I have to admit, I’m struggling to write on here these days. Not that the words aren’t coming – they are. But ever since I left social media two months ago, the traffic here at my blog has been a fraction of what it once was. It turns out that if you aren’t as noisy in this world, you just don’t get the same amount of attention. And it also turns out that my self-confidence is often akin to a soap bubble; low traffic is the happy child chasing the bubble, swinging wildly, popping it.
It helps me to write about this because at first my reaction was, “Well, I guess I need to get back on Facebook and Twitter.” But I don’t feel that my time away from those noisy forums has run its course. I don’t feel that I’ve learned everything there is to learn in this silence, and I know that if I jumped back into social media right now, it would simply be me acting on the same old things I’ve been trying to overcome. Insecurity. A desire to be accepted and praised. A need for some kind of validation.
Those aren’t all bad things. Of course not. But I don’t want them to be the foundation of who I am. I’d like the primary sustenance of my soul to be something more than the acceptance and praise of others. That’s a fickle food source, and one that will, more often than not, leave you high and dry when you least expect it.
I’ve been thinking a lot during the last two months about the value of doing things that don’t make sense, the value of listening to the small voice leading you into new places. It’s a hard voice to follow. But I read this by Richard Rohr and it encouraged me in that regard:
I will continue to encourage you to try something new: change sides, move outside your comfort zone, make some new contacts, let go of your usual role and attractive self-image, walk instead of drive, make a friend from another race or class, visit new neighborhoods, go to the jail or to the border, attend another church service, etc. Then you can live yourself into new ways of thinking, which then seem so right and necessary that you wonder how you could have ever thought in any other way. Without new experiences, new thinking is difficult and rare. After a new experience, new thinking and behavior comes naturally and even becomes necessary.
There is so much to be learned in this life simply by trying something new, even if only for a short time. New thinking requires new experiences, and making a decision about whether or not to try something new isn’t as easy as compiling a list of pros and cons because what we’re talking about is a new experience – one you can’t yet see all the pros and cons for!
So for now I’ll forge ahead in the silence. Thanks for hanging around and journeying through it with me. I hope you’re learning as much as I am.
What new thing are you thinking of trying? Where would you consider making room for silence in your life?
I decided to walk away from my Facebook and Twitter accounts in June (you can read more about that HERE), so this little space of mine depends entirely on you to spread the word. If you read something you enjoy, please share it.
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Finally, I am back on Instagram. Connect with me at shawnsmucker.