Goodbye Series

Goodbye Series Part 3: Stuff

I always needed more stuff. More clothes, more candles, more gadgets, or more plants! My room was pretty much terra greenhouse at one point. Oh! I also had a phase of needing all the at home workout equipment Walmart could offer. Ha! At home workouts… not a thing that works out for me. Get it..?

None of these things are bad things. The problem with accumulating all this stuff is that I am filling my life with unnecessary stuff. I was filling my life with these things because they made me happy… for five minutes. In that five minute span, this thing, this object that would soon just be a part of all my stuff, had made me feel a little more whole.

I have this void inside of me. I wonder how many of you have felt it too? I am surly not alone when I say I have tried filling the void with my smartphone, social media, stuff, alcohol, and a meander of other things. Those things had put a bandaid on my empty feeling, but a bandaid wears off after some time. They loose their stickiness and fall to the ground. They loose their intended purpose. I was buying room decor, pillow cases, plants, clothes, anything. I was buying anything that i liked because it made me feel good! Soon after, it would loose its intended purpose. It wouldn’t make me feel good anymore.

I would buy it online, that way I had something to look forward to. I had a conversation with a friend about a year ago, and we talked about just that. I introduced her to a very cheap website where you can buy anything and everything. I would go through shopping sprees where I would buy a bunch of unnecessary things, and then two months later when it shows up, its like Christmas because I don’t even remember what I bought. Unbelievably Unnecessary. My friend would buy one or two things a month, because it made her feel good. It was something she could look forward to. I am not shaming her at all because I was doing the exact same thing! She just had more self control to not buy 15 things in 15 minutes. She wanted those things, where I felt like I needed them. We chatted about how nice it is to have things coming in the mail to look forward to, rationalizing my unnecessary spending habits.

We aren’t wrong. It is very nice to have little gifts to yourself show up at your door wrapped in the bubble wrapped white bag. It is nice to have a new little something to wear, or put up, or use. Heres where the problem lies. Bringing the problem back to the void. This void can be permanently filled and healed, if I so choose. Yet, I choose to clutter my life with stuff, burry myself under things, so that I do not need to put in the hard work.

Clicking a couple buttons and buying something is so much easier then having a strong relationship with God.  I can’t speak for the long term habits that come with a strong relationship with God because I am still forming those. Although, I have friends with these habit, and I know it is something to look forward to. It is so much easier for me to pick something worldly to spend my time with because that is what I am use to. I am use to sitting in front of my laptop on Netflix, or being in the car with the radio blasting. I have been filling my life with unnecessary noise and unnecessary things for so long that if I don’t have those, I feel uncomfortable. My habit is to always have noise, my habit is to fill sadness with stuff. As I try and change that, it is going to be uncomfortable. If I look longterm, I am so much more better off spending my time with God, then with stuff.

Stuff is the bandaid, and God is the mothers kiss that makes it all better. God makes my emptiness, filled. This is a God shaped hole that I try and fill with my smartphone, social media, and now as you know… stuff. I am a very imperfect person, and I am glad to be. If I was perfect, what would I need Gods grace for? To receive Gods grace, all I have to do is tell Him I’ve messed up. I need to ask God for forgiveness, I will tell Him I have been trying to fill this hole inside me with stuff. Ask Him to fill the void, because He is waiting for me to ask. For that to happen I need to spend time with Him. I need to close my laptop and turn off my radio, find a quiet space in my mind and pray. God is willing and waiting. All I have to do is accept the invitation.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it, and feel free to share it around.

 

 

 

PS- This post took me so long to write because as I go through this series of things I am saying goodbye to, this is the most recent that I continue to work on. I felt very strongly I needed to write it anyways. Being vulnerable in the middle of struggle is so much harder then talking about it after the fact. Although, I have read a handful of minimalist books and have gone through my closet 3 times and got rid of garbage bag after garbage bag of clothing (I could open my own good will at this point), I still have so much stuff. What I talked about today is still a very real struggle for me. But everyday God meets me with Love and Grace.

