Just be with me | A 4 week digital detox

My word for 2017 is Abide.

It has been for the last two years, but with different intention- a focus on different aspects of the word.

In the first half of 2016, it was learning to be, rather than to doa human being, not a human doing.

Then it was learning to be with Christ. To stay in his presence, to linger longer there in prayer, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I learnt to sit with my emotions, give them to Jesus and be transformed through the act of surrendered trust.

The latter half of 2016, was a call to remainto stay in the tension or the struggle, without running away or trying to fix it.

This has been my practice until recently- until May, when God declared that “It is finished.”… Referring to my three year season of struggle, marked by pain and perseverance. It was a second birth- a journey of healing to wholeness, which I affectionately refers to as,  my “dark night of the soul,” thanks to When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.

Now, I feel a new season approaching- a new story beginning to unfold, still embodied by my word: Abide.

These words are rising from my soul,  an anthem and meditation:

Remain: in peace
Stay: in the moment
Be with: your people

So, in a brave act of obedience, of listening to my  hearts desires, I will honour my longing and the call of Christ within me. I will abide.

Practically, that looks like fasting social media throughout my 4 week sabbatical from work.

My companion on this pilgrimage is “The Digital Detox Guide” by Morgan Day Cecil. (Currently on sale!). I just love the way she describes the process of unplugging- of detoxing from our digital world:

Love begins and ends in the act of paying attention. We give so much love to our mobile devices and our screens. What if we shared some of that energy with other things in our life? What would happen if for one month we set the intention to pay a little less attention to the exciting things happening online, and a little more attention to the wonderful, quieter things happening in our heart and in the hearts of those we love? – Morgan Day Cecil | The Digital Detox Guide

This isn’t my first rodeo.

I’ve been intentionally fasting social media for years: on weekends and vacations, for instance and setting boundaries around the number of times and hours of day, I use it.

It’s been a mark of discipline- something I believe God honours and is imperative to the Christian walk.

But this time feels different, like an invitation to a new way of life- of living with higher perspective.

And I want it. I’m ready.

In the same way, Simplicity Parenting gave me the freedom to enjoy motherhood again, and Rhythms of Rest have given me my health and joy back,  I sense new freedom on the horizon- from numbing distraction and the anxiety that embodies hyper-connectivity.

My prayer is this:

Lord, teach me to abide: to remain in peace, regardless of circumstance or emotion or volume. To stay in the present moment- my moment- each one a gift of grace from you. Help me unwrap it with wonder and curiosity. To be with my people, loving them and letting them love me in return.

I receive all of what you have for me, in advance and I surrender to the transformational work of The Holy Spirit in me. Use all of it for my good and your glory. Remember me- this brave act of obedience in a distracted world- and bless it. I ask boldly, in the name of Jesus, my saviour, lover and friend.

Making Peace with Who I’m Made to Be | The Enneagram + Living like an Introvert

Eight months ago, I learnt I was an introvert. The discovery blew my mind, because all my life, I had lived like an extrovert.

Outgoing, bubbly and a performer by nature- large crowds don’t scare me and I’m perfectly comfortable being the centre of attention.

I love being with people! How could I possibly be an introvert then?

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Succinctly, Jess Connolly smashed that notion with her definition of the defining difference between the two:

Extroverts get energy and are filled up by being with people. It’s how they recharge.

Whereas, introverts find people and crowds draining. Some may very well love being with people, but they ultimately need solitude, rest and quiet to refuel- and to process.

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BINGO! That was me…

And yet, all these years (29 to be exact) I had been living, working and loving from the well-source of an extrovert.

You see, every three months (and increasingly sooner in difficult seasons of life) I found myself depleted, drained and exhausted. I wanted to quit life and run away… every three months!!! I battled depression because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t fill back up.

I was empty ALL. THE. TIME.

I battled the shame of being weak and lazy and not good enough – of letting the people I love most down.

