When God Says #Disconnect: What I Learned About My Social Media Habits

For about a year, God has been dealing with my heart about distractions. The roots to my distractions are primarily found within social media. I had made all these “great tweets” and waited patiently for feedback. I had posted pictures and commented other friend’s statuses hoping for a good response. I had to be on Pinterest and Youtube constantly. Recently, it got to the point that I was constantly refreshing and praying something new would show up on any feed. In the morning, I had to check every social media outlet possible. At night, it kept me up into the wee hours of the morning.

I had so many plans, but saw that none were being accomplished. My actual life seemed to go nowhere. I wasn’t learning or growing. I was becoming more and more superficial. I became so ridden with jealously and envy of other people. I was very unhappy. I realized that social media wasn’t the enemy. My bad habits were. This sick addiction to social media grew into a monster I couldn’t control.

Recently, I felt like God led me to fast social networks all together for one week. It was so hard. So many awesome things seemed to be going on while I was gone. But I believe God really showed what really mattered. Regularly disconnecting from social media is essential because there are more important things we must reconnect with.

I’m not perfect and I fail from time to time. Even last night, I found myself at 1am watching useless vlogs. Still, I understand my distractions and that I must constantly evaluate my social network activity. Below I’ve listed the things I’ve learned while disconnecting from social media.

1. Reconnect with God: Retreating Regularly is Key

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. Luke 5:16 (MSG)

Sometimes we are running on empty. We are feeling miserable for ourselves or acting miserable on social media. Why is that? We are constantly checking our Instagram which never gives anyone purpose or vision. When emotions are shaky, we must retreat to God. Prayer and reading your bible is necessary.

Jesus was fully God and fully human. In his humanity, he dealt with social situations that could have been distracting. He knew that refocusing daily was vital to his purpose. Whatever retreat means to you. Do it! You don’t have to go to the wilderness, but you do have to disconnect from the outside world. This is the first and hardest step, but I’ve found that I’ve never regretted this decision. In my small gesture of retreat he has always imparted on me more than I could ever give to him.

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Matthew 6:33-34 (MSG)

2. While Retreating Evaluate Your Motives

Your emotions concerning social media are far more than just a selfie, a quote, or a thought. It is a reflection of the state of your heart. You must be honest about your experience in social media (what do you do on social media and why). Transparency in your self-evaluation shows maturity.

Jesus doesn’t need to be on your social media 24/7; He just needs to be in your life and a reflection of everything that you do. If He isn’t you are welcome to be honest in His presence and find healing.

Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (MSG)

3. Reconnect with People in Your Community

Personally, this is a hard thing to do. I used to come to church feeling horrible, sometimes crying in the bathroom and later retweeting lonely statuses about how nobody cares. Sometimes you go through these dark times and you don’t even have the energy to pray. How can people care if you don’t talk to them about it? I’m not saying you tell just anybody your business. That isn’t a wise idea. But if you see someone truly living for Christ and genuinely caring, ask for his or her counsel. Choose to handle your problems face-to-face rather than screen time. Are you jealous toward someone on the Internet? Pray about them and maybe get to know them more. We were created to encourage each other outside of places limited to a certain amount of characters.

9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)

Today, I find myself closer to God than my to distractions. He isn’t below Facebook and Twitter on my priority list. Now more than ever, I rely on Him to move forward. I enjoy retreating to Him. I’m more willing to be transparent in His presence. When I retreat, He reveals to me the adjustments I need to make. They are so personal; I will never find them on my twitter feed. I’m so much more encouraged by talking to someone about my issues than sub tweeting about someone. I’m grateful for what God has taught me and I pray it blesses you.

You Complete Me: What My Engagement Has Taught Me About Contentment

In April, I got engaged to my boyfriend Jerry, of almost 7 years. It’s honestly still surreal to me. It’s probably because I was totally caught off guard about the engagement plans.


