{Anti} Social Secrets

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{Anti} Social Secrets

We are having a baby girl! #genderreveal

Double tap.

Breaking News: Three children rescued and a trafficker prosecuted.

Double tap.

Lunch break with my bae (In-N-Out burger).

Double tap.

#PrayForLondon.

Double tap.

I had become numb. Information was no longer informing me, it was anesthetizing me. Social media had become my hiding place, consumed my world, and yet bypassed my heart.

In a moment of clarity, after having spent longer than I want to admit “clearing” my instastory of new posts (my extremist side), and feeling lonelier and more pathetic than ever, I decided to take a break.

This summer, I went black… Err, that sounded different in my head. I mean I turned off my feed and used my phone to…. Talk to people. I know right? I’m basically Amish. Or just stuck in the 90’s, which actually sounds fantastic. Take me back to the days of Blockbuster, 7th Heaven, and the original double denim (never forget).

Coming off social media didn’t transport me back in time (unfortunately), but it did create space.  But the problem with phone-less space is that… It’s terrifying! It’s just like you… and space… and that’s it.

I never realized how much we fill the space between ourselves with technology.
In an elevator.
On a plane.
In an uncomfortable conversation.
During the sermon. (just me? liar.)
I didn’t realize how quickly I reached for my phone for no reason, and how anxious I got when I could no longer hide behind it.

You know where not having a space-filler sucks? Green rooms. I was in one recently while attending a conference, and it was in the middle of my (anti) social media experiment. While most people were on their phones (thank God), I had nothing to hide behind except for hummus and sparkling water. I felt offensively vulnerable.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my human skills were rusty and after one too many awkward interactions about life and marriage from people I wasn’t sure I even knew, I found the nearest exit, channeled Moses and fled.

When did green rooms become so intimidating?

When did I get so vulnerable being void of my phone??

Why did I just ask the host if I could “borrow” the bathroom?!

The truth was somewhere in first two questions… And proof was in the third.

I decided it was time to take back my humanity. I wrote myself a permission slip:

I hereby give myself permission to be the beautifully imperfect girl that lives behind the phone and off the platform, the one without the filters. I validate every memory that is made without an upload, and every day that is lived without a post. I give myself permission to be awkwardly human and passionately vulnerable.

I give myself permission to be imperfectly, beautifully, honestly human.

Signed,

Elyse Murphy.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to write ‘hereby’, I guess it felt more official. There was nothing necessarily powerful about the words, but there was something powerful about the decision I made that night. It started me on a journey to disconnect with a platform and reconnect with people. Here’s what I learned:

1.    Boundaries are a blessing

I don’t have to say yes to everything. I can say no, even if it means I don’t get tagged. It sounds pathetic to say out loud, and it probably is, but there have been times I have gone to events just so I can post something. Dear Lord, help me.

Coming off social media helped me realize the type of environments I want to be in. I want to laugh. I want to forget where my phone is. I want to look at the time and say, “When did that happen?!”

2.    You don’t have to follow all of the peoples.

This was a tough one, but one of the best moves I made. I realized so much of my time was spent scrolling, simply because I was following so many people. Most people have the self-discipline to stop after the first few scrolls, but as I mentioned I’m a little extreme. Because I know me, I knew I needed to limit the people in order to limit the time.

At first I felt like the captain of the dodgeball team during tryouts, trying to include everyone and not offend anyone. That was exhausting. But after a conversation with one of my mentors I realized that unfollowing people had nothing to do with them or my relationship with them. It was simply about me knowing me.

I’m not saying go all passive aggressive and start following and unfollowing like you’re a judge on The Voice, I’m suggesting you consider the idea of a spring clean in order to focus up and create some space.

3.    Real conversations don’t happen in the comments section

A public post is not the playground for debate. Please, take it offline. And before you shut someone down (whether by post or by reply), ask yourself, is this building a case, or a relationship?

Real conversations with authentic understanding rarely (if ever) happen in the comments section of a post. Family is not built there.

Family is built around the kitchen table when you realize the sun is coming up and you’ve been talking all night. Authenticity happens when two people are willing to look each other in the eye without having to see eye to eye. Understanding happens when we choose to listen to understanding, instead of respond.

4.    Social Media is like salt.

Social media is a lot like salt -- it’s a great enhancement but a gross main ingredient.
Often we want to blame the tool for taking over, when really we need to look at ourselves. It wasn’t social media’s fault that I stopped giving myself permission to be human. I’m back on social media now, but I’m back on my terms. It’s an enhancement to my life, it is not the main ingredient. Because salt as the main ingredient? Let's just say that's definitely not Whole 30 approved.

