We spent six days in northern Michigan lake country with no Internet, cell or data connection.
No suffocating sense of competition or comparison either.
Gets a girl thinking real hard about this online space we all spend so much time in. And wondering how to carve out quiet, safe spaces for the soul to remember it is beloved, pursued, cherished and called in the midst of the chaos we wade through every day.
The sky was so big and the water so wide it made me feel small in all the right ways.
Not because my house is too small or my blog or book or online presence is small compared to someone else’s. No, it made me feel small because that’s the appropriate reaction for a human being to have when she tilts her head back and gets a glimpse of the God who sculpted all that awesome with His bare hands.
The horizon that aches on forever and the tiny minnows that dart and dash between my sons’ toes. How the same God breathed life into both. The daunting expanse of the cosmos stretched out above us like a hammock and the sand that sifts and squishes beneath our feet.
I am so small in that context. And it’s a relief.
We were not built for big.
We were built to reflect the glory of the God who is big. And who is not afraid to speak to us in a still, small voice; a gentle whisper.
It makes me simultaneously want to quit the Internet and forge deep into it to grab Christ’s daughters by the shoulders and shake them and repeat real loud into their beautiful eyes, “You are CHOSEN, WANTED, NECESSARY, LAVISHLY LOVED. There is only one YOU and we need that you not to disappear, duck, hide or give up to the lie that you don’t belong.”
Makes me want to stamp out every single blog post that rages in this epidemic of “not enough.” The “I’m not enough of a writer,” “I don’t have a big enough platform,” “my house isn’t tidy enough,” “my kids aren’t behaving enough,” “my marriage isn’t interesting enough.”
As my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee says, “We’ve had enough of the not enoughs.”
And the Internet is not the boss of us.
Not by a long shot. And if it’s been bossing you around lately? If it’s been making you feel the ugly kind of small? If it’s been whispering lies into your head late at night and nudging you to pull out your measuring tape when you’re scrolling through what she’s been up to on Facebook or what he’s got planned for the summer – maybe it’s time to cut it off.
The Internet is only as loud and shouty as we let it be.
But here’s the thing – simply shut that computer down and you’ll be surprised how little power it has over you.
Take Instagram in small doses or take it off your phone completely.
Stop reading the blogs that shrink the size of your spirit.
Stand out in the middle of a beach or a farm or your back yard or the neighborhood football field and gaze up at the sky and let all the security of that kind of small sink deep into your bones.
May we lift up our eyes to the hills and away from the stats, likes and followers long enough to remember that we are each of us called uniquely according to His purpose.
And may we not be too defeated by what she is doing that we aren’t able to hear and eagerly respond to the still, small voice that calls us by name, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”Leave a Comment
Truth! I made the decision to be off Facebook for the summer. Part of my desire to eliminate the white noise and be present in the present.
Let me say – there are times when I feel out if the loop however, that is ok!
I feel so free – free from many “not enoughs”!
I encourage you moms – let it go. Log off!
Honesty, I am enjoying my soul freedom – so much so, I am not certain I will re-activate my FB account!
Elizabeth Martinez says
One On One with Our God is the Most Wonderful Gift that we have daily to choose. When we put down Everything and take a Calgon take me away. A God moment, For my Day. 🙂
Becca Groves says
I read your comment and jumped right over to facebook and logged off. I have known I needed to do this for a long time but your words were the final nail. Thank you for the encouragement! Life is too full and rich and good than to waste my days scrolling through the comparison trap!
Dee Wilcox says
“Scrolling through the comparison trap”… I like that, Becca!
thank you for your insight…you are special…I came out of facebook and so did my daughter.
Thank you for the confirmation of not enough.
I, too, have been off Facebook for a while to give my souls a rest from the comparison and the craziness of it all. It has most definetly given me a sense of freedom from the comparison of my life to someone else’s image of a life. I realized that people, including myself, we’re only posting the bet images of themselves, but there was no real ness to that…. Because its the yucky not so pretty part of life that truly create connection and bring us closer. I agree with you, trista, in that sometimes I feel out of the loop, but I’m okay with that! I encourage other moms to take a break from Facebook as well and spend the time we would spend on Facebook ,with the ones truly worth our time, our kids!
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
Not that long ago I was on my honeymoon in a beautiful island paradise. We went sans all technology and it was wonderful!! Ironically, we saw other honeymooners sitting side by side at the beach or pool and each was engrossed in their individual smart phones. I stifled my urge to pull the phones out of their hands, throw them in the ocean and encourage these people to enjoy God’s paradise that they were in.
For me the biggest drawback of the internet is the comparison game. I check my stats on my blog and if they are suffering it begins to make me think, well people are busy reading others’ blogs because they are more interesting than mine. The enemy is good at yelling lies that drown out the still, small voice of God. So, YES, sometimes I need to shut it all down and just go out and enjoy God in this amazing world that He has given me/us. I need to seek Him first above all things. Thank you SO much for this timely reminder this morning! I really needed it!
