Recently, I went dark!
*horror movie heart thumping soundtrack*
Aka I went offline!
For a whole week!
You can close your mouth now.
Okay, okay. The theatrics is an overkill but if you know me, you will know that was huge.
I love social media. I love online interactions. But more than anything, I love love love trawling the internet for recipes. It’s what I do most. Every. Single. Day.
And not surprising, I missed Instagram, Pinterest and Buzzfeed the most. What I missed about facebook was my food groups. But as I’m typing this, I’m not back on facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter yet. I’m still keeping away.
So why did I go dark?
All the bad news got to me.
I might be lighthearted now, but it wasn’t so a few weeks ago.
You know that part of the bible that says what you feed your eyes and ears are what determines your heart and mind? Turns out God knew what He was talking about.
It has been an unbroken stream of bad news all over the world and we are bombarded with details of it all. I didn’t realize how much of these I was absorbing, especially as I’m an empath, till I started having nightmares. And the fear overwhelmed even my waking hours.
Let me give you a few examples:
– I started having panic attacks in banks, dreading armed robbery attacks.
– I was afraid to let my son out of the house, certain he would be kidnapped
– I would pace and worry every time my husband stepped out because I was afraid he would have an accident and die
– I stopped allowing my 15year old to switch on the gas because I believed it would explode
– I started being afraid of nights because it meant sleeping and I was afraid I would die in my sleep
– my first reaction to phone calls at anytime was fear, convinced it was bad news about my family or friends
The fear was paralyzing, it was no surprise when I started having having heart palpitations, but to me it was confirmation that I was going to die so I worried even more about how my family will move on.
My prayer life dived. It was just a relentless faithless pleading with God to not allow all these bad things happen to my loved ones followed by grim resignation that maybe it was His will.
Bible reading was a joke. I would read the same verse over and over, not taking anything in because my mind was concocting one horrible scenario after another, remembering all the bad things I’d read during the day and projecting it to myself.
My faith declarations were hollow and empty. No iota of belief. Just panicked words hoping against hope.
It was a vicious unending cycle.
Till I finally broke. Something happened and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I turned off data to get away from it all. I didn’t even consciously think that it was all the bad news getting to me, I was just running, hiding away because I was tired of pretending everything was alright when nothing felt alright. I didn’t want to fake cheerfulness with my friends anymore. I was exhausted.
That was when the miracle started.
Without the internet, I had time to read. No, I didn’t start out the week reading the bible. I read novels – romance! Yeah, yeah, romance novels are a cliche and I poke fun at them a lot but even though I didn’t know it, they were exactly what I needed. They brought good news of love, life, kisses, love making, joy, hope, food, boy and girl, family etc. And slowly but surely, they dispelled the darkness and gloom I had been lugging around.
It wasn’t instant. Infact, I started the first few romance novels sure that there would be a disaster twist. This is me who has read romance stories all my life. I know how they start and end, yet my fear was making me envisage an end that could not be. Yes, it was that bad.
There were a few Christian romance novels amongst the books I read and as I saw the simplicity of the faith of the characters, I hungered for my relationship with God again.
So, I said “Hello, Father” and He was right there. He had never left.
I opened my bible and the words made sense once more. God reached out to me, reminding me of His love, presence and faithfulness. I opened myself to him and as He filled my heart and mind again, the space for fear shrunk.
That was when it clicked that all the negative news I’d been focusing on were the cause of the fear. All these time I’d been battling the fear the wrong way. All I had to do was feed my ears and eyes with positive things and my mind followed.
I’m a very cheerful positive thinking person by nature. I hardly get sad or depressed. When I do, I cry and talk to God and my husband so I do not presume to understand and speak for people battling depression and other debilitating mental illness. All I know is the overwhelming fear I faced that got me accepting, expecting and planning for worst case scenarios, and what brought the light back into my heart.
I’m out of the darkness now even though the shadows lurk so I’m still not reading the news and roaming social media yet. I’m sticking with the ‘good medias’ – Instagram (I follow foodies, families and comedians mostly) Pinterest (YAY! Foods, cooking and baking all the way!) and Buzzfeed (Food and pets) – they help me focus on and celebrate the joys of life.
May this be a lesson I never forget in Jesus name. What I feed my soul matters as much, if not more, than what I feed my body.