Jerry along with my family planned an outing for me while they were setting up the proposal at my house. Meanwhile, one of my close friends hung out with my siblings and I. I realized after the proposal that 1) Jerry really knows me well 2) I really have my head in the clouds. My block was unusually packed with cars and still I was oblivious to the situation. My sister also blindfolded me and I thought she was going to put a pet in my hand.

So to briefly recap the proposal, it was definitely a sweet DIY event. In my backyard, there where lights that hung from the top of my house and were placed on the ground. Jerry sang and played on his guitar “Marry Me” by Train. He said something really sweet. Some family and friends were there to congratulate us and eat food. Afterwards, we ate s’mores by the fire pit. Some may find this engagement underwhelming, but the thought of Jerry proposing to me in a restaurant or in a park makes me cringe. So I was pretty happy with his plans.

Last photo credit to Jocelyn Medina Photography

Before the proposal, I wrote that I felt like I was in a new season with Jerry in my prayer book. I was anxious to reach that new level in my relationship with him. Now we are engaged. I truly thank God for Jerry and that He has kept us until now.

Fast-forward to June and you would think I would be over the moon about my engagement and wedding planning. I can honestly say that most of the time I feel indifferent. Its hard because I wish I felt more content. By the way I act, you would think I never got engaged. I’m barely researching and planning. Its been slightly frustrating at times to Jerry that I haven’t shown any interest.

Jerry and I have sat down to start wedding planning only to end up talking about our current fears and insecurities. Long conversations reflecting our worries and doubts. He has been such a great friend during this time and it has confirmed to me how awesome he will be as a husband.

So this season has help me to realize a few things I would like to share:

1. True contentment is found in Christ alone

Ever Since I was young, I thought that finding your match would be that “Ah-ha!” moment. An engagement would usher in Mr. Complete Joy and Mr. Ultimate Satisfaction. Many people say the person they marry “completes them”. I found out in my current season of insecurity that Jerry would help to the best of his ability. But his counsel was not enough. There was a line that was always drawn and I felt like there was nothing left to do but to pray. I am being real with God and slowly accepting the changes that are happening daily. The moments that I’ve prayed honest prayers to God are the times I have felt most satisfied.

2. You don’t have to have it all together to get married and you probably wont have it all together.

When I was a teenager I would always say, “I will wait for five years to save after my engagement for a wedding.” I wanted a “high quality” wedding. But you grow up only to find that adulthood doesn’t always go according to plan. I mean I knew Jerry since I was a preteen and he was the least likely candidate in my future husband list. So when I got engaged it shattered the expectations I had for my future self. I was worried about not having finished college or starting my career. My current job, although rewarding, doesn’t pay enough to live comfortably. Its been hard to trust God with a wedding when many things are currently “up in the air”. I’m learning to trust God and those around me. I’m relying on the fact that He knows my desires and that everything will go according to His plans. Also, I’m realizing that I can depend on my family and close friends to help along the way. The unknown is what makes life so much more beautiful and fascinating. I have to accept life for what it is not what I want it to be.

3. Comparison is truly the thief of joy!

As soon as I got engaged, it seemed as though everyone and their mom got engaged too. Instead of focusing on my engagement, I was social media stalking everyone else! I began obsessing over couples proposal stories and comparing how many congrats they received in comparison to mine. I started to feel really insecure about my ring, my proposal pictures, and even Jerry’s plans. I was not happy at all. I waited almost 7 years for this moment to come. When the time came, I was more miserable than ever. Even worse, I began to compare my relationships to couples that weren’t even engaged yet! It was draining me to the core. I had to learn that I needed to focus on Jerry & I. I needed to refrain from even snooping on other couples through social media. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself. This is a moment in time I would never get back. I must be present and take everything for what it is. I’m different than other people and our relationship is unique. Comparison is deadly. So I’m committed to looking forward and not to what is happening around me.

I hope that my transparency will be a blessing to someone. Please keep Jerry and I in your prayers as we move forward in this journey. I know it wont be easy but my hope is in the Lord. He always provides complete comfort and contentment.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:10-14

My trip with my boyfriend Jerry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A definite go to trip for new yorkers and tourists alike! It was definitely informative and the museums were good. We were only able to get to the pedestal area in the Statue of Liberty.

