I was mostly only posting a monthly update and not much else. I blamed the morning sickness and pregnancy-induced exhaustion as the main culprit.
Or so I thought that was the main reason I wasn't posting much.
Then, I kept not posting much. And I'm still not posting much.
Sure, anemia and a move followed. Then a baby that's now 7-months-old and still not sleeping through the night. I have excuses for days, yet I long to write and share those words. Even so, even as I have so many things rolling around my head to be shared, there's still something keeping me from doing so.
I have no other way to describe it than: Opinion Exhaustion.
On any given day when I log into Facebook, I see countless "this amazing article will change your life" posts for every "look at my cute kids" update. Sure, personal updates get a lot of flack. Apparently, according to some articles I've read, just about anything you post is attention- or approval-seeking.
When it comes down to it, I think I'd like more of that. That's what the updates are for, right? Tell me that you're happy about a good day at work or let me congratulate you on making it to the gym or outside for a run or write a note of encouragement if you're having one of those days.
But the "this will change your life" articles? Or the "this thought/quote/text is rocking my world and it should rock yours too" posts? Or the "I'm convicted of this so obviously God wants you to change too" ammunition?
Those are wearing. me. out.
Even when I agree. Maybe especially when I agree.
Everybody has an opinion about everything (including me), and it seems with a little poignant writing it's worth 50 of my friends re-sharing to assure everyone is affected by it. Even more so lately, it seems these are used like the next rebuttal in any number of debates.
Then, it seems everybody is touched by some text or quote or some neatly created inspiring word art that it'd be selfish not to share. Right?
So, what's the problem with this?
For me, the problem with all of the non-stop opinions: It makes it really hard for me to live.
Maybe you are able to scan, browse, read and take or leave whatever you wish. I, however, can only take so much, until I'm flat out spent. Maybe it has something to do with being an introvert--the need for quiet applies online, too. Extroverts might also feel that need at times.
I'm spent on an overdose of poignancy. Life-changing post after life-changing post that essentially only keeps me from my life. Everyone's epiphanies and viewpoints and ah-ha moments running through my feed, and then my head, all day everyday. Over and over and over, until I shut down into an ugly train-wreck of autopilot that can only see my world through fuzzy eyes.
Sure, logging off, shutting down are partial solutions. I 100% believe that is healthy and essential. I try to log on only set times a day, and that seems to help.
Lately, even when I do finally log in, the overwhelming posts are still all there. The beautiful, talented, inspiring people are still all telling me I'm missing out on "the next big thing," on the best me I could be. That maybe I just need to pack in a little more inspiration, a little more thoughtful understanding to really get the most out of this day.
The truth is that I can only get the most out of today, by being in today. Not online seeing beautiful word art or reading inspiring posts about how to be a better _________ (fill in the blank). I can only get the most out of today by being here and now in real life, in my life.
Here's a little of what that has been looking like lately:
Time in God's Word. Not to find a 140-character text to post on Twitter or ammunition for the next Christian debate that unfolds on screen. Simply in the Word seeking God.
Time in prayer. For family and friends and that God's Kingdom comes, please, before trolls completely take over the internet (and thus, the world).
Time in books. I'm so accustomed to scanning and clicking that I catch myself start jumping sites in the middle of a longer post that I'm actually enjoying. I'll even pause and think "huh, I wonder why I did that?" That's the beauty of books. It breaks my scanning and clicking habit to actually delve into a deeper topic and really enjoy the fruit of a writer's labor.
Time at home. I'm slowly learning to embrace these fleeting years of mothering young kids. Better late than never, right? Amazing how fast a scroll on Instagram can make me halt or even reverse the progress I've made in this area.
Time in quiet. I mean, real word-less quiet. I'm starting to notice the true noise volume of a revolving newsfeed of new posts across multiple sites. Even my crazy kids can sometimes feel quieter and calmer than the ruckus online.
Time in connection. This is slow coming, but so worth the effort. For all the times I thought (like Mindy Kaling) "Is everyone hanging out without me?" I wish I would have just kicked myself in the pants and extended an invitation. Because others are asking the same thing... while we all sit at home scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.
Back when I wrote most of this post over a year ago, I also included in this list the time spent on baths. I'd throw some epsom salts and a few drops essential oil in the warm water, and let my achy body relax. I'd lay there just watching my large belly (and the baby inside) rise and fall with each breath.
Oh, how truly freeing it is to have space to breathe. Space for that underrated essential of life.
And just so you know, I see the value in the online. For me, the value generally comes when it reaches beyond the screen.
When a comment turns into an invitation that gets people together in real life.
When bloggers meet in a living room to talk about the changing online culture.
When a grace-covered comment builds a bridge.
When a room full of women who hardly know each other discover the joy of vulnerability.
When an uplifting package comes just when it's needed from a relationship formed online.
When a "me too" email assures the struggle of writing was worth the effort.
And so the struggle continues. I am a writer and I want to write.
But I have to be honest and say I don't know what that looks like anymore. I'll likely continue to post bits and pieces here on the blog as I feel inspired. This isn't my fair-well post by any means. (At least I don't think it is ;)
I'm still evaluating how I use this online space of mine. And even more so, how / when / why I'm involved elsewhere online.
Even if there was something really good to say, would it just get lost in the ruckus?
And is the ruckus drowning out what I really need to hear?
I'm deaf and mute to it all,
ears shut, mouth shut.
I don't hear a word they say,
don't speak a word in response.
What I do, God, is wait for You,
wait for my Lord, my God--
You will answer.
Psalm 38:9-16, The Message
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