Our guest blogger is Ginny Tung! She is married to Alan and they have 2 sweet kiddos, Ella 2 and Micah almost 1. She works for Cru and lives outside of Philadelphia, PA. She loves lots of things in life but longs for eternity![Ginny and Alan worked with Cru in Tidewater from 2010-2013, specifically at CNU & W&M.]
I so wish I was sitting on your campus, could hear your story, see your face and ask you a gazillion questions about who you are. I mean it when I say that! Your life is so precious, your story so unique and Jesus loves you more than I could ever convey through a blog. Oh, but I do hope you will see HIM through what I write and that ultimately the gospel would sink into the depths of your hurts and pains and set root in your heart.
To be honest, I’ve tried to write this entry a dozen times and am having a hard time putting together my thoughts; possibly because I’m still in the midst of what I want to write to you. So, let me take you back a couple years ago to when I got an IPhone and downloaded the Instagram app. At first it was just a few close friends following me and a handful of people that I was following. My daughter, Ella was born and I’d say 99% of my pictures revolved around her. It was a fun way to keep up with friends and I enjoyed showing off my sweet new baby girl to friends that lived far away. As time went on I got more followers, more comments, and more likes. I don’t know when it happened but along the way my heart got sucked into more than just posting a picture. It felt like I needed to top my last post. Was Ella (and now Micah) wearing a cute enough outfit to post that picture? Maybe I should take another 100 pictures to get the perfect smile. How many likes did I get? Does my picture compare to the other people I’m following? Does it look like I’m a good mom? And the list could go on.
But it didn’t just stop there, I also was beginning to see a trend of envying other people. I’d see a picture of cute décor and think what I owned wasn’t good enough. I had read that social media leaves people feeling unsatisfied with their own lives and makes people judgmental. For some reason I felt exempt from it. I thought I could handle it just fine. Instagram seemed to be a gateway for me. It shaped how I spent my time, thoughts and money. It was easy for me to get lost in mindless scrolling once I was done on Instagram. Or I’d then go to other sites looking to buy something for my home. If I was bored it was my first go-to-thing and it would always lead me to wasting time. I would then feel stressed that I didn’t get done what needed done, which then affected how I responded to my children and husband. It wasn’t until one day I was in Ella’s room scrolling through pictures while she played. She said a couple times, “momma, build blocks!” Each time I replied, “okay, just a minute.” She eventually came over, grabbed my phone and said, “put it in your pocket.” Ugh!!! My daughter just called me out. There I was sucked into another world, missing out on the precious moments with my daughter. I guess I wasn’t exempt.
Sure I was praying and reading my Bible throughout all this but I can’t say I was really hearing from the Lord or really desiring Him very much. Here’s what it boiled down to…there was an idol in my heart. I was worshipping ME. I was the center of my heart. My wants, desires, and how people perceived me were more important than my sweet Savior. I felt him tugging on my heart and telling me to get off Instagram. (Just so you know, I’m not saying that Instagram is a bad thing and you should delete it from your phone. I just know it caused me great temptation and I easily fell into that temptation.)
I needed change and I’ll tell you that I struggled to take a step forward. Sin is often times the easier and more natural choice. But I’m so grateful that we serve a God who is patient, doesn’t stop pursuing and is bigger than our temptations. So at first I just stopped posting pictures but still got on to look at other people’s pictures. I wasn’t fully surrendering this to Christ. I did see a little improvement but really I was still disobeying the Lord and continuing to feel empty. I sat down with a woman from my church who led me to this Scripture: Romans 8:32 “he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things.” My heart and eyes burst with tears. How could I hang on to something so meaningless compared to Jesus?!?! He gave up his life for me! He desires to give us so much but he won’t if we’re unwilling to surrender to him. It was then that I knew I needed to change. I deleted the app.
From there I started to see change. I was finding myself really enjoying my home and how it was decorated and not as worried about what wasn’t on the walls. I found myself leaving my phone in rooms of the house and engaging more with my kids. I found my heart desiring more of the Word. I started listening to sermons by Tim Keller (he’s one of my favorites). I found myself in the mornings choosing to pray instead of jumping on my phone right away. My days and my attitude have radically changed. I still sin and I still struggle but I’m finding it easier to yield to the Spirit as I truly walk with him. As I let the Lord tear down the idol in my heart and put him back at the center, things changed naturally. I can honestly say that I have more joy than I’ve felt in quite some time. (This is not to say that there isn’t hardship but I can find joy in Him through it). My pastor recently gave a sermon in which he was explaining how our culture is terminally ill. He said we are a culture that continues to try to find happiness in everything but Jesus. Girls, isn’t it so easy to get wrapped up in what the world tells us to be like? It’s so hard to go against the grain. But I have found that it’s only Jesus that satisfies. And sometimes that means giving up things that seem harmless or denying ourselves something that we think we need.
Lastly, I was then challenged to do a 40 day fast. So I decided to give up buying things other than the essentials. I’m still in the midst of it and it has been challenging for me. Ella doesn’t have church shoes right now. She has bright pink tennis shoes. So on Sundays when it’s time to dress up she has a cute outfit on and good ol’ tennis shoes with them. I cringe at how it’s a bit dorky looking but honestly, who cares? She doesn’t! She’s 2! But it’s nice not having to worry about it. It has led me to trust that Jesus will give what my family needs when we need it. It’s hard and I so badly want to keep up with fitting in. But it is worth it if my eyes turn away from Jesus? Surly not!
Girls, it’s so hard to be different from what the culture tells us to be but it is so worth it! What is keeping you from Jesus? What idol(s) are in your heart that needs to be torn down? Let Him in! He’s calling your name! Your heart will be filled with joy! You will hear his voice speaking to you. Your heart will be renewed!