Green Lights

On my 10-minute drive to work every day, I am met by many red lights. It’s a short commute, for which I am grateful, but it often feels like I’m constantly stopping just to start again. My driving to work reflects what it would probably look like if I were to take back up running: quick sprints followed by sudden halts to walk again.

I’ve lacked patience lately, sometimes I risk it and fly through a yellow light which is quickly turning red. I don’t want to wait. Patience isn’t something I have an abundance of.

Life lately has hit some red lights. They’ve felt like painful stops but they’ve also been a moment for me to catch my breath. I’ve felt in some ways like I’ve just been existing, I haven’t been overly zealous for life, but things really haven’t been that bad either. What I have noticed is that I’ve spent more and more time on social media trying to numb out from real life.

And I don’t want to be numb. I want to be fully present, filled with exuberant joy. So for June, I’ve gotten rid of social media.

Let me tell you what happened on the first day of no social media: I found myself enjoying God’s beauty on my drive to work. I started praying throughout my drive home from work that day, praying for as many people as I could fit in my 10-minute drive. I teared up feeling fully present with God. I felt really connected to God for the first time in a long time. I stopped looking down and started looking up. I sat down and really listened to my roommate about her day. I watched an episode of a show with a friend and didn’t think to check my phone once.

Fully present. It’s no surprise I have felt a little disconnected from God; I’ve had one foot in with Him and one foot in with the world.

Maybe it feels a little dramatic that social media could be the root of such deep problems, but I have no doubt that it is. Social media is a place for connection, but it had also become for me a place of disconnection. It had also become a place of jealousy for me. Something I really don’t tend to struggle with is envy. I am pretty content with my life. But lately, I’ve found myself getting jealous over the lives being lived and the places people are going and the houses they are buying and it’s such an icky feeling. I’ve got enough on my plate and I’m not about to start adding jealousy to what I’m working with. So goodbye to social media, at least for a little while (minus publishing my writing on social media).

I need to take inventory of my mental health and spiritual health and somehow that feels really restricted by those little pesky apps on my phone.

“If I am defining God based on what I’m going through then God’s character is going to be all over the place for me; therefore, my peace is. Therefore, my hope is.” I heard this quote in a podcast the other day, and it struck true for me. Of course life hasn’t felt overly zealous, I’ve been defining God based on what I’m going through, not on who He is and how He never changes.

Thanks be to God for sweet reminders at stop lights. Thanks be to God for grace and mercy.

xo,

msv

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