Um...yesterday's post made me sound like I went into complete withdrawals because I gave up Diet DP and Instagram for five days.
But...after reflecting A LOT on those five days and the 24 hours since, here's what I've realized. There was a HUGE void in my life that my spirit felt sooner than my head could define it. Not from social media or caffeine withdrawals, but from lack of creativity. I didn't miss checking and re-checking every 7 minutes to see what people had posted. I didn't miss the LIKES or even the nice comments people always leave. What I missed was the routine I've established since last summer of taking pictures, finding uplifting and inspiring quotes and then matching the two to create something inspiring and uplifting either on IG or on my blog. I missed writing. Even though this blog isn't lofty or meaningful to most people, it is the way I remember things that happen in a day. It's the way I record these days for future generations. And it's the way I recognize and acknowledge the hand of the Lord in my life.
it turns out, without the blog or IG, I didn't really have a reason to take pictures. I passed flowering purple tree after flowering purple tree and I thought about taking pictures of them, but then realized there was nowhere to save them or share them, so I didn't bother. I didn't have uplifting quotes and Conference talks running through my head all day. And I didn't start the day looking for things to be grateful for. I just checked things off of To Do lists.
On Thursday and Friday, I spent hours rehearsing and singing in those DMCO concerts, so I didn't feel the void as much. But by Saturday afternoon, the creative black hole was taking its toll on my disposition. I was so irritable and unreasonable. And every little thing made me burst into tears. By Sunday night, my head had twisted everything I love about my life into drudgery, frustration, and hopelessness. I don't think I've ever been so grateful to see a Monday morning in my whole life.
I love this talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the General Relief Society Broadcast in October 2008...
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. Everyone can create. You don't need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into out hands and mold it into something beautiful. You may think you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before - colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter."I have a few talents that are the visible and apparent kind. I absolutely LOVE to sing. I don't know that my ability will ever match my desire, but I don't even care. I just LOVE to sing. Anywhere, all the time. I also love to take pictures. I'm not technically correct about it. Most days, I grow weary of all the settings and just leave my camera on MANUAL. I'm not knowledgable about photography. But I see things that I think are beautiful and I want to keep them. I'm also a hoarder of words. I have journals and notebooks and sticky notes with thoughts and lists scribbled on them everywhere in this house. I have multiple bulletin boards covered with quotes and stories from magazines and the internet. And I also have a bowl filled with fortunes from every cookie that has been opened by a Thunell since 2010.
Those seem like a random collection of talents. But...if I put those random things I love together with a desire to share and connect and create, then all of a sudden it becomes purposeful. And when you add a blazing testimony of the Savior and His gospel, it also becomes light.
"You carry a circle of influence with you wherever you go. It is felt by the people around you - from your family to the contacts in your cell phone and from your friends on social media to those seated next to you." - Neill F. Marriott
"You are vibrant and enthusiastic beacons in an ever-darkening world as you show, through the way you live your lives, that the gospel is a joyful message. - Harriet UchtdorfThe talents I have are common ones that I share with a lot of people in the world, and compared to others I would fall into the "extremely mediocre" category. My blog is never going to go viral. I will never sing for crowds of people (at least not where any of them know my name.) My scribbles aren't going to become the next best selling novel. But I can bring a little light into my circle of influence. I can make tiny differences for one or two people in a day. I can be generous with my compliments and gratitude. And if that makes someone feel better than they did before they found me and want to illuminate some other dark place, then that's a pretty meaningful thing.
That's the part I missed when I was fasting from IG and my blog. Creating. Uplifting. Inspiring and being inspired. Technology is an amazing thing. And when used well, it makes a huge difference. I'm grateful to be occasionally useful in Heavenly Father's kingdom. And I'm grateful to know more today than I did last week.