I did something I’m not proud of last night.
I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes, I find myself in what I like to call, The Facebook Time Suck.
You know what I’m talking about: It’s late; you definitely should be asleep already; your phone is on 15% battery life; and you’re just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through Social Media. And pretty soon, you find yourself on your elementary school crush’s wife’s Facebook page, looking at their engagement photos from 4 years ago, and you just. can’t. look. away.
Very rarely do I fall into that trap. My life is typically way to hectic crazy for that…especially now that I’ve committed to making daily videos for my newsletter.
But last night, being that I’m home in Ohio now for Christmas, with a bit more time on my hands, I found myself late into the evening on the Facebook page of…several of my sorority sisters from college.
Now, if you’ve followed this blog for a while, you will know that, aside from my anorexia, that season of my life in the sorority was probably the second darkest period of my life.
Just a 30 second recap: I was the President of my sorority. And then in a publicly humiliating episode where I was stripped down to my sports bra and undies in front of the whole chapter, I was forced to “step down” from my position as President. They rejected the sisterhood I was amplifying. And they didn’t appreciate the higher standard I was subtly calling our chapter to — upholding the Christian values that the sorority itself was founded upon. Those values didn’t really line up with the binge drinking brothel that they wanted to create instead. A wonderful experience of 3 years of beautiful friendships and fun memories, in the blink of an eye, turned…just like that.
I’m not bitter, I promise.
But actually, I’ve really worked hard to find forgiveness in my heart, not just for the college-aged girls, but for the 40 and 50 year old women in charge of the national organization, who not only should know better, but should be striving to build young women up instead of seeking to tear them down.
But one of the ways I have worked on forgiveness and moving on, is that I do not follow any of those people on social media. I don’t want to be shown their faces on a daily basis, and be reminded of that time of pain in my life. It brings me back to a bad head space.
But, last night…I fell into the insatiable trap of curiosity.
And 45 minutes later, I’m up to my eyeballs in profiles, and wedding albums, and learning that frankly…not much had changed with those girls.
And feeling my chest tighten with unhealthy feelings, I finally, snapped out of it, turned off my phone and audibly said to myself, “Care, you need to get a life. This is not good for you.”
That night, as I was prepping for my Oh What a Beautiful Morning! video, the Bible verses that came up were exactly what I needed to hear. I’m telling you – once you start making reading your bible a daily practice, it is amazing how God truly speaks to you, and gives you exactly what you need to hear.
I mean, I grew up knowing that scripture is the “Word of God,” but only now am I realizing that, it really is. It’s His words, to you.
So I open up the page and find this little gem: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23
I actually gave a chuckle, reading that. I was envisioning God, peering over his Santa Claus-esq spectacles, wagging his finger at me, going…Now, now, now, Caralyn. Don’t you be doin’ that, young lady. You know better than to be digging up skeletons on Facebook!
I kind of rolled my eyes: Well played, God. Well played.
But then I look down to find this warm hug from my Father: “He has made everything beautiful in His time.” Eccl 3:11
And this, friends, was exactly what I needed to read after my destructive little Facebook Time Suck.
Sure, that season was unpleasant. There were many, many tears, and to say that it was an exercise in humility would be the understatement of the century.
However, God never let that pain go to waste. And last night, He challenged me to consider how, in fact, He has made it beautiful.
I honestly blacked out in my memory the majority of that tumultuous closing of that chapter. But I do remember, after all the smoke cleared and dust settled, being back at home, my mom and I were both lying in my bed looking up at the ceiling, having one of our infamous mother-daughter talks before bed, like we did every night of my childhood, and she said something to me that I’ll never forget.
She said, “Just shake the dust off.”
And of course, she was referring to Matthew 10:14 – “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
But that’s exactly what I did, and never looked back.
I chose to leave behind that toxic situation, and move on. I moved to the Big Apple not knowing a soul, and built a beautiful community, full of people that love me and value the person I am. My friends here are like family, and the road we’re traveling on is exciting, and fulfilling and affirming.
I’ve chased my dreams. Built a desktop ministry that I can be proud of. And grown in my relationship with God in an incredibly personal and tangible way.
That season really shaped the trajectory of my life thus far.
But that’s not all.
Looking back, I realized just how much it shaped who I am.
That whole debacle taught me to value and treasure loyalty. After 3 years, building friendships with girls I thought were my friends – traveling with them, sharing hearts and laughter, joys and break ups, only to have them turn their backs when your spotlight “goes out” – it really singed my heart. And made me see the beauty of true, loyal, people.
But more, God has helped me grow from that pain. And solidified in my heart a dependence on God, as shelter, friend, and hope. As comforter, consoler, and teacher of trust, resilience, and humility.
He has made everything beautiful in His time.
Because the most beautiful thing to come out of that pain, was the young woman I became, from growing through it.
And for that, I am grateful.
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