Maybe social media doesn’t affect you like it affects me. If not, double tap! If you’re anything like me, and comparison is a frustrating reality you face daily, maybe it’s time to go back to the 90’s for a second.

Even if just for today, give yourself permission to live without posting. Take a deep breath. Be imperfectly, beautifully, honestly, human.

Till next time.... Kisses from LA xx

 

 

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All The Single Ladies

All The Single Ladies

I was 26 years old before I had my first official boyfriend. I was 26 years old before I ever said, “I love you.”  To clarify, it’s not that I didn’t want to say those three words or finally have a #ManCrushMonday to post.

Over the years I definitely had my fair share of flirting, awkward first dates, declarations of my undying butterflies, breakups that weren’t actually breakups because the other person didn’t actually know we were in a relationship and, well, you get the idea. But none of that was love. And so I never tried to label it as that.

I just have to say it -- Emma Stone lied to me. So did Ryan Gosling. Romantic Comedies are not real life… There is no narrator to tell me what he is thinking, I've never run into a guy in the street due to “fate”, and fights do not get resolved because someone broke out into song (trust me, I tried)!

Can I be real for a second? Sometimes I think we like the image of a relationship more than the reality of it. We’ve watched the movies and listened to the songs for so long that we think if we can just have what they’re having, everything will be perfect and we will be fulfilled. So we flirt and we filter but we’re left feeling heartbroken and confused, wondering if we are ever going to find “it,” whatever “it” is.

Maybe today you need to be reminded of this one thing -- being single is not a disease. It is not a red flag. It is not a club. And it is certainly not something to be “tolerated” until you find “freedom” in a relationship.

Relationships don’t bring freedom, they bring exposure, and if we haven’t spent long enough in the dark room with our Creator, the picture won’t be pretty.

Maybe today, you just need to be reminded that being single is an adventure in itself, and that adventure can be enjoyed when you remember that God knows the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). From a new-wife who got a rude awakening, trust me. If you are not fulfilled in your now, you will not be fulfilled in your next. So while you’re in this season, here a couple of things to focus on:

1.    Learn love from the Creator of love.

“But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.”  
Romans 5:8

Often we spend so much time trying to find our forever love that we lose sight of our first love… Jesus. He showed us true love when He who created us, died for us, so we could be with Him. You see, before we ever knew we needed love, He created it.

2.    Spend time with yourself

The truth is before you say yes to someone else; you need to say yes to yourself. Understanding the fun in dating yourself means less nights plotting your Fantasy Football team, or watching The Bachelorette while eating too much popcorn (or was that just me?), and more days driving to the beach with the windows down and John Mayer blaring. In this season you get to decide where you want to go and how you want to get there, and with summer on the way, that’s something to enjoy!

3.    Find your bridal party first

There is a lot I don’t remember about my wedding day, but one thing I will never forget are the moments I got to share with our bridal party. The time getting ready and taking photos, the dinner we ate together and the hugs and tears that were shared. They are the best friends I have spent 27 years loving, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Before you find your groom, make sure you’ve found your bridesmaids. Before you plan your wedding on Pinterest, plan a weekend away with your girls.

The best thing you can do right now is find your forever friends. And the only way to do that is with chunks of unhurried time.

Perhaps you find yourself right now in the season of singleness buying your own coffee, taking yourself on day adventures and building strong friendships with your karaoke, bowling, and games night crew. Don’t wait for the late nights and spontaneous adventures to be over to be grateful for them. Enjoy them. Instagram them. Remember the moments.

And as for today? Grab a friend, go drink coffee and catch a movie. Why? Because you can.

As Seen In Propel Magazine -- June 2017

The Fight For Forever.

The Fight For Forever.

Have you ever had a dream that felt more like a fight the closer it got? Has that fight ever caused you to question why you prayed for it in the first place? Me too.

In case you didn’t know, I’m totally getting married soon. Ok fine, you probably did know. I’ll be the first to admit that the amount of Instagram photos I’ve posted of our engagement shoot with #meettherobersons might have bordered on excessive.

And yet, as Queen Bey says, I ain’t sorry.

But while the engagement season is super special, it’s also super scary, and the closer we get to saying “I do” the more we’ve felt like saying, “but how?”

I get that every fairytale worth its weight in Disney has to have a villain, but why didn’t someone warn us that when we picked our wedding date, we also picked a fight with the enemy?

Maybe our fairytale has less to do with a glass slipper and more to do with learning to fight for forever.

This kind of fight is not easy to win, because it has nothing to do with registries and RSVP lists. To win this fight we must identify the real enemy, which despite our emotion {and my sass}, is not each other. This fight requires us to be on the same team. This fight requires us to see the deeper reason we are fighting it.

