How A Social Media Break Restored My Soul

I can’t believe it! The three (almost FOUR!) months I took away from social media is up, and I am back on the Instagram grid and Facebook feed. I am so surprised I could do it, I did have one slip-up, but for the most part I was able to keep my distance from social media and I am so proud of myself.

While I have done social media breaks before, none have been as long as this one. For me, this was the last ditch effort to see how much social media makes, and breaks, my world view.

I began this experiment because I was in pretty bad shape. I didn’t really like anything about myself, both personally and physically, and I would find myself just throwing some serious hate at my “flaws”. I was constantly comparing every little thing about myself to a pretty picture on my phone screen, and I could never match up. I knew I would never match what the perfect feeds created, and that made me feel even worse about who I was.

I doubted my abilities as a wife.

I hated my body and was ashamed of how I looked.

I really wished I could just be someone else.

Seriously, a little over 3 months ago, those thoughts were continually running through my mind and I needed a break. I needed to remember who I was, what I enjoyed, and honestly spend less time on a screen. So I told Mr. Yell that I would take a week off of social media, and in his honest fashion he said, “Why not stay off of social media for longer this time? This way you can see if it really works.”

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So, I made the plan to give up my Insta and Facebook feeds for the summer, until the first calendar day of Fall… and this is how it restored my soul and what it did for me.

Less screen time meant more ME time.

I spent an OBSCENE amount of time on social media. Like, it was ridiculous. So once I cut it out, I had so much time to do what I wanted to do. I dove into doing more yoga, journaling more often, reading books and the Bible more consistently, and thinking about myself. I started making lists of things I enjoyed for fun and what I wanted out of a career. I began thinking about what I valued from a job, and from my personal life, and made some life-goals to reflect those things. That may sound really simple, but I hadn’t really thought about what I really wanted to do with my life as an individual in a long time. I always felt pressured to be unique, or a “creative”, or whatever; but with this time off I was really able to look at myself and my talents and try to find what matched those things.

My life became a bit more messy.

I really did! I know this sounds silly, but being on social media really took me out of my creative element. By eliminating some social media, I picked up messy hobbies again and really enjoyed them. Painting, calligraphy, watercolor, and yoga were just a few things that created a bit more of a messy life. My life didn’t look picture-perfect this summer, because I didn’t feel that it needed to look that way for a picture to post. My messier life gave me more freedom and honestly, more fun!

I learned how to be more intentional.

When I first started this challenge, I felt like I was missing out on all my friend’s adventures and what was going on in their lives. This was such a great thing. Wanting to be more in-touch with my pals but not having social media to rely on, made me so much more of an intentional person. I would have to message someone to see how life was going, or even mail a letter, and it was something I hadn’t been good at before this started.

I realized I played less comparison games.

By not having complete access to other people’s projections of life, I had less to compare my own life to. This allowed me time to really think about what I wanted as a person professionally and personally without feeling like I “needed” to be doing certain things at this point in my life. With only myself to compare to, I (re)realized that I love painting, hiking, and reading. I began journaling more often and was able to work out some pretty difficult things between me and the Lord. Without social media being at the fore-front of my mind, I could very easily focus on the more important things in my life; like my husband, my spiritual life, and my health.

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I really have enjoyed my time off from social media, but I am really glad to get back going with sharing things with you all and having that part of the internet community back. I feel refreshed and prepared to dive back into social media; as well as ready to hear from you all again.

Thank you for your patience with me as I have been a bit off the grid, and for encouraging me during this time!

Let the InstaLove begin!

Much love. Much grace.

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Why I Don’t Hate Donald Trump

Boy. I am beyond ready for this election season to be over. I don’t know if it’s the first election I am participating in as an engaged voter, or if it really has just been an exhausting season. I hope we don’t ever have such a long campaign season as we have seen this past year, because at this point I am just over the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE politics! I mean, I have a Social Studies Education degree for crying out loud, so I have to like it… but this election season has been emotionally tiring and a down-right disturbing display of behaviors on both sides of the ballot.

As I have mentioned before (mostly on Twitter) I have been avidly against Donald Trump. I have been since the beginning because I am a bit of a people person, so social policies and and equality issues are a big deal to me. That being said, most of my ideals do tend to align more with the liberal side of spending rather than conservative.

One thing I have noticed though is that people tend to assume that since I am against Donald Trump, that I must in fact HATE him. Since I am against his policies, his ideals, and his words, people automatically think that I hate him as a man.

Well, I don’t.