I realized in that moment- in discovering I was an introvert -something needed to change.

If I was to find my joy again and the energy I needed to love and serve my people well, I needed to start honouring my body, mind and soul’s need for solitude, rest and quiet.

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God had already started teaching me about peace in solitude, so I was excited to take this next steps.

Slowly and surely, I implemented the following:

  • Creating space in my days, as well as my weeks, for rest, reflection and alone time
  • Prioritizing things that fill me up, like reading, writing, getting outside and doing yoga
  • Working from a place of rest, rather than resting from work  (as my husband put it, “Make rest your priority Kailey, not work.”)
  • Concentrating on one project or work focus at a time, giving it all my energies before moving on to the next
  • Creating an evening routine of solitude and rest, so I woke feeling full, rejuvenated and inspired
  • Pouring into a few people I’m called to, rather than many and everyone
  • Being honest with myself and others about my limitations (saying no to even good things, when I didn’t have the energy or knew I needed to fill up)
  • Leaving blank days on the calendar with nothing scheduled, so I could take them at my leisure

I could write about these in elaborate detail, because quite honestly, it took time and intentionality to figure out how to do this!

It was trial and error in discovering the practice steps and ways of living and loving like an introvert.

Needless to say, I started to breath again. I felt peace return and I could hear my heart sing. It was working!

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Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon the Enneagram, during one of Christa Black Giffords Webinars. Why did I need to take another personality test? I balked. But with her endorsement, I checked it out.

Thirty minutes into taking the Enneagram test, I was in tears- like someone had opened my heart’s journal and read every entry.

Staring back at me were my longings, felt needs and idiosyncrasies; my fears and insecurity. Like they were normal and very much ok. I was seen and accepted by this infamous number 4 that so accurately embodied my deeply emotional soul.

All my life I’ve felt different, (in both a good and bad way) battling the notion that I am wrong or bad- shame my biggest enemy. And here I was, learning that this was normal for a 4 and that in fact, it was not only my greatest weakness, but also my greatest strength, if I harnessed it.

For weeks, I listened to The Road Back to You, a podcast devoted to looking at life through the eyes of the Enneagram from a Christian perspective. Never had I laughed and cried so hard in forty minutes.

In the same way I felt after discovering I was an introvert, I felt seen, heard, validated, and understood in shared experiences with other 4’s!

Don’t you know these are the basic needs of a four and how they feel most loved?!?!

And my wrestle with shame? The infamous demon in the closet for 4’s!

My goodness…. revelation after revelation. 

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I’ll admit, I am very much still learning and discovering the Enneagram. I am far and wide a newbie at it, but what I love most, is the intricacy and depth of it’s reach.

Not only does it outline my basic nature, but also character development at different levels of maturity and how I function under stress or shame or exhaustion- what the Enneagram calls, your shadow side.

It’s informative, challenging and encouraging. Honouring the person God created me to be, while simultaneously calling me UP, rather than OUT.

With the help of The Enneagram, I’m coming to a deeper understanding of my God given strengths and weakness; honouring them, rather than fighting them. I’m learning to acknowledge the shame that so easily ensnares me, rather than will it away. And I’m discovering how a lifestyle of rest and mothering myself, will help me flourish and come alive in ways I’ve only yet tasted.

My capacity for life these days is SO MUCH SMALLER than I ever dared imagine! But if I want to live in health and joy and rest, it’s necessary and good.

And when I love from that place- from the place of my truest self- I discover the connection, belonging and meaning I aspire to leave as my legacy!

The Enneagram and living like an introvert: my  road back to health; to the wholeness and freedom that’s mine in becoming my truest self- the person God created me to be.

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Get started on your journey:

Introvert Living

Discover the peace and pleasure in solitude and rest- mothering yourself to wholeness of health and mind and joy.

 

The Enneagram

Learn your Enneagram Number and start discovering the way you’re wired. Find freedom in who God created you to be in your truest self.