I Removed Facebook, Instagram, and Safari From My Phone

My connection to the world.  My creative outlets.  My entertainment, interaction, and source of information all gone…

For now at least.

idols

I have a smartphone, like the majority of you do.  I have my favorite apps on there that I use daily. To no surprise, it’s Facebook, Instagram, and the included internet feature of Safari. These are awesome tools for sharing pictures, communicating with friends, doing business, and reading up on the latest news.  I love them, maybe a little too much.  Or maybe it’s my love of photographing my children…and sharing online…that I love too much.  It could be the feedback from friends, family, and followers that I love too much.  What if it’s the feeling of worth and value I get when I see how many “likes” a picture received that I love too much?  Should I continue? I think you get the picture.

These apps are cool things.  They are good things.  Their uses are profitable and CAN BE beneficial.  But where does it go wrong? When does the GOOD get in the way of the BEST?

The good gets in the way of the best when Facebook is the first thing you reach for in the morning before you wipe the sleep out of your eyes.  The good gets in the way of the best when checking your Instagram news feed is the last thing you need to see before dozing off.  The good gets in the way of the best when surfing the internet for mindless poop is an automatic reaction to the silence in a room full of people, and you don’t know how to fill that awkward void.

When life is calm, there is a breathing moment, and time has slowed down for just a millisecond….and your body itches to pull up Facebook because you have nothing to do…that’s when the good gets in the way of the best.

Don’t even get me started on how these apps on my phone have taken away attention from my children, husband, and quiet time.  I don’t need to tell you what a distraction they are from work, chores, and the BEST things in life.  We know that already.  This isn’t a post on what a horrible person you are for looking at your phone while your daughter is twirling in her dress at the park.  That’s already been written.

What I’m talking about is how these apps on my phone have become my idol.  Ouch.  Yep…a direct offense of the First Commandment that the Lord gives:

Exodus 20: 3-6 (The Message)

“3 No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”

My phone became my idol.  I served it first, I served it most, and I served it above the one true God who created me! He loves me so fiercely that he is jealous of my attention, my loyalty, my time, and my love.  Why? Because his love for me is so great and grand, that he gave his son to die a brutal death on a cross just so I can be in God’s presence for all of eternity.  He has a right to be jealous of my worship.  The apps on my iPhone, not so much.

Removing the apps from my phone is temporary.  I’m on a cleanse.  I’m reprogramming my automatic tendencies to stare at my phone most of the day, and instead reaching for scripture, praying, studying my children, hugging them with both hands empty of any distraction, and replacing the good with God’s best.

The Lord will tell me when the time is right to install the apps back to my phone. He will tell me when, and HOW, to use these forms of social media for not only my benefit, but for the benefit of others and his kingdom.  Please don’t think I’m saying Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever form of social media you love are bad or evil.  They’re not.  They can be used for good.  But when the good gets in the way of the best, that’s when we are really on the losing end of the deal.

I will still log onto Facebook from my computer, but I’m not on there NEARLY as long or as often compared to when I browse it on my phone.

What has become your idol?  Maybe you can directly relate to these apps becoming your primary focus over the better things God has for you.  What if it’s work?  Volunteering?  Crafting? Exercising? Money?

I don’t know.  But God does, and he can reveal that to you if you pray and ask him to.  God has so many blessings ready to give you, but he can’t if you are worshipping another god.  That other god (idol) that you worship cannot fulfill your needs the way God can.  Repent from your sin of allowing something else to become an idol over God, and ask for his power to help you change. Only through Christ can you transform your mind and live differently from what the world says is normal, what the world says is good.  I want God’s best.  How about you?

Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message)

“1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. DON’T BECOME SO WELL ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING (emphasis added). Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

An Open Letter To All College Girls

Hey Girl,

College, huh?  How much fun are you having right now in your life??!!  If you aren’t having much fun, then you should be! Because now is the time before you are thrown into the real world and then you’ll really see how much fun college was.  More importantly, I want you to know that your years in college are transition years.  It’s kind of like middle school, without the braces and boys shorter than you.  In middle school, you are way past the days of recess and nap time, but you’re still nowhere near driving a car and being a cool high schooler.  In college, you are way past the days of being under your parents nagging rules, but you are nowhere ready for the responsibilities that adult life has waiting for you.

