This month, the lovely Amanda Watters over at Homesong hosted a thoughtful rest retreat from social media, a welcome opportunity to step out of the current for a little while for a reset.
It was so refreshing. I read more. I was so much more productive. I went to bed earlier. I was acutely aware, particularly during the first week, of how quickly I default to being on my phone. In moments of solitude or waiting or frustration or boredom, it fills the time— but not without cost. A month of lifting my eyes from the pull of a screen served as a gentle reminder that there are far better ways of connecting and communicating and creating. But perhaps most surprising to me was how much slower the month seemed to pass, the time dripping like honey. I had more time to live my actual life- fully present with our family.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” wrote Anne Dillard. “What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.”
These words come to mind often as I consider the rhythm of our days at home. So much about this season of motherhood can feel tedious and thankless. Nothing stays finished for more than a few seconds—there’s always another load of laundry to fold or dishes to be done or toys to be picked up or groceries to be purchased or meals to be prepared or, most of all, children to pay attention to. Time to pursue friendships or personal interests is extremely limited. It can feel all-consuming. And yet, I believe that there is incredible value to the work I am doing in our home, loving and teaching and equipping these children so that one day, they can be sent out to be light in the dark places of the world.
The days add up so quickly, months melting away into years, my little children becoming not-so-little at an unapologetically fast rate. But for the last month, I felt like I got to enjoy this season in a truer, deeper sense. I feel like I got to catch my breath, free to step back and reevaluate my habits and priorities. I want to spend my days, my life, on things of eternal value. It’s all too easy to get swept away scrolling, squandering quite a lot of time.
Even so, there were certainly elements I missed, and reasons social media will continue to be a part of our lives. We have friends and family spread all over the world that we like to keep up with, even if most of the time “keeping up” might just mean having a general idea of what’s happening in their lives. I missed the ease of communication. I missed the inspiring, creative outlet Instagram can be. But I didn’t miss my phone as an extension of my body, or feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to do the things I want or need to do.
I’m still working out the practicalities, the changes I’d like to see long-term in the way I engage with social media. But what I know for sure is that I want to experience the slow, sweet gift of presence all the time.
So here’s to stepping back into the current, but choosing to swim upstream.