“Put good in, get good out!” may just seem like one of those cliché phrases you hear in juice commercials. But that simple truth has been making itself clear these past few weeks. One of the simplest ways to think about it is with food. For example, let’s say I only eat In-N-Out, chocolate ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Frappuccinos. I’m probably going to feel awful all the time. But if I eat right and exercise (and drink Kombucha because it’s amazing) I’m going to feel good. This mindset of getting out what you put in is true is so many ways other than what you eat.
- What are you watching?
There are a lot of things that are out there for people to watch that are obviously going to wreak havoc on their minds. A pretty obvious example is porn. Pornography is not only the complete opposite of what God created sex for, but it kills love. It sets false standards and can quickly become an addiction. Personally, I have never watched porn or had the desire to watch it, but I have watched other things that impacted my attitude.
There are shows, movies, and videos out there that seem harmless but can actually affect the way we act. For example, the other week I was super irritable, rude, defensive, and Tucker called me out on it. I really wasn’t sure why I was acting this way because I didn’t really have any major stressors/problems that week. I couldn’t figure it out until I got back to my Netflix queue. That week and the week prior I had been binge-watching Riverdale. For those of you who haven’t watched it here’s the rundown: a kid mysteriously dies, bad stuff goes on, they’re trying to solve a mystery, there’s lies and secrets, there’s fighting and deceit, there’s also some not great acting but it’s interesting. And don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you can never watch shows like Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale. What I am saying about shows like that is, take it easy. Remind yourself that you don’t have to lie or be sassy like Veronica Lodge. Take a break from shows with negative messages and focus on good things. And if you continue finding your mind being negatively affected by watching a show, STOP WATCHING. Hotel Transylvania 2 is also on Netflix people.
It is not always the obvious things like porn that can negatively impact us. Sometimes it’s the things that seem silly or subtle that can discreetly slip in and hurt us.
- Who are you hanging out with?
This one is tricky. I feel like Christians too often find their little bubble and stay in it (I do it too). We have people who help us get through life, support us, and have similar beliefs as us. These are the people we often go to when we struggle and it is not a bad thing to have a good support system. The early church in the book of Acts paints a great picture of true friendship. These people were selling all their possessions, giving to others, and doing life together.
But God did not send His son to die for only you and your church friends, He sent him for everyone. Jesus did not hang out with the Pharisees, he sought out the lost and made them feel loved. That is exactly what we are called to do. It is by no means an easy task but it is what we do.
If there is someone you call your friend who does not value you as a person, they are not your friend. This is one of the hardest things I struggled with in high school. I wanted to be friends with everyone. But being friends with everyone also meant being friends with people who were not good for me. Maybe your friend constantly influences you to go against what you believe in. It happens once or twice and you don’t think much of it. It happens again, you shrug it off. It only continues and gets worse from there. One of the hardest things in my Christian walk has been lovingly escaping a bad friendship. I say lovingly because we are called to love. It is important to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of Christ even in situations where it makes sense to be rude. Stop hanging with the people who impact your mind negatively and discourage the person God is making you to be. It is hard but looking back on it, it is so worth it.
- What are you listening to?
Go check your phone. What is the last thing you were listening to? I was listening to “Suicide Nets” by nobigdyl. I have been trying to listen to Christian music simply because I need to get out of this funk I have been in for a while. I have noticed simply by listening to encouraging music my whole day can change. Last year I used to go to the gym and listen to Fetty Wap while I did cardio (okay you have permission to make fun of me this one time). I also only did cardio and never had the courage to lift weights. Listening to music like that seems harmless in the moment, but music with inappropriate content and vulgar language can seriously impact what comes out of YOUR mouth. If you turn on the radio right now to a top ten station or something like that you would probably notice negativity. Negativity in the way artists describe women. Negativity in the value the singer has for relationships. Negativity in the value people place on their own bodies (in how much they drink, how often they party, etc). Negativity in general.
My fiancé actually started this challenge for our students. He challenges them to listen to only Christian artists/worship music for a week and see what changes. I have been doing this for a while now and it has helped significantly. I feel like people have this preconceived idea that all Christian music is “Amazing Grace” and the soundtrack you hear at Chick-fil-a. If you are willing to look, you will find that Christian music does not have to be lame. It is just like any other music in the sense that if you don’t like a genre, listen to something else. If you don’t like Toby Mac listen to Fresh Life. If you need something to listen to at the gym like me, Christian rap is no joke. Seek it out because it is out there!
This concludes my advice that I am still learning how to use myself. I don’t want anyone to think that because they don’t follow these three steps that I think anything less of them. This seriously is just ideas that pop into my head and have helped me get out of my angry/anxious funk. Another positive option is reading the Bible. God’s word is the LIVING word. And as always, if anyone needs prayer/coffee feel free to let me know! Thank you for reading everyone.