By Melva Blanchard

I’m looking for jobs. Just got my Green Card and now I’m able to start something new, a formal job that I can commit to, wake up early for, and put on a blouse and my not-so-high heels. This is an exciting season that brings a lot of hope and makes me feel energized by the possibility of engaging in something that will make me grow.

I got married 9 months ago and I’m having a great time enjoying married life. I wish I could change the subject a little and brag about my husband, but I’ll stick to the topic this time. With him being American, and me being Brazilian, we decided out of convenience and practicality to live in the US, which brings me here today. Transition has been good, with ups and downs, as with any transition, but what I want to emphasize is that moving to a new place and having a visa that does not permit work or study can give you a lot of free time. Free time that can be wisely spent… or not.

I am not into technology, but I could say I was using my phone more than I wanted to. It just became clear to me when, one day, I was sitting in my apartment, checking social media and other websites when I realized it was almost lunch time and I was still in my pyjamas! How is that possible?

I realized I was trying to bring two worlds together. Living in the US and keeping myself updated on what was going on in Brazil – friends, family, economy, politics. I was trying to make sure I was not missing out on any of that. I was ‘doing my job’ making myself aware of every situation, from the friend that was enjoying her new hobby to the thing with the president that was being impeached. I realized I was misleading myself, trying to make myself believe it was a good thing, when it was so obvious I was being a terrible steward of the time God had given me!

I was checking social media not for my growth, but for my pleasure – or more accurately, my ‘displeasure.’ Those things were only consuming my time and making me feel anxious and worried. Making me fear tomorrow instead of trusting in God. Making me diminish who I was while checking beautiful pictures on the internet. Making me feel I was not having such a great time. I was decreasing instead of growing! Just because nobody was looking at me. Nobody was checking how I was spending every single minute of my time.

When it comes to social media, most of us are very aware of the risks and the bad effects that it can bring, though we never think we are included in that. We know that a good percentage of those who are addicted or only spend a lot of time there (in another words, slightly addicted) suffer of some type of anxiety or sadness but we are always telling ourselves that it is not our case. What I am really saying is that it is better for us to, instead of separating us from the majority and seeing ourselves as protected from those effects, understand that we are just like everybody. We can also develop anxious thoughts just because of some pictures or we can waste time reading unstoppable posts. Because in this sense, we are just like everybody.

So I decided to live in one city; the city where I could be found, where I could do real things and meet people in person. I decided to dedicate my time to build a community in this place, to invest in lives near me and watch this sunset in real time. I learned that if you try to live in more than one place, whether they are real cities whether they are future or past, you are definitely missing out on what is going on around you, and I don’t believe that was what Jesus did when He was here. He was fully present wherever He was, and once He left one place, He would focus on those who were surrounding Him. They had His full attention. What a beautiful way to live!

I am positive we can make the most out of today, where we are, with the time we have, with the people we interact with. Even living the “in between”, feeling like we are still adapting, knowing that this process can take a long time. We can still do something today, filling the gaps, living abundantly.