Just call me Mom

I’ve been working my way through Restless – You Were Made For More, by Jennie Allen. First of all, let me just say if you haven’t read this book, you seriously need to. Even if you think you know what you were made to do, this book will get you thinking about what God really has made you to do.

I’ve been operating under the premise this past year that I was supposed to fulfill one of two past callings. Because one isn’t an option at this point, I decided to pursue the second. All without truly consulting God about any of it. I figured that if I had done it before, it made sense that I could just step right back into it. I told Him what I was up to, and then proceeded to struggle and agonize for the next twelve months.

Good times.

What I didn’t do was pay attention when I heard God call me to leave off working and running a daycare to be fully present as a stay-at-home-mom. God knows that I get distracted easily, and I also have a tendency toward avoidance when things get hard. But I assumed that His directions to sacrifice a meager paycheque had more to do with trust (a recurrent issue in my life) and nothing at all to do with purpose. After all, I had that calling to pursue. Staying at home made perfect geographical sense.

Turns out, I missed the point. While reading Restless, I fully expected to get all fired up to be more than just a mom. Turns out, I’ve instead started to become fired up to be just a mom. And I hold this quote responsible:

So whether our role is to mother or start a business or sponsor a child or sweep a floor or run a bank or teach little people to read, we don’t want to miss it. His Spirit will pour us into need, and who are we to judge where and what is the greatest need? This isn’t as much about what or where; this is about getting over ourselves and just doing it. (emphasis mine)

I realized I was so caught up in trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, that I was missing exactly what I was supposed to be doing!

I believe one hundred percent, even on the days that the bank balance scares me and the school fees are mounting and it is still another week until payday, on the days laundry gets old and I just want to go somewhere, that God has asked me to be home, fully present, for this season. To set aside the things that distract me and pour into the need right in front of me.

Here I was looking for some big calling and He has just handed me the biggest one.

What I learned on my social media break

Last month I took a bit of a social media break, and I have to tell you, it was wonderful.

For two weeks, I didn’t worry about what was happening on Facebook, or worry about posting witty status updates. For two weeks I wasn’t a slave to my email or stats. Instead, for two weeks I felt free to simply live life and enjoy it.

I learned a few valuable things during my break:

Not everything that happens needs to be shared with the Internet. 

That was a tough one for me, because while in real, face-to-face life I am an introvert through and through and generally avoid trying to get attention, online I like attention. But while on my break, rather than worrying about how I could commemorate a moment in 140 characters or less or with a photo, I just lived the moment. And really, no one seemed to miss my daily toddler updates, anyway.

Photos are much more enjoyable the old fashioned way.

I developed a ton of photos years ago with the intent to scrapbook, but after abandoning that hobby they’ve been sitting in a dusty closet since. I’ve mentioned before my new found love for Project Life. Part of why I love it is because it feels so old school. My kids love looking through the stacks of old photos, and thumbing through the pages of our new albums as I slowly put them together. It’s much better than trying to find the CD’s or flicking through them on the laptop!

My kids definitely follow my example.

Less time for Mom online naturally unfolded into less time with the kids plugged in. And I didn’t even have to nag. Seriously.

Less time online means more space – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Prior to my break, I was finding my forgetfulness increasing, not to mention my grumpiness! I felt a lot less overwhelmed with information, better able to handle stress, and quite honestly, fully open to God’s leading and direction in my life. That’s a better payoff than any of the other ones listed above.

I’m prone to comparison and trying to be like someone else. 

Don’t get me wrong – what you see here is what you pretty much get in real life. I’m a broken, messy woman. But I do struggle with feeling like I don’t measure up, like I need to keep up, and wishing I had half the influence of ______ (fill in the blank). It took taking a break to help me realize that it’s really okay to be Andrea.

I’m officially off my break now, but there are a few things I plan to continue with, like keeping Facebook off my phone, and removing my phone to another room when the temptation is getting too strong. I plan to continue to set time boundaries, particularly as summer schedules relax. And I want to approach my social media use my way – not trying to copy anyone else, but just being myself.

And I want to remember the most important thing: embrace life. Live it well. Because at the end of it all, I don’t want to look back and wonder what all I missed.

Have you taken a social media break lately? What did you learn from it?