This was not the blog post I had prepared to write.
My alarm went off three weeks ago, telling me it was time to write a new post, and I sat down at my computer to pull up one of the twelve unfinished drafts I’ve got saved.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve hesitated writing anything this month, because my confidence has been so shot. Every time I have thought about posting, or even writing a short note about why I haven’t been writing, I would shut the computer and walk away again.
And that doesn’t mean that I haven’t drafted, because nearly every night I pull out one of the random twelve drafts I keep for inspiration thinking,
“Maybe now will be the time I feel like writing again.”
I think as a writer it’s natural to go through times where you feel less inspired than others, but even as this blog has been running for a little over a year now, I’ve never felt a struggle to write about how I’ve seen God work in my life.
Until I came back from a month-long hiatus of social media and saw how much I’d changed.
I have an affinity for odd clothes, and that’s putting it kindly. Sweaters, brooches, and odd patterns are just a few of my favorite things to wear.
When you’re more comfortable leaving the house in corndog earrings than pearl drops, you learn that shame isn’t a word you often use to describe yourself.
As 2017 began, I learned that this had changed rapidly, without even realizing it. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt uneasy about the things I used to wear, or the things I had once enjoyed. Where did this feeling come from? Why had it come? And how do I get rid of it?
I was so aware of everyone else’s feelings, everyone else’s struggles. To be honest, I always have been. It’s part of what makes me the person I am, and it’s one of my favorite character traits. But every character trait has a downfall, and this one is a doozy.
So much of my daily life was spent watching snapchat stories, or surfing twitter for the funny tweets, the relevant tweets, the tweets that make me see life differently, and that’s not even counting for the time I spend on Facebook, a place it seems that everyone’s life is moving forward except for mine.
Never once had I anticipated that these things I looked to for encouragement would be the path to my struggle. No one sets out on an internet adventure expecting to hate their face reflected on the screen.
It wasn’t until I took a month away from all social media that I realized the face that I saw in the mirror was hiding behind a profile picture with 46 likes and a few flattering comments.
Seeing this reality was one thing, but actually having to face it, and repair the hurt I’d been covering in my heart, was a battle I hadn’t been prepared to fight.
I mentioned that my style is a little eclectic, and it very much matches my personality. My clothes are a little different, and the way I approach life sometimes makes people stare. But let me preface what comes next with a simple statement: I love the person God created me to be.
I really, truly do. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always felt this way. It took many years of growth, both emotionally and spiritually to come to the point where I realized that “created in His image” applied to me as well.
All these thoughts, and the swarming reality around me that is college Spring Semester, led me to realizing it wasn’t life I needed a break from, it was the constant holding my life against those around me, and wondering why mine didn’t match up.
That doesn’t mean I made the decision easily. All the way up to midnight starting February 1st I was bombarding with snapchat stories of my friends going on adventures, tweets quoting funny memories I wasn’t a part of, and pictures on Facebook of events I wasn’t invited to.
It didn’t take much to break me that night, enough so that I knew this was something I needed, that my relationship with God needed.
When had I become so emotionally fragile that people across a computer screen could break me without even saying a word?
Suddenly I had gone from sharing in the joys of life with my friends and people I’d connected with over the years- to hating them for having the ability to move their lives forward while I felt so stuck. It began to feel like every action was forced, like my days were incomplete if I didn’t interact with so many people, like I was less of a person because I’m single, because I’m not graduating on time, because instead of being involved in countless organizations I spend most of my time with one group, or hiding behind a notebook and a pen.
It took stepping back from social media to remind me that the person I am is exactly who God created. It took reminding myself that turning off the world and tuning into God was the only way to get back to the place of self-acceptance.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
The freedom I found in that verse during my month away was incredible. It isn’t up to me to decide if I’m enough, because the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS has already set me apart as one of his children. I don’t have to create my own “enoughness” and praise Him for that, because if I did I would never reach the bar I set for myself.
For me, social media, the constant effort of promoting yourself and boasting about accomplishments sent me on a downward spiral towards failure and regret, because where God has me right now isn’t where the rest of the world thinks I should be.
But that’s okay.
That’s why His plans are far greater than mine, that’s why I believe in the immeasurably more, it’s why I carry HOPE with me at all times. Apart from Him, apart from His plans, I will accomplish nothing. But in Him?
Man, in Him I can move mountains… and that’s something worth sharing on social media.
HEBREWS 6:19 SAYS,
“We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul. A HOPE both sure, and steadfast.”