Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been on a hiatus. I never intended to take this long of a break from this platform. But here I am six months later writing this post.
During my absence, some of you wanted to know the answer to two questions:
- Do we still homeschool?
- Where have I been?
Yes, we still homeschool. We’re finishing up the first semester of our fourth year and it’s been great so far. One of the better years, for sure.
But where have I been and why do I keep disappearing? I hope the following sentiments help you understand what is going on inside my head.
The pride of life. That’s the phrase that kept ringing in my ear whenever I thought about social media. But I never gave it much thought until I heard someone quote 1 John 2:16.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
This scripture convicted me, but I didn’t fully understand the extent of that conviction. Desires of the flesh and desires of the eyes are straightforward, but what does the pride of life even mean? Shouldn’t we be proud of the life God gave us and the blessings that come with it?
During this time of conviction, I lost my desire to partake in social media. It started the day I caught a glimpse of my children snuggled on the couch with their dad. As someone who used social media as a platform to connect with my readers, of course, I thought this precious moment was worthy of being captured for the world to see. Only, I picked up my phone to discover it wouldn’t turn on. I’d forgotten to recharge it. I let the moment pass, but couldn’t shake the way I was feeling. Why did I feel so annoyed that I didn’t get to capture that moment?
I started paying closer attention to my thought process. For self-examination purposes, I scrolled through my Instagram page to get a better understanding of what I chose to post and why. The reality sobered me. There were some questionable posts that I know for certain didn’t come from a desire to inspire or help others. And while I’m typically mindful of refraining from overt bragging, there were many “humble brag” posts that slipped through the cracks.
What are humble brag posts? Posts with an ulterior motive. Posts that look like humility on the surface, but the real motive is to show how good-looking you are, fit you are, intelligent you are, spiritual you are, blessed you are, or successful you are. These posts are typically under the guise of inspiration, tips, ideas, advice, or spirituality—and they are designed to showcase you in the best light possible.
So, I had to ask again; What does the pride of life really mean? My quest led me to this definition:
“The pride of life can be defined as anything that is “of the world,” meaning anything that leads to arrogance, ostentation [showiness, flashiness], pride in self, presumption, and boasting. (Words in brackets are mine.)
Let’s go a little deeper, shall we? What do the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes have in common? They are notoriously known as the “three temptations of sin.” Biblical scholars note the very first illustration of these three temptations is in the story of Adam and Eve. We all know the story; Eve sees the apple as desirable to eat (lust of the eyes), good for food (lust of the flesh), and desirable for gaining wisdom and becoming like God (the pride of life). It is the same approach that Satan used to tempt Jesus.
But why is the pride of life so significant? Because it is the vehicle for the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. Everything we do that displeases God is driven by the pride of life. I won’t even try to think up better examples for the pride of life, as Revelation.co summed it up nicely, here:
- Desiring to get credit or glory for things that others (or God) did.
- Desiring for others to worship us or hold us in excess esteem, “to make a name for ourselves.”
- Desiring to feel valued or more important than others around us.
- Desiring to have positions of power over others in a way that puffs up our own ego for the sake of bragging rights (Jesus said that those who desire to be great should be the greatest servant).
So, you see, social media platforms are successful because they play off the “pride of life.” We are looking for praise from others, worship from others, status above others, or power over others. Scroll through your social media pages and be real with yourself; how many of your posts fell into any one of the above categories? How many of your posts are disguised as inspiration, ideas, tips, or spirituality, but you can admit that the real motive fell into one of the above categories? How many times did you look at someone else’s posts and covet what they had? Judged them? Or felt superior to them? I am not here to condemn, but to enlighten:
If you are a Believer using social media as your platform, you MUST examine yourself OFTEN!
This is why I had to step away from these platforms. I needed to reevaluate myself. I didn’t want to return (if I ever returned) until I had a clean heart and clear conscious. Make no mistake that God does not place Himself into a box. He can and will use whatever He desires to further His Kingdom agenda—yes, even social media. However, as a Believer I ought to be sure that I’m pointing others to Christ, not myself. I love this quote that I stumbled across, but forgive me for not recalling the author:
A prideful person uses himself as the standard for others’ performance. But a humble person looks at the life of Jesus as the example and points people to Him.
This quote reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:31; Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” It is my prayer that whatever I share from here on out reflects this truth.
The truth is our homeschool journey is a miracle. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without God.
During this season of my life, my desire is to inspire women who are called to homeschool; to allow my journey to serve as testimony that you don’t have to have the perfect circumstances to walk in your calling. If you’ve been trekking with me, you know that God called me and my husband to homeschool at the MOST inconvenient time. With limited finances and resources, homeschooling took a huge leap of faith. And, yet, here we are well into our fourth year! We’ve grown businesses, made awesome friends, and have everything we need to homeschool successfully.
Lately, I’ve been receiving emails and increased visits to my blog. Some of you have written me lovely messages describing how much my posts have inspired you during your homeschool journey. I want to take the time to say thank you! Your encouragement reminded me of why I started this whole thing in the first place. Blogging has been the perfect way for me to combine my love for writing with teaching and inspiring others. Instagram and Facebook have been fun ways to connect with all of you outside the blog and share day-in-the-life videos and posts.
They are not my “platforms,” they are ways to connect with those of you separated by distance. In fact, my prayer is that I make a conscious effort to make God my platform. He is the only foundation on which I should choose to stand.