You have not “made it” yet in college.  You feel so grown and mature.  However, there are so many more life experiences that will teach you more about who you are and what you are really made of waiting for you after graduation.  Slow down, sweet girl.  Why are you in such a rush?  Life is wonderful, but life is hard!  Don’t be in such a hurry to plan the next 30,50,70 years of your life in these 4 short years of college.

You have these amazing dreams, and I tell you…keep dreaming them.  Also know that God has even better and bigger dreams for you.  Greater than you can imagine.  It may or may not involve your degree.  It may or may not involve that boyfriend.  It may or may not involve ANY of your own plans.  If I could tell you one thing to focus on in college more than your classes, socializing, volunteering, or sports…

It would be to focus on knowing God.

When you know who God is, then you will know who you are.

You will learn that you are worth more in His eyes as a daughter of The King than you ever will be as an honor student, ADPi, DZ, PhiMu, cheerleader, basketball player, or editor of the school paper.  Those titles don’t define you.  Your major doesn’t define you.  Your boyfriend will never define you.  None of those things will ever fulfill those voids in your soul because you weren’t made for them.  You were made for God.

One day, you will no longer be whatever it is that you define yourself as now.  The sports will end, the sorority socials will be over, and your role as a student will turn into a graduate.  College is just a transition, it’s not the end all of life.   If you stripped away the titles that you associate yourself to, and had no other introduction other than, “Hi, I’m Paige”…not “Hi, I’m Paige and I cheer”…or “Hi, I’m Paige and I’m a PhiMu”….or “Hi, I’m Paige and I major in Mass Communication”; are you OK with that?  Can you say right now that you would be satisfied with simply being YOU?? Do you know where your worth comes from?  Trust me girlfriend…it’s not in worldly titles, it’s the fact you are HIS and HE is yours.  You are royalty!

That’s all you need.  You don’t have to chase after your dreams when you chase the God of your dreams.  He will bless you in all of your heart’s desires when you seek Him first with all of your heart, soul, and mind.

College

(Here are some iPhone pictures I took of prints from college.  This was me…about 25 pounds heavier.)   

college

(Whoah! Look at that hot stuff right there.  More like a hot mess.  I hated that I had gained so much weight.  I cared about my titles. I found my worth in my titles.  I desired to find a husband instead of desiring to know God more.)

college

(My weight came from unhappiness and voids.  The voids came when I no longer felt like I belonged in a certain place.  I was searching, and instead of being fulfilled in God, I was fulfilled through the comfort of eating junk.)

college

(What the holy heck is happening here? Well, apart from me being stupid…why did I own a Wizard of Oz purse?  And please tell me that sweatshirt was baggier in the front and it was not really my stomach.  This messed with my confidence.  Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re safe from the devil’s lies that you are not good enough.  I am living proof.)

While we are talking about dreaming…stop pinning your wedding on Pinterest and start placing Post-Its in your bible.  Marriage is life long, the wedding is only one day.  If you want a husband, then be the wife he deserves.  That doesn’t mean putting all of your focus and energy into finding a husband in college, it means transforming yourself into a Godly woman that will make a wonderful wife one day. You are so young, sweet pea.  You have an enormous amount of goodness and talents to offer the world.  Your status, success, and worthiness of being loved isn’t determined if you have an engagement ring by graduation.  It’s ok if you aren’t married at 23.  Your maturity and confidence will sky rocket every year in your 20′s. Don’t think you’re a failure if you are single at 26.  The man of your dreams is worth waiting for.  I like myself so much more at 31 than I ever did at 21.  I’m a way better wife at 31 than I was at 22 when I got married.  Yes, I married right out of college.  Do I regret it? No.  Can I write to you from experience being on the other side.  Yes.

If you are engaged or about to be, congratulations!  If you aren’t, congratulations! Every season of life is a celebration.  Stop wishing your way through it to the next phase.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  It’s greener where you water it.  Have fun! Be adventurous! Enjoy life! You only have 4 years.  Maybe 5.  Ok, 6!

Romans 12:1-2

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (The Message)

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)