“I’ll come to bed in a minute, babe!” my confident words rang loud and clear from the kitchen into the bedroom. “I just need 10 minutes to finish proofing this post before its published tomorrow morning!” And I quickly pull up my blog.
What do I think about that phrase? Necessary, or fluff? Re-read and decide its fluff, definitely fluff. Highlight, backspace. I was going to make certain that explanation was clear and made sense…now where was it? Time slips by. OH MY! I never noticed that I spelled “effect” with an a-as in “affect.” Preview post. Oops, that last picture wasn’t centered. Let’s see. Anything else? If I reworked that one part, I think it would tie everything together….
Minutes slip by and suddenly I glance at the right hand corner of my computer screen.
Oh dear (and gulp)! Is it possible that 40 minutes have already passed? I’m coming, babe!
Save changes. Double check everything. Brush my teeth? Nope, feeling too guilty. Slip into the dark bedroom, quickly change and crawl into bed beside my sleeping man. Gnaw a nail or two. How does this happen?
Again. I did it again.
My man and I decided before getting married that we not only wanted to live under the same roof for the rest of our lives, but that we wanted a marriage of lives, to be connected and aware of the happenings in the others’ world and thoughts. We quickly discovered in order for this to take place, we had to prioritize and make it happen.
There was one particular thing that we both agreed would play a part in pursing this connection. When it came to our home and schedule, we agreed to go to bed at the same time every night. Life can be busy even now (and we don’t have children yet!) and without specifically setting time aside, we’ve found it was easy to grow apart. So same-time bed-time it was! Up until I’d began blogging, we’d stuck to it most faithfully.
But then Blogging Happened…
I set up the blogs…not one, but two. In the first, I set about to share my story, how I’ve mostly recovered from Lyme Disease using natural methods. In the midst of it, I also saw the need for a second blog, covering what I do now to prevent relapses. We’ve discovered that homesteading truly is the best lifestyle for my health. And I wanted to share about it! I decided to set up a second blog, before the first was finished. I didn’t enjoy working on my Lyme disease blog. I can’t explain it, but I didn’t seem to have the emotional energy to go back to the horrible days and memories of being so sick, of the rigid treatments, the days where I thought and often felt like I was dying. Not easy stuff to re-visit, right? Particularly when the past is not-so-far in the past!
I found myself wanting to share about modern-day life, the things I’d discovered about diet and nutrition, natural remedies, fermenting, canning, over-wintering produce, the importance of a good meat supply and whole grains! Against my better judgement and ‘gut instinct’, I set up a second blog before the first was finished.
And I confess, I started this blog (yes, Hope for Better Living) without passing it by my husband. Not that he’d said I couldn’t, but we’d agreed that because we wanted to save for our own land, we wouldn’t make large purchases without running it by the other person. It helps keep us in balance, right? I’m ashamed to say I bought the domain, began setting up the blog and told him that night. He thought it was too much. I didn’t know anything about blogging, am not-a-techy person and why would I add the extra pressure (and cost) of a second blog?!!!
I’ve regretted my impulsive decision many a day since. Its the honest truth. I do believe it would have naturally happened down the road, but opening a second blog was a premature decision and I knew it! Because I found thehope-lyme.com so difficult to work on, it slipped by the wayside and I poured myself into Hope for Better Living.
Something else also happened. Suddenly, I was consumed with learning, figuring it out. I felt that I could never put out enough information and I had so many ideas of what I wanted to share! Because we don’t have a second vehicle and because my health issues limit my physical and emotional energy, it was easy sit in the quiet of my home and invest more, more and more into the adventure of learning the ropes (what-in-mason-jars is a widget?!!!), exploring ideas and of course, building up posts. And the half-finished, unpublished Lyme blog slipped into the background as I was caught up writing about my current pursuits of natural living. Household chores slipped by. Laundry built up. Scrambled meals were put together. Anytime my man was doing something that didn’t demand my attention, I’d hop on the blog and learn or write a bit more. It began over-running my life.
All too often, my man would come home and do his own laundry. There’s nothing wrong with that, my mind told me. He’s a full grown man and capable of doing his own laundry. And then a week or two later, he was helping prepare dinner after work. He used to cook for himself all the time, I’d ward off the hint-of-something that made me uncomfortable. He’s doing dishes again…but he had to do them growing up! Besides, he’d often wash dishes even before I began blogging.
But then, it began interfering with our connection time before bed. He’d ask me to join him and I’d often respond with my typical “just give me a moment” that turned into a 1,800 seconds later actual response. No in the dark chatting, no taking time to enjoy snuggles, no time to be still and soak in the things we love about each other, no time to share the thoughts or events of the day, no time to pray together before drifting off the sleep.
The Side-Effects Became Evident…
Suddenly, I realized my obsession with blogging and learning the ropes was standing in the way of many things. I didn’t feel good about my house…I was always behind on laundry, putting up the harvest, baking and cooking, cleaning, the dishes, the everything! Because computers would make my head ache and body feel ‘blah’ if I spent too much time in front of ’em, I often felt ‘off’ and didn’t enjoy the time I did have away from the computer. Everywhere I went, blogging ideas were percolating.
Know what else suffered? Because I felt “off” due to long computer hours, when the time came I didn’t want to put out the energy required to be around people. And when I felt poor and backed out of social events, I’d begin feeling lonely. What did I do? More blogging of course! But blogging for long periods of time made me feel blah, so…! Instead of balancing my life with real people and face-to-face friendships, activities and exercise, a change of scenery and atmosphere, I one day found myself stuck in the above cycle.
