Some of you who follow me on Instagram know that at the end of the summer I completed a little home project in my basement. I took a room that was a glorified storage closet and turned it into a much needed haven for myself. A place where dirty clothes and dishes are not in my line of sight, a fortress free from distractions. The only problem was, some major distractions followed me into my fortress. Here I had made this sanctuary but carried into it many things that were literally clouding my head and my ability to see clearly. This is a season of writing for me, both songs and a book…which has been like climbing Mt. St. Helens to finish. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get breakthrough…
6 weeks ago, I finally decided to have a good talk with Jesus about it. I asked him point blank, “what things are clouding my view and keeping me from knowing You more?” Immediately, I journaled 4 things. The top of the list? Social Media. After arguing with Him about it for a little while, I knew what He was asking me to do. To take a break from social media. I didn’t close my accounts, I just haven’t been active on them. He didn’t give me any specific instructions. If He had, I think I totally would have missed the point. He simply answered my question.
So before I continue, you can calm down. I am not here to bash social media or to persuade you to do as I have done. I think social media can be a good thing and that God most certainly can use it in many ways to spread good news all over the world. It is a great way to stay connected to friends and to people in other states and on other continents. It’s funny though, the one time I did interrupt my self-induced social media break to tweet some information, I scrolled through a few tweets and read things like, “I’ve missed your tweets, hope everything is ok, praying for you!” Well, I’m pausing for a moment to say “yes, I’m okay”. Not only am I okay, I am more than okay. Thankfully, my social media “klout” is not in any way reflective of the state of my heart or my relationship with Jesus today. 🙂
My last Instagram post before my “break” was intentional. I crafted it, feeling like I was getting in a little boat with one foot still on the shore. With one good push I’d be on my way, destination unknown, but I would be found faithful doing what He asked me to do. The Instagram was a picture of our oldest daughter on the shore in St. Augustine last Spring Break. It was dusk and she was dancing around with her feet in the shallow water, having just seen a few dolphins who dropped in to say “good evening”. That was where I wanted to go, to a place where I am just His daughter, feet in the water, dancing…just because. I think I said something like “take me to the secret place”. I have been around long enough to know what it is like to exist without social media, even without a cell phone and a laptop for that matter! I had just forgotten. I had forgotten what it was like to just exist without needing to tell the world about my every move. To actually experience something that was just for sharing with people who I could actually invite into my home. To just enjoy friends, period. To read something inspiring, period. To be in reality. I have found myself picking up the phone several times to have an actual conversation with someone. I have sat face to face with people that I love. I find myself texting my friends more, reaching out and asking how they are doing…imagine that! It’s more than okay, it’s beautiful. The most beautiful part is that because God didn’t give me any specifics about my “break” I haven’t set an end goal. I have thought maybe until the end of the year, after Christmas sometime, we’ll see…I might get back on next week, I don’t know. The point is that I do feel free to get back on any time I want, the problem is, I just haven’t wanted to! Hmmmm.
Has everything been smooth sailing? No. I have faced some of the stormiest days of my life these past 6 weeks. The difference is that I see Jesus much quicker than I did before, He is right. here. with. me… The songs and the book are flowing as fast as my fingers can type. I have grown closer to Jesus, to my family, to my friends in this time of hiding. Again, “okay” does not mean the absence of thunder, lightning, giant waves, and storms all around my little boat. It doesn’t mean that I am not full of weakness. It means that my weaknesses and the storms have driven me to the hiding place that I have in Jesus. He is teaching me and showing me that I need to be deliberate about hiding in the secret place. The secret place is where He does His finest work in us.
A group of worship leader women from our church, that I have the honor of walking alongside, were all at my house the other night. One of the women talked about a message that impacted her greatly that she heard Christine Caine share recently — and I hope I get this right, Chris — how our generation is an “instant” generation. We want instant development and “pay off” in our lives. However, the process that Jesus really wants to take spiritual leaders through is not like “Instagram” at all but like the old school way that film is developed. You take lots and lots of pictures, then you have to take them into the dark room and let them develop. It’s important that you do not open the door before the film is fully developed, so that the work isn’t ruined. Isn’t that beautiful? I was sitting there listening to the young worship leader share this and nodding my head with a big “YES!” We can’t be afraid of the dark room, it is where God does some of His most intricate work in our lives. The more intricate the work, the more hidden we must become.
Most every spiritual experience is ours for the sharing. It breaks us, shapes us, raises us and causes us to develop and produces something NEW and beautiful in us. Praise Jesus! I pray wherever you are today that you are allowing “Christ to be formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19) Whatever that looks like. For me, it was a social media break but really it was just obedience to Jesus in order to see Him clearer and know Him better. I’m sending this to a friend to post it for me. I think I might want to stay in the “dark room” a little while longer. I don’t want to open the door before it’s time. This won’t be a one time thing, either. Just like Jesus, he often got in a boat with his disciples (his closest friends) and he paddled away from the crowds. He knew all about the secret place. He is the secret place. Happy sailing.
p.s. I do need to take this opportunity to use social media for what it IS good for. If you are reading this and are in the Memphis area, or have friends and family in that area, please help me promote a night of worship that I’ll be leading there next Monday, November 4th, at Kirby Woods Baptist Church. I’ll be sharing some of my story and leading songs from my record “Into The Glorious” as well as Passion. All info is here.