Lent and living life again.

I’ve been thinking a lot of late about things that bring me joy, or at least used to bring me joy. I’ve realized that I haven’t done those things in a long time. I used to read a lot. I loved to write. I loved a well-turned phrase. I used to sing. I used to paint, craft, and sew. I read my bible more. I journaled. I enjoyed how I felt after I exercised. I love to cook and create new recipes.

Why have I walked away from so many of these things? It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, or that I don’t do any of them anymore, but the amount and frequency of them have diminished considerably over the years. I’m struggling in areas that I used to breeze through, and I know it’s because I haven’t exercised those muscles, both mentally and physically. Part of this has been the fact that I’m back to square one in my child-rearing. Having an infant shuts those things down in many ways, and that’s okay. It’s life’s way of protecting that baby until he/she is old enough to exercise some independence. I know that parts of me will be back in the next several months. I also know, though, that I’ve allowed parts of me to die off. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know so many amazing people over the last few years, but instead of allowing my own gifts to have their own place, I’ve felt like I didn’t have any space at the table. Writing? Oh no, I have friends who are “real” writers. Art? I just “doodle.” Singing? There are so many women who do that as well, why should I sing out loud? There are “real” singers out there. Reading? There are women who read like they are breathing. They are editors and authors. Even my biblical education seems trite and small. I’m a good homemaker, but there are women who have been doing this longer and I feel like I can’t offer what I can do when they are in the same space.

Part of this stems from my own lack of confidence. This is something I think I’ll always struggle with. But another part of this is a result of social media and pressure to take on every mantle that comes along. I’m always hearing about goals and words and causes that are so wonderful, and there’s nothing wrong with them. The problem is, however, that I allow it to make me feel less than. Sometimes, I just want to live the life I have been given. I can’t live my life feeling big feelings every single day. It’s not the way I was built.

This year, I’m giving up social media for Lent. Facebook, twitter, and instagram. I spend so much time watching the lives of others during any free time I have from parenting. Instead, I want to read books. Real books. And I don’t want to have to put it on Goodreads so everyone else knows I’m reading. I want to write and not feel the pressure to share my blog posts in order to gain views. I want to do art and not feel like I have to put it on instagram so people know I did something creative that day.

I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with people who love these things. Heck, I have loved these things! When I told my husband what I was planning to do, he laughed and scoffed because he knows how much time I spend connecting online. I also know that, for me, it has reached an unhealthy level, and I want to spend more time in real life with people. I want to spend time in real life having coffee with my new friend Jess. I want to go for walks in the sun. I want to spend more time in the library.

I hope to be able to write more in here during this time, although it will be funny because I won’t be sharing it on my social media channels, but I’m looking forward to writing for myself and not for an intended audience.

I just want to find me again. Does anyone relate?

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