“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus– the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” -Acts 20:24 It … Continue reading
“Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, retweets or follower counts. But rather in the number of lives you’ve touched in the amount of breaths you’ve taken.”
Towards the end of February, I went through a soul-seeking stage where I examined myself and evaluated every relationship, habit, motive and hobby. My schedule was completely packed with meetings, events, classes and other things. My prayer to God is to always allow me to have a heart of flesh where I can feel His conviction. During this season, I was specifically asking Him to show me any shortcomings and areas of improvement. And boy, did He show me.
I remember one particular morning, I woke up (at 7:45 like every other morning) and did something I said I would never do. When my alarm went off, I sat up and scrolled down my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages, and responded to some emails. Realizing that I had been engulfed in the lives of others longer than I was supposed to, I said a quick “Good Morning, God,” and scurried out of bed. Running around my apartment trying to get ready for class, I managed to squeeze in my morning devotional while standing in front of the microwave for my Jimmy Dean biscuit to heat up. Did I take the time to pray over my day and the people I would come in contact with? No. Did I meditate on my devotional? No. I merely ran my eyes across it just so I could scratch it off my morning to-do list. And just like He always does, God made that day an extremely hard one just to get my attention. Towards the end of that day, I sat on the floor completely drained. I asked God why I felt so burnt out yet had gotten nothing accomplished. I asked, “Daddy, why do I feel like I’m missing something?” Thinking nothing of it, I looked at one of my many to-do lists and God revealed to me my problem. Nowhere on my schedule was spending time with Him and resting at His feet.
Once again, I had my priorities all messed up. How did I allow spending time with God to be at the bottom of my list, and on certain days, not even make it on the list? There was the answer to my question. The reason I felt so burnt out was because I wasn’t spending enough time in the Word. After that realization, I cut off my phone, shut down my computer (two things I very rarely do) and went on my face to thank God for revealing to me my shortcomings. As that week continued on, God continued to show me a few things about myself.
First, He addressed the social media obsession I had. While observing my atmosphere at lunch with some friends, I noticed that too many of our conversations started with, “So I saw this post on Instagram.” Very rarely did we say anything about what we learned from our quiet studies that morning. God made this revelation personal to me because He addressed my own habits. Sad thing was, although I was always on Twitter and Instagram, I very rarely posted anything. The entire time I was scrolling, I was very quietly comparing what I saw to every part of my life. To be completely transparent, when I saw people traveling all over the world, or out with their significant others and friends, I would think to myself “I wish my life was like that.” Each time that would come out of my mouth, God would ask me “Are you not content with the portion I have freely given you?” … that was deep. After seeing what social media was doing to me and how it made me covet my neighbor and become ungrateful for seasons God allowed me, I knew I had no other choice. I had to delete everything that took my focus from where it should be.
You see, there comes a time in your Christian walk where God requires certain things from you. Some seasons He may require you to boldly profess His love to lost souls, some seasons He may quiet your spirit and tell you to listen more than you speak– and then there are those seasons where He requests for you to let go of things just to see where your heart is. He wants you to see if you really do honor and trust Him as much as you claim you do. We can say over and over until we are blue in the face “God, I’m all in. I’m living my life for You. Nothing else means more to me than You!” But when He starts to expose your heart, it may be a totally different story. It takes you giving up a few things you really enjoy to see whether or not your heart lines up with your words. Even in the Bible, Jesus tells his disciples to leave their homes and their families and follow Him. He may not require you to leave your family but He will tell you to let go of things– all you really need is HIM!!!
If God sacrificed His ONLY Son for you, what are you willing to sacrifice for Him in return?
After God took me through breaking the habit of obsessive social media checking, He began to totally remove the desire from me. Ironically, social media has become a major part of the industry I want to pursue. When I’m using social media for a job, my goal is to persuade the public to like the business I am representing. I’m displaying all the positive aspects of the company and hiding any mistakes they have made. Never will I exploit or show the shortcomings or defeats because that would leave a false impression on the public. This is the same thing people do with their personal “branding” on social media. You very rarely see someone glorifying their sorrow, depression and loneliness and being completely transparent and vulnerable on social media. If they do, it’s usually with a black and white filter and a “better days are coming” kind of quote to the picture.
So let’s take it a step further. Social media has done a great job with glorifying perfection or at least your followers false perception of your perfection. To be completely honest, I gave up on trying to be perfect a long time ago. It takes too much effort that I’m no longer willing to put forth. And then the amount of time it takes to perfect that perfection with senseless quotes and concealing filters is all to please.. man? Truth is, if we spent half the amount of time we use trying to please people trying to please God, the world would be a whole lot different. If God followed you on Twitter or Instagram, how many of the things you post would he actually “like” and take pleasure in? And I don’t mean unconsciously double-tapping as many of us do. I mean how many would He genuinely receive joy from? Because God sees past the daily morning scriptures we share on Instagram (as if everyone doesn’t have that Bible app on their phones- smh). It’s almost as if it has become something cool to do. He sees the heart and the motive behind it. If you do it just to receive likes, it means nothing to him.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6: 1-6
On that great day when you stand before God and He asks you why you deserve entrance into His Heavenly Kingdom, you can’t show him your Instagram and Twitter highlights and say, “God, I posted scriptures on Instagram every week! Look how many likes I got on them. I quoted your Word like you asked. How can I not gain entrance?”
