for you, with love, at Christmastime.

Annie Dillard says

Nearly two years ago now, I spent my days on social media. I couldn’t count on fingers and toes the amount of times I opened my apps in an hour, let alone a day. With time and distance comes clarity. While I recognize social media can be a wonderful unicorn of a tool, and think often about what it would be like to return, here’s some free advice from someone who is currently freed-up of the comparison shackles of those platforms:

If you spend your days caught up in comparison or proving your value to others on social media, you will spend your years doing it. Remember this:

there will always be someone who travels more than you do

to more exotic places than you’ve been

who has skinnier legs / stomach / face / well, just everywhere

whose pictures are sharper and skin is clearer

whose hens lay more colorful eggs than yours do

whose home is whiter, larger, more minimal, and cleaner than yours

whose stuff is nicer but somehow older and more special than your stuff

whose clothes are newer and more expensive than your clothes

whose puppy is even cuter than yours is, and more willing to pose for the camera

whose husband looks more woodsy and rugged, yet smells good

whose small children sleep in big, plushy, white bedding more often than your little devils (who, come to think of it, don’t sleep and aren’t all that small anymore..)

or whose singleness looks sexier than married life.

there will always be someone you feel is

prettier

nicer

happier

hipper

more talented

more successful

more content

more interesting

younger

classier

richer

more popular

and more worthy of all the good in their life.

This is not going to be fun for you, dwelling on these thoughts and feelings. They are opinions, only opinions. Although everyone’s entitled to them, let’s keep in mind that opinions are sometimes stupid, including your own. I know looking at the internet is fun. It’s not going to be fun for you if you go broke buying your local nursery’s entire supply of succulents because of your stupid opinions about your own worth and your need to prove something to someone.

This is not what you were made for. And the only one who can pull the plug on this pattern of restless, mind-numbing discontent is you. You decide to belong in your own life, to take ownership of it, to slow down in the frenzied pin-board mentality of the culture and be grateful, really grateful, for what you have right in front of you. Most importantly, you choose to be grateful for what you have within you. That is the thing that no one can take away, that can’t be compared to..

That’s right, unfading. Or as 1 Peter says, “..clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” Thighs dimple, skin wrinkles, followers drop off or turn out to be twelve year old perverts, babies grow up and our houses settle with cracks down the walls. The unfading beauty of your spirit is your birthright. God-gifted, this breath in your body and beat in your heart are something you didn’t ask for and don’t control. God stopped at nothing, coming as a baby, living the struggles of the human life perfectly so you wouldn’t have to pretend to be perfect anymore, dying a brutal death in your place, experiencing separation from the love of God so you wouldn’t have to. Christ the babe was born for this.

You don’t have to earn the right to live your life or to be loved, you get them both, every new day, with no strings attached. I hope this Christmas and New Year season bring about some wide, beautiful freedom for you to roam in.. Freedom to put the phone down, sign out of the apps for a day or a week (or five), and just settle into yourself again. The self that is already loved, accepted, and treasured by a wild and winsome maker. Let your spirit rest, recoup, and come back out to play without any fear of the watching world.

That’s my Christmas card to you this year. You, my small kinship of dear friends and readers.

with love,

ash

show hide 6 comments

ash parsons you are so welcome. xo, ashDecember 22, 2016 – 9:21 am

emily thank youDecember 21, 2016 – 10:51 pm

ash parsons Alana, thank you so much for that. it means a lot to me that you connect. And how are you? you live in east nashville, right? I think I remember you knew Annie, yes? Hope all is well.. I popped over to your site from the link and what I saw was so lovely and rich. hope your holidays are bright and joy-filled. xo, ashDecember 22, 2016 – 9:21 am

Alana I like your blog. I always come away inspired and challenged.December 21, 2016 – 2:21 pm

ash parsons Christina! I so often think of you, your dear family, and the wonderful time we had staying with you in Scituate. Thanks so much for your response to these words and for being so honest and real about exactly where you are. I wish you all the best with that BIG EXIT, and I hope to hear more from you along the way. you can do it!! Have a wonderful holiday season, dear one. xo, ashDecember 22, 2016 – 9:17 am

Christina W. OH MY GOSH, I read this on the exact day I needed it the most. I have felt the stirring to delete my FB all year long, but I am literally to too co-dependent and chicken shit to do it. Today, I finally took a few steps towards it (worried about my biz page, created a burner account to be its admin so I can delete my personal page without losing my biz page … oy!) and am psyching myself up for the BIG EXIT by the start of 2017. There is so much good on social media, that’s part of what’s kept me on so long: my friends, their cute baby photos, etc., but there’s too much weighing me down. Way too much taking me away from what’s actually in my real life. So, yeah, I hear you loud and clear. Thanks for your perspective. <3 ChristinaDecember 20, 2016 – 6:36 pm

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