You know that feeling when you get out of a car after being in it for a really long time? Like hours?
Sore bum? Bladder about to burst? Kind of starving?
That’s sort of how I feel right now. Or rather, how I felt.
Tired, unsatisfied, hungry — the list could go on and on.
I think I’ve admitted before that I am a pretty obsessive social media user (if we’re focusing on merely Instagram). But it wasn’t until recently I experienced much self conviction in regards to it. I saw a complete lack of discipline ruling over my life as I let distractions leave me no time to get things done efficiently. In all honesty, I had not been able to stay off of it. I checked it every 15 minutes or, God forbid, more. I always felt pressure to be coming up with a cool picture to post and by the time I did, I needed to be thinking of what to post next. I felt like I had to move just as fast as the application did — always changing and bringing new things to the table. I thought I needed to post at certain times to get more likes, tag all the coolest accounts, and tag the hashtags that get you even more likes. I thought I had to be the best and I thought I was doing everything right.
Worst of all, I kept comparing myself to others. Measuring myself to individuals more successful than I. Thinking I had to achieve a certain standard. Be this. Wear that. Say this. Tag that. It seemed like I was always working towards something, like I was doing something for a specific outcome that in reality wouldn’t come.
It was worthless. So much so, I felt worthless.
For a platform meant to inspire, it was really halting all my creativity and completely tearing me down. For I wasn’t creating, but damaging my ability to come up with my own ideas that I enjoyed sharing. I wasn’t standing out very well despite my efforts to move in directions with specific intentions.
I was discouraged and I was disappointed.
Because of this (and a much needed invitation from a great friend of mine), I’m resting.
And this is no casual rest, but a serious one.
A direct challenge from God, if you will.
I’m approaching week 4 of a social media break, which will last till early June, and I’ve never felt more free.
Free to be who I want, free to listen, free to live — just free.
I felt God call me to pick up discipline and walk in accountability a week before my friend’s invitation. I wanted to walk in a different, new kind of humility. I told myself, or rather heard the Lord tell me in blatant terms to, “get your crap together.”
I was falling apart. I couldn’t believe I was measuring myself by how I looked on Instagram. I wanted to become someone who was found secure in herself, not in her Instagram account — which in all honesty created much insecurity.
Since starting this break, I’ve found balance. Solace, really.
Surprisingly, I feel my creative juices flowing better while disconnected. And the strangest thing? I haven’t found myself missing the media much.
Instead of looking at a screen for inspiration, I’ve been able to draw from the most tangible of sources like the rain in the sky or my cat. Even my plants and the rays of light that seep through my bedroom window at 4 o’clock in the afternoon scream art.
Most of all, I’ve been able to draw from internal sources. The influence that has gotten thrown in my face is absent, and instead I get to listen to myself.
I feel more in touch with my soul, where, coincidentally, the Lord too lies.
I’m setting trends aside and listening to what God says I do today. Even if humility and grace were to go “out of style” tomorrow, I should still choose them.
It’s funny how often we forget the ultimate source of creativity lives within us. And he always wants to speak to us and share vision with us.
He’s the paint to our brushes. The lens to our cameras. The tones we love seeing in colors. He’s everything.
Though they can be inspiring, I don’t really want to listen to the culture I may sometimes proudly walk hand in hand with. I’d much rather draw inspiration from the one who made the heavens and the earth in all their wonder. The one who put passion inside of me. I want him to cultivate it. Nourish it. Keep the spark in me alive to create and deliver beautiful content. In the right way and at the right time. Because he placed it first in me.
Ordinarily put, social media doesn’t matter. And this is something I’ve found to be reminding myself of all the time. It shouldn’t be a place where I get to create a flawless reputation of who I am, or should it be a place where I find it defining me. And sadly, I let it.
No longer do I want to remind myself. I don’t want it to be something that controls my life or do I ever want it to dictate how I plan my day.
I’ve wanted to stop looking to social media for creativity for months. I’ve wanted to reach a place where I could delete it entirely if I wanted to. Though I don’t plan to delete it, I do plan to use it discreetly. Not because I can’t live without it, because believe me, I’ve learned I can. But because, without forgetting the harm it can cause to a person, I’ve recognized it’s purpose and the positive things it has the capability of doing.
Because God will never settle for less than who we are meant to be, he’s always found to be challenging us, and boy have I been a bit challenged the last 3 weeks.
I just had a great weekend in the city with one of my best friends where we stayed in a hotel, had brunch, drank coffee, went to a show, danced and laughed our butts off, and got pizza at 12:30 am. And you know what? I didn’t get to put any of it on my Instagram story. I took photos, but didn’t get to struggle figuring out what I might caption them. I didn’t worry about how a picture may or may not “disrupt” my feed. I never felt bad that I missed getting a moment on video.
I didn’t get to miss out on actually living. I was the most present I’ve been in awhile. I wasn’t distracted. I wasn’t thinking about when I would post what on Instagram.
A small part of me was sad I didn’t get to “document” such a fun weekend in a way I always loved to document things. But after much thought, or an attempt to stop giving it thought, I realized again, it doesn’t matter. I have a brain which has the ability to replay moments. Not photos and videos on my phone to look at. Though they are, don’t get me wrong, awesome, there’s more.
Or rather, less.
Less photos, less comments, less captions to think up.
And with that, less insecurity, less pride, and less worry.
I feel a grace covering me after the conviction I felt just three weeks ago. A sweet grace that tells me I’m okay. I haven’t screwed up as much as I perceived. I’m reminded I’m not found to be carrying pride, but a spirit of perfection. Which, in essence, actually feels a bit like pride. It’s still a form of worrying about how I’m viewed and making sure what I present is good — two things I blame on my humanity.
Thankfully, God isn’t looking for a performance from us. Nor is he expecting us to be perfect. When we feel we’ve met our worst, God still sees us at our best. As better.
Sure, I will continue to like certain colors and yes, I’ll probably keep taking pictures of my white bedspread with an open Kinfolk magazine. And no, I’m not going to stop having my friends take pictures of me in front of my favorite windows (i.e. such as above). But that’s something I find joy in. It’s a way I get to be my own kind of creative.
What I will stop doing is comparing myself to others — trying to live up to a certain standard is silly. I don’t ever want to feel tied down to an application again. And whether that means taking more breaks from things sometimes, I’m all in. I’m done caring what people are perceiving me as and rather worrying about how I’m acting and being in real life.
I just want less.
Less things, less worry, and less of me.
Please believe that when I say God has gifted me with an ability to create, I am saying so out of not pride, but humility. There’s things in me and gifts in me the Lord has purposefully placed. I, in all honesty, don’t understand how I’ve been able to do the things I do creatively. I don’t understand how some things come so easily to me. I like to think the only explanation would have to be it’s happening by not my power or ability (because that is minimal) but the Lord’s, whose wisdom far surpasses mine and whose love will never fail to embrace me at my worst.