Happy weekend, Ya'll! I'm working through Lysa TerKeurst's book Uninvited and Ladies, if you haven't grabbed your copy yet, PLEASE CHANGE THAT! I'm basically highlighting the heck out of every paragraph because so much of what she says applies to my life, (did she write this book for me?! Because I feel like she did....??)
This line especially has pulled tightly at my heart strings:
"What is holding my attention the MOST is what I'm truly worshipping."
Lately I have been feeling a lot of conviction from that quote. So much, that I brainstormed with my husband through some of my thoughts, and I thought it would be helpful to share with you. If you know me personally, you know that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and am very passionate about the dude I call my Savior. But I think that even if you don't consider yourself a Christian, this is still a good self-check to see what you are focusing on, and to see if you need to set some time aside to take a break from what may be distractions.
Are you a mom? A wife? Maybe you're single and you live alone or with a house full of roommates. Regardless of your answer, how do you start your day? For me, my trusty iPhone is my alarm clock, as I'm sure is true for most of you. My phone is actually MOST things that I need: a calendar, a scrapbook, a notepad and journal--it's where I can read my devotionals [though I often forget] and even my Bible. But the first thing I find myself doing when I tap snooze on the screen, is to open Instagram and then Facebook, and mindlessly scroll through social media. NOT because those things are super uplifting or encouraging, not because I'm overly concerned with how many 'likes' a post received the night prior, but because I'm not thinking. OR sometimes it's because I AM thinking, but I'm thinking about the wrong things. Did so and so leave me a comment, or did so and so respond to my message?
"We have to remember that where we pay attention matters more than we know. Our minds and hearts are like dry sponges. What we focus on is what we will soak in and saturate us."
What do you do before bed? What's the LAST thing you look at on and focus on? Your phone or device? Because for me, once again, late at night, the kids are asleep, my husband's fallen asleep (because let's face it, as soon as his head hits the pillow he's blessed to be snoring), and as tired as my mind or heart may be, I can't quickly fall asleep. Every. single. night--I search houses for sale (there are NONE), I peruse Instagram, and I check Facebook.
Is that WRONG of me? No, not really. I'm not really comparing myself to others via the Internet (though I do sometimes!), I'm not overly worried about the things that exist there; but I know that the fact is, those things do NOT need as much attention from me as they get. As a Christian, I DO long to have a God-centered and focused mind. And I KNOW that what I think about first thing in the morning and the last things I focus on before I fall asleep, those thoughts should be more aimed towards Him. But what can I do? I'm not a drastic 'go cold-turkey' kind of gal. (Basically why I have zero interest in ever doing Whole-30 or any other drastic food plan for my life... oops). But what changes can I make to help me create a more positive mindset? That's what I wanted to talk to you about, because accountability is key and if you're anything like me, you're a busy woman who has a million things on her mind and plate at ALL times. And there's a good chance that social media ALSO has a prevalent place in your day-to-day as well.
'If I want God to be my focus, I must give Him my first thoughts. And if I want my mind to be at peace when I sleep, I must keep my thoughts fixed on His promises at night..."
Something my husband and I talked about was our morning routine. Our kids are super young and 98% of the time we are being woken by one of them. But even if this happens and I want to roll over and close my eyes for 2.5 more minutes, do I need to check Instagram or Facebook? Do I need to open my e-mails and see if anyone reached out or responded to me? Newest conviction: I want to be eighty years old and look back on my life and remember how EVERY morning, my husband and I prayed together. If that can happen before our feet hit the floor, great. And if it can't, I can take that time myself to ask God for some strength, thank Him for allowing me to wake, and for protecting us through the night.
So, step one: Pray as soon as I wake.
I always go downstairs and make our coffee before even looking in the mirror. Most days I'm super rushed and I don't give myself enough time to sit and have any moments of real 'quiet.' But even between the coffee run, brushing my teeth, and applying my makeup I've realized I still have TIME. Do any of you have the She Reads Truth app on your phones? I do and I have for YEARS. So why don't I ever OPEN it? I'm not encouraging that our quiet times or devotionals be rushed, but I'm super convicted that in the 5-10 minutes of slowness in my mornings, I haven't had ANY time with the Lord. Can I read the app during planning or even when I get to work in the morning? Sure. But it's the things that have taken FIRST priority that I just want to CHANGE. Why not check social media or e-mails AFTER I've read a lesson or scripture and had a few minutes of prayer?
Step two, read a devotion and/or intentionally dive into the Word.
Something I have struggled with probably most of my life is that I'm very often a glass half empty type of gal. ONE thing can go wrong and my entire mindset is flipped upside down. I have a tendency to feel trapped by my own agenda; the busy weekends filled with photo shoots, the laundry that needs to get done, the kitty litter that needs to be vacuumed for the 100th timebecause our kitten is CRAZY. So I know that I personally need to work on speaking positively to myself, and I'm wondering if you could benefit from this too?
Step three, speak at least three encouraging truths to myself as a mantra for my day.
Some examples of this could be:
-I will be patient this afternoon with my students (and children) (and husband!) (and SELF!)
-I will be forgiving.
-I will have grace for myself and others when there are moments of error.
And at the end of the day, when everything has come full circle all over again, reflecting on these goals can be incredibly beneficial. Where did I succeed and what are some praises that I have about my day? How did I mess up and where do I need to ask for forgiveness and grace? What can I look forward to tomorrow?
And instead of finishing the day by opening my social media apps, why not practice these instead?
So, step four, set the alarm clock, turn my phone OVER or put it out of reach, and count my blessings.
That sounds SO simple, doesn't it? But I'm a busy working mother, one who tends to overbook, over commit, and who is still learning how to truly prioritize. CLEARLY, I need help prioritizing my spiritual life! But instead of begrudging my tired days; the times I was woken by my small children, the times that they are sick, the laundry that never ends, the floors that need to be cleaned... I want to be excited that the Lord has chosen ME for this life.
You guys, I'm not saying social media platforms are bad. But you know as well as I do that sometimes they ARE. Sometimes they take away from how carefully we are paying attention to our children (or husbands). Sometimes we respond to our kids like, "Yes, Dear," and "Uh-huh" without even looking up to see WHAT they just begged us to look at. And there are many mornings and many nights that I'm realizing I need to just focus on something else--Someone else. We aren't promised tomorrow, so how can we help our minds, bodies and souls be more pure?