No New Friends : Advice for Those Feeling Lonely

About a year ago I wrote, “When a Friend becomes a “Friend”. I was frustrated that I was going through my health conditions without much encouragement from those around me. I felt alone.

A year has passed, and with it some friendships have gone too. Many things haven’t changed but what has dramatically changed is my perspective. I’m thankful for God’s answers concerning this area in my life. I want to share some of the things I have learned about friendships so far. If you feel alone, I encourage you to reflect on this post.

1) Examine your thoughts and feelings.

As a Christian, feeling alone is a red flag. I know that I am never alone. God is with me and He loves me. So many times, I have asked God for a friend without recognizing that he has been the ultimate friend. There is nothing I can say to him that he doesn’t already know.

Feeling alone is a lie the enemy wants you to believe. It is a thought that becomes the root to many deadly things. Like weeds that destroy a garden, your destructive thoughts demolish who God created you to be. Insecurity, loneliness and depression are the products of evil thoughts. You cannot ultimately be who God wants you to be if you are suppressed by your thoughts and feelings.

Deuteronomy 31:6

2) Is God your ultimate portion?

When you are in constant communication with God, you are content because he is your portion. You feel satisfied. He is your ultimate counselor and comforter in any situation.

Depending on God first allows you to be a better friend to someone. Depending on people first causes you to rely on someone for all your needs. That is too much of a burden for anyone to bear.

I have put unreasonable expectations on people to be everything I needed at the exact time I needed it. I didn’t understand that humans are not perfect and fail. I have also experienced people who put unfair expectations on me. It’s exhausting to please a needy person. In the end, you want to avoid them.

If you find yourself in despair about your lack of friendships, ask yourself: Is God my ultimate portion? I believe it’s a question that sheds light on a lack of friendships.

3) Evaluate your relationships.

In Steven Furtick’s book “Greater”, he talks about identifying the people you need to possibly put out of your life. The relationships around you can either impact your life for better or worse. You must be intentional in who you allow into your life.

Who in my life leads me to attitudes or actions outside of what God prescribes for me in his word?

Who leaves me drained rather than empowered after a typical conversation?

Who keeps me thinking smaller rather than helping me dream bigger?

These are questions everyone should ask himself or herself. If someone comes to mind, guard your heart concerning this relationship. It may be useful to limit your contact with them.

4) To have a friend you must be a friend.

Nowadays, when the feeling of loneliness comes to the surface, I become proactive. I have a small group of people who I’m blessed to have in my life. This year, I am vowing to show them that I care. I am being intentional in blessing them with no strings attached. I am setting apart time for my loved ones. Friendships are not meant to just be served, but to be a blessing to others. In that action of service, you are blessed as well.

Maybe someone that isn’t necessarily my friend is going through a difficult time. I keep them in my prayers and reach out to them. When you start to focus on being a better servant to others, it changes your perspective on friendship. I’m thinking less selfishly and more godly. When you are fully invested in relationships that matter, you find that there isn’t enough time to spend with that person.

Also, be intentional about joining a healthy church. Commit to volunteering in a ministry you’re passionate about. You will get to know people that are like-minded.

Hope this encouraged someone.

Love you all!

Eleny

Can I Be Real?

So, can I be real on here?

This has been such an emotional week for me. Nothing crazy has happened. Thank God. But I just get in those seasons that I feel like no one understands me but God.

Does anyone feel that way?

Everything emotionally affects me. People think that Satan isn’t real but he is! and if don’t you think he doesn’t have a plan. He does

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

I’ve been having doubts about my life choices in general. Add that to unnecessary emotions of rage and bitterness. Stressed about projects that I really would rather not do. At the same time, you see people succeed while you are still at square one. You can barely make out a congrats because you are that bitter. It’s even been hard to extend grace to people when you don’t want to.