Julie Sunne says
Heading to northern MN tomorrow for six days of no connection. Can Not Wait! Great post, Lisa-Jo.
Oh Lisa-Jo, what an awesome post. Your quote: We were not built for big. We were built to reflect the glory of the God who is big.” is absolutely awesome. We often work so much on being big. We’d like to be known for what we do. Wrong focus!! We should only want to reflect who God is.
I have 2 weeks off planned for next week. However, slowly I let work slip in… You reminded me why I planned this ‘staycation’ in the first place. I will guard those 2 weeks, unplug… I need it!!
Karen B. says
What a great post! Thanks Lisa-Jo. 🙂
Meredith Bernard says
Well, this is a timely post for me. When I just sent a solicit for “likes” and “shares” on my fb page because that’s what the publishers said I needed. And I did it with an “icky” inside feeling like I was begging to be “liked.” You are right. We weren’t made for Big. We were made to show how Big our Maker is. I truly want to do that. Through my words and my life. I don’t ever want to get to the point of striving for big for me…but always and only striving to show off God’s “bigness.” The Big of how He has shown up in my life in such Big ways when I least deserved it or excepted it. Thank you for the reminder it’s ok to unplug so we can plug back in to God. I do love you. And I really can not wait to meet you in two short months. 😀 xoxo, Meredith
Thank you for sharing this – I couldn’t agree more! I also deactivated my FB page and was amazed at how freeing it felt! I would LOVE to see people get back to good old-fashioned verbal conversation instead of so much of what goes on these days with texting, etc. How did we get here???
Patricia @ Pollywog Creek says
Thank you for this, Lisa. Just thank you.
Simply — I love you.
Maria W. says
I’m grateful for this post, too. I even took notes so I don’t forget the message. When my son died, God came powerfully to show me how BIG He was and that’s when I surrendered myself to Him. That picture He gave me at the time came back to me when I read, “We are built to reflect the glory of a God who is BIG.” I want to know Him more so others will be drawn to know Him, too. That is reflecting His glory and I want to do that in my life.
Becky Stepp says
Amen Lisa-Jo! I often battle the pure call of God on my life to blog, encourage, and write from my heart with the professionals/publishers teaching of “you must have a huge platform”. I know I am older than most of you, but I cannot help thinking I am not alone! What are we sacrificing for all of those followers and likes? Will it all be worth it in the end? Should we trade it for being purely obedient to the Lord’s calling instead? Should we trust that He will bring the following it was intended for to begin with?
Thank you for your wonderful post! Becky
“We’ve had enough of the not enoughs.” LOVE THIS. Thank you for this reminder today. 🙂
Chandra Hadfield says
I love this, Lisa-Jo! Such a timely word. Thank you!!!
Christine Wright says
Yes! The 7 days I spent in Jamaica on a mission trip in May with no internet/phone filled me with panic at first but were absolutely splendid once I relaxed into them. And I’m sure I would not have heard His voice so clearly leading me to push beyond my comfort zones (FAR beyond) had the distractions been there. Love this post.
All of this. Thank you.
Amen and amen!!
Lynn Morrissey says
Lisa-Jo, I love this post. All you say is so true. And for some odd reason (and it isn’t exactly related, so pls. bear w/ me), I recall when our daughter was two or three and she was bossing around a little boy who was five. Suddenly, he realized he didn’t have to take it and turned and looked Sheridan squarely in the eyes and proclaimed, “You’re not the boss of me! My dad is the boss of me!” I guess your use of the word “boss” suddenly evoked that memory. The Internet and stats and approval ratings or anything else in this life are NOT remotely the boss of us. Only God, our Dad, is, and of course, He is not a bossy boss. He is loving and gracious. When we serve Him alone, we can leave all this turmoil of comparison and productivity behind, and we can bask in His “big-ness” and bathe in His grace. And then when He gives us a directive about our work in this world–our art or whatever it may be–we serve Him from that place of humility and simply let it reflect *His* greatness. We are each but a facet of His brilliance, and every facet is needed because He is so vast, so incomparable, so great. Keep shining, Lisa-Jo, and thanks for your encouragement for each of us to shine, too!
PS I loved meeting you at the JT retreat. You are a gem.
Amen! The internet and fb is very alluring and can be an addiction. I love your choice of words spoken form your heart in this blog.
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
I love this post! You are encouraging what I believe every heart needs right now, we all need to find balance on the internet and not miss God’s beauty ALL around us!
Yes. To all of it. It has been on my mind since that IG post of yours and this? One of my favorite things I’ve ever read by you.
Kris camealy says
Yes. All of this. YES!!
Love you, Lisa-Jo.
