Writing

Creativity in Motherhood (+ some thoughts on social media)

There is something so beautiful and desirable about a hidden life; a life lived for God alone and in the service of your family, behind the walls of your home and within the sacred space of those you love. I’ve been rethinking the purpose of social media and why I’m choosing to use it at all (though sparingly and with clear, intentional boundaries) after a good long break. It will never and should never show the hidden, personal life that is meant for my family alone. It won’t even show a fraction of it. When used as a tool and nothing more, it can maybe be just one of many sources of beauty out in the world, pointing not towards me but towards the author of life Himself.

I know there is a real danger and temptation to idolize people we see online—their home, their family, their job, their life as a whole—but I don’t want to fall into that, nor do I want to be the object of that myself. We can’t make a judgment about someone without knowing and understanding what lives beneath what we see from afar; what may be stirring beneath the surface of a pretty picture or a few paragraphs’ caption. So much of each person is intentionally and appropriately hidden from an audience that is, by its nature, so diverse and impersonal. Because of that, I’ve always struggled with how to use it.

But even as I attempt to live out a vocation that is for the most part unseen, I feel a pull to make the world more beautiful in an outward, tangible way–whether through writing, photography, homemaking, etc. I do believe that my primary and particular way of adding beauty to this world is through my family; through the children I’ve been privileged to grow and give birth to and teach and love. They are literally my most precious and beautiful creation that the Lord has let me participate in making; an extension of myself and my husband out in the world, ready to change it.

During the past couple months of living to simply live without needing to share, I’ve had more time and space and silence to let the Lord work and lead. Within that silence, something started to happen: the real beauty and richness of each daily experience was able to take root and settle in as it should; to resound in my heart slowly and over time. This is what I know I need to always maintain, and what I think every single one of us needs to be diligent about, especially when we’re on social media. I think sometimes when there is such an urge to immediately share or even just jump on and scroll, we don’t give ourselves enough time to process each experience and let it mature and develop.

When I took a step back from social media, I actually started to feel this creative energy welling up. When I capture a moment in a photograph that feels like a whole story in itself or write a reflection that I feel someone else might appreciate, I don’t want to keep it to myself; I want to share it. And that’s a good, natural desire. But the break from the noise also taught me that simply adding to the noise for no purpose is not only a distraction from the work in front of me, but it also stifles my creativity and keeps me from processing things fully and slowly. So, as an attempt to avoid that, I decided to create this space.

I was talking with a friend about all of this last month and she said something so simple and wise that has stuck with me–do the work in front of you, love your children, and stay open to the creative spirit the Lord gives you in the ebb and flow of motherhood (she runs a vintage thrift shop out of her home and understands the tension that sometimes occurs between creativity and daily duties). I think that’s the greatest lesson I’ve been learning lately; to do the work at hand (which requires literally all of my time and energy throughout the day, with little breaks here and there) and to love these children under my protection, while staying open to how the Lord wants to use my gifts throughout it all. If I do this simple thing, I trust He will bring about something beautiful. I know that He already has.

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