned in dirty old bags focused on finding food, shelter and safety, while he (Brian) enjoyed a comfortable home, never worried about his next meal, and enjoyed the blessing of a beautiful family.

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7 Warning Signs that Social Media Is Ruining Your Life

I might be biting the hand that feeds me…but after one year of being on social media I see some major warning signs.

I had a thought the other day as I watched the person in the car next to me attempt to drive and navigate their smart phone.

My thought—they probably aren’t “texting”. They are updating their Facebook status, tweeting, instagraming, snap chatting (or whatever the latest new thing teenagers are doing). In their mind none of that is texting!

If you didn’t already know, just a little over one year ago I was not on any social media. Not Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, NOTHING. I know, how did I survive without knowing what the world was doing. How did anyone keep up with me?

I had successfully avoided all social media.

Why am I now submerged in this world?

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7 Warning Signs that You Are Not Living in the Present

by Kenneth A Camp

This picture is one I took when Danielle and I were touring the Forum in Rome. I pondered the fact that I was walking among the ruins of a civilization that existed over 2000 years ago. This picture captured for me the way the distant past can stay for years, and the way the immediate present is often fleeting.

One of my biggest struggles is living in the present, or Staying in the Moment as I write about in my book, Adopting the Father’s Heart. I am much better at it today than I was in the past, but I still struggle.

Why live in the present one may ask? Jesus referred to it as abiding. He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”

When we live in the present or stay in the moment, we are more fruitful and productive. We enjoy life and relationships. We are at peace.

God uses different ways to teach me how to live in the present.

He uses my mistakes to teach me. I lived for years with regrets of my past or fear of my future. The result was that I hardly ever lived in the present. All that accomplished was a lot of mistakes which only pushed me to live more like this. However, He grabbed my attention because of my failures. He used counselors to guide me. He used my broken state to speak truth to my heart.

He uses life experiences to teach me. One experience was when Danielle and I decided to quit our jobs and move to Thailand. We decided to serve as volunteer missionaries for at least 6 months. I had no idea what I would do after we returned to the states. But God taught me how to live each day while we lived in Thailand trusting that He had my future under control. And, He proved faithful.

Another life experience that has taught me how to live in the present is fostering. When our son was our foster child, for months I did not know if any given day would be his last with us. Once again, God proved to me that He was worthy of trusting and abiding in.

So, what are 7 warning signs that you are not living in the present?

  1. Anxiety – For years I struggled with anxiety. Some call it worry. Philippians 4:6
  2. Regret – Regret focuses on the past. Intellectually we know that we cannot change the past, but many live there.
  3. Fear – Similar to the first two, but this one focuses on the future. Anytime we focus on our past, future or both, we are not living in the present. 1 John 4:18
  4. Difficulty Listening – When our mind is not in the present, it is almost impossible to listen to someone speaking to us. If others ask if you are listening, that is a warning sign that you are not living in the present.
  5. Avoidance – These next three involve the desire to avoid pain. If you are avoiding certain conversations, tasks, people, etc. you are not willing to face your present reality.
  6. Obsession – Avoidance easily turns into obsession. People become obsessed with anything. A big one today is our digital devices. How many times did you check social media or email today?
  7. Addiction – Addiction is one step further away from living in the present. It is probably the most destructive. Warning signs include losing track of time or money, lying about your actions or whereabouts, and ignoring responsibilities.

Question for you – What are some other warning signs that you notice?

 

 

Transformation

Transformation – a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.  It is a powerful word.

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Last year I stood on the banks of the river Thames watching the Tower bridge transform into a passageway for a tall sailboat.  The dramatic change in its form mesmerized me.

I once needed a transformation in my life!

I grew up in a Christian home.  I went to church many times a week.  I knew all the Sunday School answers.  I even got a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies.

I knew the Bible.  I knew a lot stuff about God, Christianity, and religion.  I could debate with the best of them.

But, I wonder if I really knew Him.

Did I really love Him? What in my life demonstrated my love for Him?  My perfect attendance pin?  My ability to recite many Bible verses from memory?

What about my unseen life?  That part of me that others did not know.  Did it demonstrate a love for my God?

If I were honest with myself, I would have to say no.  I actually demonstrated a love for things of this world.  I wanted popularity.  I wanted to acquire nice things.  I wanted to feel good and be happy.

The world whispered a promise that it could not meet.  Instead, I struggled with anxiety, sadness, and addictions.

I am not sure if God broke me directly or if He just allowed me to break myself.  Regardless, I eventually became broken.

I wanted more than just knowledge of who He was.  I wanted Him.

This is when I began to experience Him.  I began to experience His presence.  His Word became more than just words on a page to me.

No longer was I comfortable with studying His Word while ignoring His call to obedience.  I wanted to know Him through obedience to His Word.  I wanted to know Him through His Presence in my life.

What looks different about me now?  I hope it is evidence of His Presence in my life.

Question – How has your life been transformed?