Having faith isn’t easy. After all, the definition of faith is, ‘firm belief in something for which there is no proof’. So it’s no joke that it’s hard to trust God when you don’t know what’s next! The good news is that if you lean in and let him lead you, his word will truly be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
If God is asking you to do something but you don’t understand it, you’re not alone! I’m right where you are. So, grab a cup of coffee and sit with me for a minute. I think this will give you some hope and maybe even get you excited about the future!
let’s back up a little
At the end of each year, like everyone else, I start thinking ahead toward the new year. I search the internet for the perfect planner, get important dates filled in, and stare at the blank pages with excitement. My focus becomes, “What can I do to make THIS year better?” Knowing that all good things come from God, I pray and ask him to speak to me, to show me what he wants for me.
This process normally starts with some kind of inspiration like one word to focus on or a theme for the year. This year he gave me a scripture. Over and over and OVER, he brought me to Romans 12:2, “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.“
It was perfect! Of course, I want to know what God’s perfect will is for me! The “do not conform to the pattern of this world” is that part that stumped me. So, I looked up the scripture in every translation and made lots of notes. And I prayed. I thought about it for weeks, months and I still couldn’t nail down what he was trying to say.
My mind, body, and soul became my clue
I started feeling restless. My mind, body, and soul were begging me to figure this out. I felt anxious a LOT, I had trouble focusing on things that normally come naturally to me and I felt like I was missing something, something big. At this point, I realized that something had to change. I prayed again and ask the Lord for clarity.
Just like he always does, he delivered and right on time! One of my favorite influencers, Crystal Paine mentioned the book, Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge on her podcast. When you know you know. As soon as the words left her mouth, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me. I downloaded the audiobook immediately and started listening. (THANK YOU, CRYSTAL!)
This book explained everything my soul was crying out for…deep restoration and refreshment. How did this man know??? How could he know exactly what I needed? I’ll tell you how…because it’s not just me. This is what’s happens to all of us when we ‘conform to the pattern of this world’. I have three words for you… Read. This. Book.
Better yet, listen to the audiobook if you can. Mr. Eldregde has the most caring, calming voice so it takes the experience to another level!
If I Don’t trust god, My best self is at stake
In the book, You Are the Girl for the Job, the author asked her readers to walk through an exercise. She had us think about how we’d describe the best version of ourselves, our ‘ideal self’. She says that “Your ideal self is you thriving at the height of who God made you to be”.
This was fun for me! I mean who wouldn’t enjoy thinking about and articulating who you’d be as your best self??
My conclusion was that my ideal self would be one that’s in close communion with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, a kind and helpful wife, a mom that’s present, listens well, and fills the cups of her children, a tidy housekeeper. A sister that’s thoughtful, a friend that loves and gives, an encourager to everyone I encounter, and a woman that spreads the love of Jesus through my writing.
One thing that keeps us from being our best self
DISTRACTION. This one thing has the power to keep us just outside the realm of every good thing in our lives. But we have to give it that power! Have you ever heard the phrase, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”? It’s SO true! We’ll never be the best version of ourselves if we’re busy and distracted all the time.
So what’s my biggest distraction, you ask?
I’m sure you can guess… What do you think distracts me off and on from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed? It’s not a “bad” thing, it’s a “busy” thing. It’s the thing that keeps me from hearing what my husband might be saying. The thing that steals time away from my writing and fills up almost every idle moment throughout my day.
It upsets me when I think about how much time I’ve wasted and how many opportunities I’ve probably missed because my face was-you guessed it, glued to my phone. More specifically, social media.
My aha! moment
This was it! This was what God was talking about all along- the worldly pattern that he’s calling me away from. He knows that if I don’t gain control over this, it will keep me from being who he called me to be.
The thought of that scares me because I know that my life isn’t just about me. I’ve got kids and a grandchild and people that God has called me to impact, watching me.
I need to be present, to have a sound mind and a joyful heart if I’m going to make a difference in this world. Unfortunately for me, the all-consuming world of social media and the need to be connected all the time produces the opposite.
So, I decided to start with my version of the phone detox plan described in the John Eldredge book. It immediately made a huge difference in my life for the better! But I felt God asking for more. This is where trusting God comes in…
it’s not goodbye, just see ya later!
I believe with my whole heart that the best thing for me and the people listed in my ‘best self’ description is to take a break from social media. It’s had a negative effect on not just my mental health and clarity but also my calling. And it’s not only that it’s distracting, but the non-stop consumption also causes unhealthy/unholy thought patterns to rise up at times.
I spend more time looking at and listening to ‘the world’ through Facebook and Instagram than I do my heavenly Father. The timeframe that I feel led to pursue is one year. I don’t know what the Lord has planned for me but I know there’s purpose in it! He’s not asking for this break to punish me, he has a plan in place, I just have to trust that and do what he’s asking me to do.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I can trust God with my life.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11
Understand me, though, I don’t want to do it this way. I even tried arguing, because you know-“I need it to get my writings out”. Needless to say, I got an answer real quick on that one… ‘Writers got their stuff out long before social media’. So here we are, I’ve decided to trust God, even though I don’t know what’s next.
I’ll report back to you next May and let you know how it goes.
take some time to reflect
I encourage you to think about this for yourself. Think about the things you value and decide if being on your phone too much is keeping you from them. How does having the world at your fingertips affect your life and the people in it? It may not be right for you to walk away completely but I highly suggest some kind of detox.
Trust me when I say that you need it and that your people will thank you!
I created a printable list that includes the initial phone detox plan I followed. Use it for a starting point and then personalize it for you if you’d like. Click here if you’d like a copy and if you’re not already subscribed to my blog, use the form below to sign up. This is the only place you’ll find me for a while.
Until next time, know that I love you, I’ll be thinking of you and will keep you in my prayers!