Heightened Senses

I have heard that when someone loses the ability to use one of their primary senses that the other senses step up their game and become heightened. For instance, if you lose your sight, your ability to hear becomes more significant, or your sense of smell is more perfected. I have no idea if that is true. I wonder if losing sight means you are forced to pay attention to your surroundings all the more. I wonder if not being able to see requires you to listen for clues around you and sniff out both dangerous and pleasurable surroundings.

A few months ago, had I been asked what I enjoy most about social media, I would have told you the pictures. I would have let you know that I was not worried by the arguing, nor did I feel a need to engage in rants. I would have said the marketing didn’t have much of an impact on me and that people who use it mainly to sell their wares don’t bother, neither do they tempt me.

However, having been on a social media break for a few weeks has shown me otherwise. I feel a lightness where the arguing used to be. I feel less anxiety because I’m not privy to anyone’s rants on the government or GMO’s or the weather. I’m less tempted to buy things I don’t need because I’m not watching the live videos about the flash sales or the latest version of the newest thing that I can’t live without.

Here’s what I miss: the pictures. The one thing I really enjoyed the most about social media is seeing pictures. I don’t miss seeing pictures of my friend’s dinner, but I do miss seeing that picture and knowing they went to a cool new restaurant. I miss seeing pictures of birthday parties and knowing that families from the church were celebrating their children. I miss finding out gender reveals and engagements and funerals.

I’m learning, or maybe I should say I am relearning, the value of personal interaction with friends. I’m relearning to pick up the phone and text or, get this, call people. The crazy thing is that social media is literally the only way some people communicate big news. Or any news. So I could see, if I never went back to social media, that there would be people I never hear from again. And truth be told, that might be okay.

In the absence of daily scrolling, I’m reading books I have wanted to read for a long time. I am watching movies I have always wanted to see. I’m noticing the birds in my back yard more. While waiting for my bathtub to fill last week, I watched a male and female cardinal share a white moth for dinner outside my window. Honestly, the way they fed each other was fascinating. I most likely would have missed that before. I would have been scrolling. I see the world around me with new eyes; eyes that aren’t as rushed and anxious. I hear music with fresh ears because I am focusing on the words and notes and not multi-tasking. I got a pedicure and shut my eyes during the leg massage, thanking God for the woman who was caring for my feet and legs so well — adding gratitude during this time that I used to scroll added immense pleasure to the entire experience. Taking away the scrolling has heightened all my senses.

I’m not sure how long this break will last but I am thoroughly enjoying the benefits. I know I will pick some aspects of social media back up; most likely before school starts because I don’t want to miss important information. But I am seriously considering my plan for when that day comes. I don’t want to be sucked back in to the daily, no, hourly temptation to numb the world around me with looking at various feeds. This awakening of my senses has been a delight for my creative soul and I am excited to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch what else God has in store for me.

We Were On A Break!

Whether you are a fan of Friends or not, you’ve probably heard this phrase screamed by someone in jest. Rachel suggested she and Ross take a break from the intensity of their relationship, Ross thought it was a break-up. He slept with the girl from the copy shop, she found out. His defense?


A week ago I decided to take a break from social media. All of it. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, GroupMe…I deleted all of them from my phone. Notice I didn’t delete my accounts. I’m not breaking up with them; I’m simply taking a break from the intensity of it all.

And intense it has become. Not for all the reasons you might think. Just about everyone everywhere is tired of the political rants, the all-or-nothing arguments, the my-way-or-the-highway attitudes. And we’ve all heard of the comparison effect social media often has on people. There is some truth to the idea that the majority of people only put their best face forward. We all tend to share the very best of our weekends and vacations, the best lit shots from the beach or the amusement park. We tend not to share the words shared between family members who are hot and sweaty and said through gritted teeth. We share the most romantic and most adventurous dates. We rarely share stories about the piles of laundry or the smell coming from the bathroom.

But none of this is new to any of us. These are the things strong women know to guard their hearts against, right? Or do we?

I took an online blogging course several years ago and made quite a few friends from the bunch. We were all there for different reasons; learning the art of blogging together. We all had different hopes and dreams and we all came from different backgrounds, families, and lives. We were all going in different directions. But a funny thing happened when we were all released into the world; we all did exactly what we said we wanted to do. Everyone followed their dreams and the path set before them.

And I became wildly jealous. And ashamed of my jealousy. You see, I didn’t know what my dream was. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Not only did I not know my path, I didn’t know even know if I had a path.

So I watched everyone else. And then I started watching others who seemed to be going places and doing things. Everyone seemed to have purpose and direction and they all were doing it with the best filters – and sponsors! And in all this watching I forgot that comparison is the thief of joy and that I have a completely different than the people I was comparing myself to. My family is made up of different people, my job looks different, my path is different. Anytime you compare yourself to anyone else, it is like comparing apples to oranges. None of us are the same and none of us are intended to walk the same path.

All of a sudden, I realized I wasn’t using social media as I claimed I was, for fun. So I took some more courses in social media and writing and promotions…maybe I could figure out how to use it to find my path. Or maybe my path would find me. It started to take up too much time and way too much energy. And it started to interfere with daily living.

I decided to take a break. The thing is, I have believed for some time that God has a very specific plan for my life and that writing and teaching and speaking are tied to that plan directly. But I still don’t know the plan. And if I want to know the plan I need to spend time with the plan maker.

I’m not sure how long the break will be; I imagine much of the summer. And I’m not sure what I’ll do with all the extra time, but I have a few ideas. I joined a bible study and an online book club. I want to spend time reading God’s Word and reading authors with big ideas. I also bought a book of prayers from a great theologian. And I purchased some books on creativity. I’ve blocked out time from work and time from commitments and I’m praying God will help me to be open to whatever he has in mind for me.

I suppose I’ll keep writing here; reporting how it’s going. I am trusting God to reveal great big glorious things to me this summer and I promise to keep you posted along the way.