If you caught my last post, you know I was struggling with phone addiction and all the social media noise.
This isn’t the first time I’ve taken a break, but it is the first time I laid it all down as though I might not pick it back up again. I was willing to leave it all if that's what was best for my family, myself, and my relationship with Jesus Christ.
I wanted to give you an update since it seemed to strike a chord with so many of you.
My biggest takeaway from this past month is simple: There is so much more joy in being a mom and a wife when you are fully present.
It's not that I didn't enjoy being a wife or mom before. It's that when you set aside distractions and allow one thing to take up all the space in your two hands, when you hold it, look at it, feel the weight of it--you see the gift it's been all along.
I’m not sure I can put into words how sweet our homeschool time has been this past month. I don’t want to turn this into a homeschooling post, but guys, we now start our days with a hymn, a catechism, a short devotion, scripture memory, family prayer, a historical document to memorize, nursery rhymes, poetry, a picture book, a chapter book, and narrations. We then rotate between our science curriculum, nature study, or time with a classic artist and composer before we start on our core subjects. We start our days dwelling on truth and beauty for a solid hour and a half. I didn’t know I could enjoy homeschooling this much or that the sum of so many little things strung together could change me from the inside out. I believe it's impacting my kids. I know it's impacting me.
I don’t mean this as a brag. My entire point is that if you told me last year it was possible to have a homeschool day start like this I would have laughed and thought, Good for that over-achiever mom. That’s simply a dream that sounds great in theory and impossible in execution—at least for me.
Turns out, when you put your distractions down, it’s actually possible to be the kind of mom you want to be.
It seems like we can pull against the demands of motherhood and marriage. It’s how we end up locking ourselves in our bathroom for a mere five minutes of peace and a little time scrolling Instagram. (Not that there is anything wrong with this. Please don't read that. I am a firm believer in timeouts—we all need a chance to regroup and take a deep breath, amen.) But we can end up living in a way where we are constantly wanting to escape and only living half-present. It’s survival mode, really. Survival mode certainly has a time and a place, but it’s not where we are meant to live our whole life.
Something happens when you surrender yourself to the season you are living in, giving yourself to it, instead of trying to escape it. It’s a seed buried in good soil—not sitting shallow amongst the rocks where it can easily be picked off. By the grace of God, that seed buried in good soil is going to thrive.
“The one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit” (Matt 13:23)
I can't help but question myself: how often do I try to lean on my own understanding? How often do I try to do what I want, when I want, and how I want instead of simple whole-heart, full-trust obedience to God, His Word, and His timing?
Before starting this detox, I had shared my struggles with a friend. She shared the wisdom her own pastor had once shared with her: The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing.
That applies to pursuing the good dreams in your heart in the wrong season. It also applies to flipping through your phone when the time of day calls for something different.
When we give ourselves fully to whatever God has purposed for us in the season we are living (not the season we wish we were in), we find His joy.
That said, I know I am meant to write. Not a lot. But some. Out of the overflow. Honest to goodness, I am a better wife and mother and overall human being when I get the chance to write stuff down and edit it a few times a month. Truly, for me, it’s worship, obedience, and leaning on the Lord. It’s right and good for us to spend time in the things that bring us joy. It’s right and good for a mother—even (especially?) a homeschooling mother—to have a thing outside her husband and kids she can give herself to and that pours right back into her.
So in trying to move forward and learn from my mistakes, here’s where I am drawing my boundaries:
(I share this not because I think my boundaries should be your boundaries, but because this topic seemed to really resonate with some of you, some even asking where to draw the line. Maybe this could start a good and needed conversation? I share this for accountability, transparency, and because it might help you think through where you need to draw your own boundaries.)
- Everything is staying off my phone. I personally really struggle here and found myself still picking up my phone and scrolling through it, checking the news (from the search bar I left on my phone) or the weather instead of just being present.
- I will be keeping up with my Facebook page during set hours. This will be early morning after my devotions if there’s still time before the start of my homeschool day and then a few afternoons a week. On my husband’s days off, he’ll get my afternoons and evenings unless he gives me time to work and write. I am excited to have a place to connect with you all where so many of you seem to be. I think there is a way to turn off one’s newsfeed, so hopefully it will mean less mindless scrolling, less noise for this easily over-stimulated HSP, and more time spent intentionally connecting. (Edited to add: You can turn off your Facebook newsfeed with a Chrome extension called Kill Your Newsfeed.)
- I will be staying away from Instagram for the time being. Instagram is my favorite because of its simple and visual layout, but you can’t post on Instagram without using your phone. I don’t feel so strong at things like self-control and discipline right now. I will revisit this after the first of the year, but for now I still need to work on developing the habit of not picking up my phone (well, unless it’s ringing.)
- On a more personal note, I am keeping all games off my phone for the time being. I am adding back voxer with boundaries. I am apart of a writing/blogging group that meets there and those girls are such dear friends and I miss them. I will be turning off voxer's notifications and checking in only once or twice a week. And if I find it creeping into my whole day, I will simply have to step away for good.
Do you need boundaries for social media and phone usage? Where do you think those boundaries need to be for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!