Our little family is still working on adjusting to life in Ohio. We’re getting used to a new church, new routines, and a new place. Even though Travis and I lived here for most of our lives, being away for 5 years and returning makes us feel like the “new kids” again. We’re all finding our new normal and it’s taking some time.
Because of all the change, I’ve been leaning a lot on the people in my life that I’ve always admired and learned from. Right after the big move, I emailed a dear friend asking her for some advice. I had been feeling like I was sort of falling flat in my faith and my role as mom and wife. I was letting all the stress and change get to me.
I’m a very wordy, detail-oriented person (in case you can’t tell) so, as usual, I sent her a long email that basically boiled down to me asking how in the world to find a better way to balance my life. I asked for her advice, guidance and opinion.
She emailed me back with a single question: “What are your top 5 goals for your life?”
Wow. SO powerful.
I realized that while I often thought about my goals for the day, the month, the year… maybe even a few years into the future, I never took the time to really think about my goals in life. When I look back on my time on this earth, what will I have hoped to accomplish? After some thought, I replied to her with the following:
- To serve the Lord.
- To be a great mom and wife.
- To ensure a stable financial future for myself and my family.
- For my kids to feel loved and for me to never put work before them.
- To step outside my comfort zone and live life to its fullest (travel more, be more adventurous, try new things).
After firing off my list and clicking “send”, I waited. I was dying to know what she was going to advise. What pearls of wisdom would she throw my way about goals, priorities and balance?
A few days later, an email popped in, from her. It was titled “You’re Gonna Kick my Butt”. I couldn’t help but laugh wondering what in the world she had sent me. I opened up the email and it had a link to a video. She had recorded a message for me.
In her message, she talked about how she too had struggled when she and her family had to move to another state. She felt lonely and struggled with finding her place. She gave me some great advice about focusing on my goals and eliminating any distractions that get in the way of those goals. Then, she said that I’m not going to like her suggestion, but maybe I could try taking a break from Social Media for awhile. She mentioned that she’s been trying it lately and it changed her life quite a bit. She said she would do it WITH me too! And, maybe we could work on re-focusing our energy in other ways such as reading our Bible more and really being PRESENT with our kids and family. I was immediately IN. I told her “Let’s do it!” and we did. That same day, I went into my phone and tablet and uninstalled my Facebook and Instagram apps. In place of my Facebook app, in the exact same spot where it was sitting, I put my Bible app instead. I promised myself that each time I thought about going to Facebook, I would click there instead and read.
On day 1, I realized how ADDICTED I was. I woke up, unlocked my phone, and, without even realizing it, as if on auto-pilot, my finger went straight to where Facebook used to be. So, this time, I clicked on my Bible app and read a devotional. I thought “Ok, cool. I can do this.” Then, throughout the day, I realized how truly addicted I was. Anytime I had a spare moment free, I would go to my phone and automatically go to where Facebook used to be! Just like any addiction, it was TOUGH at first. I was feeling so stressed out that I was not constantly in “the know” of what was going on in Facebook world. I kept thinking: What am I missing? Won’t people miss out on cute pictures of my kids!!? I should have counted how many times I ended up opening my Bible that day because it was A LOT!
Each day over those 4 weeks got easier and easier. Soon, I felt refreshed. I was reading my Bible daily, numerous times a day. I was paying more attention when playing with my kids. Instead of snapping a photo to share on Facebook I was actually IN the moment. I still snapped a few pics, because, let’s be real, photography is my LIFE, even on my phone. The difference was, I saved those for just my little family, knowing I could have them as memories but that the world didn’t need to see every moment. I realized how much time I had previously spent scrolling through a feed and not really getting much out of it. Or, sharing things about my family or my day that weren’t really that meaningful.
At the end of a month, I now feel so different. It was such a small challenge, but made a HUGE impact in my life.
Social media is definitely a very real addiction for some people. I’m not saying everyone has this type of “addiction” to Facebook (like me) and a break is necessary. But, I challenge anyone reading this to simply think about your five goals in life. What takes time away from reaching those goals?
For some people, taking a break from Netflix, video games, or Candy Crush will help them reach their goals. For others, finding the right work/life balance will help them. Whatever it is, consider the things that are holding you back. What steals your time? When you look back on your life, are there things you hope you have accomplished?
For me, my faith and my family are my top priority. I want those who know me (and maybe even those that don’t) to see that through the way I live my life.
Life is short. Look up from your phone. Oh, and find great friends that challenge you to reach your goals.