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put your thing down, flip it, and reverse it.

The radio was on quietly in the background as me and two friends were cruising around town on our way to our favorite dinner spot - when suddenly amidst the momentary lull in conversation I heard my JAM come on. I cranked the stereo and began, without much thought, singing the lyrics to this well-known pop song. As I looked around to see if the whole car was as L I T as I was over this tune-age, I quickly noticed I was making a solo debut and my accompaniment was blank stares and dropped jaws. You see, I was in the car with a mom of three and my church’s children’s pastor. Sure, they had heard the song… but the Kidz Bop version of it (which let me tell you... are two VERY different versions). My sweet mom of three friend looked at me and said… “I’m gonna have to burn you a CD because this is filth.” In the moment, a piece of me and my soul were offended… “FILTH?” I thought.. “Girl, you ain't even seen my hood rat weezy f baby dayz… I’ll show you some lyrical filth now…” At the time, what I didn't realize was that the music I was listening influenced the thoughts I had, the words I said, the actions I took. I was so submersed in the filth that I wasn't able to see that I was in a sense “dirty” and when my friend called me on it I was “offended” not because of how it was said, but because ultimately it was true. Something that I enjoyed was not good for me.

Not a month later, I moved into the home of my friend who is a mom of the three, and QUICKLY I realized just how impacted I was by what I had allowed in my life. My language was not kid friendly, my conversations were not encouraging and uplifting, my thoughts were not life giving, and I was able to realize those things because the family I now called family did NOT speak, converse, or think as I did. See, instead of blasting Katy Perry’s new explicit album (which is FIRE, by the way #keepingitauthentic) they filled rooms with worship, whether via Alexa or utterances of their own lips. Instead of reading gossip columns, they started each day in the Word. They were intentional about what and whom they let into their lives. They realized that what you let in is what you put out. They aren't perfect. They aren't these “super christians.” They are just aware that the enemy is real and that he will use any and everything he can to destroy purity and holiness.

I soon began taking inventory of my life. Were the things I allowed into my life and ultimately my heart and mind - filthy or fulfilling? Were the people I followed on Instagram, were the shows I watched on tv, was the music I listened to building me up or tearing me down? I realized that while some practices I had in my life were holy, some were also harming. And harming me in ways I wasn't even realizing. God impressed upon me, “Are you willing to give up these things that don’t really mean anything (even though they are comfortable and fun) for things that are life changing and formative?”

So I ask you today - Is there something or someone that God is pleading with you to let go of so something can take its place? Maybe it's your favorite show on Netflix that, if you really think about it, causes you to stumble more than stand. Maybe it's a friend that you've had for months, or maybe even years, that is no longer bearing fruit and leading you to the cross, but rather pulling you from it. Maybe it's that website, blog, magazine or Instagram handle that causes you to constantly compare yourself, your weight, your looks and your worth based on what you read or see. Maybe it's that movie or that book that is so popular that EVERYONE at work is talking about, and you just want to join in on the conversation, but is the conversation really worth the conviction? I don't know what your “thing” is, but I’m sure if you take inventory there is some aspect of your life that you may not be willing to give over to God because it “isn’t THAT big of a deal.” The truth is, the enemy doesn't need the whole foundation to stand. He just needs a little crack or crevasse to sneak in and grab a foothold. A little leaven changes the whole composition of bread. It's the little compromises that we are willing to make in life that lead to the big sinful downfalls.

I encourage you to take time and take inventory. If it's music, try a new station. If it's TV, watch a sermon. If it's social media, get a devotional. I’m not telling you to become this "bubble Christian" that is ignorant and unplugged from the world around you, but I am saying that sometimes the compromise of being in the world are just simply not worth it. I challenge you to try it. For one week, make a change in what you listen to, who you hang with, what you watch, and see if a change doesn't begin to occur. You'll realize that you don't need the filth once you've truly had fulfillment.

Together, let's slam the door in the enemy’s face. Let's not give him any vacancies to take residence in. Let's fight with all our might against him, even in seemingly “not big deal” ways. Let's seal up the crevasses and crank up the Kidz Bop.

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