Happy New Year! I know I am 30 days late, but I’ve not really been online much. January is often a month of fasting or abstaining. Some people cut out meat, some hit the Keto train, while others stop drinking alcohol. As a pregnant woman who is juggling a couple of autoimmune issues, my diet is already all over the place. And so I chose a fast of a different kind. I realized my heart was all over the place. I needed to tune out the loud noises of expectations, false responsibilities, and external pressures.
So I decided to cut out social media. No Instagram. No Facebook. No Twitter. Nothing. I needed to quiet my heart, focus on my family, and let go. I can spend hours hooked to my iPhone, starring into an abyss of other people’s profiles, posts, and photographs. I may say I am trying to connect with people, but the truth is that I look at people’s lives and I am often left feeling pretty inadequate. The whispers of insecurity turn into raging screams and let’s be real – I am not alone. Social media is a fantastic way to connect and communicate. But it can also be something that leads to very loud noises of rejection, comparison, and insecurity.
Within our culture, we find it easier to keep up with the Jones’ than to stop, breathe, and be quiet. Many of us find ourselves on a hamster wheel of family, career, and spirituality, and before we know it, we are caught in a trap of exhaustion. We become burned out and we are left feeling disappointed and discouraged.
Isaiah 30:15 says, “in quietness and trust is your strength”. Quiet. According to the Bible, strength can be found, not in ramping up your to-do list, but in quiet. And in our culture, where we’re told that we can have it all, and comparison has become the norm, it takes an active decision and a strong will to find ‘quiet’.
And so January was a month of quiet for me. Instead of monotonous Facebook scrolling, it was a month of playing with my kids and only surfing the Internet for baby names for our son. It was a month of searching Pinterest for new recipes for my family (gluten-free, dairy-free, and toddler-friendly is not the easiest food category) and calling or texting my loved ones directly. And my heart was stilled. I didn’t miss out on much. I didn’t see the party I wasn’t invited to, or the new car that I couldn’t afford. My heart was focused on the good in my life and I found quiet.
And what about you? What’s happening in your heart? What will help you silence the loud noises of external pressures, false responsibilities, and insecure comparisons?
It’s good to stop and be quiet. It’s healthy to listen. I was nervous about losing contact with some people, but it was actually encouraging to unplug and focus. And without realizing it, contentment and trust came to me, and the loud noises of lack, inadequacy, and insecurity faded away.
My New Year wish for you all is that your 2019 may be filled with peace, joy, and your heart’s desires. May this be a year where we listen to what Henri Nouwen called “the inner voice of Love”. May our confidence increase and our love for others grow.