What I did when I felt like my life wasn't enough

6:00 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


In April, I quit my job. In May, I quit using social media apps on my phone.

I didn’t expect the anxiety deleting my social media apps would cause.

I wrote about my journey to what I call now digital minimalism on iBelieve.com this week. I want to share something here about it that I didn’t share in the post on iBelieve.

I loved going on Instagram before I deleted the social media apps. If you’d asked, I would have told you it was my favourite social app. I found the pictures soothing and enjoyed quick glimpses into my friends and families lives.

After deleting the apps, I’d go on Instagram from time to time and scroll through the pics. I started to recognise a feeling I hadn’t expected each time I opened it: discontent.

I’d scroll through a few pictures and feel so discontent with my life. I’d see pictures of people travelling and wish it could be me. I’d look at friends spending time together and wonder why I wasn’t there. Photos of meals I’d love to eat, pictures of places I’d love to run through…The list was endless.

I would close the app and sit there feeling like my life isn’t enough.

I didn’t like feeling that way. One day after opening and quickly closing the app after the bubbles of discontent floated up I sat and thought about what was happening. Was I really discontent with my life? Were these feelings real or were they a reaction to using the app?

I thought about how I felt before I went on Instagram.
I felt like I had the best life.
I loved my life.
It felt full.
My life felt enough.
I felt content with my life.

I go on Instagram less and less. Before I quit using social apps on my phone, it was a couple of times a day. After, it was once a week, then once a fortnight and now I can’t remember the last time I went on.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few months. And I keep coming back to this verse Psalm 16:11 (Voice),
Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment. 
Part of me has wondered if choosing to stay off Instagram is the coward’s way of learning to be content in every situation.

This verse helped me realise that we can choose contentment. That is what the “Instead” signifies to me. “Instead” means to do something in preference of something else. It means I can choose going outside over going online.

Instead, has become a powerful word for me as I pursue digital minimalism in my life.

I could feel discontent instead I thank God for everything he has given me.
I could feel alone instead I remember God is Emmanuel (God with us).
I could feel worried instead I look at the Sparrows and wonder at how God takes care of them and me.

I chose this translation of Psalm 16:11 because it reminds me that when I choose to look to God instead of dwelling on my feelings, my actions lead me toward a beautiful life of true contentment.

Some translations write this verse as “In your presence is fullness of joy”. Isn’t that a great description of contentment?

Want to read more of my story about what happened when I deleted all the social media apps from my phone? Click here to read the full story on iBelieve.com

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When you have to tell everyone what God has done (Hint: It's a quick update on Xylon's health)

12:05 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe— I will tell everyone what You have done. Psalm 73:28

Xylon and I have grown so tired of hearing, “It looks like the cancer is back.”

It happens like clockwork every time Xylon has a PET scan. This year was no different. 

He flew to Johannesburg for the scan in July. If called me from the airport with the results in his hand and fear in his voice, “I never should have opened them. They say it looks like the cancer is back.”

Usually, fear takes route in my stomach wrestling with my intestines. This time it didn’t. This time I replied to Xylon immediately, “I don’t think it is. The doctors who wrote that report are only looking at a tiny part of the picture. They are looking at one scan. If you look at the big picture, you are healthy.” 

A week later, we sat in the oncologist’s room while we planned out the next steps. An operation to remove the lymph nodes that had grown followed by a biopsy. 

We scheduled the operation for the middle of August. After Xylon would have completed his big cycling goal for the year: a 230 km mountain bike race. 

With his muscles still tender after the race, I kissed Xylon and watched the porters wheel Xylon into surgery. I still felt peace. Usually, by this stage of the process, I am in knots and wondering what will happen to us if the cancer is back for the fourth time. 

The surgery went well and the surgeon tells us he should have the results in about a week. We’re both still calm. Our mustard seed faith is still carrying us through.

The afternoon, before we are meeting the surgeon for the results, the phone rings while Xylon’s in the shower. I answer it. It is the oncologist’s rooms. They ask if we have the results of the biopsy. This time fear makes my stomach drop as I say, “Not yet.”
The nursing sister asks if I’d like her to share the results with me.
I have a split second debate about whether I should wait for Xylon to get out the shower and then think, ‘Let’s just get this over.’ I reply, “Yes, please.”
She says, “It’s not cancer. The doctor’s very happy.”
I’m sure she said something else but I didn’t hear it. I say goodbye and run through to the bathroom. 
I scream at Xylon who is still showering, “It’s not cancer!”

Later, we go out to celebrate at Xylon’s favourite restaurant.

We celebrate because we know that life is a gift, and growing old is a privilege not everyone has. 

We celebrate because we’re so thankful that God has healed Xylon. We don’t know why he healed him when others cries for healing go unanswered. We wrestle with that a lot. 

My mom sent me Psalm 73 shortly after Xylon opened the scans in the airport. It helps me with some of the why doesn't God heal everyone questions I have, and I hope it will encourage you (I’ve included parts of it below, you can read the entire Psalm here): 
Truly God is good to His people, Israel, to those with pure hearts.
Though I know this is true, I almost lost my footing; yes, my steps were on slippery ground.
You see, there was a time when I envied arrogant men and thought, “The wicked look pretty happy to me.”
For they seem to live carefree lives, free of suffering; their bodies are strong and healthy. They don’t know trouble as we do; they are not plagued with problems as the rest of us are.
But look at this: You are still holding my right hand; You have been all along.
Even though I was angry and hard-hearted, You gave me good advice; when it’s all over, You will receive me into Your glory.
For all my wanting, I don’t have anyone but You in heaven. There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You. I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever.
But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe— I will tell everyone what You have done. 

I know so many of you follow this blog, and Xylon's story, and have prayed for us, so I wanted to tell everyone what God has done (again). 

I hope that it will encourage some of you who are also living through impossible situations that God is still able.

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{You might also like these posts}
{Get my book - for free!}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck