Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To Know Thyself

This Lent I did something different.  I didn't give up my yearly sweets.  I didn't give up snacking.  In fact, I didn't really give up anything.  Daily I tried to make sacrifices and not place all of the outcome on how often I failed.  The one thing I committed to was a daily prayer journal and rosary.  Did I do it every day?  Sadly, I didn't, but I tried.  And my prayer this year was that the forty day journey would allow me a deeper understanding of myself...my failings, my strengths, my temptations and the areas in which I needed to trust more.

At the end of Lent, I felt a bit more at peace most days.  But, not every day, and I don't think that's to be expected.  I didn't receive any great revelations.  I didn't wake up on Easter morning as a brand new creation.  In fact, I think the revelation that has come about has been a little gnawing at my heart that has simply grown stronger as a result of making time for more prayer and contemplation...and a few well-timed articles. (Here, here and here).

254 likes on one photo.  2,700 followers.  Comments here and there.  

"I don't know how you do it all."

"You have such a gift."

From the minute I wake up to my last blink at night, I'm attached to my phone.  I live for the affirmations of the likes, comments and messages.  I claim to just want the photos for albums via Chatbooks, but would I still do it if I turned off the comments?  Would I still blog if no one read it?  

I'm not so sure I would.

I like to be the mom who doesn't let anything fall through the cracks (although it does).  I like to be seen as the one who "does it all."  I like people telling me they think my photos are moving.  And, while I don't think it is wrong to like to be affirmed, I've placed too much (way too much) stock in the affirmation of those around me.

Why can't I find time to pray more than at meals and evenings and the rosary a few times a week? Why don't I read more than a book or two a year?  Why have the last few weeks of homeschooling looked more like a race to finish the daily assignment than to open a dialog for a love for learning?

It isn't because I have six kids six and under.  It isn't because I have to make and clean up three meals a day.  It isn't because I have to answer a million questions at once.  Because...that is the life of a mom, and it's not anything out of the ordinary.

It's because I cannot get through fifteen minutes of life without entering my four-digit passcode to unlock a world of affirmation, comparison, and general unrest. 

"Just a minute kids! (can't you see I'm busy on my phone??)"  "Stop talking for a second, I can't concentrate."  On what?   On replying to a comment on Instagram to someone I don't even really know while my child is looking up at me forgetting what they even began to ask.  Over and over again.

I jump online to compare myself to other photographers.  I see all of the latest trends via some of my favorite Instagram profiles.  I am puffed up when the comments keep coming and wonder what I did wrong when they don't.  Honestly, that's a bit of an exaggeration.  But, I do find so much affirmation in this world of instant gratification that I don't seek the affirmation from the only place it should come.

I allow myself to be filled up by a world that isn't even my own.  I don't have enough time to open up His word because I am too busy reading theirs.  I revel in the gorgeous images of other children and moments of love captured on the back of a camera so eloquently when I have real life versions of my very own underfoot.

No, I don't feel that every single second of my waking hours should be devoted to my children, but they (and my husband!  And most importantly my God) deserve more than what is left over.

I have met some of the most beautiful souls via the web.  And, I've come to various writings time and time again that have given me hope when my days have been less than perfect.  The conversations I've had between other moms in the same place, younger women aspiring to the same vocation, and those wise women who have gone before have been just what I've needed so often.

What I haven't needed is where I am now...on the other side of daily boost of pride that I already have a difficult time taming.  Affirmation or rejection coming from a world I want to be in but not of.  An addiction to an object that brings forth no life.

Someone posted this verse last week, and it hit me like a ton of bricks:

"Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.  They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see.  They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell.  They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk; they produce no sound from their throats." Psalm 115: 4-7

Social media is not all bad.  But, I have not been able to moderate my inhalation of it.  In turn, I am not being who I want to be.  Addicted to the instant gratification and chatter, I am not present nor aware of the very life I have been called to live.

If I never get another "like" or comment or share, does it truly matter?  It has to me for far too long.

I don't know exactly what I'll do, but I think I'll continue to blog as I can because I love to write, and this place allows for my love of photography, too.  But, I'm getting off Facebook, and maybe Instagram...or turning comments off of that.  It isn't in hopes of shutting myself off from those whose friendships I love.  More so, it's a way for me to get back to a reality that I've only played a half-there role in for too long.  Feel free to subscribe to the blog or shoot me an email (britt.fisk@gmaill.com) or even comment here at any time!  It isn't the communication I'm trying to get away from...just finally admitting that I cannot put all of this in its proper place.

Who knows, I may even pick up a book, tend to a garden or take a walk uninhibited by my handheld world...all while seeking the affirmation of the only One whose approval I should have been worried about all along.

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