I had wild plans of whacking out a blog once a week and being super productive, but in real life I hit writer’s block. Or a little more like a life block. It was perhaps premature of me to state the next two blogs I was going to write at the end of the last one, but as this whole blogging thing is a learning curve I don’t mind making the odd mistake! I’d still like to write those blogs but this particular thought feels more valuable to me at the minute.
To backtrack a little, I found the last couple of weeks hard. Finn had a set of jabs, two teeth pop through and a cold and it made him, understandably, miserable, sad and needy. We also had a rare week in the diary with not many plans to see other people. I am in a privileged position to be able to stay at home and look after Finn and generally speaking I love this new chapter of life. But I’ve found that sometimes it can be isolating and the result of these two weeks was me feeling a little lost, unmotivated and lonely. And then a life block happened.
I call a life block anything that stops me functioning as I would like to and in this instance, it’s my phone! I don’t have an unrealistic view of what I can achieve in the day; often I’m still in my pjs at 11 and the washing up is on the side and I’ve scrolled through Facebook 20 times. I’ve also played with Finn, done a food shop, seen friends, put the washing on, paid a bill and cooked 4 separate meals. A life block for me though is when I’m still in my pjs, the washing up is piled high and I’m aimlessly scrolling through my phone. The sense of isolation causes a wildfire panic where I believe that if I stay connected to my phone, I will stay connected to life. The scrolling becomes mind numbing and there’s no engagement. I’m not reading articles and intellectually thinking about them. I’m not using Facebook to make plans and catch up with people on a personal level. I’m not keeping on top of my messages, emails and job lists. Instead my phone has 8 unread text messages, I’m looking at pictures of people I don’t know, I’m reading the comments of strangers and I’m trawling through photos of celebrities. Being on my phone can give me a false sense of connection; feeling like I’m part of something whilst distracting myself from how I really feel. As a side note, writing this makes me feel like it was a lot more dark than it actually was. The truth is, I was ok. I was just having a low couple of days and needed a refocus.
Having refocused, I’ve processed a few things and the main thought that struck me was that my low points can happen when I loose sight of my true identity. Is my identity a mother? A wife? Is it to be organised, to be creative, to be sporty? When life threw me a curve ball, I didn’t feel like I was being successful at any of those things- my son was unhappy, my husband had a moaning wife and I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Ultimately living out our identity is what we can cling on to when it all feels a bit much and we need a kick up the bum.
So I’ve done a bit of soul-searching. What makes me, me? The never-changing values I hold on to. The components that don’t get lost even if life feels crazy in a bad way or crazy in a good way. The truth that is over my life and not the lies I can tell myself on a bad day. And here they are: I believe in Jesus, faith, community, generosity, mercy and hope and I love reading, learning, helping, cooking and music.
My new fangled (that’s a word right?) plan is to now remember these so that I can draw on them on those days that don’t feel so great. In practice I imagine it to look a little like this: Stuck at home with an upset child: stick on my worship cd. Feeling lonely: reach out to friends, be vulnerable and tell them where I’m at. Lots of housework: give myself a break and pick up a book. It sounds basic and it might not work but I’m hoping that it’ll help me mentally shift to the things that are life-giving. I also have a personal goal of using my phone 50% less each day. Ironic really.
And that’s the end of my reflection. We all have an identity. A deep-rooted belief system topped with some passions that shape us, encourage us and inspire us. When you know what yours is, hold on to it. Wear it proudly. Keep going back to it. It will get you through the best day and the toughest day.
p.s. I’ve learnt my lesson, I’m leaving the next blog as a surprise. And don’t worry, not every blog will be as self-focussed as the last 3. I might throw in a much loved recipe or something….