Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Being Inspired // A Devotional

Sometime last weekend I found a new blogger and got completely sucked in to her site, her insta feed and her - wait for it - YouTube channel. (Now I need to have a YouTube Channel because she makes it look oh so much fun!!!)

I know, I know, it's a dangerous world we live in... getting sucked into the internet for hours on end.

Y'all, I was instantly inspired... have you ever felt that way? She is super cute + likeable and funny... so dang funny. I loved it all. In case you want to check her out - and you should - her blog (okay, it's actually a website because she's big time) mixes fashion, DIY stuff, recipes and all of kinds of fun... and you know I like a blog website that can mix it up like that, right?

I was clicking on all the things (you would have been too). Soaking in all the pictures and reading all of her words. I was watching the videos and laughing and saying "yes!" all while feeling what every writer wants the reader to feel... the feeling of me too.

But then, somehow over the course of my internet frenzy, it started to happen.

My enthusiasm for her chic site and fun-loving attitude began to dwindle. My smile started to fade into a down-right ugly sort of frown. My thoughts began to turn from "this chick and I could be friends" to  "why can't I do that?" And not in an "I should do that" kind of way, y'all. In the other, more self-deprecating, I could never do that kind of way.

Instead of putting my laptop down and feeling inspired by her creativity and thinking, "Rachel Hollis - you do you so well! Good for you!" I was thinking, I want to be Rachel Hollis. I want to have a site just like hers. I want to write like her. I want to do life just like her.

And it made me feel all kinds of crappy inside. (That's right, I just wrote crap on the blog. Deal with it.)

I needed to close my laptop. Like, right that second.

And as I did, I sat there and I wondered if I am the only one who struggles with this. My bet is that I'm not. This world of pinterest-worthy everything and professional quality instagram feeds and every-day blog posts leaves little left to be unique.

The intention behind pinterest was to give us ideas, not make us feel sucky about ourselves. I mean, who would have ever created something with that purpose, right? And when it first began, I remember, it totally did give me ideas. There were pinterest happy hours and pinterest parties and all  that. But now... NOW... it's overloaded with beauty. Which, for some of us, (ahem, me) can turn our hearts from inspired to jealous real quick.

It's like that in most things in our life, though, isn't it? We were created with great intention by God, but we are the ones who mess it all up on the daily. We are the ones that choose to sin, the One Who created us is surely not the one making that choice for us. Just like it's not pinterest, or bloggers or facebook that are evil... it's our hearts and eyes and minds that are.

And that got me to thinking... when did being happy for women doing something well, turn into their doing something well meant that I suck as a human being? I mean, I'm just being real, y'all... and I know there are some of you reading this right now nodding your head! I mean, this is real life. It's a thing. And, unfortunately, it's my thing!

I genuinely love it when my friends succeed... I genuinely love it when I see women of all kinds doing their own thing and rocking it. I really sincerely do (does it sound like I'm trying to convince myself yet?). But there's something in me that clicks into a different gear immediately after those initial celebratory thoughts. What is that? Can't I just unplug that somehow?

The Truth is that my attitude about other people's success is, in fact, my choice. God isn't the one telling me that I'm missing the mark here. It's all that dumb guy named Satan, who started this whole battle in the garden of Eden. Scripture tells us that he roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He comes to steal, kill and to destroy, y'all!!! That doesn't mean I'm going to die tomorrow (although I might) but that he is trying to destroy me right here as I walk this earth. He is trying to steal my joy and kill my self-confidence. And it's not just me! He's doing that to you right now too!!!

If we think that we are immune to this kind of attack, we are unfortunately right where Satan wants us. God is so gracious and has given us the power to keep Satan at bay, but we so often don't even choose to pick up our weapons! We choose to run or sleep or - dare I say it - peruse the internet instead! I hate Satan (my kids would be all "ooooooh!!! mommy, you said hate" right there) and a dear friend has been telling me over and over that I'm just handing him the battle when I let my mind sit in these stinkin' thoughts!

Get behind me Satan!!

I want to celebrate others, I want to enjoy other people's creativity, I want to genuinely feel inspired by beautiful pictures and cozy homes. I want to read blogs and be challenged to write better, not feel like my writing is less-than. I want to enjoy new recipes but not feel like I need to be the one creating them. I want to organize my home (okay, my whole life, y'all) but not get so wrapped up in what it doesn't look like that I can't enjoy what it does. 

Don't you see? These are all good things. But how does that saying go, "too much of a good thing..." oh, actually I just looked it up and it says "you can never have too much of a good thing" and that doesn't go with what I'm writing about so let's scratch that.

Here's my point. Inspiration is good. Creativity is good. God is a creative God and I truly believe He gives us so much beauty in our lives to be inspired to praise and thank Him. There is something exhilarating about watching someone else do their thing well, isn't there. It's all good. It's when my eyes leave His gaze and begin to dwell on the inspiration instead of the One who inspires that I get into trouble.

So today as you find yourself scrolling through your instagram feed, think about the images you are looking at. Are they life giving or joy stealing? Is it the feed or is it your attitude? If it's your attitude, turn it off and do something else. RIGHT NOW. Like, get up out of your chair and go outside or fix yourself a bagel or something. Do NOT let your eyes (and heart) dwell on something that you KNOW is stealing your joy. (This is my biggest hurdle).

If it's the feed... can I tell you something? Come in here real close + let me whisper something in your ear, y'all. You can unfollow that feed. 


That's right.

You can do it, friend. If that feed, or blog, is not life-giving to you.... just delete it! Out of sight, out of mind... and even better... out of your heart! Do it! I promise it will free you! Pinky promise! We can begin to unclog our minds with junk that steals, kills and destroys and instead fill it with things, people, pictures and words that give us incredible JOY, y'all! Things that all point us back to the Creator! Let's do it together!

Be inspired today, y'all! And fight that enemy when he begins to tell you that you're less than! We have the power!

Father, thank You for giving us so much beauty and so many sources of inspiration here on this earth. Thank you for the original source of inspiration, Your creation, that inspires everyone and points them back to You. Lord, help me to shield my eyes from anything that steals my joy and takes my focus off of You, God. Even good things can end up stealing my joy if I allow them to. Help me to choose Your best today in every choice I make. Give me the power of the Holy Spirit today so that I might fight Satan when he comes at me in the sneakiest of places. Give me Your abundant joy and peace that comes only from tuning into You. I love you, God, let my heart rest in You today.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people." Philemon 1:7 ***This is how everything we look at should make us feel***

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