Monday, June 29, 2015

The Honest Truth about my Life

Friends, family, and strangers,

Recently the Lord Jesus Christ has done a big work in my life and I wanted to share what He has done with the world. He has called me to be bold when I am just a weak young woman in need of so much grace and mercy. The Father has supplied that every second of my life thus far and I know He will continue to for the rest of my life and through eternity. He has delivered me from a few different addictions. I am still blown away at God’s goodness and mercy towards me.
For about 1 year from March 2014 until March 2015 I had been very depressed. I had never been so depressed before. Sad feelings and mixed emotions had happened many times for me in my 23 years of life. But this was nothing like those fleeting,  sad feelings I had had before when I was a child, teenager, and young woman.
                    I felt downcast like it says in Psalm 42:5, “Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you at turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” The depression came in slowly like a mist or fog. I could see that I started to get angry at other people. I started to become dissatisfied with my life.

I became dissatisfied with my relationships with my family and friends. At first I knew why, but I did not want to admit it. I was depressed because I was not living my life. I would sit for hours looking at social media websites. Since I was not active anymore I was dissatisfied with my life.

                    I used to sing, bike, jog, go on walks, have dinner with friends, go to social gatherings. I did not want to do any of these activities anymore. The reason for this was I felt useless because the social media made me feel like a failure. This was one of the many lies I started to believe. When I believed them, I lost sight of my purpose in life.

I turned to youtube videos to get a people “fix” since I was not socializing with my friends and family like I had used to do. Any of you who know me in real life know that I am an extrovert so isolating yourself by yourself day after day is tiring, feels hopeless, and feels lonely.

                  My purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy being in a real relationship with Him.  I knew running away from this important relationship was wrong. The social media addiction took up all the time I used to spend with Jesus and actual people. But I kept pushing the addiction aside until I could not deal with it on my own any longer.

 The addiction was to social media. This addiction led to constantly checking my Facebook account, Instagram account, pinterest, text messages, and email. All of these social media platforms controlled my life. I could not get anything done that I was responsible for in a timely manner.

 I even became angry at my parents and sister pretty easily and even other people I was not related to. I was so impatient most of the time because the social media was instant and my life was not instant like I wanted. Getting angry is fine as long as we do not sin because of the anger. As it says in God’s Word in the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verse 26, another. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” These angry outbursts happened daily. It did not help that I had a smart phone so I could check these applications 24/7 at the touch of a button.

The smartphone had become a way for me to escape from my life. It was a way for me to isolate myself from the world around me and not deal with my sin issues immediately. The social media was a distraction and a way to be complacent from my sin.

The reason I wanted to escape my life through social media was because I knew what God wanted me to do with my life and I did not want to follow through with it. He had told me I am an artist. I am a singer, songwriter, pianist, vocalist, love to draw and paint art, and write words. I wanted to run away from my identity in Christ. I feared what other people would think if I proclaimed Jesus Christ through my life. The book of Proverbs chapter 29:25 spoke loud and clear to me. “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

I did not want to be a “city on a hill” as I am called to be as a follower of Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I did not want to stand out from the American(western) culture/crowd. I was afraid that if I stepped out in faith in Jesus Christ and shared my talents with others that I would get hurt.

 My life is actually really blessed by God and I started to forget this fact/truth while I wasted hours upon hours of my precious time on social media. It became so bad that it started to control my eating habits, sleep habits, friendships, and family relationships. Most of all, to my horror, my time with Jesus in prayer and reading His love letter to me disappeared altogether.  

I had let my emotions control me instead of the Truth. The reason these hours on social media were dangerous for me and leading to so much sin was because I was not daily refreshing myself in God’s Word, the Bible. I was desperate for water as it says in Psalm 42:1-2, “As the Deer pants for the flowing streams, so my soul pants for you O my God,  my soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

 I now have learned that if I do not read the Bible daily I forget that this earth is not my home; I have a home with my Heavenly Father in heaven. The things of this world have distracted me so many days and they still do to some extent. The social media addiction was a big worldly distraction for me. Now God is teaching me how to use social media as a tool again instead of a distraction from Jesus.

Another sin issue I have dealt with my whole life has been social anxiety. As I mentioned towards the beginning of this letter, I feared man more than God. Sometimes, my fear of what others may be thinking of me has gotten so bad in the past that I have frozen in terror. I did not know what to do because I was so scared that I would become paralyzed in fear. I know now this is from the enemy Satan.

 I still deal with fear, but now I know how to deal with it. Whenever I start to fear what others may think I can think instead, “ What does God think?” That always calms me down. It gives me peace and assurance that fear is normal, but I don’t have to stay fearful. The book of Psalm chapter 27 verse 1 has been a comfort. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Whenever I would see a picture of another young woman I would wish I was her. I was dissatisfied with my appearance even though God says a lot about who I am in His Word.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” This verse is from the book of Psalms Chapter 139 verse 14.

Remember you are beautiful; Jesus loves you with an everlasting and unwavering love that can never ever be taken away from you. Look to the Lord Jesus and He will tell you great and marvelous things you do not know. He wants to speak to you.

The only way I was able to come out of the pit of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and social media addiction was through the Word of God. Before I let myself give into the lies and believe the lies Satan was feeding me I loved the Word of God because I believed it was the Truth. Now that I have been delivered from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and social media addiction, I love the Bible again! I love life again! I love God again! He never let go of me even when I turned away and had tried to run away from Him. Jesus purused me like no one ever has. He relentlessly in love with me so much so that He took my penalty for my sin. He bore it all on His shoulders on the cross! But it did not stop there. He did not stay in the grave! He rose again on the 3rd day of being in the ground from the grave! He won over sin and death and now He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for His people the Church.

