I love being a writer. I love writing this blog. I love to tell stories. I love expressing things about myself and others openly and honestly. Over the years, there have been many blessings that have come from my willingness to share my secrets with the world.
But there have been many negative repercussions from my openness as well.
Lately, I’ve been very in tune with some sacred echoes in my life. The first echo I wrote about concerned the word “enough” and what that means for me and my journey. But even before that, and since then, I’ve also been really struggling with the idea of secrecy in my life.
Right on schedule with my internal struggles concerning this idea, Rachel Held Evans published a blog post about the sanctity of secrets in the public world. As soon as the title popped up on my Facebook feed, I knew it wasn’t coincidence; based on the title and summary alone, I figured that Evans’ blog post was specifically and divinely written for me. Clicking on it and reading it confirmed what I already assumed.
Here’s the excerpt in Evans’ post that really wrecked me:
As a girl who makes her living (and finds so much joy in) sharing her questions, ideas, insights, and experiences online and in books, the value that Jesus places on secrecy can be a bit disconcerting. All writers struggle with this, I think, but with our access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and You Tube, it’s easier than ever before to slip into the assumption that unless something is shared, it didn’t really happen, it didn’t really matter.
Lately I’ve been feeling that way — that if I don’t blog/tweet/Facebook/Instagram about my life, my life isn’t really happening. Just the other night, when I was suffering from yet another bout of insomnia, I snuggled up against my dead-to-the-world husband. In his sleep, he leaned down to kiss me on the forehead. It was so wonderful and perfect. But right after it happened I became wracked with conviction because the first thought in my mind was, I can’t wait to blog about this.
Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been bombarded by so many people, some I know and some I don’t, about the decisions Dan and I have made about our birth, child-rearing, nurturing, etc. And, for the most part, I’ve been completely candid and open about everything. Even when people disagreed with me. But it turned out that I was so open that, as my pregnancy progressed, people began to assume that they’d be able to be at the hospital when I went into labor and, in some extreme cases, actually in the delivery room for my son’s birth.
Before, I was so excited about becoming a mother and I was so thankful to have so many people share that sentiment with me that I didn’t think much about it. But with the “real deal” swiftly approaching, I’ve been really feeling it on my heart to protect those precious moments with my son and my family. Which is why the only people that will be in the delivery room when I have my son will be me, my son’s father, the doctors, and the nurses. (If I could somehow convince the doctors and nurses to not be in the room, I would, but they’re kind of a package deal at the hospital.)
But it’s not just the birth that I feel the need to protect. It’s not even just my son. It’s so much more than that. It’s the meetings I have with friends. It’s the books I read and the scribbles in my journal. It’s any and all things I am otherwise all-too-eager to share with people, no matter their influence in my life.
Don’t get me wrong. It will take all kinds of restraint to not blog/tweet/Instagram every moment I have with my baby, especially the first six weeks when I’m on maternity leave and up to my face in burp cloths. And this is not to say that I won’t blog as frequently, or as openly, but the discipline of keeping my real life and my family life still mine and not the Internet’s is one that I believe any writer/blogger/social media user should try to implement.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Check out Rachel’s full article here.