I Need More Cloud Space: The Search for a Silver Lining
I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to go for the 64gb option with my iphone. SURE I’d save a few hundred dollars on the upfront price BUT I knew the issue of storage space would cause me grief in the near future. But in my romantic ideal to “clear clutter” I went with that option anyway. Terrible idea.
So on the occasional event that my phone would pop up with the “Manage Storage” warning, I’d look for old files in new places to clear.
Usually it would be chatgroups with many memes or gifs that would cut it — its been the covid-19 debacle that saw memes and doomsday news flying left-right-and-center of late, 90% of which i promptly deleted.
Having exhausted clearing the collection of lame memes, I proceeded to cull old media from my saved messages. Scroll.... scroll.... select... deleted... and I eventually got to a photo of myself in my early days of crossfit in 2016.
I looked disgusting.
Granted I was feeling pretty crappy about myself that day so instead of thinking “hey i’ve come a long way from where i was before,” I found myself thinking, “wow I was such a loser,” and doubting in my progress thus far.
After all I probably thought I was fat, but alright then.
So maybe I’m seeing myself through tinted glasses now?
Suffice it to say, I wasn’t in a great place that day.
Earlier that same day, a comment was made to me which questioned my sincerity as a friend. While it was made in jest, my spirit crumbled in guilt.
That day, the oversold “its the inside that counts” story became bullshit. The Cinderella Story of the girl from 200-pound Beauty who wasn’t pretty enough to go on stage despite her great personality and amazing voice, or the message behind Shallow Hal, who managed to see the inner beauty of women expressed externally (he gained such insight after getting electrocuted) were hopeful stories that held little water in the real world.
That visual of me from 2016, coupled with a head reeling from guilt from that simple comment, made me question if I was at all beautiful inside. Maybe not all fat girls have fat hearts (Fat Amy, Pitch Perfect).
And maybe, I look the same as I did back then.
Maybe, I’m really a not as good a person as I believe myself to be.
Maybe, I’m ugly inside and out.
🤯 🤯 🤯
I don’t want to end this post with a pity-party of my short-comings, but this sharing is honestly how many people feel because years of calcified insecurity isn’t something we can easily shake off.
The Secret of Contentment (not a snake oil sales pitch)
A week ago I prepared a message for my girls titled, The Secret of Contentment. I had adapted it from a podcast by Wade Joyce on Chasing Contentment because I felt that I had to share something along the lines of loving oneself that week. Led to this message, I prepped my notes, not fully understanding the relevance but knowing that it was what I needed to say.
And it is only as I am writing this real time that I spotted this message in my notes.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
Contentment isn’t a pursuit, but it’s a DAILY DECISION we much choose to have.
(Paul used content "in" rather than content "with")
That verse shifted my perspective from thinking about contentment as a moving target that i had to chase.
If I kept running AFTER contentment, I’d tire out. But if I put myself in a position of contentment in every situation, I would find joy. Not in being satisfied with my current position and being lazy to move forward, but in accepting where I was and making the most of it.
Stop CHASING contentment.
And HOW do we do that?
I shared 3 things that day: (ONE) Practice the Petition, (TWO) Practice Turning Away, and (THREE) Practice Living in the Now.
[*warning* if this bores you, at least read points 2 and 3 :)]
ONE: Practice the Petition
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6 NIV
a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority in respect of a particular cause.
If I acknowledge that God is the Authority in my life, what is my case to Him?
And more importantly, why am I afraid to make this case to Him?
As I was praying, I realised for many of us it wasn’t just because we asked with the wrong motives, but it was more the OTHER REASON we spoke about. we do not ask because we fear that the answer is “No”. So what do we do?
We lower our expectations so that when He says YES, we are content. If he says NO, we are not disappointed we lower our level of belief/expectation/faith, and we claim it’s CONTENTMENT, when it’s really COMPLACENCY.
Joanna shared of God restoring the lost years, but we have to first lay them down-- I will restore the years that the locust hast eaten (Joel 2:25). But we must first surrender.
Contentment: isn’t just settling for where we are. it’s found in knowing that we are somewhere in our life with someone with the authority to make it better
TWO: Practice Turning Away
Maybe something more understandable for most people is learning to turn away. Like Lot's wife who turned into a pillar of salt as she looked back to her past instead of walking towards the life that God had promised her (and not heeding his warnings), we often look back at the life that we left behind.
We dwell on memories, both good and bad, and let those memories weigh us down.
In my case, I looked back on the bad and the self-loathing that followed held me back from moving forward... and the thought of it continues to shackle me.
Yet we must look ahead at what is to come. To a future that is not yet formed and that we have the ability to shape, however minutely.
“Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.” — Epictetus
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”
Ephesians 3:20 NIV
To infinity and beyond.
THREE: Practice Living in the Now
& loving the life you have now!
So, as John Piper counsels, “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have”.
Realising that I don't have to like my situation to recognise that Christ is in it with me is comforting. Because I have someone who will fight with me even when the going gets tough.
The Bottom Line:
Contentment is NEVER going to come in the next season if we don’t practice it NOW.
And I choose to be content, even if the past tells me otherwise.
Even if people say things that make me think otherwise.
Yes it will be difficult, because old habits die hard.
Up till now I felt that I had been walking on a bumpy road with the occasional sink hole. Self-doubt and insecurity would surface and I would stumble, with the façade of "everything is ok" threatened to cave each time. But with this added awareness I will do my best to find that solid ground.
My prayer is that we learn to love ourselves a little bit more. Because if we don't start, others will not see a reason to either.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! ❤️
A/N: Being very real and vulnerable as I write this >.<
I have a bunch of notes in my phone where I keep ramblings as and when I get inspiration or see the need to pen down my thoughts. Most of the time these are half-written because I want to come back to them given some thought and refinement. This time I needed to get this off my mind because the thoughts were so poisonous and I felt pretty miserable. But as I wrote that message was revealed to me. And while that tiny bit of application may seem trivial or coincidental, I choose to see reason and timeliness in that message. I hope it blesses you as much as it did me:)