Aug 04, 2020

Devotional - Olivia Helm

When Life Gets in the Way

Sitting down this morning at my laptop, I’m trying to focus on what to write. What am I supposed to talk about? It’s taken me a while to even come up with what to type. I’ve been busy with other things, and I didn’t feel like I had time to sit for a few minutes. I kept holding off until now. Life has been crazy.  Then it hit me. Life has got in the way. The things that I was thinking were important all of a sudden seemed so small. This is the next thing I needed to work on today. But my head is filled with so many thoughts from my to-do list. I need to stop. Live in the moment. And breathe. Life has gotten in my way.

Perhaps you’ve been in a similar situation like me, or, maybe you are currently experiencing something along these lines right now. Where your life seems to take priority over everything else. The things you “need” to do override your time with your family, friends, and most importantly, our Father. I hope that by the end of this post, you will find some peace and helpful tips in how to make sure life isn’t getting in your way. 

What exactly do I mean by “life getting in your way?” It’s your life! How can your own life get in front of your way? Is that even possible? It is, actually. Oftentimes, our life gets in the way of our connection with God. We get so overwhelmed and wrapped up by what society throws our way, by what we see on the news, on social media, and whatever is trending, that we forget why we are really here. The life we were supposed to live suddenly takes a seat on the backshelf of our cupboard. 

When we wake up in the morning, we are already giving in to the worldly life, forgetting about the one who woke us up, raised the sun, and gave us the blessing of bacon and coffee. How do we do this? Let me ask you this- What’s the first thing you look at/do in the morning? If I had to take my guess, I’d say the majority of us look at our phone. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, phones are a great use... they connect us to others, give us the answers to our thousands of questions, and so much more. But phones are part of the reason we don’t connect with God as much. I remember a time in my life, and I am still guilty of it sometimes, when as soon as I wake up I start scrolling on social media. I planned on opening my Bible and reading my devotion, but instead, here I am spending an hour falling into lower levels of self esteem and putting myself in a jealous, bitter mood towards the rest of the world. Not only is this time spent on social media stealing my joy and peace, it’s stealing my time with the Lord. 

I’ve noticed that my phone, and almost everything on it, has gotten in my way of the Lord. I can’t have my time with God or take away as much from it if I am too occupied with how everyone’s life appears to be. Notice my emphasis on the word appears. Let’s be honest, how many of us spend hours taking our time to make sure our pictures are post-worthy, look perfect, and are constantly checking and refreshing our feed to see how many likes and comments we have received about our life. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s almost like an approval tactic for me and my self confidence. But instead of boosting my feeling of worth, I feel more let down, disappointed with myself, and irritable. Here’s why: You will never be satisfied with approval from the world. Only approval from God will satisfy you, and he’s already approved of you! Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” Yes, my friend, God has already chosen us! So, if God has already chosen us, we need to be choosing him too. When we place our phone, social media, emails, or anything else over our time with God, we are replacing God with temporary pleasures. What is it called to place something above/over God? Idolatry. Exodus 20: 4 states “Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in any shape of anything in the Heavens above or on the Earth below or in the waters under the Earth.” 

Here’s my challenge for you: choose at least one of the things listed below to do, and stick to it for the next 30 days. Tally yourself or mark on a calendar to make sure you have done it every day. At the end of the 30 days, check yourself on how you feel you are, compared to before you started this.

Challenge 1: Fast from Social Media

For the next 30 days, stay completely off your social media. Deactivate your accounts and stay off of any social platforms. Instagram, facebook, snapchat, tik tok, ALL of it. In the time that you would normally spend scrolling on those platforms, open your Bible instead. Memorize a selected chapter. I suggest Ephesians 2. If you memorize one verse a day, you can have the entire chapter memorized before your 30 days are up! Be sure to take joy in this fasting, and praise God for it. The more joy you take into this fasting, the more joy you’ll take out of it.

“Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your father who is in secret. And your father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:16-18

Challenge 2: Worship first, phone later

For the next 30 days, when you wake up, don’t even touch your phone in the morning. Keep it turned off if you have to. Instead, open your Bible and read. Choose a book of the Bible and read one or two chapters a day. I suggest you also read Psalm 30 every morning as well. Praise God for waking you up and giving you another day to connect with him.

“But I will see your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with your presence.” -Psalm 17:15

Challenge 3: Encouragement and joy over discouragement and judgement

For the next 30 days, if you do choose to stay on social media, do encouragement and joy. Post Bible verses on your feed and stories, comment positive and uplifting messages, pray for those posting, and bless them. Set a time for 15 minutes. Once your 15 minutes are completed, open your Bible for the next 15 minutes and read. (We spend hours a day on social media. You can spend 15 minutes of that time reading instead of scrolling). I also encourage you to memorize 1 Peter 5:7. When you get upset or jealous on those media platforms, start praying to God about it. Pray GOOD for those people, and that your judgement and negativity and jealousy will subside and be replaced with joy, positivity, and encouragement.

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:1-2

In closing

I hope and pray that God has laid upon your heart at least one of these challenges, and that you give the social media break a chance. Break your stride with the social media, and start walking with Jesus. Find your identity in him. I promise you, it is so worth it to reevaluate your time spent with God. Be sure you are putting him first, and you will see and feel a change in your life. You will see that life doesn’t get in the way when God is put first. You can do this. You can accomplish those tasks. Put God first, and he will provide you with what you need.

God Bless

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