Whenever I see someone who has lost weight, I ask the same dumb question: “How did you do it?” Invariably, I get the same dull answer: “I ate less and exercised more.” I admire discipline, but I’m always scouting for the magic fairy dust of a quick fix. So, if you’re like me, you aren’t going to like how I kicked the Facebook habit – I deleted it. (That was not the answer you were hoping for, was it? Neither was I!)
Here’s the back story: I was in a prolonged funk from the daily wear and tear of twenty years of marriage, and parenting a child with special needs, and the demands of raising three teen daughters, and caring for an elderly parent, and the responsibilities of ministry and, … and … and … You get it. Each of us has our own exhausting list.
Somewhere along the way, an important item dropped off my list – caring for me. We women know how easy that is to do. But, even though I didn’t have (the more honest word is MAKE) time to do what keeps my mind and body and spirit healthy, there was always time for a quick peek at Facebook. But, isn’t it amazing how a quick peek can turn into an hour?
And for those of you who may be thinking smugly, I’m glad I don’t have a problem like that! … I invite you to consider what is your guilty pleasure or coping crutch. The world offers quite a smorgasbord: Pinterest, Hulu, Instagram, Candy Crush, work, wine, food, fanatical fitness, the Cardinals! We mortals have a knack for morphing innocent interests into obsessions.
My husband, seeing my doldrums, gave me the perfect gift – a trip to California to go get my joy back. Like the old Jimmy Buffet song, I was due for some “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.”
I knew in order to fully experience this time and clear my head, something had to be left behind – dear Facebook. At the airport, I held my finger over my phone’s FB icon to delete it. All the apps began to shake, as though quaking in fright asking, “Are you sure you want to do this?” No! Yes! Too late! “X” marked the spot and Facebook disappeared. Operation Spirit Re-Boot was on.
As I drove along the Pacific Coast Highway (a bucket-list trip!), I instinctively wanted to post photos of the splendor I beheld. Instead, I took it all in by myself – crashing waves, barking sea lions, kaleidoscope sunsets. At first, I felt frustrated, lonely and selfish, not letting the Greek chorus of Facebook vicariously observe and enjoy my adventure. It took a few days to stop being preoccupied with sharing my experiences and instead, fully luxuriate in experiencing them for myself. I began to settle into the solitude.
And that’s when it happened. I began to hear God again.
Hearing God’s voice is so personal that it’s hard to describe in words, so I’ll let my photos (Hooray! I finally get to share them!) and God’s Word do it for me.
On my journey, I realized that God is always speaking – in His still, small voice – but if my mind is overflowing with the clamor of keeping up with 600 friends, I probably won’t hear Him. And as delightful as my friends and family are – including my husband and children – they were never meant to sustain my soul. Only Jesus can do that.
I’ll finish this saga next week with my “non-ending.” As long as we have a pulse, our stories are still being written. Until then, I encourage you with my cautionary tale to ask yourself if your soul is being well fed or is it malnourished on your cotton candy addiction? (A slim figure is admirable. A skinny soul is not!)
Are you hearing His voice of love? It’s so easy to miss in this noisy, busy world. But don’t miss it, because it’s the sweetest, most satisfying sound of all.