My reset- A walk away

I must confess that I have days when I wonder whether the online community is good for me.

It brings countless lovely moments, where my heart connects authentically with others, regardless of miles or borders.

Yet, there are days like today, where it causes me to doubt myself and feel like a loser.  Some days I put myself out there and come up with nothing but self-doubt and perceived rejection.  It’s like I’m back in high school at a lunch table by myself wondering if all the popular kids secretly think I’m a creepy freak.

You have days like this too, don’t you?  Don’t we all?  Those days where we look to the internet for validation and reassurance that we’re okay.

But I’m learning that when we start down this road, we need to click off our phones, snap our computers shut and WALK AWAY.  No, RUN AWAY.

This afternoon, I ran away to reset my soul, my priorities.

photo compliments of Joely O’Neal

I ran out into nature with my oldest daughter to take a long, slow walk.  We always drive to the park to tear around the playground but never to walk together and deliberately take in all the trails have to offer.

And what we found was a lush, green reset button.

We ambled slowly into the forest to smell flowers and investigate turtles.  We were mesmerized for a long while by a small waterfall which flowed over a rock dam.  We breathed in the green all around us, snapped twigs and messed with rolly poly bugs.

She constantly called the squirrels “skunks” and personified inanimate objects like poles and stairs as only she knows how.  She made sure to greet and question every jogger,  bringing a smile to all that crossed our path.

We had no goal, time or agenda, just us, taking in creation and each other.

I very strategically left my phone in the van because I needed to have time off the grid.  I craved time where I was unreachable and removed from the temptation to make the private, public (more than I’m already doing right now).  I had an absolute need to remind myself that my life is for my God and for my family first.

I need to take in more moments where I don’t try to perfectly capture things for instagram.  Too many of us, myself included, are developing a need to constantly hold our our lives out for approval.

Look at my picture, my life, my afternoon! How many likes or retweets are my thoughts and moments worth?

They’re worth so much less when we measure them by online approval.  Your afternoon of baking cookies or sidewalk chalk art is immensely beautiful no matter what anyone says or doesn’t say online.

Also, don’t worry about winning the approval of the big dogs, whoever they are in your world.  Don’t ever doubt your sphere of influence, because God is presenting you with the exact connections you need right now.

Love who you have well, that is all you really can do.  Mind those who are reading, listening and calling and stop worrying about who isn’t paying attention or responding.  There’s a very good chance they’re not who God needs you connecting with.

I’m preaching to myself, to my soul, as I painfully gain strength and learn to use this brave new online world for his glory and not to insult who he created me to be.

What about you, does the internet shrink you some days?  Has God taught you how to deal?

If the online world is making you feel rejected or smaller, then it’s time to walk away for a while.  Believe me, you having everything to gain if you do.

  • Addie Zierman

    I could so connect with this: “Look at my picture, my life, my afternoon! How many likes or retweets are my thoughts and moments worth?“ I think everyone struggles with this, even those “big dogs” who you write about. I love the ways you are intentionally seeking a “reset.”

    I try to stay away from the computer as much as possible on a day that I blog. If I’m checking in every five minutes, I only get discouraged. But if I wait and come back only twice during the day, the comments and mentions feel like treasure waiting for me, and I have the resources (from being out in REAL LIFE with my family and friends) to better appreciate them.

    • leannepenny

      So I implemented your advice Friday morning, after checking in way too often, and it’s going to become my new blog day discipline. I think you may have just saved me a few therapy bills.

  • Mark Allman

    I do not have a blog but I get caught up sometimes checking the comments I have made to see if they were deemed worthy or not. Did they elicit any response at all or was someone touched or laughed at what I said. I get knocked down by both the internet world and the real world and have to have a reboot from both from time to time. When I am getting stomped on by the world and sometimes by myself I have to remember I am only worthy for one reason.. made so by God and that what I need to focus on is doing right regardless of my Likes, how I think someone responded and how I am treated.

    • leannepenny

      Great stuff Mark!

  • Joy

    You are right on! You speak to my heart often. When you said “Look at my picture, my life, my afternoon! How many likes or retweets are my thoughts and moments worth?“ I can totally relate! You are such a blessing! I consider you one of my dearest friends and we have never even met. I finally had to tell myself that there is a reason why I am moved to write the things I do and if it helps one person (though I hope for thousands :) ) it’s worth it.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. You are a gift to many more than you know or may ever know.

    • leannepenny

      Oh Joy, thank you so so much! Hopefully we can rectify the meeting in person part sometime 😉

      • Joy

        I hope so :)

  • SFriant

    Leanne, was very much in the same place last Thursday. Felt very heavy, even thought of finding a Priest to confess to, but what was I to confess? Ended up being able to spend the day creating a dress for my daughter – my first foray into making clothes for my kids. Was going to hold off an write about it another week, but you inspire me to write about it for Wednesday.
    Please keep blogging as the Spirit leads. God is doing great things with you, but God also doesn’t want you overworked!

    • leannepenny

      Well thank you so much, and I’ll have to check out your blog about kids clothes! I haven’t ventured into that world yet either.

  • Jamie Kocur

    Glad I’m not the only one. :)