Two months ago, I shut down my blog. I logged out of my Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter feed. And I set up and out-of-office reply to my email inbox. Other than grocery shopping and keeping up with the news, I walked away from the Internet for 60 days.

I loved every moment.

I’m not opposed to the Internet or social media. I wouldn’t be writing this post if I was. In fact, I could craft a very long list of the many ways technology has enhanced my life, starting with the reality of YOU.

You and I became friends as a result of the internet. We get to share about real life here, talk about the hard things, wrestle with our faith and life’s meaning here. Without social media and the Internet, geography would’ve have limited us, and you and I would still be strangers.

However, like an ego-maniac who hasn’t yet learned he’s not the center of the universe, the Internet sometimes demands too much attention. It steals clarity, sucks energy, interferes with intentionality. And it becomes the ceaseless cacophony that’s always distracting and diverting from what’s right in front of me. When that happens, when I feel like I’m drowning in the noise, I know I need to do something drastic to once again find my footing.

That’s why I stepped back. And that’s why I’ll keep doing the same as often as necessary. Because I know the only way to build a life on something more solid than air is to get quiet, settle my soul, close my eyes and remember the truths I sometimes forget in all the noise:

1. I am the Beloved. In this world of clamoring for feedback and attention, it’s easy to slip into believing you need to earn belonging. That you need to wow everyone with your merits and convince people you’re worthy of love. But this summer, I spent time remembering the one truth that’s far more important than all the others: I am the beloved.  I am the one God created, chose, pursued, saved, and loved. I’m the one who, of no merit of her own, captured the attention of the Father. No one can take that away, no matter their criticism or their praise. By the way, the same is true for you.

2. Life is here, now. It’s not somewhere out there, up ahead if I get all the problems resolved and all the messes cleaned up, if I find the right relationships and secure the right job. Instead, real life is right here, in this complicated and undone moment right in front of me. This is the gift, in all its glorious complexity, full of challenges and heartaches, laughter and impossible joy. Rather than pine for what I don’t have or work my stomach and fingers raw toward some non-existent perfection ahead, I can sit with the life I’ve already been given. I can turn it in my hand, search for the glimmers of gold it hides, and learn to savor it, as it is, even if it’s not what I would’ve chosen.

3. Healing is hidden in togetherness. As much day-to-day life tempts me to isolate, to shut down all the noise and hole up in my tiny little world, the secret to wholeness resides in the willingness to connect. To reach out, to enter in, to choose relationship over going it alone. It’s risky, unpredictable, messy. But God has always been about togetherness. That means for those who push in rather than pull away, connection—with God and each other—will slowly heal the wounds that have been wrought, working like a balm to soothe what’s been broken. It sounds improbable, downright impossible. And yet that is the mystery of the gift of relationship.

Simple truths, yes. But big enough to help you when you need to find your footing again.

P.S. Also? I talk more about these thoughts in my next book, Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves. It releases in three months, and I can hardly believe it. And yet, I’m ready, in no small part due to the solitude of this summer. To learn more, get a sneak peak, or pre-order, click here.

What have you learned this summer? Share any new insights or rediscoveries in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. xoxo —MC

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