Unplugged

unplugged

This has been a busy week and I am feeling tired, cranky and filled with dissatisfaction. My priorities are off and my time has been misplaced. My week’s “to-do” list contains many items that still need to be completed and checked off. I am ashamed to admit this, but the amount of time that I have spent looking at screens might be more than the time I have spent looking into the faces of the people right in front of me. In boredom,  I have reached for my phone and mindlessly scrolled through newsfeeds and viewed gorgeous square pictures. In avoidance, I have opened my laptop and pinned pins of inspirational quotes and organized homes, all while my house is left in disorder and a depressed state. Comparison and discontentment have weaseled their way into my heart leaving me to struggle to find joy.  I have not spent enough time with Jesus.

Something has to change! Time to hit the reset button! This weekend, I am unplugging from social media. I am eliminating the distractions and quieting the noise so I can hear more clearly and reevaluate my priorities. Time to look at boundaries and commitments AGAIN! It’s time to rediscover who is right in front of me and enjoy their company.

I am looking forward to being present and to listening intently. Listen to my kids share their ideas and dreams. Listen to my husband and hear what has been on his heart. I am going to be aware of my surroundings and look for strangers who may need someone to talk to. Most importantly, I am pausing to listen to God, hear His voice and the divine guidance He wants to give.

If you need me, you will have to find me the old-fashioned way. Pick up the telephone or come on by. I will be happy to see your face and ready to listen.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  

Jeremiah 29:12-13 ESV

 


How Instagram Helped Improve My Day

New PerspectiveSo we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to things that are seen but to things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal.  ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

My deep sleep was abruptly cut short by a loud call from the other room, “MAMA, MAMMMA!!” Hazy and groggy, my bare feet hit the cold floor and walked the familiar path to where my warm, fuzzy robe hung. I pulled the robe off the hook, slowly wrapping its comfort around me and headed toward my son’s room.

For almost three years, day after day, this has been my morning routine. No alarm clocks needed in my house. When my son gets up, I get up. I normally do not mind an early start to the day. But today, with a dreary, grey sky and a ground coated with snow, I just wanted to curl under the heavy, down comforter that warms my bed.

I brought my son downstairs hoping that his cries did not wake his two big sisters. I started to think how nice it would be to have a few quiet minutes to myself once I got my son settled with breakfast and some toys. A very happy vision of me sitting at the kitchen table with my Bible and a HOT cup of coffee (not one that had been reheated in the microwave) started to perk up my senses and improve my mood. My thoughts were short lived.

Seconds after my son’s breakfast was served, the kitchen door flew open and two very sleepy-eyed girls walked in complaining that they had heard their brother and could no longer sleep.  The girls took their spots at the kitchen counter silently indicating that they were ready for breakfast. Some grumpy words and unspoken exchanges took place among us. I joylessly toasted the bread, rudely slathered on butter, smeared the jam, and pushed the breakfast plates towards my children.  Besides my son, who was happily playing, it would seem that us girls woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I needed to a “redo,” a restart of my day. Some fresh air would do me some good. My husband was up so I grabbed my camera, threw on some snow boots, and shut my bad mood in the door behind me.  The temperature was warmer than I expected and I breathed in the moist air. A couple of inches of snow had fallen overnight and a thin layer of ice crusted over the top. The snow crunched as I stepped through it. Each step seemed to lighten my mood. I lifted my camera and started to explore through its lens.  My bad mood dissipated with each click and shutter sound.

I am no expert photographer but I enjoy taking pictures. Since joining Instagram, I love photography even more. I often find myself looking at an ordinarily objects with a new fascination and with a different perspective. Pictures have turned into more than an just an image. Emotions and words come alive in them.

My kids were quiet and occupied when I got back to the house. I was finally able to sit down at the kitchen table with my Bible and a reheated-cup of coffee. I previewed my pictures and was captivated by this flower. The image led me to words and thoughts that brought my mood full circle.  I posted the following in an Instagram post.

New Perspective

“This flower reminds me of the verses from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. It has long lost its petals and brilliant color. An icy glaze coats its memory. But within it, a seed remains. A seed with the possibility of growing into a more beautiful flower than before. A seed that will take root in the nutrient-rich earth that was renewed by a long, hard winter. A seed that will birth a flower of more vibrant color, graced with bolder petals and a stronger stem. 

We are like this flower. Enduring trials, experiencing difficulties, surviving with God’s grace and strength. These are good things. Things that lead us to growth, a more beautiful self, and prepares us for greater service with eternal results for the glory of God. #deepthoughts #winter #growth #nature #flower #donotloseheart#2Corinthians #noticinggoodness”

One picture, one post, God’s voice heard, a changed heart and mind. My day started over then. Joy seeped back in. I hugged my kids. They hugged me back. I threw out my agenda. I surrendered and was blessed.

When I popped back on Instagram later that day, a comment was left under the picture, thanking me for the words that were posted. I thought how easily we can influence each other in our bad moods and in good moods, encouraging each other or tearing each other down. Social media can fuel many hurtful, unkind things. But it can also be used for the good. A tool that can foster creativity and community. A place where inspiring and encouraging words can be shared and perspectives changed.