When I started this Lenten journey, I really thought my biggest struggle would be with the food changes. I’m eating the same thing every day — oatmeal with seeds and banana for breakfast; green salad with tomato, hard-boiled egg and onion for lunch; brown rice, black beans and a small piece of skinless chicken with 1/4 of an avocado for dinner; about half the time I have a tangelo for dessert — and even during times of emotional distress, I haven’t felt a pull to go off the plan. Lent isn’t even half over, so I make no promises that tomorrow I won’t wake up and be rabidly craving bacon and coffee.
What has been surprisingly a struggle is to stick to my plans of less online connection. I was doing OK at first, but then I started checking email more to see if anyone had responded to the blog; a quick check in the morning and another at night wasn’t enough. Checking my “Lent newsfeed” on Facebook, which consists only of my husband and sons, began to slowly include a quick peek to see if anyone had said anything on my page. And since I can’t figure out how to change my default newsfeed to the Lent one (it might not even be possible), it was easy to let myself get sucked into the regular newsfeed for a bit before I even realized what I was doing.
Where I thought I would be weak, I am strong, and where I thought I’d be strong, I am weak…at least at this moment.
Fortunately, I serve a God who embraces weakness and shows His glory through my weakness. In this moment, as the lies of shame and condemnation are winging their way to my heart, I am pulling out the sword of truth to strike them down before they even get close:
“‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
What I am coming face to face with is my EGO. Here’s a thought, and I could be wrong — If I wasn’t writing this blog so intently during Lent, the online pull wouldn’t be as great. Limiting my food choices has only served to show me the pull, and what’s going on underneath it. I’m not really “blaming it on the blog” as I can only blame myself! I want to see who’s reading, who’s commenting, who’s liking, and if there are any new readers who aren’t my friends or family. It’s undeniably exciting to have my musings find a *slightly* wider audience — two followers and three likes from people I don’t know at all! But it’s one thing to be delighted about this and GIVE THE GLORY TO GOD and another to have it feed some kind of ego/insecurity — two sides of the same coin.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
What if no one reads the blog? Would it still be worth doing? YES, absolutely. My heart knows this. And if only a handful of friends and family read it and are blessed, that is ENOUGH. I don’t think I’m supposed to be the next Ann Voskamp, or Rachel Held Evans (two bloggers worth reading, by the way). And on the off-chance this blog were to go viral one day, it wouldn’t be my doing anyway.
So today I am tightening up my online ship and telling you (yes, you) that I will check email only after lunch and after dinner. I will go to my FB account once a day to paste in a new post’s URL and if I don’t write on a given day, I won’t go to FB. While on FB, I will check my Lenten newsfeed and Ann Voskamp’s page (the one exception I made at the very beginning, as she feeds my soul deeply) and then GET OFF. And I will be honest here if I get off-track.
If the temptation for “more” starts hounding me, then I will need to name it for what it is, and take a walk, or put on music, or put away laundry, or read a book. Better yet, I should first get with God and ask Him what I’m really “hungry” for. Maybe what I need is to call a friend, or write a letter, or pray for someone. Connection can come in all different ways.
What I know is this — I do not need to feed my ego or insecurities; it only makes them bigger.