The Word of God (the Bible) proves true always! While I was in the midst of depression, anxiety, and social media addiction, the Word of God was telling me the Truth about myself, who I am, who I will become, and the world around me. It was the anchor that I needed, because it told me I was beautiful when my feelings told me I was not.

It was the anchor that I needed that told me you are gloriously loved by a Man who died for you! It was the anchor that told me you are going to be ok! Even if you were to die right now you would fall into the arms of a Savior who is the Perfect Father, Lover, Friend and Husband. It told me that when I was afraid I could put my trust and hope in God because He never changes.

So I would encourage you, look to Jesus. I looked to the world for all the answers to life. It gave me lies. When I look to Jesus Christ my personal Savior I have found the Truth about myself, my life, and the world around me. God tells us in the book of John chapter 14 verse 6, “Jesus said, “ I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through me.”

When I heard those words I knew it was true even while I was still enslaved to the addiction of social media. Now I can say without any doubts that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the life and now I have access to the wonderful, merciful, Holy and loving Father of the universe through Jesus Christ. I can talk to the Lord my Father anytime, anywhere.

It’s so comforting and freeing because now I have confessed my sins to the Lord and Jesus has been faithful and just to cleanse me of my sin and unrighteousness.  

Jesus put on His shoulders all of my sin and died a gruesome death for my sin. It’s like when you are in a courtroom and you are guilty of a crime. I am guilty of so many crimes;  lying, stealing, envy, cursing, suicidal thoughts and addiction to social media, not trusting God, pride, envy, coveting, laziness, lust, and worry.

 The Judge who is the Father said, “Rebecca there is a man here who wants to pay in full your penalty of death. He wants to die for you in your place.” When the Father who is the Judge told me that, even while in the midst of my addiction to social media, I knew I was beautiful and fully loved. I knew it was the Truth, that Jesus died for me.

He died for you as well. He loves you that much to die a painful, gruesome, horrible death because He wants you to be His child. He wants to wrap His loving arms around you right now and when you see Him in person someday.

 If you have some time, I would encourage you to read your Bible. The book of John is the best place to start because it’s all about Jesus, the God who died for you,  for your sins and loves you more than any other person ever could. Your family loves you, friends love you, I love you, but Jesus Christ loves you WAY more!!! ☺

Some thoughts to consider,
#1 Jesus loves you perfectly.
#2 There is nothing that can separate you from this love.
#3 Because of this love Jesus calls us to turn away from any addictions in our lives that separate us from Him.
#4 Separating ourselves from any addiction is hard.
#5 It’s not impossible to turn away from an addiction because with God all things are possible! :)
#6 If you can read The gospel of John it is a great place to start reading.
#7 We sin each day, but God’s grace covers our sins. If you sin it’s not the end of the world. It’s just another opportunity for Christ to shape you. Its another opportunity for you to look to Jesus for help and turn away from your sin.

4 comments:

Stephanie Ann said...

Rebecca,

You are not alone in this. I've encountered these issues especially depression and overuse of social media. I get depressed and it takes a lot of energy to see people. Even a few hours can get to be too much for me.

I want to be connected. Some days I find myself checking facebook almost every 5 minutes, then I'll check my email, pinterst, blog ect. then continue in a round for hours. But worse than just wasting free time, I too frequently avoid what needs to be done.

I have turned off all notifications on my phone because I found myself checking it each time there was a notification bubble. Now I only see things when I open up the apps. If I have a day where I spend a lot of time online I will have a no internet day. You might think it would be scary to have a no internet day but I tend to find it really refreshing. Constantly checking social media is more stressful than we realize.

I also have a friend and we encourage each other to do creative things every day and share them in a facebook group that we created. It's good to have a sounding board for creative things as well as people who will hold you accountable for living life to the fullest.

I am glad that you have shared this. I am sure we are not alone.

P.S. You feared what others thought of you? You are one of the most talented and pretty girls I have ever met. Go show the world what you are made of!

Vicki said...

Rebecca, I would like to chime in as well and agree that you are definitely not alone. Many of us are fighting the same battle. Social media addiction - or, more specifically, screen addiction, including computers, phones, tablets, and TV - is something that I have been dominated by for a long time. I would not say that I've gained victory over it yet.

Many of the strategies that Stephanie Ann mentioned - turning off phone notifications, taking "internet fasts," etc. - have definitely helped me, as has remembering all the things I love to do and feeling sad that I don't do them much anymore. I picked up a real book for the first time in weeks the other day, and I sat and devoured all 324 pages in just over an hour for sheer joy that I was doing my very favorite thing again after so long.

You are a wonderful and courageous woman, and I'm honored that you chose to share your struggles here so we could rejoice in them with you. Defeating any addiction is hard and I praise God that He has been bringing you through the valley and out of the darkness. Your story motivates me to keep trying to kick my own habit!!

Blessings and grace to you, my friend! Go forth and do great things in the light of God's love!

Love in Christ,
Vicki

Kimmie said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging others in what God has revealed to you. We all have things that try to hold us back from who God made us to be. If we give the devil a foothold, he happily grabs both ankles so that we can't go forward to do Kingdom business for Him.

I pray He continues to unveil your eyes and that this knew understanding brings you to a fresh desire to follow after Him passionately.

again, thanks for being willing to be transparent. May He use it for His glory.

Kimmie
mama to 8
one homemade and 7 adopted

Hannah P.S. said...

I know you posted this a while ago, but I just discovered your blog. Thank you so much for this post! I really needed to hear this today.