I have been off of social media since Ash Wednesday. Nine full days have felt more like nine months in that I feel emotional, spiritual, and mental clarity in fresh ways that somehow it must have taken longer than only nine days to get here? Those scrolling images and habitual updates already feel like forever ago. This shows that even short social media breaks can have a huge impact on our well-being.

As I was walking around a local pond during these early, lovely days of Spring, and pondering how settled my soul was beginning to feel, I Thessalonians 4:11 came to me :

“and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.”

This verse can be a gentle admonishment for anyone who is feeling the creep of an anxious hum forming in her interior life. Social media is loud, public, and the work of other people’s hands. It’s noisy. So many images, marketing, opinions, to-dos, statements, crafts, clothes, patterns, passions. Because we are getting inundated with chronic visual input, our minds start ruminating and dwelling on “her affairs” even when we put away our phones. Her decor, her mothering style, her way of reading the Bible, her ideas. And if we follow about 400 women, that is 400 women’s voices, affairs and work on display to us over and over again all day! These lives can begin taking over our own, overpowering our unique thoughts, ideas, and creative output.

In my time away from social media, I have had the surprise of desiring to write again which has resulted in two blog posts and some journaling. I cleared out the winter clutter of my den, all the dark pillows, throws, and layers and lightened the space with some Spring decorating. I made pretty Spring wreaths from artificial flowers glued and wired to embroidery hoops, and knotted a simplified macrame birdfeeder. I have listened to great podcasts and dug deeper into stimulating books. I have hosted old and new friends, reached out more, and am dreaming about new, local possibilities. It’s as if I am being set free to do “me” again instead of dwelling on all the “hers” and what they are doing. My time isn’t being sucked away looking at hundreds of highlight reels, but creating my own singular, real-life highlight reel for me and my family to enjoy.

I had told you in my last post that I had Social Media FOMO, but I didn’t fully realize all that I was actually missing out on in my real life. I now am beginning to fear missing out on the now, because presence is where the magic is, and that’s where social media leads us away from. Presence is where we live at peace, manage our own affairs, work with our hands. We can’t do these well if our mind and eyes are distracted and living in someone’s else visual real estate.

Let’s invest in our own space well. Our interior spaces, our living spaces, our relational spaces. Let’s quiet ourselves, simmer down, be content with less stimulation, inspiration, and opinions. Let’s mind our own affairs, working with faithfulness within our homes, jobs, and resources, with full focus, clarity, and bringing the first-fruits of our best selves. Let’s work with our hands, tending our people, kneading the bread, digging the garden, stitching the fabric, stirring the soup, cleaning the corners, typing the words, wiping the counters, knitting the yarn, folding the shirts, hanging the banners, arranging the flowers. There is so much life to be living right in front of us! Not her work. Not the work of the past, not the allure of a beautiful future, but the right-now work of the real-life present. The invitation to a peaceful and meaningful life is in front of us. Let’s say yes to it.

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