Sometimes less is the only means to more. In his beautiful book, The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan penned words that landed in my heart like a long-awaited invitation:

The end of striving makes room for dwelling. {pg. 154}

Today marks my first day back online after a two+ month sabbatical. This was my second year unplugging from my public and professional life for the summer months in order to spend focused time, thought and energy on my personal and private life.

It will not be the last.

Like a woman rousing herself from a deep slumber, I’m slowly lifting the window shades and opening the doors, exiting this private space to reenter a public one. The words to be birthed in blog and social media will no doubt rise from the quiet of these months. But, for now, I’ve shared a few insights gained from this season of dwelling:

LESSON #1: The only way to dig deep is to do less. For years I asked God to take me deeper, closer, nearer to His heart. I asked Him to remove any barriers to nearness, so I could know Him better than I know anyone else.

However, I didn’t understand that the biggest obstacle to the intimacy I craved was, in fact, ME.

Recently my husband and a neighbor spent a Saturday fixing a leaning fence between our yards. To fix it, the men focused on the posts. For an hour or two, they each took a post, grabbed a shovel, and started digging at the same square foot of earth until the holes were deep enough to hold the posts firm. This was the most important aspect of their work. The rest of the fence wouldn’t hold if the posts weren’t secured.

Constant external activity—a mind always racing, a body always running, a spirit constantly striving—interferes with internal growth. You and I spend an extraordinary amount of time doing. But the only way to make sure all that work will last is to go deep first, to make sure our being is secured. And that requires standing in one place long enough for good old-fashioned digging to be done.

LESSON #2: We undervalue the productivity of inactivity. After I announced my two+ month sabbatical, I heard variations of the following from well-wishers: “Have a great break!” and “Enjoy your time off!”

Time off?! Not quite.

My so-called “break” was actually a season filled with grueling internal work. While I was inactive on the internet and social media, I wrestled with false beliefs and thought patterns that needed to be challenged. I was facing—and fighting—personal flaws and struggles that required my attention. And I was diving deep into spiritual questions that needed exploring.

So although I wasn’t drafting blog posts or uploading pictures to Instagram, I was working my tail off. It was exhausting (I took more than a few naps and went to bed at 8:30 pm nearly every night). And it was productive. I may not have a metrics or graphs to show for it, but it doesn’t make it any less significant.

LESSON #3: Missing out on lesser things is the only way to take hold of greater things. I’ve missed a lot while I’ve been offline. Baby announcements. Health updates from friends. New book releases. Organizational changes. Important articles and news. Occasionally I’d hear updates from local friends over coffee. But, for the most part, I missed out. People moved on. Yesterday’s news is old news. Although I still feel the sting of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) from time to time, I don’t care much anymore.

Why? Because I made a choice.

A choice to abandon the lesser things so I can reach for the greater things. I may be less current and “in the know” after two months away from the online world. But my decision created space for me to become more whole, healthy, grounded and strong. That’s far more important to my long-term goals than my online activity.

LESSON #4: I still have identity work to do. One of the misconceptions about writers is that we write from our expertise. To the contrary, many of us write from struggle, angst and questions. What we wrestle with becomes fodder for our words.

This summer’s slow-down revealed to me, once again, how much my value is tangled up in (1) What I do, and (2) The feedback I receive. Withdrawing from my public and professional life forced me to relinquish, yet again, my flimsy sources of identity. Instead of turning to relationships and activity for my security, I ran to the pages of my Bible, again and again, for reminders about who I am. This was good work. And hard work. And it isn’t yet over. Yes, I wrote a 270-page book on the subject. But I have a lot yet to learn. We all do.

[callout]How about you? Does your heart need some care? Do you long to feel more whole, grounded, secure and strong in who you are? Regardless of how “less than” you feel in this moment, you are more than enough, created by the Creator, loved infinitely and perfectly. Whether this news is revelation or reminder, join me starting OCTOBER 2 for a personal, honest, in-depth look at how God sees you through the all-new I Am Online Experience. More details coming soon! Subscribe to blog updates to be notified! [/callout]

[reminder]When was the last time you created space for deeper life? Is it time to do it again? [/reminder]

{NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.}

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