Cropped and Edited

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612 x 612. That is the size that instagram forces me to use when sharing my life with my social media friends. That square brings the filtered lives of both our friends and people we have never met to our finger tips. I catch myself ever so frequently scrolling down my timeline and admiring with envy the “fabulousity” that is everyone’s life . They are on a yacht on some magical island and here I am, by myself, on a Friday night, with nothing to do but eat ice-cream and watch Say Yes To the Dress.

Their life serves as a reminder of how unexciting mine is.

We may not readily admit to this effect of social media on our lives, but it is very much there.

I first noticed this “comparison effect” when I decided to stay off social media for a while because it was toxic to my soul. The quote that “comparison is the thief of joy” holds so much truth in our lives. Social media is perhaps the worst place to draw comparisons though. Of course people’s lives look better on the internet. That is why its the internet! I mean lets be real, the couple that’s always “woman crushing” and “man crushing” each other have had a few fights and no one looks that perfectly airbrushed everyday; nobody woke up like that.

The problem is we are judging the quality of our lives against something that has already been cropped and edited. 

The moments in life that I truly cherish and that brings me joy cannot be fully captured in a picture or a status update. By no means am I saying that the internet or social media is bad, that would be hypocritical. However, we can let it control our moods and emotions and even dictate our happiness or we can use it to connect with people and to reflect the life we actually live and not just the one we wish for.

 

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Marriage is a gift…so is singleness. Click to read full article on Relevant Magazine

Marriage is a gift…so is singleness. Click to read full article on Relevant Magazine

“God’s plan for your life is beyond anything you could ever dream up on your own, and His plan for you doesn’t begin or end with you finding a spouse. Let Him turn your worries and anxieties into contentment for the present and great excitement and anticipation for what lays ahead.”
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/how-do-singleness-well#5hcrA4Ig2bIA0cpH.99

Dream House

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A young couple in Idaho was happy when they bought what they thought was their dream house. It was picture perfect, with five bedrooms and for a very reasonable price. After moving in, they later realized that they were not the only ones living there. The house was infested with hundreds of snakes that they could hear sliver in the walls and ceiling. Their dream house had turned into a nightmare really quickly!

How often does the condition of our soul look far different from what we portray on the outside? I can recall having great days, yet when I go home and it is just me and God I notice the turmoil in my heart. There, in the quietude of His righteous perfection my brokenness screams. But it is ok, to not be ok. After all, our brokenness and lack of “ok-ness” is what makes us human and shows our need for a perfect God.

So what do you do when you move into your dream house only to find it has been infested by snakes? You can restore the inside to match the outside or move out. Spiritually speaking, the latter may not be an option but we can look to God to restore us. We should take time to examine our spiritual condition and ask God to show us those sins in our life we have become ok with. It might not be a pleasant experience and we may see some things that we do not like. Some may call this a “heart check”, but whatever the terminology, it is necessary so that we do not continue to be complacent in where we are.

Stories of restoration and renewal are plenty in the Bible. Last semester our Women’s Bible study went through the Chase Bible Study Series by Jennie Allen, and it focused on the life of David. He was a murderer, an adulterer and a deceiver. Yet Acts 13:22 says “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” This is an encouraging biblical portrait of the faithfulness of God. Despite our failures and disobedience he heals our hearts and brings us back into sweet communion with Him.

Just like the snake infested house, our restoration needs to take place on the inside. It is a matter of the heart. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.

Reading God’s word, spending meaningful time with Him in prayer and taking the time to just listen can bring light to those areas of our lives that we need to surrender to God for healing and restoration.

What are the areas of our “spiritual house” that need restoration?

Psalm 71:20-21 “You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” 

 

Party of 1.

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Just like the first day of class it is only fitting that I stand up (figuratively) and introduce myself. Similarly to that first day, I am here trying to figure out who I am. I promise not to bore you with my favorite color (which is black by the way), but I hope to ever so briefly give you a peek into what makes up the deepest part of my being.

One of my favorite Bible verses is John 3:30 “He must become greater; I must become less.” It became real to me during a time that I was desperately trying to find my niche in this world. I was reminded that as a Christian I ought to spend every minute of my life giving God the glory he deserves. Of course I fail miserably everyday, but because God is rich in mercy he loves me nonetheless.

Before God formed me in the womb He knew that I would read the dictionary for fun, eat dry cereal and have way too many pinterest boards.

There are other, more important, things like the fact that I was born and raised in Jamaica and later moved to Texas. Prison is my favorite place to be; ministering to women behind bars about the freedom to be found in Christ does wonders for my soul. I love my friends and family and I deeply value their relationships. On any given day that I am wearing my headphones, I am probably listening to Christian rap.

There is so much more to me, but I hope you get the gist. I would love for you to join me on this journey, as I put my thoughts and passions onto this virtual book so that you can read my mind.

xoxo
Shaneil