I’ve naysayed this place I’ve lived in pretty much since I got here more than 7 years ago. Even if something was nice or beautiful, I’d look at the negative. I’m generally a positive person and try to find the good in people/things but I’ve been on a mission not to allow myself to like any part of where I am for fear that I’d never return “home” (the south) if I so much as saw a glimpse of the good here. Shame on me.
Back in December I was able to break away from everyday life one Saturday morning and attend a ladies event at my church; it was an IF Gathering which was a pre-recorded conference. Man did I want to lay face down on the floor and just cry. I felt so convicted and guilty yet so open and inspired by the words of the key speakers. Jennie Allen, the founder of IF made some profound statements about today’s society— more specifically the women—and how she fears that the new generation coming up will not have the older generation discipling them. She touched on how we need to stop looking and thinking that bigger is better, that we’re trying to go big but God wants us to go small. That’s not to say He doesn’t want us to be successful or stifle ourselves but rather instead of sitting behind a computer and posting inspirational things, instead of worrying about how many followers we have on Instagram, we need to get back to basics. We need to take the girl next door to coffee, get to know our sisters on a personal level, break bread with them and gain their trust so that we can minister to them and then they can go minister to others. A chain will form and that older generation is me.
Sometimes seeking the will of God for my life can feel a bit overwhelming. Today's society is all about self-help and me me me. What can I do to better myself? What can I do to make myself happy? How can I become more successful? I'll admit, at times I tend to get caught up in that whole mindset and forget the big picture. While it's a great philosophy to want to better yourself, that's not what life is about. We were created to be beacons of light, pointing others towards Jesus. Not exhausting all efforts to be happy. That gets old if you ask me. There's a huge difference between happiness and true joy. Happiness is a feeling based on your happenings...on your current situation. It's short lived. True joy is eternal and comes from fulfillment that only God can provide. If you've been looking all over kingdom come, trying this and that to feel fulfilled, don't you think that maybe you're missing one essential nugget? A true relationship with your Creator perhaps?
It's so easy to get wrapped up in what others are posting on social media these days--everything is filtered, looks prim and perfect, their lives look so put together but I'm sure most of those people (ok let's be real...all of those people) have hurts and problems just like you and me. Life gets them down and feeling overwhelmed. No one is exempt from the craziness of this world we live in. The difference though is where our hearts are positioned. Are they positioned in an "ok this other thing will make me feel fulfilled and happy" or "life may not be perfect but I serve a perfect God who gives me joy every morning and I'm going to shout it from the rooftops and share with whomever will listen"? I definitely need polishing in the field of discipleship and to be quite honest, I'm still navigating what exactly that looks like, but after that If Gathering a few months ago, I left feeling challenged to stop getting so overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the artist next door and what her Instagram is looking like, and get back to basics. Be my authentic self. The core of my image for MAGNOLIA+PINE boutique is to spread the word of God but if in doing that, I'm losing site of what He really wants from me--not to get wrapped up in comparing my stuff to others and trying to be successful with sales, followers, etc.--I'm working my tail off in vain. Sure, it's great to have Instagram followers and a platform that could reach the corners of the earth but if I'm not doing my part locally, taking the girl next door (so to speak) to lunch and asking her, "hey, how are you doing...truly?", I'm missing my mark.
The thought of discipling is intimidating to me not only because I'm a mom to two small children with a truck load of tasks and responsibilities so time away from home is few and far between, but also because even though in most situations I come across as an extravert, I truly am much more comfortable in my little shell. However, I feel like God continues to remind me of that December day and the importance of the small, basic things. I've always been a dreamer, since I was a small child I remember having big dreams, and that has carried on into adulthood. My dreams now look a little different than when I was 5; instead of me being a professional figure skater or gymnast like the girls I saw on T.V., I now dream of having a successful loving marriage, well behaved children who will one day choose to serve God and a successful business. As I've grown and matured spiritually though, I have begun to see the importance of others over myself. More so in the spiritual realm than in the physical. I still have to remind myself often that this world won't always be here and if anyone who isn't remotely a believer who happens to read this post will probably think I'm a looney-tune, but it's true. When your time on this earth is done, is it really going to matter how many Instagram followers you have? Is it going to matter how many comments and likes you had on any of your social media handles? What really matters is where you're going and who is going with you. I know where I'm going, now it's just a matter of me bringing as many people with me when it's my time to go. It seems like a daunting task but it's really so simple. It starts with a simple invitation to go for a walk or grab a cup of coffee. Dream small.
"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities." -Luke 16:10