Winter Rest, Roots, and Reflections
We are in the depths of winter now, here in Ohio. Temperatures in the teens, forecasted to be in the negatives soon. Potatoes for every meal. Occasionally the sun peaks out for a few moments but most days are gray. The kind where the sky blends in with the old, dirty snow on the ground and rooftops. As if it's a photograph where the contrast has been turned way down. I'll admit I struggle quite a bit during these times of gloom. I'm loving the refreshing cold and snow this year, the beauty of winter. But the gray makes me feel like I am walking around in a fog. My eyes have trouble focusing and truly all I want to do is sleep and sleep and sleep. But despite I have been working hard, quietly, but hard.
I currently do not have the Instagram app on my phone. At first I felt a little lost without it, my thumb often hovering over the empty space that it left on my home screen, wondering what to do or what to press in order to accomplish that need for mindless distraction. But at the same time I also feel freer, safer in a way. I have made such an idol of it, honestly. Now after about 2 weeks without logging onto my personal account, the desire to go on is so tiny, the thought so exhausting, that I think it's just the last remains of a terrible habit sticking around while my brain attempts to rewire itself. I was only going to take a week off. And then that week turned into 2. And then I thought why the heck not do a whole month? Part of me wonders if I will even want to log back on at all once the end of my instagram break comes.
I'm ashamed to admit this but I was averaging 24 hours a week on my phone. That was an entire day wasted behind a screen each week... Often times I really was using it for work. Taking photos, editing, answering emails and comments and questions, etc. But a lot of the times I was using it as a distraction, something to busy myself and trick myself into thinking I was doing Important Work (I mean, is spending 2 hours watching dog videos on the explore page really Important Work? I will let you be the judge of that). I know the comparison game is where Instagram really gets people, but for me it has never been about the numbers or the envy or comparing but more so something that I used without intention, to mindlessly distract myself from the real world, my real thoughts, to make myself feel like I am Getting Stuff Done and doing enough and being enough. It was all just busy work. I was putting my worth in the wrong place.
I did think Instagram was the problem and in a sense it was. Without it has led to a lot more freedom in my days and I'm averaging a lot less time on my phone now. But I also think my mind is still horribly distracted and I flutter from one thing to the next without being present or focusing or finishing a damn thing. So, my life is still kind of a mess even without Instagram. Lol.
I still often feel that sense of "not having enough time" for enough reflection, time with Jesus, working out (I really hate the term "working out"), meditating, cooking. And I know that's not true. I have plenty of time, I'm just not stewarding it well. I often wonder how I worked so hard to avoid the rat race of working 40 hours a week only to have to work 80 for myself? I know being a business owner is hard work, especially in the first few years. It's not that I'm afraid of hard work, I know the value in it and I actually quite enjoy it. But I do feel that I have a lot to learn in doing kingdom work rather than busy work. I don't necessarily want a 4 hour work week but I do want enough space to participate in real life. To work hard but live slow. To hang at Jesus' pace instead of trying to catch up or keep up with the world.
Lately I have been trying something new and just letting my ideas sit when they come to me. To have so many ideas build up and not take action on them immediately is against my nature but is necessary at this time. I have been slowly working on my mile long list of hopes and dreams and content, but I also need that space to be still. I have a greater sense of peace surrounding my work and creativity, having lost that frantic "get it done before someone else does it better!" mindset.
I'm slowly learning that I don't have to do it all, to be it all. It's hard and almost kind of hurts, to let go of the things I thought I needed to be or do. But it's also creating space for my true callings and passions to come to life. It's quality over quantity after all. Everything in it's own time.
Some things I've been preaching to myself lately:
Your worth is not based upon your productivity or the checkmarks on your to-do list. Stop getting to the end of the day and beating yourself up over what you didn't get done and focus on what you did well. You're doing fine, my friend, just fine.
Everything in it's own time. Slow and steady. Quality over quantity.
Be present and ask yourself your purpose behind every action, every click on your computer, every tap on your phone. Is this a mindless distraction, procrastination, habit? Or done out of wholehearted intention, an action needed to get the task in front of you done?
Notice everything. The way the snow falls. The way the light comes through the curtains. The way your morning coffee smells. The way the wind blows. Notice everything.
Despite the clear and obvious mess swirling around in my brain, I am enjoying these unhurried moments of winter. Usually by now I find myself longing for spring, but this year a lot of peace is being found in stillness, in extra sleep, in too many hot cups of tea.
What have you been up to this month? I so hope winter is treating you well. I know how easy it is to get comfortable with that wishing-for-spring feeling, but I encourage you to sink in fully to the season of winter, as we still have quite a bit to go. Bake some bread, cook some seasonal foods, play in the snow, drink an extra cup of tea, let yourself sleep a little more. You're not alone if you're struggling with the gray of the season. It's definitely not ideal but for whatever reason this season is meant to be here. Spring is always on the other side but for now we have to focus on the present. I'm walking right alongside you as we do!