afterlight

Do you use social media in your daily life? What are the social media effects on your life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world.

Dang, I love this prompt. Do I use social media in my life? How is that even a question?! Do you KNOW me?!

I mean, obviously, Danielle doesn't know me, but if she did, it would not be a question.

The simple answer: yes. I use social media. Daily. Hourly. Minute-ly (is that a word?).

The longer answer: yes. It consumes me. Daily. Hourly. Minute-ly. All consuming.

Pretty sure something else is supposed to be all consuming. You know what I'm talking about. (In case you don't, I mean God.) He's supposed to be the all-consuming one. But what do I do instead of being consumed by him? I jump on my phone. And I find comfort in someone retweeting me, or liking my picture, or writing me a blog comment. I am consumed by the pridefulness of a "Yes, I got another one."

How gross that makes me feel. How incredibly sad that makes me to admit that to you.

I have an iPhone 5S. Anyone else think that this phone dies SO QUICKLY?! I mean, I charge it all night long, and then a few hours into a busy day at work, it's at like 40%!! Gah! I'm forced to put my phone in the locker room to charge it and then, voila! I am phone-less.

And then I am forced to look at people in elevator. My eyes are open to those lost in the hallways for me to help them find their way. I am aware of the family waiting to hear the news about their daughter, their sister, their mother. I look them in the eyes. It seems, for the first time.

And I see them. That's what phone-lessness and social media-lessness does to me. It forces me to see.

[Tweet "That's what phone-lessness and social media-lessness does to me. It forces me to see."]

When I'm with the girls, I have it in my pocket almost all of the time. When it's time for me to nurse Lucia, I make sure it's in my pocket so I can scroll through my mentions and my thumbs' ups and my messages while she nurses instead of looking her in the eye.

But when I'm aware, and when I set my phone to charge, intentionally, in another room, I am so much more there. I see them. I hear them. I anticipate what is about to happen instead of reacting to what happened. This doesn't mean I'm a perpetual playmate who is drowning in a sea of toys and dress up and losing myself. It means I am a mother. Who cooks the dinner before the "I'm hunnnngggrrryyyyy"s kill me to death. I am a mother who sets them up at the counter to do the dishes with me, who sits with them to color while I do my daily readings, who goes on a walk with them and actually looks at the world that they see.

I see them. For the first time in a long time.

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And I bask in their goodness and their love and their generosity and their fervor for loving me. And I think nothing could ever be better than this. No "likes," or comments or messages. Nothing beats it.

But I am beat by it, yet again. And I reach for it time and time again. My phone. My social media apps. My brain needs to be told, "Someone likes you and thinks you took a good picture." Screw that, I want to tell my brain.

But if I'm not intentional, I get sucked back in, time and time again. I need to do it just as I've been intentional about reading the Word every morning, and my, how that's changed me. Just as I've been intentional about cooking more for my family, just as I've been intentional about looking Lucia in the eye while she nurses instead of looking at my screen, just as I've been intentional about reading books daily. I need to stay intentional and put down my phone.

I read posts on the internets. Ones that strike a chord with me and straighten my spine and force me to listen. A post like this from Emily Wierenga that crushes me only to build me up, piece by piece, to be more whole.

Another wonderful post came from one of my great blogging friends, Kristen, who wrote recently about an idea she had: a Tech-Free Challenge. She struggles, just like me, to be present to her babes, so she decided to challenge herself to put down the phone and the computer and really look her kiddos in the eye and have real, intentional relationship with them.

I have to be honest with you, I didn't want to take the challenge. I thought, I'll try to be more aware and put my phone down more often, but I didn't want to openly say, "Yes, I want to be tech-free with my kids." Because (this is so sad!) I didn't think I'd survive.

Survive. My God, I didn't think I'd survive without my phone, without my computer, without logging into Facebook and Twitter and Instagram (thank goodness I'm not a Pinterest lover or it'd be an even BIGGER problem). Makes me cringe, friend.

But it's time to do this, step by step, together. We can pursue authentic motherhood, real relationships, living for the little things, and telling His story. We can encourage each other daily, and find the love and beauty in the every day.

We CAN put down our phones and our computers (I'm telling myself this!), we can do this. I am excited to see what comes of this. There WILL be fruit from it, even though it seems difficult. And, ladies and gents, we can be better mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, humans, because of it. The fruit will overflow and we will be better. We will be better. Let's go.

linking with Jodi / Danielle / Holley / Jennifer / Jess / Living Arrows / Emily / Shell

Below is my 52 project for this week, and I just wanted to let you guys know that the ADORABALE outfits the older girls are in are from FabKids (thank you again to Kristen). It is service that handpicks outfits for your kiddos based on the style quiz you take. And it is SO cute -- for boys and girls! If you use my FabKids referral link, you get 50% off your first outfit. (The two outfits below, both of the dresses and both of the leggings were only $30 TOTAL!) And seriously. What could possibly be cuter?? (Or better priced, right in time for Easter?)

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In between tweeting, reading books to my daughters, and [not] burning mac n cheese, I am the Founder + Creative Director of Blessed is She women's ministry + community.