There’s a lot of chatter going on in my head. I didn’t know it until recently. It was just there. Me being completely unaware.
The thing with chatter is that you can’t just decide to let it go. It’s there exactly when you don’t want it to be. In the quiet moments, the glorious time of day when your head is on the pillow but you’re not quite asleep, that moment when you’re running along the suburban sidewalks. It comes in the moments of precious alone, while you’re unassumingly folding the laundry or giving the counters a final wipe after dinner. Simon and Garfunkel knew it to be true when they wrote,
“Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence.”
The chatter is coming in sound bites in the silence. Sort of like 140 character phrases. It’s not even full sentences or completely thought out ideas.
The noise in my head might be all fine and good if it held any truth to it. But it doesn’t. It’s simply someone else’s idea, opinion, thought. Someone I don’t even know. The bottom line is that the chatter is hijacking my time to just be. It’s taking over every life giving minute that my soul needs to fuel myself for the rest of the day. And let’s be clear, it is painstakingly obvious when I’m running on fumes. It’s not like I coast breezily through, hair blowing in the wind. I get irritated and snappy.
Turns out the chatter is robbing me of peace. Robbing me of time. Stealing some of my very favourite times of the day.
I didn’t realize it until I woke up from a dream. Literally.
I rarely dream but this night I did. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling horrible. Feeling shame. Feeling not good enough. Feeling like I can never measure up or accomplish what’s expected. Why? Because that’s exactly what I was told. In my dream I was back in high school and my gym teacher (who wasn’t really my gym teacher but actually a woman in my life now whom I barely know at all!) yelled just those things at me. She told me I was a failure. She blew her whistle and screamed in my face that I couldn’t do it. I’d never be able to do it. She told me I was worthless. She hissed at me, in her lululemon athletic wear, until I felt the burning sting of tears in my eyes.
And then I woke up. Feeling all of that.
It turns out that what this woman yelled at me in my sleep is exactly what the chatter in my head was telling me. And as we know, when something is rolling over and over in your mind for long enough, well, you might just start to believe it.
The chatter I was hearing was coming from social media. It was coming in snippets. It was coming swiftly and harshly and I couldn’t turn it off.
All of those articles that people share and forward and comment on? I don’t read them. But the titles alone were what was incessantly nattering away in my head. They were becoming the white noise in my mind. The constant whir in my days. The backdrop in my everyday moments.
They go something like this.
The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting. This Baby Needs a Home. Best Summer Crafts for your Kids. Dangerous Foods to Avoid. 6 Lessons Travel Teaches You. Why Your Child Should be Bored this Summer. 50 Things to add to your Kids Summer Bucket List. Why I Let my Child Curse. 15 Reasons Couples Should go on Vacation. Put on that Swimsuit, Moms. Take Pictures with your Kids, Moms. Cook all these Amazing Meals, Moms. Make Delicious Popsicles with Vegetables, Moms. Date your Husbands, Moms. Date your Daughters, Dads. Date your Sons, Moms. Do this. Don’t do that. Go here but never, ever there. Eat This. Never eat that. Parent like this. Do Summer like this. Have your marriage like this. Live your life like this.
Friends, there is nothing wrong with any of these articles and I believe the mode of the writers is pure and good. What isn’t good is what these titles (just the titles!!) was doing to my head, to my heart and to my very life.
Because guilt sneaks its way in and says you’ve never done a craft with your kids in your life. You eat all of those dirty dozen foods. Your kids love jumbo Mr. Freeze not veggie popsicles.
And following behind guilt comes the shame. Shame because I haven’t been on a vacation with my husband since the year we were married, what does that mean for us? And shame because I haven’t owned a swim suit in at least 3 years because I hate water and swimming. Shame because as a part time working mom our ‘dates’ are homework time around the kitchen table.
I’ll be completely honest and say I cringe when people use the word ‘blessed’ now to describe all of the good things we have in North America. Because of the title of an article I once saw telling me this was poor use of the word.
That’s messed up.
These things are shaping the way I see the world. They’re shaping how I think I ought to live. They’re projecting on my very life that I’ll never be good enough because I can’t do all of these things all of the time. They’re informing my subconcious to believe that my children may be having a terrible childhood based on the things I’m not doing. They’re causing me to feel like I have to perform my way through this life being someone other than me.
This age of information is filling my mind with untruths more often than I like. And let’s be honest, these are untruths.
Truth says that I love my children and bathing suit or not they will have great memories.
Truth says that we take care of our bodies and eating an apple that is not organic is not likely to be the thing that kills us.
Truth says God has a plan for us and it’s going to look different then everyone else.
Truth says we are to train up our children in the way that they should go and not worry so much about the crafts. (Proverbs 22:6)
Truth says that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. (John 3:18)
Truth says that the will of God is our Sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Truth says that God’s grace is sufficient for me, for my children, for my health, for my marriage, for every piece of my life. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
How much time, friends, are we spending in untruths instead of truths? How much of our energy are we giving to things that don’t matter instead of things that do? What are we allowing to shape how we spend our time, our energy, our very life?
You ARE enough. You ARE His. You ARE beautifully made. May that be enough today.
*I’m choosing to quiet the noise for awhile. My weak and weary soul can’t handle it just now. I simply need time to pursue truth. If you need me or need me to know something, choose text or email or let’s have coffee, rather than facebook or twitter. Thanks, friends.