“Many will say to me on that day. Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and drive out demons and perform many miracles?” –Matthew 7:22
For He will surely deny you and say He does not know you. You spoke my Word solely to impress men but you did not live or apply one part of it to your own life. The words in that book are for life application!
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
–Matthew 7: 24-27
Your relationship with me died way before it was cool to senselessly blast my Word online. Away from me. I never knew you.
“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ -Matthew 7:23
In actuality, how much of that kingdom living and word giving are you doing beyond the 140 characters? Discern your motives before posting God’s Word. #motivescheck
If you know your motives behind posting God’s Word are pure, by all means, GO FOR IT!! God instructs us to spread His Word in this wretched world we are in. But don’t use it as a way to increase your popularity and Instagram likes. God’s Word is the secret place He created for us with the Holy Spirit. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those sacred, intimate moments with God where he whispers things to just your heart. Those moments are beautiful. Don’t take advantage of them by feeling the need to exploit them online.
Social media, and all that comes along with it, has truly done something crazy in this already crazy world. It has the power to self-destruct, self-empower and enhance brand image all in one. Everyone does not struggle with placing too much importance on image and perfection. Some can control how often they use it. But for those who can’t, be careful how you allow the enemy persuade to use it. Don’t allow it to take up too much of your time where you are no longer giving attention to the things that are most important– like God! He is jealous for us and He wants to spend time repairing, renewing, and refreshing us. Give Him the time He deserves. Ask God today what it is He requires of you to give up.
I pray that while reading this you have heard God tell you something about your own walk.
I pray that His grace continues to you keep you while His love continues to convict you. Jesus loves you like crazy!!
btw, Heather Lindsey came out with a new book- Dusty Crowns. It is amazing!!
Also, listen to her sermon “The Runaway Bride”
Do you remember what you thought about adult life when you were younger? I remember when I was younger I thought that by the time I turned 21, my life would be a lot different than how it is now.
I thought there was going to be this imaginary bridge to walk across a few weeks before my 21st that would take me to grown up land and I’d be prepared to perform all the duties that come along with adulthood.
I’d know how car insurance works, how to get a mortgage, how to do my own taxes, how to pay off debt and especially how to cook white rice. I’d have a real job, I’d be tall enough to at least look like an adult and, is it just me, or is my bank account the only one that screams everything but, “I’m ready to be financially independent!?”
I thought that life’s mysteries would suddenly reveal themselves to me. I always thought there was a class or a training session or at least a pamphlet that would teach me all of these things and at the end, I’d be ready to conquer the world… as an adult.
Turns out, I thought wrong. There’s no such thing. Not even in a fortune cookie or a session at a technical college. There are only lessons, mistakes, failures, obstacles, curiosity and challenges.
I laughed when I realized that 10 years ago today, I turned 11. Twenty years ago today, I turned 1. So after being alive for 660 million seconds these are the 21 things I’ve come to know as facts in my short, short life. In no way do I believe I have it all figured out, but these are just a few (or 21) things I’ve learned in these 21 years.
1. Seasons come and seasons go. Life is full of swift transitions. Accept them, value them and appreciate them while you have them. Ask God what it is you need to learn from the season of your life you are currently in to prepare you for the next one. Everyone in your life can’t go where God is taking you. That’s one thing I’ve really learned throughout my life. Accept the fact that people change and friends leave. No matter how much hurt it will cause you, you have to learn to let go. Everyone who walks into your life knows something that you don’t. So take the time to learn at least one thing from the people you meet. Even the people who really challenge you have something you need to learn from them. It’s not always easy to find the God in people. People move me more than anything else. When new people step into my life I think to myself, “Okay God, what role is this person going to play in my life? How are they going to teach me something about you and your love?”
2. Never say never. Try anything (as long as it’s sensible) at least once. Barney said it best. You never know what amazing experience or opportunity lies behind your ability to be optimistic.
3. Use your ears more than you use your mouth. Sometimes, people just need someone to listen, not necessarily someone to give advice. I grew up with getting “talks too much” on my report card, and yeah that talking game is basically my major. But sometimes, silence is beautiful. Especially with my friends and in relationships, I’ve had to learn that everyone doesn’t always need to hear that “I told you so” from me.
People don’t always need an intelligent mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens.
4. Never grow up. Get rid of anyone who says Disney is just for children, you don’t need that type of negativity in your life. I promised myself I would never take myself too serious as I grew up. I never wanted to be in a place where I didn’t know how to enjoy life. I still enjoy watching princess movies and being free-spirited. That way, no matter how old I am, I’ll always be young at heart.
5. ABC-always be cute. When your nails are done, it makes you feel like you really have your life together. Don’t ever get caught in the “I’m not lookable stage.” Anytime you step foot out your door, you should be prepared to run into your future husband or your worst enemy. You also feel better when you know you look good. In no way does this mean this is all you should have going for you. Brains and beauty should be a packaged deal- a combo so-to-say.
