Releasing Toxic Meditations.

I really have lost track of how it happens.

I will get on Instagram and post an inspiring quote or maybe just post a picture of myself because I feel acceptable enough to do so that day. And then I sit there waiting to collect “likes” on a picture.

“I know that they will love this picture”, I think as I try to pass time by scrolling to see what others have posted, “My hair and makeup are on fleek today! Not to mention this is one of my favorite outfits!”

After what feels like an eternity a few likes will come rolling in, maybe one from the guy I have my eyes on, and then it ends….

14 likes total.

Then I sit there thinking, “maybe everyone is just not on instagram right now! I’ll probably get some later!” I gleefully fill my day with distractions and maybe a few devotionals and sit waiting for more to roll in.

Later comes and I’m still sitting at a measly 14 likes. Then I reflect on how I average between 12-27 likes on a picture no matter how good I think it is, and considering I have 646 followers. Why am I not receiving the likes and affirmation that I want?

Then those thoughts become even more damaging as I sit and try to discover why I’m not getting that many likes on my pictures. “Maybe I’m not pretty enough? Maybe it’s those circles under my eyes that I’ve had all of my life? Maybe my hair isn’t good enough? Maybe my face isn’t smooth enough? Maybe these eyebrows that look like they were done  by Dennis Rodman ran them off?”

If you thought that was as bad as it gets, it gets worse.

I’ll then go back to the time period of the day I posted my picture. Just scrolling and distracting myself. And I’ll notice that another young lady has posted a picture of herself maybe a minute or two after I did and has somehow managed to get 60-90 maybe even 100 likes on her picture. It happens one time, no big deal. But seemingly it happens all. of. the. time! Not only is she getting all of this attention from other guys and people, but she even collects a “like” from the guy you have your eyes on. It seems like everyone praises her while they pity you. “Oh yeah Daphne is so sweet let me go like her Instagram picture….”

That’s when comparison comes and plays chess with my emotions. And I have let comparison checkmate every time. I have somehow fell for the lie that God has spent more time on someone else’s beauty and put mine in the microwave. I begin meditating on how much better they must be than me because they have the attention I want in order to feel validated. And then to make an already destructive mentality worse, I begin flirting with comparison’s bestfriend named jealousy.

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14

This scripture has become my prayer here lately. I have come to discover that the sins lurking in my heart that is causing this comparison game and jealousy are: lack of trust in God overall and insecurity/low self esteem issues. I have allowed those issues to control me in how I see myself and others! See the thing is, what we meditate on ultimately controls us. Whether that’s good or bad. When we meditate on God and his word, we not only see ourselves as God sees us, but we allow our lives to be controlled or influenced by God and his word.

But see, I have been meditating on myself, seeking affirmation, and on what people think of me. I’ve been meditating on negativity and things that are temporary such as “instagram likes”. No wonder I’m insecure with such a shaky foundation! Notice how at the end of that Psalm the writer says, “O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” My foundation should be God because HE is the solid rock! I should be secure in Him and see myself and others how he sees us “fearfully and wonderfully made”! HE is our redeemer! What does that mean? Well it means, “a person who brings goodness and honor to something again” according to Webster’s dictionary. So why am I looking to instagram or other people to bring me goodness and honor when God not only does that now, but did that 2000+ years ago on the cross (the ultimate sign of redemption)? Let’s meditate on that scripture! Let’s not be controlled by those thoughts (for me insecurities) that lead to deliberate sins (for me that was jealousy and comparison)! Let’s rest on the security of God our rock and our redeemer!

By Daphne Benford-Smith
Photo: time.com

Daphne Benford-Smith is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas. A single woman that lives by “If you’re not living for the Lord, I’m not your Ruth so take your Boaz somewhere else!” Avid writer for her blog “Confessions of a Christian Woman” or daphnemariahandjc.blogspot.com as a hobby, educator, and woman that is seeking the Lord with all her heart. Although she’s not perfect in that walk, and has painful or funny stories that she shares with the world  through writing as a result.


The Case Of My Ex

This isn’t a post to bash my ex. This is not a post to bash relationships. This is a post to shed light on dark situations we all may face. This is a post to shed light on my story.

I was in a relationship with my ex for about a year and a half. At the time, that was my first “serious” relationship. I was in college and thought my relationship was everything. It was all about me and him as we squeezed God in between where we thought He could fit. Our focus was simidolatryply on each other as we tried to build our relationship around Christ. We were unequally yoked. Also, we were trying to change each other to make our relationship work. For a period of time in our relationship, because our focus was extremely on each other, I would get sick during and after an argument. I literally got sick. I would throw up and I lost weight. I wanted the relationship to work so bad that it made me sick when I thought it might not work out because of x, y, and z.

At the time, my relationship with God was mediocre. I read my Bible because I thought I had to in order to be a “good Christian.” I did not have accountability. In fact, I didn’t even know how crucial having an accountability partner was at the time. When I learned about it, I figured it was important, but I thought my boyfriend and I could manage without it. We were only deceiving ourselves. We were in love, fell in lust, and it was all about us making it work. It didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve truly grown since then. It took some heartbreaks and plenty of mistakes. But God showed me HE is my priority. I think that’s what we can easily miss. God will humble us in order to make us realize anything or anyone we place before Him is an idol.

— “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8 ESV

It can be difficult because in this world today being in a relationship and being married are idolized. There’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship that God ordained or a marriage God ordained. There is an issue when it stops there. Being married is NOT the goal of Christianity. It does not stop there. That’s where my issue resided. I look back on my past relationships and being in a relationship and marriage was my idol.

As believers, we have to self-evaluate our motives and our hearts daily.

— “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

Question yourself to see what it is that is causing this desire? Ask yourself, “What is it that is distracting me because I have a desire for _________ instead of being content in Christ alone?”

Sometimes the things we struggle to let go of the most are our biggest idols.

 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14 ESV

By Ashley A. Johnson

Photo: IM Creator