My Walk, Self Care, Wisdom

Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook

Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or recieved or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you.”

–Philippians 4:8-9

 

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When I discovered Facebook almost a decade ago, I never imagined it would be something that took on a life of its own. I sure didn’t expect that a social media platform would be something that could ever require the need of a hiatus.
Then one day, not long before the election, I realized I was in desperate need of cleansing myself from the constant updates, notifications, and interactions. During the four(ish) months I was away I learned a lot about myself, and the effect Facebook has on me. Here are six of them:

Facebook Can Bring Out the Worst in People

For every positive post on my feed, I found five negative ones. During the months leading up to the election even those people I counted on for encouragement and a Christian perspective suddenly posted less lighthearted and loving messages in favor of angry, judgemental, political posts.
This negativity while not directed at me, was still affecting my own spirit. There was so much darkness that it started to permeate every part of my day.

Facebook Worsens My Anxiety

Since I have already been dealing with heightened anxiety since the birth of my youngest, it doesn’t take much to push my anxious feelings to another level. Reading all the negative and hateful posts had me in a constant state of anxiety. I was having trouble sleeping–worrying about people I didn’t even know, and things I had no control over.
Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook __Well O' Faith

I could give my personal worries over to God, but for some reason, the worries of the Facebook world were never given to Him.

Facebook Made Me Less Social

Given the negativity and anxiety Facebook was bringing to me, I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that it led me to avoid most physical interaction with friends and relatives.

With depression and anxiety comes a desire to be alone–or at least the belief you want to be alone.

After being bombarded by the cares, worries, and desires of those people on Facebook, I couldn’t afford to expend the energy on anyone else. Not even on myself.

I also fell into the false sense that I could be just as social through Messenger as I could in the physical company of a friend.

Though, to be honest, some of my nearest and dearest friends live too far away for me to sit in their presence; in that case Messenger has been a wonderful tool.

Without Facebook I Could Focus

During those months without Facebook, I found a focus I hadn’t had in years. I had removed the Facebook App from my Android devices, and without the ease of single touch, I no longer felt the overwhelming need to check-in several times (or more) a day.

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It was too much effort to actually have to go through the website.

Much to my husband’s surprise I could actually make it through a movie or a show without my attention drifting to my phone. In many cases, my phone wasn’t even with me– a wonderful side-effect for both of us.

I Was Present With My Family

Without Facebook (or my phone) taking my attention away, my family and I had the chance to make more memories. True, they aren’t photographed or chronicled on Facebook, but during those times we were one-hundred percent together.

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I experienced so much joy watching my children grow and change; snuggling with them as we read books, laughing together over the antics of characters in movies, and discussing whatever was important to them. Being able to focus on them without reaching for my phone was by far the greatest blessing I experienced.

I Had So Much “Free” Time

For the first time in too long, I finally had time. I wasn’t rushed, and if I wondered where the day had gone it had nothing to do with getting sucked into social media.

I read books.

Not just a chapter or two here and there, but actual books. Instead of being glued to Facebook, I was able to lose myself in the worlds of great writers and storytellers.

I earned a well-deserved “book hangover” from Killing Patton; and enjoyed an impromptu book club with my eldest as we read and discussed The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I was creative.

Crocheted blankets, booties, hats, and washcloths were started and finished. And each Tuesday a friend came over and we enjoyed an hour of chatting and crocheting.

I spent time with the LORD.

Six Things I Learned__Time with God-- Well O' Faith

Without Facebook calling my name, losing myself in the Word became easier. I had time to not only read a verse or two, but could actually carve out time to dive deeper into books of the Bible I’d been neglecting.

Finding Balance With Social Media

I’ve slowly began to re-enter the world of Facebook. I still haven’t replaced the app on my phone (and I’m not planning on it).

There is so much joy and living to do outside of social media, that I don’t want to find myself suddenly trapped in old habits again.

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I know there is a balance needed, especially as a blogger, and I’ve learned valuable things about myself these past few months. There is a place in my life for Facebook and other social media platforms, but they no longer have the pull on me they once had.

It’s a brave new world out here, folks.

One where I’m not controlled by social media.

One where it is controlled by me.

Have you needed to detox from social media before? What changed for you? How long did you do it for? I’d love to know.