Uncategorized

A Quick Note on Fast Fashion

A couple of days ago I finished watching The True Cost. If you haven’t seen it I HIGHLY recommend it. Fast fashion, for those who don’t know, is the large clothing cooperations using sweatshops to produce their clothing. It has changed the fashion world from having 4 seasons into 52 seasons. When stores like H&M and Gap come out with new items constantly, its ensuring we always feel behind when it comes to trendy styles. We will always feel the need to buy new, buy more than we had before. They can make it dirt cheap in places like Bangladesh where factories can employ people for $31 a month. Thousands of people die every year at the factories from buildings collapsing and fires, so that they can make my $5 tee-shirt that I will wear maybe 10 times and never look at again. These people, mostly women, risk their lives to work for maybe a dollar a day. What gets put in my bank account after working for 2 weeks is more than they make in a whole year. A WHOLE YEAR! And that is if they survive.

I cried at work today, I cried for the past 3 days. These clothes I’m wearing now, the person that made them is either suffering or dead. It breaks my heart to know that this is happening. This fast fashion type thinking has really only been happening, and rapidly growing since the 1950s. 60-some-odd years of this happening, and not enough people have questioned it or tried to change things. These are humans that we treat like machines. The women who is in Bangladesh making Walmart clothing is just as loved, valued, and sought after by God as I am. She is just as much of a daughter of the King as I am here in Canada. I need to do my part to protect my fellow warrior princesses (as my woven women would call us) because they matter just as much as I do.550afb91d20d4f7cf116acf6a2c0b07c

 

Goodbye Series

Goodbye Series Part 2: Smartphone

Apple comes out with a new iphone constantly. I got my new iphone 5C, then soon I am feeling like I need to upgrade to the iphone 6 or 6s. I have been feeling this pressure to always have the best smartphone. I just got an email the other day, and you probably did too if you are an iphone user. The iphone 7, in red. Guys, its red. It is exciting, don’t get me wrong. I love the feel of a new phone, but it is also hard to keep up with the ever changing upgrades (and expensive I might add…). I am not sure about you, but I am getting tired of feeling like my phone is never good enough. I got so tired of it, that I decided to accept it. I went and got rid of my iphone 6s all together.

I said goodbye to my smartphone.

I said goodbye to feeling behind. I said goodbye to the culture pressure to have the biggest and the best. I said goodbye to carrying a little computer everywhere I go. I said goodbye to being tied to my phone. I said goodbye to instant replying to people. I said goodbye to being glued to my phone when I was out with friends and family.

With saying goodbye to my smartphone I have given myself a chance to see what I have been missing out in my present reality. I am learning to have the ability to just be myself and be comfortable doing nothing. Not the nothing that I use to do, scrolling through my social media on my phone. The doing nothing of sitting, and just… sitting.

I found myself checking my phone every few seconds to see if someone had liked my picture or post. Checking to see if I got a text message or snapchat from someone. My iphone became my way to feel social validation. It was an involuntary response to measure how much I was thought about or loved by my peers. In turn, that would tell me how much I was worth, or if I was good enough. It was a craving that could never be completely filled. I searched for validation from my friends and family through a screen, and when it wasn’t there, I had overwhelming feelings of sadness and loneliness.

Now, because I was feeling sad and lonely, I would turn to my smartphone to always feel connected to people. Being on my smartphone allowed me to avoid these large feelings that I was having. It allowed a distraction from the anxiety, depression, or loneliness, or whatever feeling it was that I did not want to feel.

That validation I was looking for in others, is the very validation I could have been looking for in the Lord. His continuous grace and love is proof enough in my life to know that I am valid. I am enough. I am worth so much more then I let myself believe. I placed my value in the wrong spot. I was relying on other people to make me feel loved and valued, where I should have been relying on God. The people in my life do an amazing job at loving me, but ultimately I was trying to fill a God sized hole with a false sense of human interaction. I tried to fill a God sized hole with my smartphone and social media.

I had an unhealthy relationship with my smartphone. I replaced the richness of human interaction with the view of my small smartphone screen. My smartphone took my attention away from the present moment. To live in the present moment is to live where life is happening. The attention I get from my smartphone can never replace the need for human interaction, as much as I subconsciously believed it would. Technology is our friend, but only if we use it, not it using us.

I am taking this time away from my smartphone to reevaluate what a healthy relationship with my phone looks like. Today, I use a little no name phone with a full keyboard. It doesn’t have wifi and I don’t need data. I do not know how long I will go with this phone, but I am enjoying how I am not feeling the need to have it with me all the time. I am enjoying the freedom I feel, and the awareness of Gods presence I have with less screen interactions.

