Months ago Jefferson Bethke recommended this book to his following on social media, so I hurried off to one of my favorite places ever, Barnes & Noble, (#nerdalert) and purchased it right away. Mostly because I admire the Bethke’s and greatly respect their opinions, but also because the subtitle, “Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World” caught my attention and tugged on my heart. You know when you hear something and it resonates with you and you just can’t shake it? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

If you’re a bookworm like me, you may struggle with being bombarded by so many “must reads.” I offer no excuse or reason besides prioritizing other great reads as the explanation for why it wasn’t until today, while flying from Chicago to Philadelphia, that I finally ended up reading it; a book I felt so strongly and excited about, #Struggles. I was entranced by Groeschel’s words throughout my flight (well, when I wasn’t napping that is) and during our layover. Let it be known- this book WRECKED me.

You see, I’m truly doing my best to follow Jesus in world of self(ie)-centeredness, but I fall short daily. And if I’m being honest, heck, I’m (part of) the problem. I’m GUILTY.
Call it narcissism, vanity, or just plain old full of myself: I contribute to our self(ie)-centered world.
I contribute by constantly documenting my life, obsessing over the prettiest filters, spending so much time on the “perfect” caption, tempting other people to compare theirs to mine, feeding my Dopamine addiction as each “like” heart notification pops up… you get the idea.
Ask yourself honestly, do you contribute to our selfie-centered world? Are you ever torn between a love for the good in social media and the evil it can stir up? If so, this book is for you. Like it did for me, I can assure you it will convict and challenge you, while opening the eyes of your heart if you allow.
I even texted my husband to say that I’m mad at you, Craig Groeschel. But I also want to give you a big hug and say thanks. Kind of the way a child does when their parent acknowledges a wrong-doing and, despite embarrassment or shame, they’re thankful somebody cares and loves them through it.
With over 50 sticky notes (probably hundreds of mark-ups) in the book and a soul determined to be filled up by Jesus alone, I have decided to implement multiple strategies that Groeschel offers in #Struggles. If I shared them all, you would have no reason to go snag this book for yourself, and I believe it’s that good that I don’t want to hinder or prevent you from doing so. Instead, I’ll share just one that I’m going to start practicing.
It comes from the “Replenishing Rest” chapter and it’s called “Just Five Minutes.” It’s where you schedule an appointment for yourself every single day to do nothing for 5 minutes. It sounds ridiculous, stupid, and perhaps you’re thinking – easy. However, I can admit that five idle minutes are currently no where to be found in my day and if they do exist, they’re probably spent scrolling through my Instagram feed. Perhaps my book should be titled #Pathetic 🙁
I know this daily five minute appointment will be extremely difficult for me because my biggest struggle is being still. I also have a chronic problem with over-scheduling myself and feeling the need to keep up with everyone on social media. For a variety of reasons I will probably attempt to get out of this five minute appointment and justify myself whenever I miss it, but I need to at least give it my best shot. I don’t want social media (or anything) to be the master of my life. Jesus shall be the one and only ruler of my life.
I want to find the discipline, by the power that raised Christ from the dead and now lives in me, to just be still. 
My prayer today: Lord, I surrender my self(ie) to you, once again. Lift my veil, Jesus. Help me to find my identity totally and completely in you alone. Resurrect compassion within me. Heal me and break me of any idols that remain in my heart.
Y’all, I want to take this book and get it into the hands of those who need it most. I want to pass on the goodness of #Struggles with as many people as possible. Thus, the birth of #SisterhoodOfTheTravelingBook.
If you want to be the first person I mail my copy (inked-up, sticky-noted and all) to (and promise to then mail it forward to another sister), please share this post and leave a comment openly admitting your current struggle with social media. Admitting our struggles is the first step in overcoming them! I will contact the chosen recipient privately to get the address and ship it out early next week.
XO, Manda

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16 comments

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Social media is one of the trickiest things to navigate… it truly is so addicting and it’s hard to resist sometimes! My current struggle with social media is simply learning not to compare. There have been so many times where I’ve been having a great day, only to have it slightly ruined by seeing a post on Instagram that leads me to compare my life with the Instagram-filtered life of another person. It’s so hard to separate reality from fake on social media… something I’m definitely trying to work on! I would absolutely love to read this book to gain a different perspective. 🙂