To top it off, I began to feel a hint of depression.
My man was going to bed by himself. Because I broke our agreement. I didn’t feel good about my home. Always behind on laundry, dishes, bathroom, floors! I didn’t feel good about myself. Not respecting my body’s needs. We are relatively new to the area and I wasn’t expanding my friendship circle or even attempting to. Do I want real people for friends, or only online faces? I was often feeling groggy and foggy-brained and I knew deep down inside that this wasn’t the way life was meant to be lived.
“Its only a season and once I understand blogging and have it set up, things will change” I excused myself.
Perhaps. But perhaps not. The pattern continued on. I couldn’t seem to let go of it; it somehow had a hold on me and I couldn’t seem to shake it. I knew it wasn’t healthy.
And Then I Understood…
I did some heart searching and the truth slowly began to dawn on me: the issue wasn’t that I had to understand the in’s and out’s of blogging, to create a good blog. The issue was something deeper: I was trying to meet a deeper need inside of me. After a 5+ year stint of doing nothing but Lyme disease treatments (no, not even a job) and seemingly affecting no one other than to take from ’em or make their life harder, blogging seemed to be a good fit. I could write in the quiet of my home. From a distance, perhaps I could have an impact that I can’t have in bodily form, because this body is still broken and unable to handle large crowds and busyness for long amounts of time, the busyness that so many people live in.
Suddenly, I understood my obsession: I was groping for purpose and a place in life where I could do well. As I returned to health, I missed it, wanted it, craved that feeling of accomplishment! This was where my obsession was coming from! Not because I needed to learn and know. Not because I had a big heart and wanted to reach other people. Not necessarily because I had something to share that I was incredibly passionate about. No, but because I was searching for that sense of purpose everyone craves. I felt the tug of purposelessness, had for several years. And instead of looking it in the face and acknowledging the struggle, I tried to cover it up with blogging. My efforts. My attempts. Sometimes I find it so very difficult to enter into the lack of purpose I feel. I had attempted to cover it up…with blogging.
That Ole’ Hole in Life
I claim to be a follower of Jesus, claim that I’ve joined His family and that I believe His plans are the best. Not the easiest, but the best. But sometimes, I don’t act like I believe it. Why didn’t I bring my lack of purpose to Him, call out to Him for His help? Why didn’t I draw near for comfort and understanding, instead of running off half-cocked on my own schemes? Was it because I didn’t want to feel the lack of purpose that was nagging at me? Was it because deep down I felt that God had forgotten me, or didn’t really care? Perhaps a bit of both?! Instead of wrestling it through, I ran straight into the arms of blogging.
I hadn’t been living my life in a loving way to those around, primarily because I wasn’t taking care of myself. Can my man do his own dishes? Of course! Can he made supper himself? Absolutely…he’s a good cook! Can he do laundry? Yes, yes, yes! But it wasn’t the not-even-started chores around the house that bothered him so much, or even that I sometimes didn’t go to bed with him, but rather the absent-mindedness with which I approached life, the disconnectedness to those around, our home and ultimately, to his own self. I wasn’t much good at engaging in conversations: I was too worn out. I wasn’t initiating relationship with others; I was too tired. I wasn’t thinking of others, I was feeling poorly enough that I could only think about myself! And I was a bundle of irritable grouchiness.
So strange, how the hole in each of us (whatever it is) often moves us to act out in ways that hurt our homes and marriages, our friends and children, ultimately our own selves. We never intended for it to go that way. But it does. Every time.
I needed help. I needed change. It required openness and willingness to adjust, to hear others’ concerns and be responsive, to willingly look at and weigh things, to consider a perspective I don’t immediately see. And as a follower of Jesus, it required that I look things squarely in the face and acknowledge my choices had not been for the best. My actions had been damaging, to more than myself! I had behaved foolishly.
Know what the outcome was? My man and I talked. I wrote up a schedule. I struggle to stick to it (yes, I do!), but we allow 2 hours for blogging every day of the week. I’ve asked my husband to take the phone from the bedroom in the morning so I can’t go online and browse blogs, pinterest, ideas, etc. I’m making effort to stay away from the computer until after I’ve set my focus right for the day, which for me=spending time with Jesus, taking time to be still inside, journaling my thoughts and prayers. Getting out for a walk is important, as is doing the laundry, sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathroom. I’m making effort to connect with others, making certain I don’t pour everything I have into blogging. When my man is home, the computer lid is closed…unless he’s intensely studying or working on a project. I’ve also made a shift in my let-down reading: instead of going online, I’m re-learning old fashioned skills...like reading a paperback book. Smile.
Blogging. It should enhance my life, enhance the lives of others. It should be something that enriches life, not something that dulls and deadens it! And when I reach the end of life, what will be most important? That I built a good name? That I was known as a successful blogger? That I fought my way up the ladder to success?
I dare say, it won’t matter so much as I think it will! When I feel happiest and most content is when I’m connected to people around me, when I live life with assurance I’m living it well before God, when I take time to slow down and enjoy the beauty each season brings our way, to observe the little things that are missed when I’m mentally preoccupied.
I only live this life once. I’m learning. And tripping. And I may have cracked my head a few times. But I’m moving!
Can you relate? Is there something you use to fill the hole in your life and as a result, are damaging your homestead, marriage and children, relationships, your own self? I’d love to know I’m not alone!