Margaret Berardinelli says
Yes, yes, yes. I took a year-long break from FaceBook back in 2011.
When I returned to FB, I decided only to “follow” uplifting, Christian-based postings, gardening tips, and Snoopy ; ) (Okay, I confess to following Jeff Foxworth, too, but he’s a Christian). If it doesn’t make me smile, I don’t follow. I check in on family & friends from time-to-time, but I don’t dwell…
Don’t even know how to do Instragram or Pintrest or SnapChat… And I am good with it.
Gonna go look at the Pacific Ocean today, and feel small before my God. Amen…
Caryn Christensen says
Yes! Glorious yes! <3
Susan Stilwell says
My month in Israel reminded me that life is more for living, less for documenting. Enjoy a continued rest, Lisa-Jo 🙂
Carol Longenecker Hiestand says
i appreciated this LIsa-Jo. i am selective about who/what i follow. It is such a thin line for me. I have reconnected with cousin’s who were there for me when my dad died – cousins i probably wouldn’t have connected with without Facebook. – old high school friends who I have connected again in person because of Facebook. I have started to pick up the phone or write a note…the tricky thing is making sure i have current phone numbers. I decided recently in the past few days to start working on that. i have marked the most important people to “follow” and that way i can work off my notifications if i want to. that helps. thanks again for your thoughtful words h
I needed to read this post SO much. My soul was feeling small, and drab after a recent perusal of facebook where everyone seems to have a more glittering life than mine. Thank you for setting me straight, and giving me the courage to step away from those places that make me feel small in the wrong way. Thanks!
Really, really great post!!! I, too, have had enough of the not enoughs….
this was THE breath of fresh air I needed today! can you hear me cheering from Florida? 🙂
Love you. That is all. Thank you for these words!!
This is a message that we don’t hear enough in this day of always plugged-in, turned-on technology. I’ve lived in Belize now for a year with limited internet, and while it can be frustrating at times, it is a breath of fresh air for all the reasons you mentioned. Thanks for this reminder for me and all of us!
Flower Patch Farmgirl says
Well, I love every LITTLE thing about this. These are all words we need to hear, and now feels like the perfect time.
Most importantly: hammick or ham-mock?
Yes, yes and yes!!! Love this post! Four summers ago I started going to a continuing ed event that’s in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado! One of my fave things is that we don’t have cell service etc where we stay . You have to go into town or down the road a few miles! It has made me appreciate Gods amazing creation! Life doesn’t get much better than that !! I need to remember to be better to unplug when I come home too though! Thanks for this reminder!!
Marcie Bridges says
Thank you for this timely post. I have been thinking a lot lately about how much time I spend on the Internet and even though it does not make me feel small, I do feel I put a lot of effort into keeping up with things I shouldn’t put so much energy into. May God place on our hearts a desire to know Him more, study His Word more, pray more instead of being so active in other things in life that may only be dragging us down.
AMEN to all of this!!
Mary T says
Lisa-Jo, this post struck a chord with me tonight. I am not on Facebook, nor do I tweet on Twitter. I don’t have a television but do watch children’s shows or a movie when I am with my grandsons. I listen only to KLOVE radio. I very rarely read the newspaper but am well-informed about local, state and world events through my interaction with friends, co-workers, and my community volunteerism and activism. But I do have email…for communication purposes and of course to read the blogs of my favorite Christian bloggers, including (in)courage and Proverbs31. I have been so busy with my family, spending time with the Lord, both at church and in my daily quiet time, our school district’s summer program, and traveling for union business, that I have not had much time to read all the posts of late. I was feeling a bit out of the loop…missing the daily words of encouragement and Scripture verses that almost leap off the screen…the online community on which I rely for inspiration through the course of my day. I opened my email to “try to catch up” and this post gave me pause to think that although I love to interact and comment and meditate after reading a great post, my time without was well-spent and well-used to serve God! And even though I will probably spend a while tonight “catching up” before my late-night quiet time…the daily face to face time spent loving and serving others to God’s honor and glory, obedient to His Word and His Will, listening for His still small voice, is and will always be my life! Thank you for sharing your story! God bless!
A word that is so needed. Thank you for writing with conviction, honesty, and love.
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
Thank you for sharing this post. This subject is near and dear to my heart as a family of techies and as a blogger. There is such a fine line that we need to walk it with much care. I wrote a post recently about how the online “community” can hinder us in that walk and that we need “Grace, Not Perfection”. Thank you for echoing my thoughts in that all that we do should be done to the glory of God. I hope this post encourages others as it did me. Thanks, again!
Renee Swope says
Good stuff sweet friend. Im unplugging most of August to enjoy the “rest” of summer like Myquillin suggested last week. And I can.not.wait. Love to yoU!
Alice W. says
Just what I needed to be reminded of here tonight while I sit in bed with my phone and the internet bossing me around making me feel the not so good kind of small. Thank you. Turning it off now.