I would like to challenge you to step away from your smart phone. If only for a hour, or while you’re at dinner with friends or family. I challenge you to put up some healthy boundaries with you’re phone. See if you feel something different.

Goodbye Series

Goodbye Series Part 1: Social Media

Have you ever felt bombarded or overwhelmed by social media notifications and a constant view of peoples lives? Feeling on the outside of things all the time? Is your life not measuring up to what you are seeing from your friends on social media? Are you constantly scrolling through social media, trying to keep up? And then left wondering why you do this?

Same here.

So I said goodbye. I said goodbye to Facebook, Instagram, and snapchat. I said goodbye to comparing myself to what people let me see about them in their public feed. I said goodbye to a false sense of friendship and intimacy that social media brought me. Goodbye to fear of judgement and not feeling like I am enough. I said goodbye to all my social media.

I have a friend who, for as long as I can remember, has not had social media. I could not imagine my life without social media at this time. The only way she finds out things about my life is if I tell her. To me it was inconvenient that she didn’t have Facebook because I wanted to see what was going on in her life, but I didn’t necessarily want to ask. I did not want to be asked about my life. Social Media was a way for me to know about other peoples lives, and feel close to that person, without actually having a relationship with them. For someone like myself who has a great fear of intimacy, this was a perfect set up for me. I am realizing more and more about how it was so easy for me to feel close to people I didn’t even know because I saw the pictures and updates that they decided to share.

That friend who doesn’t have social media, is now my best friend. She has been for years. She invested time into her friendships. She got to know me on a level no one else has. She knows who I am, not just what I did on the weekend. She has this true interest in peoples lives when she listens to their story.

She inspired me.

So many times I’d talk with her about leaving it all behind. Yet, never feeling ready to actually take the step into the unknown world (literally…) of no social media. After my two month stay at a rehab centre in Tennessee, I decided it was time. I spent 65 days without it, so how about I go into 2017 without social media.

On January 4th 2017, I hit the deactivate button on all my accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, and I’m sure there are other accounts that I can’t think of right now, and they are all gone. January 4th 2018, I can reactive them if I so choose. For the first month or so, and sometimes even still, I thought I would for sure get them back. I went through a social media withdrawal. I had some serious FOMO. I believe my stress level was heightened, which actually caused headaches. I had become so addicted to checking my social media account, that being away from it actually affected my health. YIKES!

Although, as the FOMO fades away and the withdrawal period comes to a close, I can appreciate what this social media cleanse has done for me. I spend so much less time comparing myself to people on the internet. Doing so has increased my self esteem, and I have began to fall in love with myself and who I am. I am able to spend more time one-on-one with people, having real, intimate friendships vs the false sense of friendship I accepted before.  Now that I do not spend my free time scrolling through social media, I have so much more time for hobbies and focusing on the things in my life that matter.

I have time to spend with God, and learn about who He says I am. The noise of social media clouds Gods voice. I kept myself so distracted, choosing social media over the Lord all the time. I have much more clarity on what is important in my life now. Anything that gets in the way of my time with the Lord needs to change.

Social media is not bad. Actually, I have seen it many times used in good ways. For me, I was not using social media in a healthy way. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram in moderation are not bad. When it becomes something that is distracting you from your present life, it may be something you want to reevaluate and wonder why it is so important to you.

I said I could never live without social media and that was the very reason I had to get rid of it. I do not need social media in my life. It was a tool I used to not feel lonely. I do not have that tool anymore. Today, when I feel lonely, I can call or text a close friend. I now have friendships I can completely rely on. I love them so much, and know that I have someone to lean on when life gets hard. There is much less fear is being vulnerable because there is real trust and closeness in the friendship.

It is a two way street as well. I am able to be present and loving with them, without distraction. I enjoy getting together with my friends face-to-face and hear about their lives, good and bad. I use to have a fear that if we weren’t always talking, that the friendship would die. That fear is gone because in real friendships there is confidence that we are there for each other and will continue to be there for each other. There is a practice of healthy communication and a sense of peace that allows me to feel secure.

I love the freedom of not having social media. My hope for you is that you will give it a try, in whatever way that looks for you.

Uncategorized

“Forgiveness is the gift we give ourselves, and the grace we give to others” – Shaka Sincore

Uncategorized

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” – Brené Brown