Blessings,

Sare Signature

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education, Homeschooling, Motherhood, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, Wisdom

10 Books to Read for Personal Growth in 2017

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A List of 10 Books for Personal Growth in 2017

 

Each year I compile a stack of books–some paper, some digital– to help me grow as a person. This year I’m particularly excited about my choices. I’m also honest enough with myself to know I might not get through them all. However, I thought I’d share them (in no particular order) with you. Maybe you’ll find a few new additions for your own “to-be-read” pile.

The List

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’ve been known to add more books to the pile as they catch my eye; my husband spends a lot of time fretting over the lack of space we have and my never ending fascination with having my own library.

What are some books you have on your reading list for 2017? Please share them in the comments.

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encouragement, Homeschooling, Joy, Motherhood, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, The Fallen World, The Kiddos, Wisdom

When I Was A Perfect Parent

I once was a perfect parent. Before I had children of my own.
When I was a Perfect Parent

I Was a Perfect Parent

As a teenager, one who obviously knew it all, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.

*Insert slightly insane laughter here*

There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate. Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus. My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.

When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.

I’m sure God chuckled at my plans. My parents did.

When I was still a perfect parent--living under my parents' roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn't keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I'd understand them, and treat them with

Before the birth of my youngest my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound. The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches, and it was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months. Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the LORD has created, and to truly appreciate it helped to relax my anxious heart.

It also helped me to understand something about myself.

I’m not a perfect parent. In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me. I might have thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent. Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it. Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.

God is the Perfect Parent

God has blessed us with three beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous. Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, and cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys. It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.

Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have. Our eldest is only nine, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago. Yes, she can play outside without constant supervision, but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored. This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car (see, anxiety). I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.

The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children. We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can. Have some people lost their way? Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge. There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen. Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.

 

encouragement, God's love, Homeschooling, listen, Motherhood, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, Wisdom

How Patience Helps Us Grow



Each morning as we sit around the breakfast table we do a devotional as a family. Once in a while the topic will spur deeper discussion with my nine-year-old daughter; usually she remains silent while she drinks her milk and stares at me as if I just asked her when she was leaving for the moon.

This morning, the topic was patience, something I’ve never been particularly good with. I’m more of an instant gratification person. Of course, three children later, instant gratification seems more like a fairy tale, and patience is still something I’m struggling with.

Often I wonder what lesson the LORD is teaching me on the (many) days my children conspire to make me crazy. I assume it is patience, but until today, I didn’t truly understand what that meant in a spiritual, Christ-centered way.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.

Romans 5:3-5

It’s such a wonderful feeling to know how much God loves us, even when we aren’t patient. The Bible is always here to help; to remind us to rejoice even when we’re struggling, because we have the Holy Spirit, and it continually fills us with His love.

Blessings,

Sare

Joy, Motherhood, My One Word, Parenting, The Kiddos

Changes

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…
1 Corinthians 15:51-52a

On May 6th we welcomed our third child into the world.

She is beautiful, wonderful, and such a blessing to our family.

After two weeks of labor, where i didn’t dilate past four because of scar tissue, I was finally admitted to the hospital. Six hours later, our cuddle-bug was snug in my arms.

She was born at 1527 weighing 8 pounds 3 oz and 21 inches long.

Changes are coming.

Blessings, Sare

education, encouragement, Faith, Homeschooling, Motherhood, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, Wisdom

Why We Don’t Participate in “All-Fools’ Day”

Ever since I was first introduced to April Fools’ Day in the early years of elementary school, I’ve dreaded the first of April. I hated falling for lies in the guise of ‘jokes’, and most importantly I hated not being able to trust the people I saw each day.

I’m sure it didn’t help that the way kids played jokes weren’t particularly funny. The jokes–or in most cases the pranks– were often mean-spirited and made the person, unlucky enough to be caught in the middle, embarrassed and uncomfortable. Some people, like myself, hate being in a spotlight of any kind, and these types of jokes are akin to being thrown onto a stage in a fully-packed stadium.

If jokes are supposed to be funny, those situations failed dismally.

As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed that many people never outgrew this rather childish and loathsome activity. However, many of the ‘jokes’ are now played online. For instance, at any given moment today I could scroll through my Facebook feed and see numerous posts about pregnancies. Now, for many this isn’t a big deal, but for people who are desperately trying to conceive, or have experienced the loss of a child, it isn’t an amusing topic.

