I Gave Up Instagram and My Life Is So Much Happier

I Gave Up Instagram and My Life Is So Much Happier

"If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life"- Marcus Garvey
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That’s right, you read it correctly. For Lent season, I gave the most infamous and popular social media app up. For those of you who are not Roman Catholic, Lent is a religious period of reflection and prayer in honor of Jesus' journey to his ministry and death. It starts on Ash Wednesday (when Jesus began his journey in the desert), to right before Easter (when Jesus was resurrected). Whether one fully believes in it or not, it is a tradition to give up a guilty pleasure in remembrance of Him.

Instagram’s popularity has grown tremendously through the years. I remember when I was in middle school, posting random, non-aesthetically pleasing pictures for my own enjoyment, and receiving only one like. Today, that is considered taboo and you might as well quit the app.

Instagram has grown into a battle for many. It is all about the numbers now. If you don’t have more than a thousand followers, you are viewed as an outsider in society. If you do not get more than a 100 likes on a photo, than you must be “weird.”

People post pictures now not because they personally like them, but rather because they hope the public will. In order to grow a following or fame on the app, you have to rack up in numbers. Therefore, you post pictures to impress your audience and attract more followers, not to make yourself happy.

This unhealthy new lifestyle has taken a toll on many, including myself. I found myself growing paranoid and obsessing over getting at least 300 likes per post. If I didn’t (which happened often), I started to blame myself for it. I would start pinpointing all the negatives about myself such as “I am not pretty enough,” or “These other people have a much more unattainable, perfect life compared to me, and I should just stop posting.” My confidence was tarnished.

Lent season approached and I had no idea what to give up for my Lord. So, I decided to take the initiative to give up thinking negatively about myself and to improve my self-esteem. After all, Lent is all about forgiveness for our sins and for being the best humans we can be. As a solution, I decided to take a break from Instagram.

Instead of waking up and scrolling through the app as my first priority of my daily routine, I would wait until after dinner. Posting every two days? More like I posted once every three weeks, or even more (with the exception of Spring Break because you know...Spring Break). Sometimes I would even delete the app from my phone so I wouldn’t fall into temptation. The whole purpose of this was to give my mind a break from the app. I didn’t want to frown at other popular posts and start beating myself up because I didn’t look like them or live their life. Comparison is the deadliest poison to one’s confidence.

How am I feeling you might ask? I do not regret my decision. I have noticed that I feel happier and more carefree now, not caring about updating my feed with pointless pictures just to gain likes. I actually fully indulge myself in my surroundings now, instead of behind my phone’s camera lens.

Most importantly, my confidence has improved. I no longer wish to be someone else or think poorly of myself. NO ONE is perfect. EVERYONE is unique and beautiful in their own exotic way. Yes, someone out there may be prettier and skinnier than you, but that does not mean you are ugly. The only thing I regret is that Lent season had to roll around in order for me to begin transforming my self-confidence.

Cover Image Credit: Pro Church Media

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

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Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

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Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

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God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

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We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

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Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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