Much Is Not More
As I write, we are trucking down the highway. David is driving, the kids are tightly tucked in their carseats, and we are barreling down this road on an evening excursion. To the car wash. For kicks and giggles, as my cousin James likes to say. The scenario feels a lot like life does sometimes: headed no where fast, and not for very great purpose.
There’s a theme that has been occurring in my life for a while. It creeps into my mind at overwhelmed moments, and I’m learning to act on it. To lean into it. To embrace this theme with fervor.
It’s the theme of less.
I will be frank: I haven’t always been fond of LESS. As a child, I dreamed of more. It wasn’t a real princess dress-up dress if it wasn’t covered in far too many yards of lace, and ruffles, and sequins, and beading. I adored the extravagant. As this theme translated into adulthood, it presented itself as plain old materialism.
She who has the biggest diamond wins, right?
I knew it wasn’t true. I know it’s not true. So why do I, why do WE keep buying into this more is more thing?
I’m learning to love less, and it’s by far the most liberating lesson life has taught me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love pretty things. Great design makes my heart sing. Hoarding it doesn’t do me any good, though. If anything, the consequence of hoarding is the burden of responsibility. Think of it this way: imagine that you owned the Mona Lisa. Can you imagine the burden that would come with that? Insurance requirements aside, the responsibility of needing to share that work of art with society? The framework and infrastructure that would require? Security systems and guards, buildings and maintenance, restoration and preservation requirements. It’s too much for one person, even if it was that person’s only full time job. It’s better to form a foundation, a community, and give the experience of the art away, and let the community maintain the art.
This past weekend, I hit overwhelm, and in trying to summon the energy to manage it all, I realized that I was placing myself under the burden of MORE connection. Make a difference in MORE people’s lives. And I realized: a difference is not made a hundred people at a time. It’s made one person at a time. ONE. And if a difference is made, she will go out into the world and do the same thing. ONE difference, ONE person at a time. And the impact will multiply.
In the relationship realm, much is not more. More friends, more connections, is not more. Less is more. Less of the surface stuff. More of the heart stuff. And heart stuff is hard to come by, just because it takes time. Heart stuff, for me, is a sincere, deep investment in those whom God has placed in my path. Heart stuff is more than just surface connections, it is conversations that happen over time. Less has more impact than more.
As I realized this, I realized I needed to scale down the number of people I follow on social media channels. Not because I don’t love everyone I follow, and then some, because I do. It’s not because everyone doesn’t matter, because they do matter. A whole lot. It’s not because too many pictures are cluttering my Instagram be, they’re not, or because too many Tweets fill my Twitter stream, because they don’t. It’s because, I can’t make a meaningful connection with people if I’m spread that thin. I can’t be focused if I’m constantly distracted.
Far too often, I measure my self-worth by the number of followers I have. And it’s not the number of followers that matters. It’s the number of connections I can make, that truly have meaning and significance, in both my life and the other person’s life. The honest-to-goodness truth, is that I can’t make a connection with 600 people. But if I can make a connection with 10, or maybe even 100, then I’m have a better chance of making a difference in those peoples lives, and if I can make a difference in their lives, maybe they can make a difference in 150 more people’s lives. The impact can spread, but only if I’m focused.
So, on that note, (deep breath) I’m cleaning up my social media. But I’m also going to set up a specific folder in my Feedly so that I can keep up with blogs. I genuinely want to keep up with people’s stories and lives. So if you want me to check out your blog, and add you to my Feedly, leave your blog in the comments.
The challenge to you: where can you spend a little bit of time cleaning up, clearing out, and allowing yourself to find some focus so that you can better impact the important people in your world? We are all headed somewhere in life. Head that way a little bit more slowly, and with very great purpose.
This post really spoke to me, Whitney!! I truly love making connections with people, it’s one of my favorite things about social media. But sometimes it does feel overwhelming. I’ve recently committed to only getting on Instagram when my kids are asleep, either napping or after bedtime. It’s been freeing, honestly. Thanks for this post!! My blog is http://thestimsonchronicles.com if you’d ever like to check it out. It’s my love letter to my family 🙂 Also, if you’re ever in Memphis again, I’d love to meet you, I’m hoping to stop by and meet Natalie soon! Have a great weekend! Xoxo, Cameron
Wonderful blog post!!! I can relate so much to everything you said. I have been thinking of how I am always wanting more and I realize that I’m no happier with more and even feel guilty when I keep adding to my collection of “stuff”. You are a real inspiration. I would love for you to add my blog to your list. http://www.itsybitsypaperblog.com
You can’t see me, but I’m giving you a standing ovation! Less in fact is more. Wealth is not measured by what we have, but WHO we have. Truly inspiring.
Great post! I have been thinking about this a lot as well! Making connection is really what matters! Keep up with me my love! 😉 styledchaos.blogspot.com
Whitney, this was such a good post! I have been learning the same thing. Less is more! I have not always been that way either, but I think my faith & my age has made me realize the things that are of real value. It brings to mind a verse in John 3:30 He must increase, I must decrease. The more Christ increases in my heart the less value I place on the things that are fading away. Thanks you for sharing your thoughts. I tend to neglect my blog sometimes, because of my busy schedule. However, You are welcome to hop over and visit! http://www.ladypaintsalot.blogspot.com
Wonderful post, Whitney.
Amen sister! Thanks for putting it out there and sharing what we all need to hear! You are truly an inspiration!
Such an inspiring post. It’s a simple reminder that for some reason has become complicated. My blog is http://rosevilledesigns.com/blog
I couldn’t agree more! As my grandfather used to say, “it’s the stuff that’ll kill ya.” Decluttering, in all ways, is so very healthy. Less is always more. Unless we’re talkin’ about scoops of ice cream 😉
My blog is http://www.virginialucashart.com/blog
great post! I absolutely agree with you and have been trying to live with less and concentrate on the little things that make life worthwhile. after setting that goal, i started blogging about the details that maks life special! http://www.sparkyourprint.blogspot.com if you ever have the time to check it out. thanks for being such an inspiration!
I relate to this post so much!
As for online connections you have a point, it makes sense…when I first started blogging I had some great connections and met many like minded bloggers but after some crash and burn it all got too much and overwhelming…I stepped back a little but so did the comments,links and views on my own blog . Its tricky since we want to reach out to many but by wearing ourselves thin its very hard to do.
…some good points to think about, thanks!