It’s the last day of the month. I’m reflecting back on my rules I set for myself in June. I wasn’t an A-student of backing off my phone habits. But I was much better this month than I’ve been in years. I’m adopting a few of them for the indefinite future. Most importantly, the ones about keeping my phone at more than an arm’s length while driving and while riding in the car with my husband. I’m strangely judgmental of people with their face’s in their phone now … I’m like, “Oh, I don’t depend on my phone at alllllll. I’ve gone without for a whole 30 days.” Apparently breaking the phone habit hasn’t done anything for my self-righteous habit.
Anyway, I wanted to finish out the month with one more guest post. This time from one of my favorite people in the whole state of Colorado, Miss Aneta Nina. She owns an incredible store, give with joy. She motivates me and everyone around her to get out of their phones and into people’s lives. By sending thoughtful notes or just showing up when people need it. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook to find motivation for yourself to love those around you better.
Rachel wrote this about me a few months ago. She described me in a way that I wouldn’t have described myself. I have this need for deep connections with the people in my day-to-day life and with people I might only interact with for a moment or only through social media.
Reading Rachel’s series on unplugging got me thinking about the way I see connections with people, whether online or offline. I think there are distractions to real connections when we have access to photos of other people’s perfect lives at our fingertips. We can’t necessarily blame social media for these distractions though, because we have responsibility to move beyond what we have access to.
Rachael wrote about how we document every single thing happening and forget to breathe in real, authentic moments. Abigail wrote about how we are scared to move beyond double taps on pictures because it opens us up to say more—to do more.
Using social media isn’t wrong. I use it. I use it to share my life—my art—my marriage. I text. I email. I share quick nuggets of information.
But we shouldn’t stop there. We should build a village all around us that breeds authentic relationships, freeing one another from perfection and scripted answers.
I believe in building my tribe and village even through my social media accounts. I want to invite people into my life, my hurts, my struggles, and my joys. I never want someone to look at my photos and think, “This girl isn’t telling the whole story.” I want to tell the whole story. And I want to see and hear someone else’s whole story.
But how can we get there in an age where digital is taking over? Where do we start if we are afraid to share the moments of the unfiltered life we experience?
I’ve always known that I need community. I’ve always sought friendship with people who are authentic. But I long to see that authenticity in my online community.
My pregnancy is teaching me so much. It’s stretching me in more ways than just my skin. That whole “It takes a village” thing? Pregnancy is showing me that a village is only as good as its authenticity. Because when you ask me how I am doing, my answers will be raw. I don’t want to feel this pressure to say, “Everything is great. Like all the time.” Because sometimes my feet hurt and my emotions are out of control.
Recently, I quit my job that gave my family a steady income to pursue give with joy. There were moments I laid in bed overrun by worrisome thoughts about money and the list of expenses soon to be ours.
I prayed. I prayed for guidance and for peace.
The next morning, on Facebook, I received notifications from a friend who had a friend giving a free box of baby girl clothes and a crib for $25.
That woman took the time to reach out. The village was the answer to the prayer. God gave us each other to defend, love and provide, even if it comes in the form of Facebook.
We all need to share life beyond double taps, filtered photos, and scripted conversations.
You may feel like you don’t have something to contribute to a village. But showing up, being present, and offering what you have is more than enough for someone who needs it.
We shouldn’t be ashamed when we ask for help or share the raw moments of our lives. We should feel inspired by others to be vulnerable.
I think we should use social media to be intentional. We don’t have to just settle for what the screen tells us. This is where responsibility comes in. We can see a photo or status update and send a card saying “Congrats!” or pick up the phone and ask about their tough day at work. We could invite someone over for coffee if they are struggling. Social media is just that—it’s social. It’s relational. It gives us a window into other people’s lives. We need to take those opportunities and be responsible with them.
We need to bring back this sense of village where we free one another to be authentic, receiving them without judgment and with a whole lot of love!