Day 17- The Image Box

Today’s Quote: “Don’t go with the flow; you are the flow.” –Anonymous

I remember hearing that story about the two fighting dogs at a very pivotal time in my life. 

I was at a place where I knew that if I was ever going to let God fully renew my mind, it was going to mean changing some of my habits. A lot of what I was continually exposing my spirit to was nothing but bad for me. And that’s the bottom line; a lot of it is just plain bad for you!

But as I began to step back from my old lifestyle, God began to show me that there is life so far beyond everything I was captivated by. So far above what I was just aimlessly gravitating toward. 

A new, healthy way of thinking. 

A whole new life! 

One that I’m actually LIVING, rather than just trying to keep up with everyone who looks like they’re really living theirs. But, never, really, quite, reaching, that, place, myself…

Oh thank you Jesus for saving me from all of that! Thank you for being so much bigger. So much more powerful. Just so much more, more.

God has a way of bringing a new vibrancy into your life that makes everything else look pale. But we have to be willing to let Him do the work, by giving Him access to those old, filthy habits that have been bringing us down for years.

Time Out: I realize that many of you are battling very serious issue (i.e. depression, cutting, eating disorders, abuse). Please please PLEASE check out some of these resources, talk to people you trust, and begin to take the steps necessary to true health and healing. 

Today I want to pinpoint the habit of competition and comparison because, although it might not seem as obvious or destructive as some of our other issues, this one is getting just about all of us.

Social networking has brought us to a whole new level of comparing ourselves to one another. It’s almost impossible not to.

The threat of feeling inferior to another woman no longer swims at the cushy distance of our tv shows and magazines, it has crept right up to the screen in front of our face, as we scroll through the new pictures that one of our friends just posted 30 seconds ago. There she is, that smart, beautiful, perfect girl, doing amazingly fun-looking things with amazingly fun-looking people and posting her gorgeous pictures, cleavage and all, for everyone (including #9) to see. 
How the heck are we not suppose to be jealous or compare ourselves?

And then we turn around and do it ourselves. Making sure that we have up all of the right info and pictures to be seen the way that we want to be seen. Making sure that we look the part we are trying to look. And it’s this stupid, ridiculous stuff that is consuming so much of our lives!

Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe some of you, bless your heart, do not. The point is that we as women are under a whole lot of pressure to compete and compare. And it’s consuming us. And the longer we are in that box, the smaller and tighter it gets.

So how do we break free?

For me, the first step was just admitting to myself what a game it all is. Social networking is not reality. It is a game of people trying to define themselves through pictures and statuses and a lot of name-dropping. Most of us know this but for some reason it still has a clutch on us. Why? Because we are FEEDING THAT DOG. Watching, looking, participating, getting sucked into all of it.

Remember, whatever dog you feed the most will win the fight. I don’t mean to labor this point, I just feel like if we could get this, it would be HUGE

There comes a time when you just have to say enough to feeding some dogs. Especially ones as life-draining as competition and comparison. IT IS SO LIFE-DRAINING.

If you have a sibling or a friend or a group you are competitive with, step back for a bit. (And be honest with yourself about it for crying out loud.)

God wants to work on making you, you. He has made you so truly and utterly unique, so fitted to your own niche, that when you are your genuine self, you will have nobody to compete with.

Isn’t that awesome? That in a sea of people trying to be the same, you get to be you. In a heap of people trying to all cram into the same tight little box, you get to skip around, swing your arms, and breath fresh air. Ahhhhh.

But that won’t just happen. The tide is way to strong. You need to actually put the time into talking to Jesus about it, and be willing to do differently what He shows you to do differently. And then hold on and get ready for REAL life!

"Once we've tasted being alive, we can't go back to being dead. Aliveness in God is addictive."- Nancy Groom 

Today's Dare: Today I want you to think about the difference between who you project are on the outside, verses what's really going on on the inside.

I want you to draw 2 large stick figures in your journal- one is "Inside You", and one is "Outside You". Now list 5 things coming off of each of them.

Inside You- 5 things on the inside that you don't really show to people.
Outside You- 5 things that you really try to show people.

Now, I want to challenge you to pay attention and be mindful of something...

If you listen closely to 20-somethings talk, we are usually trying to define ourselves...
"I love that!"
"I hate that!"
"I can't stand when people do that.."
"I'm obsessed with this place, or thing." 

We're scratching at defining ourselves with things and places and people and brands and name dropping. 

Pay attention to that, and dare to be different.

Stop trying to define yourself all the time.

Be willing to have some blanks in who you are- for the sake of having those blanks filled by things that are real- rather than the cheap little shallow kinds of things that other people try to define themselves by.

Remember, God wants to bust you out of that suffocating little box- so pray about that and get ready to leave it behind!