This battle is bigger than our wedding. This battle is because of our marriage. Our marriage that will influence more people than a guestlist and have a legacy that lasts far longer than a reception.

… And the enemy doesn’t like it.

So I guess happily ever after doesn’t come with a ring. Happily ever after comes when we are willing to fight for the thing that the enemy doesn’t want us to have.

And actually, I’ve fought this enemy before. This is not a new fight.

Right before I moved to Los Angeles, I had to throw a few punches to defeat the fears and sadness that came with saying goodbye to family and familiarity. And last year, as my book was published, I had to get on the offense as the enemy swung at me with sleepless nights and secret anxiety. But each time, my Coach was there, reminding me that the victory was ours.

Different punches. Same fight. Undefeated God.

Maybe your boxing ring looks different than mine… A promotion at work that has you wondering if you have the skill to pull it off. A new relationship that is both scary and exciting, but mostly just nauseating. A graduation that’s coming, but all you can think of is quitting. A baby that’s about to rock your world, but the thought of being a parent is making you baby proof everything, including your husband.

Whatever it is, we all face a fight before our forever, but the fight is not forever.

Our fight may look different, but we’re fighting the same enemy, and so we’re fighting together. You are not alone.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ERV) An enemy might be able to defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger...

Elyse’s Translation -- A squad of soldiers is better than a single soldier. Today, welcome to your very own #squadgoals.

The bible also tells us that when two or three come together, He is with us (Matthew 18:2). We may not be able to come together physically, but we can come together under His name. And so, guess what? He’s fighting with us too. And the best news is that when He fights, we don’t have to.

The Lord will fight for you. All you have to do is keep still. Exodus 14:14 (NLV)

So, take a deep breath and take a break. Let Him fight for your forever, knowing that actually, He has already won.

In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33 (AMPC)

Hey you. Don’t give up the fight for forever just because the enemy is throwing a temper tantrum right now. Let’s fight together and show him just how dangerous a squad of women with some faith and a fairytale can be. Now excuse me while I get back in that boxing ring… I’m not stopping till I come out with forever. Let’s go.

As Seen In Propel Magazine -- October 2016

If The Fire Doesn't Kill You... The Smoke Might.

Growing up in Australia, bushfires are a normal part of life. They arrive without warning, and their effects are felt long after the fire has been extinguished.

I live in Los Angeles now, but I guess word spread, because those fires followed me, in more ways than one. As sure as fall comes with pumpkin spice lattes, or Beyoncé comes with a fierce dance troupe, life comes with fires… So what do we do when they hit?

What do we do when the fires of life arrive without warning, leaving devastating effects long after they’re gone?

Maybe you have had to walk through a fire this year, or you are still feeling the effects of a fire from last year. Perhaps this month has already brought you a fire, one you weren’t expecting, but which has left you dreading the rest of the year.

And you’re attempting to pick up the pieces.

I’ve always loved the book of Daniel in the Bible. In it we find three friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) who didn’t just see a fire, or feel its heat, but were thrown intothat fire. And get this, they actually left the fire, alive.

One of my favorite verses in the bible is this:

“All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them! Daniel 3:27 (The Message)

I wonder how many times we’ve been through a fire, and though we made it out alive, we still ‘smell of smoke’ years later? How often do we hold onto an offense long after our friend/spouse/coworker has said something hurtful? How long will we refuse to pick up the phone and call that person, because we feel hurt?

How long will we continue to ‘smell of smoke’?

When I read this story closely, I notice one thing that protected these boys from burning, heat exhaustion and smoke. I think if we apply it, we have a sure-fire (pardon the pun) way to come out of our fires, not just alive, but smoke-free. Because in case you haven’t heard, smoking kills!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego weren’t alone in the fire. Jesus was in the fire with them and everyone around them noticed (and had a mild heart attack). Read it for yourself in Daniel 3:24-25 (The Message Version is my favorite).

If we want to come out of the fire without smelling like smoke, we have to invite Jesus into the fire with us.

So how do we do that? I think there are four simple steps to bringing Jesus into our fire:

    1. Admit the fire.

After all, it’s hard to ask for help when we refuse to admit we need it. We all walk through fires; some of us are just better at seeing the flames than other people. There’s no shame in facing a fire, but there is danger in facing it alone.

    2. Ask for help.

I’m sure there are one trillion (totally a number) reasons you shouldn’t ask for help in your fire. Maybe you lit the match that started it. Maybe you feel burned already and help feels, well, helpless. Maybe you feel like you have been screaming SOS and there has been no relief. I don’t know what your reason is, but I do know we can call on the one who promises to answer.

