In Defense of Real Life

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Hi again, friend!
Lots to tell you today! Here’s what been stirring around in my heart the better part of this summer.

In Defense of Real Life: What I learned from my social media hiatus...& why I’m back in the game for a season

I know I’m not the only one who has complicated feelings about social media. There’s at least a few reasons why we refer to it as a love-hate relationship. The good aspects are so good! And the bad aspects are….really terrible and off-putting. More than anything, social media left me feeling all kinds of weary. 

This evaluation made it clear: my time on social media was going to need to shift dramatically or end completely. That’s actually the mental and heart space that birthed this newsletter. It’s….quiet here. Can you feel it? There’s space to breathe. You make a deliberate choice to open this email when you have time to read and digest it. (Thank you, by the way). You’re not in a rush to skim through a caption, not pressured to press “like”, and your thumb isn’t poised to scroll over to another corner of the internet at any second.

When I finally deleted the social media apps off my phone, I honestly expected my world to shrink drastically.
I expected to feel far less informed.
I expected to feel out of touch. 
FOMO, essentially.

But instead, something kind of magical happened. 

When my son did something hilarious (i.e., the reenactment of the “clean my toilet” bit from “Bluey”....IYKYK), or when my daughter built an ingenious Magnatile tower, I took a couple of pictures and texted my parents about it. 

When I had a hard parenting day, or felt overwhelmed with spiritual warfare, I let my best girlfriends know that I needed them to pray for me.

When we finally found the land the Lord had been preparing for us, we sent messages filled with exclamation marks to our IRL people. (More on that news in a minute!)

Deleting or limiting social media does not mean deleting or limiting community. No ma’am. It’s just that your efforts are channeled differently and, I would argue, in a more fulfilling way. 

It’s up to us to cultivate the kind of vibrant life that makes the internet pale in comparison.

We all have our concentric circles of community - our spouse & kids, our family, our church family, our oldest friends, our new friends, our coworkers, and so on. Maybe some of our circles overlap. Maybe we have tons of circles or just a couple.
Whatever the case may be, I wonder how many of us are trading our circles for 2D squares, follows, and fleeting tweets

When you don’t have all the filler that social media provides, you’ll find that you’re all the more motivated to invest in your real life and your people to fill that God-given gap. I promise, it’s an investment that will not return void.

I’m not blanket-discrediting being active on social media. I definitely think there’s a time and place for it. What’s concerning is that social media has become our default. Our trigger finger rests there and that’s the first place we take our everything: updates, thoughts, questions, victories, struggles, and need for interaction.
I’d just like to gently and sincerely ask, how is that serving your actual life? Maybe you’ve never thought about it before. I think we are short-changing ourselves here when we pursue our insta-audience while ignoring the people who are most invested in us and could give us personalized wise counsel, helpful feedback, minister to us, mourn, and rejoice with us.

We are designed for community, but the question is how? With whom? Let’s do it in a way that cultivates our real life circles, not just our online presence.

*Need a practical “to do”? Here’s my challenge to you: Delete your favorite social media app at night before you go to sleep. In the morning, you won’t be able to hop online to start your day, and this is a good thing! Start a new rhythm. Drink your coffee while you journal, read your Bible, walk outside, talk to God, etc. Don’t re-download the app until lunchtime or even later in the day. Use the in-between time to check in with friends and family. Purposely don’t grab your phone when you’re in a waiting room or in the school pick-up line. Recite a memory verse. Open a book. I’m telling you, this stuff sounds so menial and simple but it takes discipline!

*Also, I must give a shout out to the Marco Polo video messaging app…my girlfriends and I use it to chat about the dumbest things and the most important things. It’s been a game changer when we can’t be in person with each other.

More about our land + home! 

In July, God provided 14 acres for our family, and we could not be more excited! It’s on a quiet road in the middle of a bunch of farmland. We just got our building permit this week and they have started grading and preparing the land for the driveway, which is making it feel really real! 

So speaking of a “time and place for social media”....yep, I am back on the ‘gram for a season. Or maybe I should say our future home is. :) We’re building a Four Gables house and decided to document the building process. I think about scrapping the new profile at least once a day, but for now it’s still up and running! If you’d like to follow our building progress (and help me make design decisions, prettyplease!?), you can find us here

Good, beautiful, + helpful things

  • I have played this video or the song itself more times than I can count over the last couple of months. It’ll leave you feeling renewed and knowing you’re loved by the Lord: “Jireh”

  • In response to the news of Afghanistan and the chaos of our world right now, this song recenters me on Jesus and calms my spirit: “Be Alright”

  • Have you watched The Chosen series yet? It’s about Jesus’ life and ministry, and whoa, it is powerful. Highly recommend. There are several ways you can watch it for free, like on The Chosen app or Peacock app.

  • SmartHer News has been my go-to source for following the news out of Afghanistan. The stories are heart-wrenching and utterly overwhelming, but they are so important. I’m praying for the people there every time Afghanistan comes to mind. 

  • [ Books ]
    Just finished:

    - Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. It’s exquisite and profound. I read it alongside the gospels & watching the Chosen series, and all of those layers working together gave me fresh eyes to understand Jesus’ heart. This book makes my list of all-time favorites.
    - I also just finished reading through the whole Bible earlier this month! I followed a chronological plan for the past year. If you’ve never done it, jump in! You’ll be amazed at how it grows your faith.

    Reading now:
    - Chasing Wisdom by Daniel Grothe (more to come about this one!)
    - Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion by Rachel McLaughlin 
    *Realizing now that I need a fiction read to balance this list out! If you have a favorite you think I’d like, let me know!

Some news + updates

  • Aven began beginner jazz dance class a few weeks ago, and loves it so far! She’s also suuuper into Nancy Drew books right now.

  • Finn is taking NinjaTots gymnastics, and he’s obsessed. It’s 45 minutes of obstacle courses and energy-burning activities. Highly recommend. :)

  • Elowyn just wants to fish all day long with the tiny fishing pole her Paw Paw gave her. Sister can cast a line!

  • Homeschool: We start Monday! I’m looking forward a really rich year of learning right alongside my 2nd grader and my preschooler. We’re using The Kind Kingdom curriculum from the Peaceful Press. The Chronicles of Narnia series is the foundation, which I’m thrilled about diving into! Here’s to Homeschool Year 2!

Be encouraged.

Via @dwelldifferently.

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As always, thank you for reading! If you’re new to this newsletter, it only goes out once a month(ish). I hope it’s been helpful and gave you something to marinate on.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions - just hit the reply button and it’ll come to me!

Talk soon,

Shanna

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