I’m not saying that everything I do from here on out will be perfect or that I’m now exempt from falling into the pride of life. What I will say is that my goal is to simply be a light in any way the Lord calls me to do it. And as a fun fact: I actually wrote this post in July 2017 during one of my first social media breaks. I never posted it because I wasn’t even sure it was coherent and thought it was too preachy. But whatever the case, it was on my heart to share this just as it is. So here you go!
If you have any questions about faith, family, or homeschool, feel free to drop me a line. Until next time, friends…
Hello beautiful people! I’m back!
Can I just say for the past few weeks I’ve been stumped on what to write about? Or rather, I’ve been writing, but have been stumped on what to actually post. Much of my writing never makes it to this platform because I believe everything must be done in divine order. Therefore, when it comes to posts like these, I must feel a conviction to share them.
That conviction came after realizing there’s so much self-transformation that I went through as a woman of God that can help other women who are where I was. Confidence is something we all struggle with. Some of us to a larger degree than others. But over the years, I’ve learned some things that helped me mature in this area of my life.
It’s important to remember that confidence is one thing, matured confidence is another. Many of us have confidence but aren’t growing in it as we should. After all, confidence, like many other virtues, is a muscle that must be built up and strengthened overtime.
Today, I’m sharing three simple strategies that transformed me into a woman of matured confidence. These methods aren’t just something to check off my list, but are meant to be followed and lived out on a daily basis.
1. Turn it off!
My journey to matured confidence began when I turned off the television.
That was 8 years ago. During this time, I eliminated all distractions in order to grow spiritually. I realized continually exposing myself to images that narrowly portrayed beauty, and cosmetic commercials that prayed on the insecurities of women, was harmful to my self-esteem and spiritual growth.
Not only did I grow spiritually, but I also grew in self-confidence. The lack of exposure to “one type of beauty” helped me focus on what makes me beautiful, rather than what doesn’t make me beautiful. For years, I was oblivious to fashion, makeup, and hairstyle trends—and it was so freeing to be out of the loop. I just did me.
Years later, I would come to do the same with social media.
Turn it off.
Even though I’ve built a solid foundation for my self-confidence over the years, I’m still very careful to preserve it. That means spending more time living out my purpose and less time watching other people live out theirs.
This has been tricky since I use Instagram and Facebook to connect with all of you. But I’ve been able to master that art of balance by instilling a couple rules that I may talk about in a future post.
2. Give Yourself Permission.
Yes, give yourself permission to feel beautiful. I know many women who struggle in this area. They don’t give themselves permission to feel beautiful because they’ve got belly fat, stretch marks, cellulite, acne, dark skin, pale skin, or whatever else is in direct opposition with ideal beauty standards.
But who orchestrated this law that one doesn’t deserve to feel beautiful if they don’t fit the beauty standard? I’ll let you in on a little secret; advertising companies work diligently to ensure we hate the way we look. Why? Because then they can sell us weight loss pills, stretch mark creams, tanning lotions, lip plumpers, or whatever else we desperately reach for in an effort to fit the mold.
I remember conversing about body image with an old coworker of mine, who gasped when I shared my weight with her. Her response?
“I’d just die if I weighed that much!”
Not even kidding. Those were her exact words.
I was trying to make a point that numbers on the scale didn’t matter, considering I was pretty healthy and fit at the time. But in her eyes, there was something wrong with a woman being okay with less than ideal numbers on the scale. To her, I didn’t deserve to have body confidence. But, I let her commentary roll off my back. I loved the way I looked, and the numbers on the scale wasn’t going to change my perception.
After birthing and nursing two children, you’d better believe I have stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin, saggy boobs, and extra weight. But each day I give myself permission to feel beautiful, anyway. None of these things are “flaws,” but are a result of living life and birthing life—a privilege not afforded to many.
3. Build Inner Peace.
We’ve all had that moment when we looked upon a gorgeous woman, admiring her beauty, only to discover she has an ugly disposition. Suddenly, that woman isn’t so beautiful to us anymore.
Because inward beauty always trumps physical beauty. A kind spirit, a joyful soul, and a heart at peace is the biggest enhancement we can make to our appearance.
Consider this verse: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13
This verse reminds me of the first time I realized that walking with God was the best beauty treatment I could give myself.
It was a time when I should’ve been living in despair. Everything around me was falling apart. My husband became unemployed almost as soon as we learned I was pregnant with our second baby. We watched our resources slowly wither to nothing. It was a very stressful time for us.
But it was also a beautiful time.
Beautiful because our peace and faith remained intact. God provided for us in the most mysterious ways. Unexpected cash, checks, and money orders made their way to our mailbox, and we had a community of people that faithfully supported us during that season.
I remember during this time people would ask me, “What’s going on with you? You seem so happy. You’re glowing.” At first, I was confused by this recurring inquiry; I wasn’t doing anything differently with my physical appearance, our financial situation was still a wreck, and I went from being heavily pregnant to a visibly tired new momma. Yet, people were commenting on how radiant, happy, and beautiful I looked—like I was withholding some amazing news.
I could only chalk it up to experiencing the glory of God. The intimate time I was spending with the Lord offered me an inexplicable joy that revealed itself through my countenance and reminded me that true beauty is a heart at peace. That’s when I feel the best about myself.
I want to end this post by saying confidence isn’t something you just say you have. Rather, it must be nurtured, tested, and approved by God because in Him is where it truly rests. If your confidence depends on the material things of this world, it will waver. Why? Because “things” are only temporary, but our God is eternal.
I want to hear from you. What invaluable lessons have you learned about self-confidence? Let me know in the comments!