Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nothing Good Happens After 10 pm, 11 pm, Midnight...

I've spent most of my adult life in service to teenagers.  In the past 10 years, social networking, texting, and the ability to share every facet of your life has exploded among the teen (and adult) culture like an atomic bomb.  In my day, the saying was that "Nothing good ever happens after 10 pm."  As my testimony of my teenage years confirm this, what with the drinking and general debauchery that occurred well into the wee hours of the morning, I feel like something has shifted in the ways that nothing good happens now.

We long for transparency in the Christian life.  When someone gets up in front of hundreds and thousands of people and shares their life story, about a time when they were raped, they were on drugs, they were suicidal, they were stuck in the miry clay, if you will - we connect with this person on a deeper level.  We tear up, we partly feel their pain and agony, and maybe we even identify with the person because we are or were in that very same mire.  The testimony continues and that person has their foot set on the firm rock of Jesus now - we cry more and feel joy in the freedom of the collective life of Christ.  This is not a bad thing, this can be and should be a very good, encouraging thing.

When is enough though?  When should some things be kept private and not divulged to the entire "cloud" of witnesses that is NOT the biblical "cloud of witnesses?"

I often hear teenagers saying that they cannot sleep and that they have a struggle with insomnia.  But as my experience in having sleepovers with these teens at different camps tells me, they do not lack sleep because of insomnia, they have no sleep because they are up all night constantly texting one another and chatting on Facebook and tweeted updates about their lack of sleep.  Their minds constantly work and they have "conversations" until 4, 5, 6 am in the morning.

Let me make up a statistic on the spot - there are more teens today suffering from depression than ever before in the history of the world (and this includes teenagers with crazy, messed up families like Joseph and Rachel of the Old Testament).  Most teenagers that I talk to are depressed or have some sort of depression in the past.  So, there friends stay up all night texting back and forth, back and forth, rehashing all of the depression, talking about all of the things that make them feel horrible, gripe about their parents and living situations, and maybe, just maybe pray for a few minutes or seconds.

Is this ok?  I'm all for encouraging one another as long as today is called today.  But when is enough enough?  When is it more detrimental to the people of Christ to be constantly available for one another and no longer alone before God crying out to Him Alone?

Don't misunderstand me.  We, the church, need one another.  We need to encourage, exhort, push one another as we strive to be the Church of Christ, to be His body here on earth.  BUT...

I remember a great story that was told to me about 8 years ago now.  This Christian guy was at a missions conference, and his roommate, who he had never met, would wake up crying every night from about 2 am till 5 am.  Finally after about 3 nights of this, the guy woke up along with him and asked his crying, weeping roommate what was wrong.  The man replied that God wakes him up every night to cry and weep over his country for the lost souls that are in it, and to pray for the harvest to come.

This man did not wake up and begin to text his friends, or get on Facebook, well probably AIM at that point and time, to chat away the hours in the evening about his depressed state; no he woke up and cried to God.  His time was with his Father in Heaven.  And you can bet that this man never suffered the effects of his insomnia.  He was not tired, but constantly refreshed.

I do think that the social networking devices have been an incredible tool for people to connect and even grow together.  But can I suggest that nothing good still happens after 10 pm?  I know that we think that we have to be there for one another, even till 4 am, but shouldn't we encourage one another to seek God, shut off our computer and cell phone and then actually seek Him?  Pray, cry, weep, praise, rejoice - whole heartedly, with all your mind, with all your strength and with every inch of soul.

Just a thought.