The Lord has been stirring something in my heart. A craving for less of the draining and distracting so there’s room for more of the good stuff. Less noise, less hurry, less stuff. More connection, more white space, and more fully present time. Throughout the past year I have been tangibly reminded time and time again about the brevity of this one wild and precious life. Our time here on earth is finite. Our days are numbered. This life is a gift and with everything inside of me I want to steward it well. I don’t want to miss my life.
To give you a little bit of a backstory, over the last three years I have been challenged to take a deep look at how I am spending my time. Like Lara Casey often says, “How you spend your time, is how you spend your life.” It’s been sobering, humbling, and encouraging all in the same breath. I have seen ways that I have been faithful and have walked with a heaven focused perspective and many other times where I have lived distracted and chased after the idol of hurry. This poem by Mary Oliver has always been a favorite, but recently the last two lines have deeply resonated with me.
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
That last sentence keeps echoing in my mind. Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? It’s begged me to ask, “What is my actual goal in life?” Much to my surprise the answer to that question doesn’t appear by the world’s standard to be something big, loud, and seen. Rather I feel led to sit at the feet of Jesus and live my ordinary, unseen, and mundane days with quiet, steady, and consistent faithfulness. A few years ago when the Lord quietly began whispering in my heart the desire for less noise, I felt prompted to step away from Instagram for a month. I shared the photo below with this caption:
“This time of year always gets me excited about a clean slate, a fresh start. How about you?! This year my heart is craving Rhythms. I’m still not 100% sure what this will tangibly look like for our family, but what I do know is that my heart is longing for more of the good stuff. Exploring nature. True sabbath. Lighting candles, breaking bread, and curling up with a good book. More memories and less stuff. More of being fully present & less distraction. More simple and less frantic. More of lifting high the name of Jesus and less me. This month I’ll be stepping away from this little space to breathe, pause, and establish new rhythms in our family. I sincerely hope you have a great start to this new year, friends! See you in February! 💕”[@thelittlesandme, December 2017]
I learned a lot during that time away. Things that wrecked me, inspired me, and left me unsure of how to move forward. If I’m completely transparent, since that break I have been wrestling with how to use social media. Many times I would write up an entire post and then delete it because I didn’t know how to share, but also keep moments sacred to our family. I have struggled with wanting to be completely transparent, yet not allow Instagram stories to become all consuming. I’ve grappled with how to include you in the behind the scenes of our days, but still be fully present and not always have a phone in my hand. There’s been a battle in my heart between stepping away to be engaged with our community, yet simultaneously wondering if my time away would totally wreck the algorithm. You may have noticed I haven’t been sharing consistently and that’s primarily why. My heart has been wrestling with how to use the platform well without it becoming all consuming and lifting up my name instead of the name of Jesus.
As I was working through my PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner prep work this year (highly recommend, by the way!) over and over again I wrote about how I long to live a life of less — Less noise. Less clutter. Less distraction. My heart is longing for the slow and simple. The margin to live freely and lightly. I want to walk at a pace that gives me the freedom and JOY to love God and love people. I want my hands, heart, and head to be fully present. Satan is waging war on our generation with distraction, noise, and hustle. If he can keep us busy and distracted then we might just miss out on the real life people that are right in front of us and start seeing them as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity to love. This year I long to let go of the idol of hurry. To embrace the slowness of Jesus. To have the mental space and ability to stop and truly see my kids, husband, and anyone else I come into contact with.
I’m finally to the point where I’m ready to draw a line in the proverbial sand and declare that enough is enough. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to silence the noise and make time and space for who and what really matters. Because of that, this year I’m saying no to social media so I can say a big resounding YES to margin, white space, and mental freedom. Just typing that makes my eyes well up with all the happy tears. It’s equal parts terrifying and liberating and I can’t wait to see how God uses the quietness of this year.
Social media can be a really great thing and I’m so thankful for how it’s connected me to some amazing women. There’s many wonderful people that I’m going to miss. Yet, I know that the stakes are too high and this is something the Lord is asking me to let go of this year. As I’ve prayed and thought through all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that while I won’t be active on Instagram and Facebook, I won’t be stepping away from all things The Littles and Me. I’m excited because letting go of social media this year will mean a few exciting things for The Littles and Me. It will:
- Give me the space and margin to create new content and blog more regularly (which is something that I truly love but haven’t had the head space for).
- Finish and create new resources for you to use with your family.
- Encourage you through email.
I’ll be using January to plan and prepare and will be back to posting content here on the blog and sending encouragement to your email in February. If you still want to stay in touch (which I hope you do!), that’s where you’ll find me in 2020!
Proud of you, sweet friend! I hope your year is everything you’ve dreamt of and more! Xoxo!
You are always such an inspiration to me and our family. Let the Lord guide you and you can not go wrong…I truly believe He will do amazing things through you. Praying for His guidance for you in 2020!!!
What a bold step, Ashley! I can’t wait to see what you create in 2020.
LOVE this and so proud of you for your courage and bravery! Something I inspire towards… x
Looking forward to more blog content!
Oh my heart! You have just so perfectly put into words what I have been wrestling with for years! Thank you for your honesty and I look forward to checking in on the blog more!
This is absolutely amazing! I’ve been dealing with the back and forth of social media and whether I’m helping people or not it takes me away from my family. I know God has been pressing in my heart as well. I believe I ran into this at the right time.
This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing your heart! ❤️
I LOVE this! For the past year and a half I have been off of social media and it has been awesome. It truly does free up mental space, and really helps out with not comparing ourselves among ourselves! I love your little corner of the world here it truly is inspiring!