So many conversations that I have with my friends at Bible study end up focusing on the pitfalls of social media. Somehow, whatever we are talking about that week, ties into our usage/dependence on apps like Instagram or Facebook. We discuss their mostly negative impact on us on a weekly basis, yet have I deleted either of those apps? Nope! I'm like Gollum and the ring. I think about giving them up, then find myself petting my phone whispering "my precious". Not really, but I might as well be.
Anyway, during one of these discussions one friend brought up how even the good accounts, the ones we follow to be uplifted or reminded of God's truth during our everyday lives, can be misleading. We all follow various Christian women's Bible Study groups and have come to notice a trend in the images they share: Boy are they beautiful! Perfect even.
Pictures of women reading their Bible lakeside, or curled up in the worlds coziest bed with coffee they somehow managed to not spill on the fluffy, white comforter. Or perfectly scribbled notes in the margins of their perfectly highlighted Bibles. Or even a wife and her husband holding hands and smiling over their couples devotional while their french toast sits steaming beside them.
So basically the exact opposite of any of my mornings.
I'll admit (and I hope I don't lose you here) I am 100% a morning person. I love mornings. I embrace them. I long for them. I enjoy them. Coffee helps of course, but I would love mornings without it. When I was between jobs and had all morning to do as I pleased, I had a very nice routine. Make breakfast for Matthew darling and I. Clean up the kitchen. Start some laundry. Brew my coffee. Sit down to spend ample time with the Lord. But even then, there weren't fresh flowers in the vase by the couch, or highlighters arranged nicely on my coffee table. There was me, journals, Bible, notes, and pens scattered all around me on the couch. A water bottle leaning on a pillow and my coffee mug barely within reach since I sat in the middle of the couch and the table is on the end.
My mornings, as sweet and as meaningful as they were, weren't looking like the devotions I was seeing on social media. I began to wonder what kind of women were having mornings like these when I saw the light in the form of a revealing Instagram post.
Duh! Why didn't I think of this? I guess I assumed Christian women's Bible study organizations were "keeping it real". NOPE. One account that I followed was sharing some behind-the-scenes shots of their latest photo shoot. Makeup artists and all. I got a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach and thought about one of my least favorite sayings that I see plastered all over coffee mugs and t-shirts these days: I need a little coffee and a whole lot of Jesus! Yuck.
I need a whole lot of Jesus. Period. I need a whole lot more of Him than I make the time for. I need Him first thing in the morning or at some point in the next few hours I'm going to start believing the lies that the enemy is consistently whispering to me. And Jesus meets me where I am: on my slip-covered couch with all my books scattered around me; at my kitchen table where remnants of breakfast are the only decoration; in my bed, where countless pairs of socks are crumpled up under the covers after being discarded sometime in the night.
I like pretty things as much, if not more than the next girl, but glamorizing our quiet times with the Lord isn't doing us any favors. I really think it waters down our faith. It turns the wine back into water.
I started thinking about women believers in third world countries. Women who cling to their one Bible because they know it really is their most precious belonging. Women who maybe sleep in the same clothes they work in all day. Women who don't own a coffee mug much less a smart phone to Instagram their coffee. Women who have never heard of Bible journaling or Pinterest. I began to wonder if their time spent in God's word, whether in the morning or not, was the most fruitful of all? Why? Because these women wake up every morning knowing they are waking up to do battle.
Jesus never promised us that following Him would be pretty here on Earth. In fact, He blatantly warns us of the opposite. He told us that we. are. at. war. There are forces working against us, ready to steal, kill, and destroy. And by golly, we better not show up for the fight empty handed. (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4; 2 Timothy 3:12; John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12-13; Ephesians 6:13-17)
I hope that the kitschy quotes and photo shopped quiet times we see throughout our social media feed aren't selling the world on a rose-colored version of our faith. Reality isn't sipping tea , in your monogrammed pj's, cozied up on your chaise lounge while Cinderella's bird friends make your bed and you open your Bible. Real mornings look like tired, sometimes frazzled women waking up to prepare for BATTLE. Real mornings are spent doing the things we have to do to run our households and get our families ready for the day. Real mornings may require putting the coffee pot on, but they DEFINITELY require putting on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
I know in my heart that the companies behind the perfectly arranged and professionally lit photos have the best intentions. They want to draw women to Christ and we women like pretty things! Also, there's nothing wrong with them. I myself would own 100 coffee mugs if I had the kitchen space to store them! But the pretty things, the feel good quotes, the perfect long morning spent snuggled up by the fire or a big window, that's not it. Following Jesus is so much more. And I mean that is the BEST way.
I'm going to try to structure my mornings differently. I want to start the day in the mindset of a warrior who is out to win the battle. What would my mornings be like if I was a real warrior? How different would they look? I bet I wouldn't spend 10 minutes scrolling through my various social media apps before my feet even hit the floor. Let's do it friends! Let's start our mornings prepping for battle!
My great-grandmother, Honey, lived to be 105 years old. She used her lipstick as her blush when she was getting ready for something and would refer to it as her "warpaint" because she applied it in two diagonal lines, one on each cheek then rubbed it in before leaving the house. Except one time, after getting funny looks as she pushed her cart through the grocery store, she realized she had in fact not rubbed it in and had gone about her day in her "warpaint". If you knew Honey, or her story at all, you would know that the lady was a true warrior. Her warpaint was just blush in reality, but you can bet she started her days, lived her days, and ended her days, ready for battle, armed with the word of God.
I want to be that kind of warrior. Don't you?