Also, in this age of social media, there is a much wider base for ridicule. In the case of a few people on social media who post outrageous–yet totally plausible ‘plans’, and then sit back and watch as their friends and family ridicule and tear down each other for believing the words in the first place.

My children haven’t had the experience with All-Fools’ Day, because they are both young and educated at home. My daughter is much like I am, and though we enjoy goofing off and telling actual jokes, we never aim to get a laugh at someone else’s misfortune.

As a Christian, albeit a rather new one, I feel that the overall point of this day is decidedly UN-Christian. Nothing about it promotes a happy or exciting and enjoyable experience. I feel that this one day of the year is used as a way to say, “Hey, it’s okay to make fun of others, or to hurt, ridicule, and embarrass others, because it’s ‘just a joke’.”

We spend so much time dealing with bullying and abuse in our society, yet no one seems to blink about the pranks and jokes associated with this particular day on the calendar. Shouldn’t we use every day to teach our children the difference between a joke that makes EVERYONE laugh, and something that causes one person to be laughed AT? Shouldn’t we teach our children that it is never okay, not even one day a year, no cause others pain and embarrassment? Shouldn’t we be teaching our children that a lie even on the first of April, is still a lie?

I’m sure there will be people who feel I am overly-sensitive. That’s fine. It won’t be the first time those words have been applied to me in life. The difference now is, I’m an adult and I’m a mother. The only thing I care about it raising my children to be respectful of everyone, regardless of who they are or what time of the year it is. I don’t ever want my children to feel like it’s okay to make fun of someone, or be made fun of.

Even if it makes me out to be “overly-sensitive”, I will not confuse my children by participating, or allowing them to participate in something that at the very core marks what is wrong with our society. Words and actions affect people. The date on the calendar doesn’t change that.

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What’s My Calling?

Recently I’ve been thinking about what I’m meant to do with my life. I’m almost finished with my journalism degree (finally!), but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go from here. I’ve got massive student loan debt hanging over my head (and honestly, my husband’s head since I stay home and teach our children and he goes to work every day, bending to the ever changing will of his employer–the USMC).

I love writing, obviously, or else I wouldn’t currently owe the national debt of a small country. However, I’ve done the whole writing novels thing, and while I enjoyed it, I feel that was a different season. I’d love to blog and actually make money doing that, but that means someone other than my nearest and dearest would actually need to read and follow my blog(s) so they would be worth monetizing.

In the not too distant future my husband and I would like to move into a home of our own. One that we own (or at the very least the bank allows us to SAY we own), where our children can create memories, put down roots, and grow into wonderful adults. A place where those same children will run around in the sunshine while they are supposed to be helping me pull the weeds in the garden.

Today I sat down with God and made a plan. There was prayer involved (and more will be needed), and long talks with God as I figured out what needed to be done to achieve this dream without the burden being fully on my husband. As I’ve told him in the past, he’s not alone in this world. We’re partners and we’re in it together. The future doesn’t rest on his shoulders alone, he has me and a loving Heavenly Father who will guide us through.

I know it is time to stop wondering what my calling is, and worrying about if I’ll ever find it. I’ve placed it firmly in the LORD’s capable hands. I’m a writer, and I need to remember that. I need to write, and I need to help provide for my family–okay, I’ll be providing for the families of the student loan lenders, but it amounts to the same thing. So, what exactly do I need from the wonderful prayer warriors who may stumble upon my humble ramblings?

I need your help with prayers.

I’m not sure where I’m going from here. I don’t know just how writing is going to start paying my student loans, but I know in my heart that God will guide me. That He has a plan already, and I wouldn’t have taken the steps I’ve taken if they weren’t going to lead somewhere amazing.

Please, Please, Please, Pray for this mother who wants nothing more than to raise her children. To teach them, watch them grow, and show them how to be a successful, God-Loving adults. Pray that I listen to what the LORD places on my heart, and that He guides me toward my calling. Pray that I continue to fully serve Him, and never forsake Him as I strive for my goal. Pray that my goals are in line with His plans for me, and that I never lose sight of what is truly important.

With your prayers and encouragement, I know I’ll follow the LORD faithfully.

May God Bless You and Yours,

Sare