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I don’t hate Donald Trump. I dislike him and what he says in the spotlight, but I don’t hate him and I don’t think I ever will. And here’s why:

 He is doing the best he knows how.

He really is. Mr. Trump has never lived in poverty, or even middle-class. He has no earthly idea how a blue-collar worker lives or the sacrifices those in the military world make. No matter what you say, he honestly cannot understand those struggles. His idea of sacrifice is all from a business side of the world and he really cannot comprehend what others go through. With this in mind, he believes what he is saying is real and is doing the best he can to appeal to people with whom he has nothing in common. I can’t blame him for his upbringing, his lack of knowledge in the “lower class” or poverty areas. He does not know and does not understand.

He is doing what his side of the spectrum wants from him.

While I know that many from the GOP don’t agree with Trump, he is still appealing to the mass amounts of Conservative Republican voters. He is doing what he knows has worked for him in the past. If a crowd cheers after throwing a person under the bus (metaphorically…) then he will do it in the next speech. If people cheer for a giant wall being built, you can bet that he will continue to bring up the wall in his next interview. He is doing what he knows the voters want from him, and he will continue to do so.

 Hate is a strong word.

You guys, hate is a very strong emotion to feel towards a person. To hate someone allows anger and fury and a desire to see that other person to die to rise up in you. If I hated Donald Trump, I would be wishing his death or his family to be thrown out of the country, or for him to be tortured. I do not hate him. He is a man, a person, just as the rest of us are. He can be redeemed. He can be forgiven. He can have a different story if he so chooses.

 I believe hating a person is wrong.

Since I was a child, I was taught that hating a person is wrong. (Thanks Mom and Dad!). To hate a person is the worst thing I could possibly do to him or her. How can a person come to know Christ by my hatred? How can  I talk of love and yet deeply loathe a person? I can’t. As a follower of Christ it is wrong for me to HATE Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton or President Obama. Each of these people are still redeemable and can accept Christ.

Again,  I do not agree with Donald on his policies, his comments to minorities or women, and a few other things; but for me to feel hatred toward him doesn’t do me any good. My hatred of him only eats at me and shows others that my God can be hateful towards people. I am sorry if I gave the impression of hatred. Know that we can all disagree and still want the best for the other person.

much love. much grace.

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Wear the Bikini

I love swimming!

When I was a teenager I was on a swim team and have honestly just always felt at home in the water (salt or chlorine… doesn’t matter!)

I always wore a one-piece or a tankini for most of my life up until pretty recently when I decided I really wanted a bikini. Cute one-piece suits are hard to find, and I always loved how bikini’s have mix-and-match options.

So this February, I decided that if I could lose a certain amount of weight, I would wear a bikini in public. So I set a goal, created a time-table and eating plan, and got to work. I have lost some of the weight I wanted, but not nearly as much as I planned in my over-zealous schedule. But you know what? I still wanted to wear my bikini… at the pool… in public.

Such a conundrum.

I had bought the cutest two-piece as a motivation to work out and be healthy, so I already had a cute suit. And Mr. Yell and I were going WAY out of town on an anniversary trip, so no one I knew would even see me wear it. All I had to do was wear it.

And wear it I did.

You guys, at first I was totally self-conscious and worried about my “problem areas” but after about 30 minutes, it felt so free. I forgot all about my weight and “fluff” and just enjoyed swimming. It was so wonderful to not worry about what other people were thinking and just enjoy my time swimming.

 

For the first time in quite a while, I was able to feel comfortable in my body and who I am in this point and time. This is who I am right now, and this is how I look. I can love it or hate it, but in the end it is the only body I have.

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This is the first post in the “Summer Series” and I wanted to show ya’ll how committed I am to this being MY summer. And YOUR summer. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you want to do. This summer is for you and for your confidence to shine. We are in this together! So wear the bikini, or not. It’s YOUR choice. Wear what you want to the beach… and own it.

Much love. Much grace.

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Even If…

Even if I have problems, You are still good.

Even if I am weary, You are good and you are strong.

Even if I feel like you have forgotten me, You know my thoughts and fears.

Even if (when) I have bad days, You forgive me and remind me there are good days too.

Even if I struggle to have peace, You love me and guide me to a place of tranquility.

Even if I feel useless, You have a purpose for your glory to be shown through my story.

Even if I feel unworthy, You remind me that my worth comes from You, and You alone.

Even if my expectations are not met, You are good.

Even if my life is not what I planned, You are good.

Even if I am scared or anxious, You are good.

Even if everything changes, You stay the same.

Even if anything, You are so so good.

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Much love. Much grace.

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