Lent started on February 14, 2018.... it seems like a lifetime ago actually. This is the first year that I have successfully stayed off of social media for the duration of time I gave it up. It actually hasn't been as tempting as I thought it would be, and I haven't missed it nearly as much as I have in the past. I think that is a really good thing. I have found that I have been able to connect with more people in this last 40 + days than I really have anytime before now. I didn't know when I embarked on this journey all that I would go through, learn, and give up.
I started this journey in a very different place than I am ending it. I started it and shortly after had an experience happen that changed my view of life. In this season I was able to grasp a few of my idols, and let me tell you... it was a hard thing to work through. If you have been following my blog even while I have been away from social media, then you have been able to journey along with me a little bit. If not then this is going to be new information for you. I think I started Lent wanting to give up social media to focus more on God, love, and moments of genuine, authentic conversation with others.
For a couple of weeks I kept the dating apps I had downloaded, and allowed that to be a distraction along with some feelings about a situation that were needing to be dealt with. Then I just had this moment of clarity. I really feel like this time away from social media, and everything that it entails has allowed me to listen to my inner voice. That voice that I sometimes ignore because I am afraid of what it will say. The voice that sometimes tells me I need to focus up instead of around. The voice that whispers that I am enough even when I don't necessarily feel like it. So I deleted the dating apps, and allowed God to work in me to understand that if that happens one day it will be because He brings it in my path. I don't want to put myself out there for just anyone. And I won't. My life doesn't have to be lived waiting on someone to share it with. For during this season I realized that the people I have been able to spend time with. The ones that have reached out to me, they are the ones that I am sharing my life with. They are the ones that I put my effort and time in. They are the ones that are embracing me for who I am, and molding me into who I should be.
Have you ever had a moment of clarity, and that moment truly follows you for years to come? I can tell you that I've had a few of those moments during the last 2 months. Moments that I will look back, and know were meant to help me in the next steps on this journey.
Sometimes life brings you to a place in your journey where you have to choose. You have to take the right or the left, and not look back. This is that time for me. Do I take the right, and have adventure... but the kind of adventure that is waiting for this thing to happen in order to feel like I'm accepted in the culture that surrounds me. Or do I take the left, and go on an adventure that I don't even understand quite yet?
As I see the sun rising on this Easter morning I know that I am leaving behind some things that I haven't been quite ready to let go of yet. Expectations of life, and what I wanted to happen in life. Expectations of how people see me. I am leaving behind the expectation of marriage, and children, and how that is the only way to feel worthy in our culture. The expectation that your life has to look exactly the same, and that it has to be this neatly packaged box with a bow around it. The choices that I have made, that are not loving and kind. The times when I have given in and I shouldn't have. My selfishness, my pride. I'm letting them die, to be replaced with love, kindness, joy, encouragement, and compassion for those around me. That I may never sink back in to being held captive by them again.
I look to the sunrise to be a time when I can celebrate that I am not on this journey alone. I can celebrate that I have been called to something great. I can celebrate that through the pain, sadness, anger, bitterness, and brokenness I am alive. I am alive to live, to love, and to see people for who they are. There have been times when I have second guessed myself and my interactions with others, but you know what? I will continue to text people first, and go out of my way to stay connected with those, even if they don't seem to want me. I will go out of my way to serve my community, and sacrifice time, energy and money for those that don't have the life I do. I will go out of my way to be a friend, no matter what that looks like. For this life is about people, loving them, and letting them know that they are here for a reason. Not just a certain kind of people, but everyone. If I live my life loving others, no matter where they are from, their sexuality, their race, their religious beliefs, the way they raise their children, what side of town they are from, what political party they adhere to. If I live my life loving with only the intent of letting them feel God's love, then that will completely be worth it.