Perhaps it’s because I gave up Instagram in July. Or maybe it’s because I’m not in a waiting season or a painful one right now. Maybe it has to do with my cultivating and nurturing celebrations all throughout the year, but the truth is I’ve never felt more calm about the New Year.
I almost used the word nonchalant, but that’s not quite the adjective I’m looking for because I’m absolutely excited about January. I’ve been savoring every last bit of 2022 while looking into 2023 without pressing melancholy or morbidity.
By morbidity, I confess, I’ve approached the last two New Years basically wondering who’s going to die in that year. And that is morbid.
I think a lot of things played into that shaky mindset and I believe with all my heart that giving up Instagram is the No. 1 thing that has revolutionized my world and changed the way I’m approaching 2023 which is with CALM and excitement. Not ignorance, I know there will be hard things and tragedy in 2023, but I’m not paralyzed by it. I believe in the Presence of God and His very real Help. I’m not overwhelmed.
The reality is Instagram had such a hold on me before. The algorithm knew my history of infertility and was always bringing up miscarriage and stillborn stories. All these stories that I truly and honestly had no business knowing. These weren’t people in my church or community. These weren’t friends and family. These were tragic stories I just “happened” across incredibly often, not to mention the people I already followed (and also didn’t personally know) who had experienced infertility or miscarriage and were sharing their stories and journeys. It was absolutely too much for me! It is not wrong for them to share, but I am my responsibility and it was unhealthy for me to continue on knowing things I could not hold.
I think a common struggle people talk about is the comparison game on social media, but what about this constant, intimate awareness of evil and tragedy? This constant processing of too many things in which our brains physically can’t keep up and our spirit and mind is being bombarded in dangerous amounts! We are overwhelmed, overtaken, distracted, at odds. We cannot intimately know this many things and be okay.
The calm and rest I have felt both in my physical brain and inner thought life is night and day different now that I’m no longer tangled in Instagram. It’s opened up so much life for me through festive garlands and baking apple pies, in the enjoyment of long, warm, and quiet afternoons in the garden with my children, and embracing my creativity for writing and blogging in way that is much more feasible and genuine to me.
Now, here we are! And I’m approaching 2023 without strong undertones of morbidity or even the normal melancholy that often accompanies the turn of a year. I GOT MY LIFE BACK. And I’m full in. I’m so much less afraid. I’m not distracted. I am peaceful.
That’s not to say I don’t struggle. It’s not to say I don’t get sucked in by other kinds of media, or stories, or that I’ll never have morbid thoughts and seasons of distress. But in giving up Instagram–a thing I was addicted to, a place I was wrapped up in stories I should never have known–I am now well.
Of course not everything can be fixed so simply. There are all sorts of reasons we approach the New Year out of sorts. God is with us!! Let us always come to Him for He will give us rest! His yoke is easy, His burden light (Matthew 11:28-30).
But let us also be honest where we are self-inflicting chaos and deep harm. And if we aren’t sure. . .if we don’t know where or whether we are self-inflicting harm, we can pray for help + clarity. The Holy Spirit sheds light in our confusion and fragility, and He will show us where to go and what to do next.
Immanuel, God with us! Forever and ever.
P.S. Isn’t that red rose something? It has held on for dear life and with such confidence through November and December. I love its tenacity, the brightest part of my holiday garden, and a loud cheer for all the gold and beauty that has been!
“and don’t they say, ‘history repeats itself’? and if all my life is always with God I should know just by looking back that I can run full speed ahead. Happy New Year. And by that I mean, ‘I trust you, God. Oh God, help me. Yes, I will run!” -S.V.F. // New Year Poem, 2021-22
highlights from the blog in 2022