21 days…some stuff I learned…

Hello there! Welcome back or welcome to the blog if you’re new! Glad you’re here and reading along this blogging journey with me.

In my last post, which I realize was quite a bit ago, I shared I was participating in my church’s annual 21 days of prayer and fasting. (https://churchofthehighlands.com/ ) During this time you could choose to participate in different styles and types of fasting–https://faithfamilyfitness.blog/2020/01/14/21-day-fast/ but the one which resonated most with me was what our pastor referred to as the ‘soul fast.’ Meaning if anything was hindering you or distracting you from getting closer to God, it needed to be removed from your life. Social media was my hang up (you can read a bit more in the post entitled “21 Day Fast” or click the link above.

The 21 days have come and gone and thought I would share with you a bit of what I learned through the experience. I guess a bit of backstory may be necessary. While social media is a great resource and tool for numerous reasons–truly this is not a bashing of social media type of post–, it can also be a gateway to the slippery slope of comparison, judgement, self doubt, and negative internal dialog. We have all heard or have been encouraged ourselves not to venture down this path as social media is just someone’s “highlight reel” for no one is going to truly post the bad or the ugly. But, let’s get real….it is hard not to sometimes. Have ya’ll seen that Captain Obvious commercial where he is telling some woman not to “hate like” her friend’s social media image? Have you been there? Despite my best efforts I know I have had some feelings of jealousy or envy seeing the posts of others. Not that I didn’t love or like the person who was posting; not that I wasn’t excited or inspired or encouraged by their experience–I got there eventually, but initially I was throwing myself an internal pity party. So, when the time came for this 21 days of prayer and fasting I really felt I was being told to turn off the social media and refocus my attention. And that is what I did. 21 days of no social media.

What did I learn? Initially, it was quite humbling to really see how much time I wasted each day being on some form of social media. I’d tell myself it was for “work” because I need to post so people know where I am teaching a fitness class or how they can reach out to me if they need/want nutrition guidance. Blah, blah, blah. However, you and I both know that was and is a load of donkey doodie. The time it should take me to post something should not equate to hours of mindless scrolling and internally comparing my achievements or perceived lack of achievements to other people’s highlight reels. You see, I am an Enneagram Type 3 Wing 2 so achievement is huuuuuuugggggeee. I like to set goals and if I feel in any way I am not measuring up or being successful in the goals (personal, professional, spiritual, physical, etc.) then it can get ugly in my mind real quick. Spending countless minutes which turns into hours scrolling not only takes away time that could be better used working diligently on the goals or precious time spent with those I love most, but then also sparks the internal comparison dialog. A double whammy right there, folks. Time wasted and comparison.

Spending less time on social media has afforded me the opportunity to regroup and refocus. During this 21 days my 35th birthday came and went. I decided to borrow a great idea from a friend. She created 50 things she wanted to accomplish during her 50th year and I thought that was such a brilliant idea I decided why not go ahead and create 35 things for myself. Lemme tell you, this has been a lot harder than I thought it would be and I only have to come up with 35 things. She did 50! I am still (weeks post birthday later) four short. Suggestions and ideas welcomed!

Some of these items are somewhat small–go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, read one book each month, take a cooking class, learn the piano, learn Spanish and/or French (side note: if you want to learn a language try the Duolingo app https://www.duolingo.com/ as it is a really fun and easy way to learn and practice). While others are bigger and more meaningful–take a girls trip with my mom, be a more intentional wife, date my husband, family game night each week, focus more on serving others; and while this last one may seem silly to some this is a big’n for me, confidently wear shorts this summer.

When the noise of what we aren’t or what we lack is quieted we are then better equipped to hear who we are in Him who made us. Without distraction and outside noise telling us in some way, shape or form we are less than or lacking or not measuring up we are less conditioned to believe it. I read or heard this quote a while back and I put it on a post it on my computer, “Satan does his best work in half truths.” Satan knows exactly what our insecurities are and how to use them against us. Period. “You’re talented at your job, but did you see the great idea Susie brought to the boss? Your idea wasn’t as strong. She will likely get the promotion, so don’t even bother trying.” “You’re smart and have leadership skills, but I don’t know if you can command a group so student body president may be a bit out of your ability.” “Sure, you’re funny and a great listener, but he/she will likely just “friend zone” you.” Etc. When we remove the distraction and whatever is keeping us from fully knowing and embracing who we are in Christ, we are then able to confidently quiet Satan’s attempts at half truths.

In Christ I AM:

ACCEPTED (“…He made us accepted in the beloved.” Eph. 1:6)

BLESSED (“He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Eph. 1:3)

CHOSEN (“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” Eph. 1:4)

DESTINED (“He predestined us to be adopted as his sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ.” Eph. 1:5)

EMPOWERED (“God’s way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life.” 1 Cor. 4:20)

FORGIVEN (“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to His grace.” Eph. 1:7)

GLORIFIED (“And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, he also justifiedl those He justified, He also glorified.” Rom. 8:30)

HEALED (“By his stripes, we were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24)

IN CHRIST (“If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor. 5:17)

JUSTIFIED (“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom. 5:1)

KING (“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us Kings and Priests to His God and Father…” Rom. 1:6)

LOVED (“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jer. 31:3)

So, after removing the noise for 21 days what did I learn? I learned I am still and likely will forever be a work in progress. I also learned I needed a reminder of who I am in Jesus. I am, just as you are, beautifully and wonderfully made. The negative internal dialog that has tendency to creep in is not anything more than Satan’s attempts to keep us down. BUT, we can firmly and fiercely remind Satan that we are not what he tells us we are, but as sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, we can tell him that we are:

ACCEPTED, BLESSED, CHOSEN, DESTINED, EMPOWERED, FORGIVEN, GLORIFIED, HEALED, IN CHRIST, JUSTIFIED, KINGS (and QUEENS), and LOVED.

Until next time,

-E

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