The enemy really tries to take you out in your spiritual boot camp. I can’t give in. I know that I must try harder. I need to pray more, to fast more, to live on the word.

I find myself saying “Lord, I need you”, more than ever.

I even tell myself, foolishly, “My purpose is at the end of the tunnel.”

How horrible is that statement? To know God is our highest calling. He wants all of us to have a deep understanding of who he is.

I’m learning that…

1) You don’t know the struggle behind a person. You may never understand what led a person to the position they are in now. Sometimes, it takes a lot of years of tests for someone to be on the other side. We must not compare our life to others.

2) God doesn’t go by our timing. Its silly to him. Every season has its purpose. Sometimes we need to pass the same exam a number of times before we learn the lesson.

3) Extend grace and mercy to others because it has been given freely to us. I read this yesterday, There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (James 2:13)

I read this today,

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and prayed, “Who am I…that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18

Take time to sit and talk with God.

This is my resolution, because through it all, he has brought me this far.

I’m Back, Sort Of…

Hello everyone,

This blog has been on my mind everyday for months! I love writing here even though no one may read it. To be honest I’ve been going through so much this year! Both good and bad. But I still have no valuable excuse as to why I haven’t been writing about it.

I am trying to see if I should redesign this blog a bit or move to wordpress to be trendy. Lets see what happens. In the meanwhile, I’ll be posting some stuff here.

Updates:

Im feeling better as far as my health. I definitely had a pinched nerve last year and some sinus issues this year. I also had anxiety problems since last year. But thats for another blog. I Thank God for healing.

Im still not currently in school. That’s for another blog post too. I did go back for fall semester and for a second time it didn’t work out, I will talk about my school plans soon. Im still seeking the Lord about this and I know things will all work out.

Nothing else has really changed around me. Im still with my boyfriend (6yrs now), thank God my family is well and I still have the same job.

God has really been rocking my world this year. He turned everything upside down as far as my personal life to show me some valuable lessons. I am definitely a different person than last year because of him. A much better me!

Anyways, I will be covering all these topics in upcoming posts. Hope you check them out!

I love you all,

Eleny

(Please leave me a prayer requests if you need one. I would love to pray for you. As many of you know, what you say to me, stays with me!)

I’m Back, Sort Of..

Hello everyone,

This blog has been on my mind everyday for months! I love writing here even though no one may read it. To be honest I’ve been going through so much this year! Both good and bad. But I still have no valuable excuse as to why I haven’t been writing about it.

I am trying to see if I should redesign this blog a bit or move to wordpress to be trendy. Lets see what happens. In the meanwhile, I’ll be posting some stuff here.

Updates:

Im feeling better as far as my health. I definitely had a pinched nerve last year and some sinus issues this year. I also had anxiety problems since last year. But thats for another blog. I Thank God for healing.

Im still not currently in school. That’s for another blog post too. I did go back for fall semester and for a second time it didn’t work out, I will talk about my school plans soon. Im still seeking the Lord about this and I know things will all work out.

Nothing else has really changed around me. Im still with my boyfriend (6yrs now), thank God my family is well and I still have the same job.

God has really been rocking my world this year. He turned everything upside down as far as my personal life to show me some valuable lessons. I am definitely a different person than last year because of him. A much better me!

Anyways, I will be covering all these topics in upcoming posts. Hope you check them out!

I love you all,

Eleny

(Please leave me a prayer requests if you need one. I would love to pray for you. As many of you know, what you say to me, stays with me!)

It’s never too late to dream. What God has placed inside of you is never out of reach. Dream big!

It’s never too late to dream. What God has placed inside of you is never out of reach. Dream big!

Your Story is Not Over Yet

“With your dreams burning in the background, perhaps you’ve stood on the hillside with fist raised in the air making declarations to God. If you see yourself on the screen, can I encourage you sit down, take a deep breath, stretch, and regroup? The story’s not over yet. Perhaps you’re just at an intermission. As someone once said, we shouldn’t put a period where God put a comma.” - Sharon Jaynes

Read the rest of this devotional here

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