UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Hey there friends, it sure has been awhile since I wrote a blog post. Thank you for still supporting me through this un-predicting season of COVID. I appreciate you more than you know. I wanted to touch base with you all and see how you are holding up during these different times we are in. Loneliness, isolation and restrictions from having to be quarantined, or not being able to do our leisurely activities in the ways we are used to, can do a number on our mental health. Before we know it, depression and/or anxiety can easily creep in. Then, we can find ourselves walking around irritable, frustrated, and unsure of what our futures look like.
These times have brought out some of my worst attributes. Mommy Monster has showed up far too much with my children. My spouse and I feel like we are going crazy being cooped up, not even feeling comfortable to go to the gym for an escape or go on a date night. There are no other words to describe this time, but HARD. These are honest feelings of a Christian woman who is supposed to lean on God for joy, strength, contentment, and peace more now than ever. Instead, here I am, writing to you with these unpleasant feelings. I just want to be honest and real, rather than pretending like everything has been perfectly fine because my trust is in our heavenly Father. It is so much more complicated than that. If you too, can relate, I am praying for you my friend! Sincerely. I mean that.
Over the past few months, even before COVID really took a toll on our country, I have been trying to really discover who I am in Christ, what that truly means, and what that looks like with my lifestyle. During this time, I started to put my blog on IG to get more exposure, but also to connect with other authors and resources. I enjoy networking and making connections. From being on IG, I naturally gravitated towards following women who were trendy, stylish, and offered helpful tips because these are things I am into as well. I enjoy looking nice and being trendy. There is nothing wrong with this, however I began to wonder if I was letting this influence my identity in a negative way.
As time went by, COVID became more serious and our country shut down. I was so confused on what was happening and turned to reading my bible app a lot more which was good, but at the same time turned to scrolling on my social media accounts far too much out of boredom. I became obsessed with scrolling and looking at the accounts of those fashion bloggers, clothes, the liketoknowit app, you name it, and I was following it. I started to want what they had or at least similar things. I convinced myself that it was okay to get things here and there because I needed new clothes. Mine were outdated (which they actually were, in my opinion). However, it was still no excuse to exert so much of my time and energy into shopping, while putting my appearance before my true identity in Christ.
As I started realizing that I had become addicted to following influencers and that my sinful nature of idolizing clothes and appearance was becoming a problem, I prayed to God over what next steps I should take. During this time, my pastor was mentoring me as well. He helped me identify the deeper reasons behind my problem. I discovered that I struggle with feeling like I don't belong and feeling unaccepted by others through different life experiences. Compile that on with feelings of loneliness, and there we have it friends, I pre-occupied my time with shopping to avoid slipping into a depression.
Not long after this, I felt led to sign up for "The Armor of God" Bible Study through a local church, and oh my goodness! The way God led me to take this study and how He moved me through the content of this study could not have come at a more perfect time. His timing is always perfect and that's the goodness of God my friends. My gratitude for His goodness brought me to tears almost every time I left my bible study session. It was that powerful!
This study not only helps you fight your urges against Satan's schemes, but it also re-iterates exactly who you are in Christ with scripture to back it up. I seriously highly recommend this study, no matter where you are on your walk with Christ.
Next, I began to identify where I am tempted the most. I started noticing a trend of exactly how Satan weasels his way into my life and my relationships; making me feel down, discontent, and unfulfilled. I can see the "why" behind what he's trying to do. I am more aware of the thought processes that take place to trigger me to buy, shop, or scroll. I began to see how it was taking a toll on my life around me, including my relationships.
I obviously noticed that a lot of the problem stemmed from social media, so I decided I needed a break. A fasting from social media and what my flesh desired was way overdue. I deleted all the apps off my phone and have not been on social media for 2 weeks now. I have still found ways to get on store apps to shop, but I've been able to catch what I am doing and turn to God before making a purchase. I remind myself of who I am in Christ and there is a purpose for me here that far outweighs the gratification I get out of looking good. I am reminded of who I am which goes so much deeper than what is on the surface.
Here are just a few reminders to myself and all of you, who we are in Christ from "The Armor of God" study found in the back of the book on page 178 and 179.
- "I am temple in which God dwells" (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- "I am Christ's friend" (John 15:15)
- "I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession and created to sing his praises." (1 Pet. 2:9-10)
- "I cannot be separated from the love of God." (Rom. 8:35)
- "I have been made complete in Christ." (Col. 2:10)
- "My needs are met by God" (Phil. 4:19)
- "I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected." (Phil. 1:6)
- "I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me." (1 John 5:18)
- "I have been adopted as God's child." (Eph. 2:18)
These examples are just to name a few, there are many many more on who we are in Christ. Even through my sin, which may be different than your temptations and sins, we are loved unconditionally. We have been rescued from Satan's domain and transferred to the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13). With all this said, I have been wanting to write a book for a long time and feel like now is my time to start. During my struggle, I tried to find a Christian book to help me break free from influence, but I did not find something I could relate to. So, through prayer and direction from God, I am going to turn my journey of breaking free from the influence of others into my first book.
The introduction of my book is done and I will be starting on each chapter one day at a time. I feel led to do this as we live in a culture where being surrounded by thousands of influencers and trends is unavoidable. Unfortunately, this can easily and unintentionally lead us astray from the one whom should be our biggest influencer, Jesus Christ. Please pray for me as I continue to journey through self-acceptance and discovering that I truly am who Christ says I am. I can sit and read all of the statements above on my identity in Christ, but it is different to truly believe it and to live my life by it. Wish me luck friends! Thank you for your support in advance.
By the way, if you need prayer during these different and difficult times, please email me with any prayer requests. I would be happy to pray for you.