Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hashtag Blessed.

 21 days of fasting a prayer. My husbands parents attend a very very sweet church. I enjoy visiting when we are with them because of the great worship music and encouraging messages. Once the new year begins, this church is doing a 21 day long series of fasting and prayer. Taking time to pray seriously for a prolonged period of time is a wonderful way to start a new year!

Tonight, I was thinking to myself and the idea of this series randomly popped into my head. 3 weeks of fasting. It took me about a half a millisecond to realize what I should probably fast from... social media. It took me about a 30 minute long shower to realize why.

I read a statistic that stated, on average, we look at our phones (social media) roughly around 150 times a day... 150 times! That's insane! There is so much proof regarding how much time we waste looking on our personal websites it's almost pointless to try and make an argument. I think most people know this and just choose to accept it. Social media is an important part of life these days.

Despite this, however, my "why" dives so much deeper.

I don't really do facebook much (except when i'm incredibly bored), twitter is fun when I have ridiculous pointless thoughts I HAVE to post. Instagram is where my issue rests. Don't get me wrong, I love instagram! It is the first app I open when I look at my phone. I love looking at and seeing what people are doing on the daily! I even enjoy the occasional post myself... although honestly i've never been one for selfies. As I find enjoyment with this app, I also find myself in an endless battle spiritually.

I'm going to be completely honest here. Most of the posts I see regarding people I follow have a very common foundational theme... they are all spiritually based. The typical post that falls under this category is usually of a cup of coffee and a journal/ bible or a landscape scene of some sort, followed by a bible verse and a quick caption explaining the reason for the ever so popular #blessed at the book end. The "typical Christian girl" post as people would say. Now I don't want to bash anyone or say that I don't enjoy that exact post. I love coffee while doing my quiet time. I see the Lords beauty in creation. I think #blessed should be overused because we are so blessed by our creator. I am not writing this to discourage these posts but to explain how they can have a very negative effect, at least in my case.

For the longest time I have found myself falling into the ever so common self esteem killer that social media tends to be. I judged my life based on the picture perfect lives of my friends. Fine. I can deal with that. It was when I started judging my spiritual life based on the picture perfect ones that were being posted the problem started. It seemed harmless at first. I would check in here or there, double tap this picture or that to give my two cents of approval. Soon, however, checking in here or there became more and more frequent. The more I checked in, the greater I found myself fighting against the lies of the evil one regarding insecurities, insecurities regarding the strength of my personal walk with the Lord.

I think it is wonderful when I see my sweet friends posting pictures of how the Lord is speaking to them, how He is blessing their lives or working in them! This may be my selfishness or just believing the lies of the evil one, but I also find these posts very discouraging. Why don't I feel so overwhelmed with his presence constantly? Why can't I love people around me as well as that person? Why can't I hear the Lord speak his truth through this very picturesque moment? Why can't God talk to me when I can gather up things around me to show to the world through this little app?!

Running through my laundry list of whiny "whys?" I got an answer. Oh God. Why do you even put up with my whiny thoughts, to love me enough to actually give me an answer?

The answer God gave me wasn't a word exactly but a thought. Basically, he reminded me of the moments when he had been closest to me. Moments of complete vulnerability, when I was the most dirty, shameful, sinful, hurt, weary, broken... when I was the farthest from being picture perfect. Let that sink in for a second. He is closest to us when we are the farthest from being picture perfect! The moments when I am too exhausted to shower, put make up on or even do my hair. The moments when my eyes are swollen from the flood gate of tears that have burst open under such a heavy weight and have been spilling out. The moments when I am hiding in the shadows from the exposure of my selfish sinful nature and am too ashamed to face our almighty creator. Those aren't moments I want anywhere near any social media site! Yes, The Lord works through our circumstances for his Glory but we need to understand and realize that these circumstances are usually far away from being pretty. I mean... when I am in my quiet time crying out to the Lord to speak to me and he gives me a verse, the first thing I do is lose it completely (and call my mom), not post it on instagram in a neat little picture. It's usually the farthest from neat!

I am not here to judge how the Lord reveals himself to each person or how each person reveals how the Lord speaks to them. He created us all individually and uniquely. He speaks to us equally as individually and uniquely. I do know that it requires an incredible amount of vulnerability to be moved by the Holy Spirit. It takes even more of this vulnerability to share it with others in His name, for His glory. I don't know, social media just doesn't seem like the ideal place for this. A place so infamous for being a picture perfect front is not really ideal for sharing the dark vulnerable moments where as Christ moved.

All in all, I was just so overwhelmed with freedom from this realization, I had to share. My spiritual walk, my relationship with Christ, my level of Christianity (whatever that may mean... I think I just made it up) is not confined to or ranked by the perfect moments we have. Ah! How I will be reminding myself of this one for a while! 

As beautiful as those picture perfect moments truly are, it's the light that shines through the darkness that is really captivating. How blown away are we by a clear star filled sky?! Small bits of light amongst a blanket of darkness. That is Christ. He is our beautiful bits of light in the darkness.

I realize that I have allowed the evil one a foothold to grasp onto with this insecurity and am taking it captive by surrendering it to the one who is greater. I love seeing what everyone is doing but not to the expense of letting in doubt regarding where I am spiritually.

I may not be alone in this or I may be. Regardless, don't get discouraged by comparisons. The Lord is so much bigger, so much greater than we can fathom. He draws closest to us and fills us completely when we are empty and open. He is our only judge and the only one we should look too for approval.

Praise him for the picture perfect moments he provides and praise him even more for the messy ones he cleans up for us.

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