After a lot of thinking these last couple of months, I've decided to discontinue writing, sending and publishing my encouragement messages.
It's been really tough for me mulling this over (it's been a big part of my life for nearly three years), but I'd like to share some of the reasons with you why.
Firstly, I'm at, without a doubt, very busy - I'm in the midst of applying to university, desparately trying to get As in three of the hardest A2s (English Literature, History and Latin), writing and planning an extended essay on the Printing Press, preparing for my cello grade 8 and piano grade 7 exams and trying to live a life built around Jesus. Therefore, I have virtually no time, and any spare time I have gets gobbled up by that online monster called Facebook. I really need to focus this year 'on other projects'.
Secondly, the lack of feedback I receive and the very inactive group (which initially discouraged me) has made me realise something great - true encouragement lies in Jesus, alone. He has given us His words so each of us can be encouraged ourselves, anytime, anywhere. And He has given us other believers, whom we can build strong friendships with, rooted in Him. I do not need to dispense encouragement to you online, when it is already available in the real world.
I strongly urge you, if my messages were the only thing keeping you afloat (I have a feeling this might be true for a couple of you), immerse yourself in God's word - we're commanded to meditate (Psalm 1:2) on it - constantly dwell, memorize and keep God's truths and promises fixed in our hearts and minds. We are so blessed in this country to have access to a variety of Bibles as well as gospel-centred resources to help us glean as much as possible. The best way to do this is reading and studying God's word for ourselves, at our own pace, in the quiet of our rooms, without blinking square-eyed at a humming machine.
I've become increasingly aware recently of the rapid growth of technology, and its impact on the way we view our day to day relationships. It now seems that most people under the age of 50 either have a Facebook account, or are under pressure from friends to get one. And EVERYTHING now seems to be online. In some ways this can be beneficial, but isn't it bleak? Our society could soon be overwhelmed by cyberspace virtuality and over-reliance on technology, especially the internet.
God created us not only for a relationship with Him, but also with others. Messages on a computer can never be a substitute for actually being encouraged by a friend sitting next to you. Throughout the letters to the churches in the New Testament, the Christians are commended for encouraging one another and commanded to build eachother up. This can only properly be done by meeting regularly in person with one another.
I don't necessarily mean we should go to church all the time, but do we meet up with other Christians as often as we can, or do we only confine these vital relationships to Sundays? I know in this area I fall so short. The best encouragement there is is going regularly to a church (no, not a building with a steeple), a gathering of mainly like-minded people, who are willing to pray, to listen and to talk to me. (And if your church isn't like this - do yourself a huge favour and find another one). I don't think a computer is ever capable of fulfilling this role as a support network.
We need eachother in the flesh, and I feel this blog and group are giving out the wrong impression of how we should be interacting.
I'm keeping the website up, so I can look back in a couple of years time and see how far I've come, and in case someone stumbles across it and needs to be encouraged.
I'm still unsure about the future of the group - does anyone want to take over from me as admin (if no one replies, I'll just remove myself anyway)?
As always, God bless, and hopefully see you soon,