Stepping away from social media led AnnAliese Harry to ponder the way she and her family play a role in salvation history.
About a month ago, I walked away from social media. While I didn’t completely close down all accounts, I have removed them entirely from my phone, and have stopped checking my social media profiles on my computer. I was anxious to take that step, fully understanding that my ability to share deep thoughts and Catholic encouragement with the greater social-media world would take a drastic turn. Yet it was a decision I felt needed to be made because I have gotten tired of making excuses for myself.
For the past couple years, I have tried to justify my addiction to social media by pointing out that as a writer and Catholic social media influencer, I use my addiction for good. I provide uplifting content, share inspiration, and try to challenge my followers to grow in their love for Christ – through Him, but also through service of others. Like all social media content, it’s met with mixed reviews, and I have learned to focus on staying true to my Catholic voice.
Yet what is hidden behind the written content is the emptiness of a vocation not being lived to its best potential.
A couple years ago, I wrote about the “Purpose of Parenting,” for CatholicMom.com, acknowledging that motherhood is my secondary vocation. My firmest, surest path toward sainthood is found in my vocation – the sacrament of marriage. Behind the social media presence online, what nobody saw, were the hours I was wasting on social media – scrolling through pictures and content, reading newsfeeds and trying to find (or create) the “perfect” things to share as inspiration to others.
What was behind “closed doors” of social media were the conversations not being had with those in my immediate sphere – whether they were my husband, my children, my family, and the people I have gotten to know through work. As an introvert, social media works so well because it was allowing me to stay connected with others, until I realized that the connection to others through social media were becoming a crutch to not develop connections in real life.
So, I stepped away rather abruptly, with no explanation. It’s been almost four weeks now, and in that time, I have felt the weight of the world.
What I haven’t felt is a shred of doubt.
The world is heavy right now. I don’t need to explain all the reasons that make this world feel heavy and exhausting. Yet, we all feel the weight.
A quote attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta issues a strong challenge: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Each of us, as individuals, are small actors on a large stage. Yet, every single one of us is experiencing our moment for glory in Salvation History.
When we consider God breathing life into Adam’s lungs for the first time, He was also breathing into life our very own existence. God knew we would be placed in 2021, at the precise moment when the world would seem so overwhelmingly heavy. God knows what He’s doing, even if we don’t understand His intentions yet.
Ultimately, God knew you would be here today, reading these words, and encouraging you to step into the role He has called for you.
Every “weight of the world” needs its saints to emerge.
Those saints don’t always run down the street naked like St. Francis of Assisi. They don’t always call the Holy Father or Church leaders to task in the same manner of St. Catherine of Siena. They don’t always lead rallying cries to the battlefield reminiscent of St. Joan of Arc.
Instead, the modern saints emerge when they recognize Christ in their midst.
The saints who will come out of this heavy time in history will be the ones who are focused diligently on their journey toward sainthood, guided by Christ alone.
These saints may make the news, sure. They may become social media famous. Maybe they might even become great leaders of the Church.
Or, maybe, the saints that will emerge are the men and women who are prioritizing their vocation as married persons. Maybe the saints that will come out of today will be the mother and father who pray with their family, go to work and model using God’s gifts, and encourage their children to take on the world they will inherit. Maybe the saints of this time will be the little old woman or man quietly making their way to spend some quiet time with the Lord.
Every single one of us are called to sainthood. Each of us have a role to play in Salvation History. Salvation History didn’t end with Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.
Rather, Salvation History is still very much in progress. And every one of us has opportunity to reach for the reward of a life well-lived, well-loved, holy life.
It takes risk to step away from the world and shift our focus back on God. Stepping away from the activities that detract us from our vocations can be so scary.
Yet, honesty with ourselves can be freeing.
When we are honest with ourselves, and humble enough to ask God to help us find strength and courage to choose a life for Him, and with Him, our entire world will change. The change might not be immediate, and might not be palpable to those outside your home. But, slowly, the world will change, as each person plays their part.
As the summer closes out, and an uncertain fall approaches, spend time with God. Ask Him where He is asking you to grow … and let Him know your fears, concerns, and worries. Don’t be afraid to tell Him that you need His support.
God supports us in our quest to heaven.
God revels in delight when we ask His help.
God will be the force which sustains us.
The question is, are you ready to step into your role in Salvation History?
Copyright 2021 AnnAliese Harry
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
AnnAliese Harry is a proud Army wife to her husband Chris, and a mother to their young children. She has a BA in History, a Masters in Social Work, and has worked with disabled veterans, troubled teens, and in early childhood intervention therapy. AnnAliese volunteers with several military chapel communities and serves as a lector, EMHC, Adoration coordinator, and Catholic Women of the Chapel (CWOC) chapter president and vice president. She blogs about Catholicism, parenting, and military life at A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life. Follow her on Twitter, on Instagram, or on Facebook.