“But I’m made for love / Yes, I’m made for love…”
These lyrics to a song I would’ve never listened to if it hadn’t randomly played on Spotify have been replaying in my mind for a couple of days. It has become the theme to my last week and (maybe) the rest of this month.
I took a break from social media this past week because I was feeling burnt out. I knew that once I threw a mini rant about Simone Biles equating losing her ability to do gymnastics to losing one’s eyesight that I had enough of social media for a while. But, that was only part of the problem.
I had been feeling disconnected from God for a while now. It’s like I came crashing down from the high of making my final promises as Benedictine oblate and I was left thinking, “… now what?” As the time passed I found myself using social media more and more frequently. I couldn’t explain why except that it seemed to be the only thing that calmed down my restlessness. But, at the same time, it made things worse. I could no longer concentrate on any of my prayers, even the short ones. It added to the feeling that I was distancing myself from God even more.
It became painfully obvious that I’d somehow deviated from the path He’d set me on. I saw what was missing — the Sacraments — and what was adding to the fatigue: social media.
I haven’t attended Mass this the last Mass I went to at Clear Creek Abbey. I haven’t gone to confession since my spiritual director and I met up before my trip. I’ve been sick (blood tests have since helped figure out what was causing me to feel sick) and I’ve lacked transportation of the odd Sunday that I’ve felt well enough to attend Mass have kept me at home and away from the Sacraments. Never has it been more obvious that the one way I will be able to survive whatever God has in store for me is to frequent the Sacraments more often. I have to figure out how to do that with my circumstances but I know God will provide somehow.
As for social media, I think I was using it as a substitute for community that I’m missing at home. I don’t see my friends too often as we’re all spread out in Southern California and then across the States as more and more people leave California. But the negativity of social media was getting to me. And the constant bombardment of updates was frazzling my mind. I realized that I need to do one thing at a time or else I get overwhelmed. Social media, with its infinite scrolling and automatic refreshing timelines was too much for me.
That’s why I took the break — too much outside noise and not enough quality time with Christ. So, I decided to make an uncharacteristically impulsive (if you can call it that) decision to detox from social media for a couple of days.
During my time away from social media I felt like God was asking me three big questions:
“What’s in your heart?”
“What’s most important to you?”
“What are you willing to give up for Me?”
While I’ve yet to figure out all the answers to those questions, the partial answers have gone back to the song: “I was made for love.”
What’s in my heart? More than I can share on here but, to begin with, I would love to return to how I was in the early days of my reversion and unapologetically be myself. I miss not worrying about looking uneducated & ignorant on faith matters. The reality is that I don’t know as much as my friends and peers do. I’m certainly no theologian despite having amazing mentors and even going to graduate school for Biblical Theology. The truth is that I study theology and philosophy but I don’t remember details. My brain doesn’t work like that. I remember things that stand out because it’s usually relevant to me at the moment. It sounds egotistical, and perhaps it is, but once I live it, I can then use my experience to better explain things to someone in the future. It’s just how I learn and process things. And that’s okay. So, I’m going to try to not let my ignorance get to me. Instead, I’ll continue praying the Litany of Humility so that I can truly embrace the ridicule and comments that will be made as I live my life as authentically as possible; as I ask more and more questions about faith matters that I “should know” but don’t.
What’s most important to me? Living a life full of love and faith. St. Teresa of Calcutta has been popping up a lot in my life lately and I think it’s because I can learn a lot from her. Her entire life was about living a life full of love and faith. She loved people with her whole heart /!: saw Christ in every single person she encountered. I want to be able to do that, even with the people who’ve hurt me. I know that regardless of who my future spouse will be — whether he will be Christ or a mortal man, I have so much love in my heart that I can give to others, just like Mother Teresa did. Obviously, living a faith-filled life also means living my life according to the holy Rule of St. Benedict and detaching myself more from worldly things.
What am I willing to give up? Everything. How can I claim that my love for Christ runs deep if I’m not willing to give everything up for Him? I’ve come to the point where I’m tired of living my life in fear: fear of disappointing others, fear of losing my worldly comforts, and fear of being left with nothing & no one. If it means giving up everything — family, friends, my hometown, etc., I’m willing to do that. I’ve realized that I will never be truly free until I place my entire trust in His Divine Providence. I cannot keep living life in fear of what I can lose. I must live it thinking about all I can gain at the end of a life lived for Christ.
As a result, I won’t be as active on social media as I’ve been because of all the internal unrest that creeps into my day when I’m on it for long periods of time. When I can’t focus on any prayers — even the short ones — I know it’s time to cut back. When I do share something it’ll be because I want to share something with friends. Not followers; friends. I refuse to look at the number of followers on my account because it’s just a number and I don’t want to think of people as just a number or a “set of followers.” It’s so disrespectful (in my opinion).
Like I said, there’s still so many more answers that I need to take time to pray about but I think this is a good start for now.
“But I’m made for love / Yes, I’m made for love…”
Let’s see just where this quest to live my life full of love and faith takes me.