6. People are people too. You never know what battles God has asked other people to fight so remember that when dealing with them. We all have something that we are going through. Try to be the sunshine in someone else’s life. Try to make their burdens a little lighter. Whether that’s offering an ear to listen, a heart to care or a hand to hold, try forgetting about yourself. (It’s never really about you)
7. Do what you love. No matter if it’s cool or not do things that make you happy. By the world’s standard, I’m pretty lame- but that’s just fine with me. Just like the Yellow Tang on Finding Nemo, I love bubbles! You can’t help but be happy when there’s 3-D soap floating in the air.
8. No one owes you anything. Anything worth having in life is also worth fighting and working for. Don’t you ever think that just because you were born you are obligated to something. So always be and do the best you can and you’ll be just fine.
9. Reading is magical. Call me a nerd if you will, it doesn’t bother me at all. There’s so much mystery in a book that’s waiting to be discovered.
10. Alone does not mean lonely. I know I’m always talking about being alone and I promise I have friends! But I think this is so important and it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn in these 21 years. To me, there’s nothing better than coming home from a long day of classes, work and meetings than just sitting in my room in the quiet. There is beauty in facing your personal thoughts. There’s strength in having to deal with you. So take the time to listen to yourself without any noise or distractions.
11. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Every thought that comes to your head should not be allowed out of your mouth. Sometimes I’ll start to say something and I just have to think “Brittaney, shut up.” Everything you say should be of value.. if it’s not of worth, it’s not worth it.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
12. Stop comparing yourself to others. Never compare yourself to anyone else or the journey they’re taking. God made you exactly who you are for a special reason and He has you exactly where you need to be to develop into the person He has called you to be. Since before you were even thought about He knew everything about you and thought it was beautiful. The story He has written for you, is yours and no one else’s. So don’t look at someone else and compare their ending to your beginning.
13. Live life with no regrets. Never regret a decision you have made. For at one point, it was exactly what you wanted. Take it as a lesson learned.
14. Worry less, pray more. Spend less time talking to people and more time talking to God. This is pretty self-explanatory. Most of the time, the things that I worry about have a one in a million chance of actually happening. I constantly have to put my thoughts under subjection by ridding myself of the negativity and simply pray. Prayer changes things.
15. Some people were absent the day the teacher introduced the concept of homophones. There. They’re. Their. Waste. Waist. Weight. Wait. Weigh. Way. Accept. Except. Buy. By. Know. No. Weather. Whether. Than. Then. Your. You’re. Too. Two. To. Loss. Lost. But. Butt. Effect. Affect. Well. Good. Just to name a few. The last TWO aren’t homophones BUT they stress me out TOO. Take this quiz and see if you know the difference.
P.S. Conversate is NOT a word.
16. Your mom is more than likely always right. As much as I hate to admit it, there have been so many instances where my mom has told me something, but I had to discover it myself. It amazes me how often she is right, even in things that happen in my personal life. Save yourself some time, and just believe whatever she says. Whoever said “mama knows best” was probably a mother, because they were right. I thank God everyday for sending me such a beautiful angel to guide me through this journey of life.
17. Forgive and forget. Everyone makes mistakes. So if someone hurts you, forgive them and move on. Just roll with the punches and keep living. But never, ever hold it in your heart. That’s not healthy living.
18. Big birthday parties don’t prove anything. And honestly, they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be except lots of money and time. After years of over-the-top Disney birthdays, princess tea parties, puppet shows and limo rides, I’ve learned to just value simpler, smaller and quieter birthdays. I’ll take a quiet and intimate birthday dinner over anything else. It’s better to celebrate with those that actually matter.
My entire life I imagined my 21st birthday to be me in a sparkly dress drinking and living it up with friends at some club. But thank God for Jesus. I only wanted to celebrate this milestone with a few. Only those people who bring positive energy and light in my life deserve to share this moment with me. I actually think it’s funny that God has me turning 21 on a Sunday. It proves that He knows his children so much better than they THINK they know themselves.
19. TAKE. ME. HOME!!! I promise you, anyone who is really close to me has heard me say this phrase on occasion. Most of the time, I can handle situations when they don’t go my way or if I’m just having a bad day. But sometimes, no matter how grown up I may feel or act, I just want to go home to get a hug from my mommy.
20. Listen to tasteful music. Having a favorite artist that sings inspirational and uplifting music makes life a whole lot better. Don’t waste time depositing negativity in your life because what you listen to, you become. My favorite song is “There’s Hope” by India.Arie. Click here to listen to it!
21. Love God. Love Others. Love Yourself- and in that order. Matthew 12:22-34 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater command than these.” Learn to constantly live in love. This is not something that can be done overnight. It takes time to show others your love. The type of love to strive for is the love God shows to us each day. Although it’s impossible for man to exhibit the type of love God shows us, you can use it as a model on how to deal with and love others.
But these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
What have you learned in your years? Comment below and share.