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He rescued them from their distresses.” Psalm 107:6 (Amplified)

I don’t know when He will answer. I just know He will. I’m learning this: God rarely gives us a timeframe but He always gives us a testimony.

    3. Assume the position.

I love when people put words to my worship. The lyrics to one Hillsong United song might be my favorite, “I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.”

I was always taught that moving along the ground is the safest place in a physical fire. As my schoolteacher once told me, ‘get down low and go, go, go.’ I’d say it’s the same in the fires of life too. Find yourself in a fire? Perhaps on our knees is the safest place to be.

    4. Accept the Savior.

Sometimes when Jesus shows up in the fire, we are so busy with the hose trying to fight the flames that we don’t think to rely on the One who calmed the wind and waves (and flames). Remember, when Jesus shows up, it’s show-time. So sweet one, hand over the hose and watch the Master at work. You’ll be out of that fire with your Savior in no time.

Maybe you are in a fire right now. If so, take heart. A fire is not forever. Keep moving, you will reach the other side.

And once you get through your fire? Tell your story. I’m learning that people relate more to my trials than my triumphs. If you can walk through your fire and not ‘smell like smoke’ on the other side, it’s a miracle! People want to know that you made it out, because it means they can too.

But for right now? Keep moving. He’s right by your side. You’ll be out in no time.

As Seen In Propel Magazine -- September 2016

Seize The Day

Seize The Day

Have you ever opened your inbox to find more unread emails than you were prepared for? It’s kind of like when you go to the mall during Spring Break and see every teenager ever born, and suddenly online shopping looks very appealing… In both contexts.

A few months ago I was flying home from a conference and had this experience. Feeling overwhelmed, I decided to unplug from the wi-fi, which is now accessible 40,000 feet in the air. You know, in case birds need to update their Facebook or something.

I reclined my chair, opened a can of soda and turned on the screen in front of me. I figured the best way to relax was to watch a movie, and I’m sure it would have been, if I had chosen anything other than The Fault In Our Stars. 

If you’ve seen it, you already know. It was not relaxing. It was traumatic. The amount of liquid that came out of my face during this movie probably could’ve solved the California drought. If you haven’t seen it, you really should, but please, watch it at home with a million boxes of tissues and your best friend on speed dial.

As I sat there with the credits rolling, taking deep breaths and accepting tissues from complete strangers, I realized this was more than just emotion. I was challenged to make my life count, to make today matter. You see, it’s more than a love story; it’s about two teenagers finding their fairytale while fighting for their lives. They both had cancer.

I hate cancer. These days, almost everyone has been bullied, broken hearted and left bewildered because of it. I just wish we knew how to stop it.

Maybe that’s what frustrates us most about life. Not knowing the cause or cure for something, whether a math problem, a heartbreak, or cancer.

My uncle went home to heaven a couple of years ago because of cancer. While I’m happy he’s in Heaven, probably philosophizing life with C.S. Lewis, I miss him. I miss the calendar I could count on from him every Christmas. I miss the deep conversations about life over red wine. I miss hearing him pray at the top of his lungs, even when his words stopped making sense. I miss him being here, with us. Maybe you can relate.

Movies like this sting a little more because of my experience with my Uncle Jim. And yet, this one struck deeper than a heartstring. These teenagers determined to live today passionately and love each other deeply, in the midst of circumstances that seemed the furthest thing from fair. This movie was more than a challenging love story; it challenged how I lived my story.

Too often the fault with me is that I allow my sickness to determine my story, and I don’t mean physically.

How many times has my comfort zone stopped my creativity? How many times have I talked myself out of the life I was created to live? How many times has fear closed the open door?

Too many times.

I’m done letting my withered hand get in the way of a wonder-filled life.

Have you ever heard the saying today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present? It probably makes you cringe a little, or a lot, and you are not alone. And yet as much as I wish there was a cooler way to say it, it’s true. There’s a reason you woke up this morning, and that reason is not so you would spend today being worried about tomorrow. Seriously, who brags on a Monday about their wild weekend of worry? No one.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-29 that worrying is pointless, which we kind of already know. But even better, He tells us what to do instead:

Matthew 6:34 in The Message bible says, "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes".

So what do we do with today? That thing.

Forgive that person. Start that business. Ask that person on a date. Apply for that course. Do that workout. Send that text. Start writing that book. For goodness sake, buy that puppy! Do something that will make today count.

So my friend, live full and love well today. And I pray as you climb into bed tonight, you will remember to thank the One who gave you this day.

Ok? Ok.