In my teenage years, I remember hearing Queen Latifah rapping the lyrics U.N.I.T.Y. Although her song called for unity among black men and black women, the catchy chorus still rings in my thoughts every now and then, and even more so the last few weeks.
Hurricane Harvey hit my home state hard! I’m a Texan, I attended undergraduate in Beaumont, I grew up in Houston and Rosharon, graduated high school in Angleton, TX, and spent the last 14+ years in Houston, before relocating to California, this past February. All of my love ones are spread around all of South Texas. To say that my stress and worry levels are high, is an understatement.
To watch the devastation of the city and hear the worry and panic in the voices of my friends and family, and not have the ability to do anything to ease their spirit, is hard! The one thing that makes my heart smile is watching Texans come together in love, compassion, and unity. During a time where our country felt the most divided with racial tension and gender discrimination, Hurricane Harvey swept through and showed the true meaning of Humanity. It forced us back to our natural instincts of service and survival. At this moment, I am proud of human kind.
Unity seems to be the buzz word the last few weeks. Think about being in a state of dehydration or a bit overheated. Our bodies crave water to quench that thirst and heal the dehydration. Our country was craving unification. A few weeks ago, after Charlottesville, the Bishop at my church announced a Fast. A Unity Fast to pray for our nation. A Fast to bring this country together. This Fast was scheduled for three days and the three days happened to fall during the time of the Hurricane. As we fasted and prayed, the country joined together as a whole.
Ezra 8:23 – So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
Sidenote: God answers prayers, but know that the answers don’t always come the way we want them to come. Be ready! Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it.
So about my fast. The most common form of fasting is the elimination of food for a period of time. However, I believe that we must Fast from the thing, or the people, that have the strongest hold on us. The thing(s) that cause us to behave outside of ourselves. I decided to Fast from Social Media. I found myself waking up and scrolling my timeline, randomly reaching for my phone throughout the day, scrolling before I fell asleep, and checking my timeline, while on the phone with family and friends! It was ridiculous. With so much going on in the world right now, from Charlottesville, to Colin Kaepernick and the NFL, to Hurricane Harvey, social media took complete control of my emotions. I found myself reacting to people I don’t know and posts that I would normally scroll past, and not in a favorable way. I was allowing other’s opinions and lack of compassion and knowledge effect my mood and my behavior. That’s when I decided that I had to remove myself from that space.
The last 3 days have been awesome! It’s allowed me time to myself. I’ve been more calm. I’ve given loved ones my undivided attention. My thoughts and my heart is clear! During the fast, I took a moment to evaluate my wants and how I can become more intentional about those wants. In my intentions, I made sure to write down those wants, putting them into God’s universe (I’ll blog or podcast about that later). In addition, I’m not weighed down by the constant photos and news regarding Harvey. I only know the facts about Houston from friends and family who are actually living through the situation.
I will definitely add social media back to my life, but my approach is different now. If we are not careful, social media can dictate who we are and how we behave. We must control how we react and who we allow to control how we feel. I suggest that if, and when, you feel yourself getting out of character as a cause of social media, take a break.
I also encourage you to pray and give to local organizations in Houston and surrounding areas. Give to organizations that are actually on the ground and giving to those who need the help. Please check back over the next few days for organizations you can feel confident and comfortable in your giving.
God bless you all.