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Taylor, sounds like this book would REALLY resonate with you! Some of the struggles in this book were foreign to me, while others were painfully familiar. I pray that you will pick up your copy soon and let me know how it touches your heart and possibly changes your life. <3

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I was scrolling through Instagram while my baby naps and I came across your picture… The blog post though, hit me right on the head. I had just been taking photos of my 10 month old outside on vacation and was deciding whether or not to post one, two, which filter, blah, blah, blah. I was literally doing that “obsessing” you wrote about probably as you typed it. And I know I need to let go of social media’s grasp on me… I don’t want to miss out on moments with my son and husband because I’m solely trying to capture the moments. Your post inspired me to get the book one way or another (although the sisterhood of traveling books sounds like such a fun idea to me!) and work on balance. Because I think that actually enjoying the moments in life will be better than waiting on hearts to appear on those little squares.

Great post!! 🙂

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Emily, wow! Sounds like this really hit the nail on the head for you. I would love for you to be the first person I send the book to. From there you will mail it to someone else of your choice. The hope is that it will be spread around the United States and change lives in Jesus’ name. Could you please email me your mailing address at: sayhi@mandacarpenter.com? 🙂

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Manda,

This message greatly resonated with me as I struggle to find the balance between the highs and lows of social media. I gave up social media for Lent, as I really felt myself losing minutes (hours) in my busy life to it, feelings pains of comparison, and trials of everyone having it together but me. On the other side, as I was going through a trial in my life, and certain Instagram accounts, like yours, gave me hope and peace and encouragement to keep going and I just wanted to find the balance. I am finding that more and more as I work at it but this book sounds like the answer I have been looking for. If I were to receive your copy, I would be honored, but I will be reading this nonetheless.

Thank you for the recommendation!

Romans 12:12 — “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

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Gillian, thanks so much for taking the time to read this post! I commend you for taking a social media break during lent. Breaks from everything that consume us are a good thing. I delete all of my apps every so often to break myself of unhealthy habits… like checking my phone first thing when I wake up and last thing before going to bed. So glad you’re going to read the book regardless! <3 I believe it will really help you find that balance and encourage you in your walk with Jesus!!

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I would love to read and pass on. I find myself between the “what will people think as I post this” and “it’s my account so I post what I want when I want”, but definitely I am caught up in it all and would love the Jesus-time challenge.

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I totally feel you, girl! Thanks for reading. I hope that you’ll check out the book.<3

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My current struggle with social media (especially being a blogger) is ALWAYS comparing myself to others. I compare my blog to other blogs because I can’t afford the prettiest and most expensive clothes and accessories therefore I feel like my “style” isn’t up to par with others.. I don’t have 500 likes on every photo and over 50k followers. What I need to learn how to do and remind myself everyday is to be happy with what I have while working for what I want.

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Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. I can’t wait to meet you in person soon as it looks like we’ll most likely be in Chicago as of this summer. I mailed the book to someone already, but I really really urge you to pick up a copy or even just check it out at Barnes & Noble for free for a couple of hours! It could change your entire perspective on social media – as a blogger or not. 🙂

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P.S. I shared this on FB too so I can be entered! <3

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Hey Amanda, Madison from the good ‘ole Bethel methods block days. I absolutely love this post. I gave up Facebook for a bit because it ate up my time and made me feel terrible about life. I didn’t have as many friends as this person, I didn’t have kids yet, or my husband didn’t bring me flowers for no reason (by the way I hate getting flowers so it was a silly thing to be jealous about). It made me so discontent and so I shut myself completely off. I’m back on Facebook, with less friends and more contentment that I could only find through focusing on Christ and not on how my life, body, or job compared to everyone else. Thanks for the post. I’ve been admiring your writing from afar but thought I would let you know how much it brightens my days.

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Hey you! Love it. I delete my social media – all of it- every so often, at least the apps off of my phone. Thank you for sharing your honest experience with comparison and envy from Facebook and such. The flowers part made me LOL! I know exactly what you’re talking about though. I really appreciate you taking the time to say something…so kind of you and means a ton.

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