Instagram. Pinterest. HGTV. As you read those words, you probably have images coming your mind. You say Pinterest and my mind immediately starts picturing perfectly organized closets, dreamy fall table scapes, living rooms that have never seen the presence of a toddler, and dinners that look like they stepped out of the pages of Martha Stewart Living. Instagram is even worse. As you all know by now, I am in love with the local church. I study it. I know it. I am obsessed with church culture. I love learning new systems and procedures and the why behind them. I love learning how to create environments that people want to linger in. With all this being said, you can imagine what my Instagram looks like. My feed is filled with churches and pastors from around the world. Why? Because you will follow who you want to imitate. Who you relate to. I bet you are the same way. If you are wanting to get healthier, I bet your feed is filled with the gym girls who have the waist line of your dreams. If you wish your closet looked different, I bet your feed is filled with boutiques and fashionistas. Whatever your occupation is, you can find someone to follow that you feel is 'better at it than you.'
I have studied myself long enough to know that my soul condition determines my experience.
When I am filled up with Jesus, when my purpose is being watered by the Holy Spirit, Instagram fuels my passion. I love how the new trend for churches is to give their resources away. I grow. I learn from them. I rejoice with those who rejoice. I take notes. It makes me a better wife, mother, pastor. However, on days that I have spent more time on my phone than with Jesus, I have a completely different experience. I feel it slowly seep into my soul. That never ending pit called jealousy. Comparison. I start to compete. I judge. I judge people whom I have never met. Questions start flooding my mind: "Why don't I have that? Why don't I look like her? Why can't I speak like that? If I had what they had...." And before I know what is happening I feel like my purpose is a hundred miles away and I am left feeling empty.
Can you relate? I wish I could adequately describe the feeling in my stomach when I feel like the rest of the world is moving in their purpose and I am stuck in my reality. The enemy is so good at creating the lie that in order for me to succeed- I have to look like them. Act like them. To throw in the towel on myself and put on this fake image that doesn't fit us, because it wasn't our to put on in the first place.
Remember the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17? David was running errands for his father and took lunch to his brothers who were on their mission. David had been left in the field while they were out doing the very thing that David was called to do. He finds Goliath and is so taken back by his vile and hateful speech against the Lord that he goes to King Saul and says, "I'll fight him and I'll kill him." Have you ever wanted that shot to prove yourself, so you open your mouth only hoping that your actions can back up what your mouth just said? I am sure David had that thought. He stuck his neck out. Saul, after some thought, offered David his armor to wear. After all, Saul was a successful warrior. His armor had been through many battles. It was surely better than anything David had to offer. But here is the important piece they were all missing: It wasn't made for David. It was mage for Saul.When you take on a fake image that isn't true to you; it is just like David putting on armor that wasn't made for him. It won't work. God can't bless who you pretend to be. You will get frustrated from tripping and slipping up and your arms will give out lugging it around. Perfection is too great a weight to carry. As you know, David went out with only what God has put in his hand and he won. Him being true to himself, set him on course for be King.
Here is where I want to land this. It's time for you to get your own limp. In Genesis 32, we find the story of Jacob. Up until this point, he had imitated, cheated and schemed his way through life. He was tired of running. Verse 24 says, "And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day." Sometimes, you just need to get alone. Alone with the One who created you. Turn your phone off and learn to sit in His presence. They wrestled all night until finally, God touched his hip, leaving him forever with a limp. Maybe it's time for you to drop the image that doesn't fit you; take off the armor that wasn't built for you. You will only get your own limp from having a real, authentic, put the time in, relationship with Jesus. He is not into shortcuts. He is not into cheap counterfeits. But he is into wrestling some things out in your heart that will leave you with a distinguished mark. He is into making customized armor. Armor that will protect you from the fire of the enemy and not leave you tripping over it.
People need what is in you. The world needs you to step up and not be hiding in someone else's image. There is plenty of room in the Kingdom of God. We all can reach our potential without crowding someone else out of theirs. Put the time in. Get your own limp.