|Image source: Facebook
Today's discussion in the Married and Young 5 Day Challenge group was Pastor Jamal Miller's most transparent one yet. The topic he tackled today was lust. He explained that everything good isn't God, and used himself as an example, speaking candidly about his struggles with pornography addiction. Jamal revealed that he's had problems in this area since he was 12 years old. While it was "good" that he abstained from having sex with his wife until marriage, what he was doing wasn't godly because he was using masturbation as a coping mechanism, as a "safe" replacement for sex and as a refuge when times got hard. Jamal also made sure to emphasize that lust is not always sexual. For him, it was also dangerous emotional connections he was making with people and just self-control in general. He prayed for God to send him a wife because he thought that marriage could fix his addiction. and when he actually got married, he realized that marriage wasn't the solution. The solution was God.
That was my main takeaway point from the message this morning: Marriage is not a cure for anything. One thing I've struggled with in my Christian walk is social media. I think I subconsciously lust after experiences. What I mean by that is, sometimes I find myself scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. and saying, "Oooh, this person traveled to this place this week!" And, "This person met [insert celebrity name here]!" Or, "I wish my hair was as long as this person's." Or, "This person seems to have it all together. I wish my life was like that!" Recently, I've been scrolling and thinking, When I get married, my life is gonna be great! My husband and I will get to [insert everything I've seen every seemingly-perfect, wealthy married couple do on Instagram]! And even with this blog, I was getting way too caught up in how many people read each post and how many people liked what I said, literally and figuratively. It got to the point where I was like, "It's been up for three hours, and so far, nobody commented, only 25 people liked it on Instagram, and 15 people clicked the link to read it." It was consuming me, and for a little while, I asked myself, "Am I really called to do this?" I needed to step away and take a break.
Yesterday morning, Jamal talked about how he was spending too much time on social media, so engrossed in his phone that he couldn't actively listen to people during face-to-face conversations. When he said that, it was like God basically barged into my house, sat on my couch, and kicked His feet up, because that's exactly how I am with my phone. People speak to me in real life and I just completely tune them out because I "have to" compose the perfect Tweet...no. I never want to get to the point where God is trying to speak to me and I tune Him out, so I took Jamal's advice and went on a 4-hour social media fast from 6-10pm EST. I was prepared for it to be difficult, but surprisingly, I kept it turned off for FIVE hours instead of four (Don't laugh lol). This was HUGE for me. I didn't even really miss it. I'm doing it again tonight and tomorrow night. I'm serious about this "less of me, more of Thee" thing, and I need to prove it to Him. A "lit" social media account and the number of followers on my blog doesn't determine whether or not I'm called to be a writer. Marriage won't fix the parts of me that need fixing. Marriage won't automatically guarantee a perfect life. Following God will guarantee everlasting life, and that's what matters. Let us pray:
God, help us to put You first above ALL things. Don't let our lust for sex, married life, or someone else's life distract us from our pursuit of everlasting life. Help us to focus less on who follows us on social media and more on following You. Help us to realize that the only validation we need is the 'yes' you give us, and help us to be satisfied in that. While we wait for You to send us a spouse, and even after You send them, help us to crucify our flesh everyday and submit wholeheartedly to Your will. Let our lives and our unions be a reflection of who You are.
In Jesus' name we pray,
For a recap of the message Jamal shared yesterday, click here.