Lisa Petrarca says
Thank you for this post! It speaks to every part of me. We take an annual vacation to Jalama Beach, CA. It USED to have no cell service which was one of my fav things about it. My family ALL to myself, talking, laughing, playing board games, sitting around the fire. Normal family stuff that rarely happens these days. His year they now have limited cell service. So as I chastised my hubby for looking when we said we wouldn’t, I soon followed suit. Ugh! It’s definitely something to really think about and work on limiting time on the internet. It’s NOT MY BOSS!;)
Yep. Exactly. So how do we now go back in time? I try to do all my “work” on social media and blogging in the early morning hours, so I am available to my family the rest of the day. I don’t have an iPhone. I stay off social media as much as possible, but it is a constant temptation, and I hate that little pull.
I love this…I have recently moved from NYC back to Iowa and have fallen in love with my God all over again. The space, the nature here has made me feel small, in a good way, as I glorify my God while driving back and forth to work. I have not logged off facebook yet, I am seriously contemplating it, but I have taken to writing letters to my friends. I love it when they write back, it makes me excited to check the mail box every day and find something besides a bill or an advertisement. I think I am about the only one of my friends who doesn’t have a twitter account, or use her smart phone for anything but phone calls & text messages.
Lisa Jo, I knew I would like you!! I just knew it! I. Get. This! That space, so blended with earths colors intertwining right through my soul. I LIVE in N Michigan and find the quiet in the orange/gold sunrises and sunsets, and I hear the voice of God whisper through the wild field grasses and the dozen or more bird songs. And after half a year of living through some dark pits, I still feel the God of all that creation crowning me with the love and compassion He promised and breathing in His grace is full exhilaration! My blog? HA! Needs a LOT of work! But this family has my attention right now and so I jump online for things like THIS post! You speak loud truth! Thank you! And if you ever want to come back up our way? Give me a shout! I’d love to meet you and show you some of our big, open, quiet spaces.
Christy Fitzwater says
Stupid blog stats. I’ve been praying against this very temptation into the idolatry of counting numbers to measure the worth of who I am and what I do. I needed this encouragement TODAY. Thank you, friend!
Donna R. says
Lisa-Jo, Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. I have recently been trying to disconnect a little bit from internet. Some days it has been very relaxing; but other days I think I am missing out on “life”. Thank you for your wonderful words and for encouraging me that others are doing the same. (BTW, I live in the southern hemisphere, so it is winter down here, not summer. But I have been enjoying my winter.) 🙂
Donna R. says
And . . . It always helps me to not only hear the “what” but the “why”. Your post helped me with the “why”.
P.S. Thank you for connecting to the internet to share with others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well Said. “…it made me feel small because that’s the appropriate reaction for a human being to have when she tilts her head back and gets a glimpse of the God who sculpted all that awesome with His bare hands.” Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart. 🙂
barb Kennedy says
Yes this is so true, I found myself getting mad because I never get much respond from others on Facebook how sad is that. I scolded myself for allowing myself to go down this path of lies
hot bag says
Link exchange is nothing else except it is only
placing the other person’s web site link on your
page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar
in support of you.
ohhhh, AAAAMEN!! My husband and I went out last night for a drive just to get away from the noise of the house and the others who live there and we both left our phones at home. I was a little ambivalent thinking “no phones? What if we break down?”… But we took off phone-less and did just fine. We did some errands and grabbed a bite to eat. Nothing interrupted us in the middle either. Thank God!! Funny (&sad) how often we have left the noise of the house only to be haunted by the noise on my phone. Me. The person who took extra time before I joined the cell phone madness. =)
Yes and amen, Lisa-Jo. I needed this today.
Alysa @ Kitchen Fellowship says
I feel like a few of you lovely blogging ladies are conspiring on the internet to make us all feel better today! Thanks for writing and stomping back the lies our hearts sometime believe.
Bev Klaiber says
Amen, sister. Thank you!
Susan Shipe says
Amen, sister, I have felt that way for a long time now. The key word is BALANCE. Thank you for a great post and pics.
I was just telling my husband this morning that I wanted to create an online space exactly like this one!!! I don’t know what’s taken me so long to find you, but whew! So glad you are here!
This post was a big fat amen. Love.
Beth Williams says
In a few weeks my hubby and I are headed to the beach for 1 week. We plan to enjoy our time there. I want to bask in the solitude and quiet and hear God speak to me-specifically about jobs.
I will have my computer, but only to read In(Courage) and the Bible. Yes I may play a game or two, but not the comparison game. I look at Facebook only periodically and don’t twitter, tweet or instagram. I believe less is more in life. I count myself lucky to live in the beautiful mountains of E. TN out in the country where I can see the stars at night!
Blessings to everyone! 🙂