Where Do You Run For Answers

Technology is an amazing thing.  We have so many answers literally waiting at our fingertips.  Years ago you could Ask Jeeves (anyone remember that?).  Now, you can Google it, or ask Siri. We can instantly access scores of articles, columns, lists, tips, forums, blogs, and so on.  An ocean of information just waits for us to surf it.

If we are not careful, though, we can drown.

This is not so much about pornography. Yes, pornography is out there, like a shark in the ocean, but this is more about priority.

Recently, I have been going through some interesting and new struggles in various areas of my life- from health concerns to personal matters to research for writing.  I have found myself, in every situation, running first to the internet, typing my question into the search bar and reading through the (often conflicting) results, desperate for a definitive answer, hope, encouragement, tips, tools.

That is a problem for me.  I do not want it to be one for you.

It occurred to me a couple weeks ago after a conversation with a friend.  I was confused and perhaps a little frustrated, so I went online and began searching to try and figure out what just happened.  Yes, you read me right:

I went online and asked the entire world how to understand my friend.

After doing that a few times I suddenly stopped myself and said, “Jessica, what are you doing?”

What was I doing?  Well, the answer has some layers.

First off, I was living a life of practical atheism- living like there is no God.  Instead of taking my cares and concerns to Him first and relying on Him, I scrambled to find answers.  I wanted instant reassurance.  Instant understanding.  I wanted to know the next step, the next question to ask.  Instead of letting God’s spirit lead, I ran to the pool of popular public opinion.

Second, I was killing communication and relationship.  Here’s a Pro-tip:

If you want to understand someone, you actually need to talk to them.

You are not going to figure out what your friend is thinking by reading some article written by some angry stranger that claims to know what your friend is thinking.  You actually need to talk to your friend.  Likewise, you cannot self-diagnose an illness online.  Research all you want, eventually you are going to need to visit the doctor to figure it out for sure.

Why do I bring this up?

Because I think some of you are in this same place.  I know I get e-mails often from young women who struggle and are looking for help.  I do not mind that.  In fact, one of my favorite parts of doing what I do is getting to interact with you.  But, hear my heart when I say this:

I’m not God.

My fear, sometimes, is that these women who e-mail me are hoping I can fix them.  I cannot.  I wish I could.  I do not have all the answers.  Some days, I really wish I did.  Believe me.  Other days, I am glad I have no idea.

That is the challenge with a site like this.  I want to be a resource and an encouragement, but at the end of the day, we get our answers from the same Source.  I do not have some special wealth of knowledge that God has only shared with me.  We all have Him, His spirit, and His grace.  For whatever reason, this is something He has led me to do, and I am fine with that, but He would never lead me somewhere to replace Him.

So, I want to encourage you and challenge you (and myself): the next time you start to feel panicked because you need to figure out something right now, go to Him first.   Cast all your cares on Him.  It is not wrong to look to others- mentors, friends, the internet (with discretion) for help, but He should always be our first stop.