It was one of those public holidays and I was sitting with a group of friends fiddling with my mobile phone when a video ad popped up. It had a loud narrative and I was shocked out of my skin because I had never seen it prior to that time. I quickly excused it, and imagined that if that happened at a business meeting, I would have been sorely embarrassed. Well, that was the beginning of a series of pop up video ads, not only were they annoyingly inconvenient, they were using up my data too. I could be chatting with a friend and all of a sudden the screen will freeze and these annoying videos will pop up. I was really irritated and after a few enquiries confirmed that this experience was not a general one I began to seek a solution.
The ads became a little more frequent and I left my phone constantly in silent mode for media so that anytime they showed up, I wouldn’t be inconvenienced. There was one advertising a particular brand of deodorant and the voice over introducing it always started with ‘the smell from her armpit’ or so. Just imagine how annoying hearing that sounded. #Sigh
I visited all the forums I could find and did everything they suggested but they all did not work. I deleted third party apps trying to figure out if one of them had introduced the ads. No way. I went and checked my settings and tried to figure out what I had permitted, no way. Finally, because it was giving me so much grief, I had to restore my phone to factory settings and then was I rid of this ridiculous stranger. I thought to share a few thoughts inspired by the entire ordeal. (yes please, it was an ordeal).
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
- Thoughts often stumble upon us unawares,. Daily experiences and life itself leaves thoughts dancing on the periphery of our hearts and we may not be able to tell from whence a particular thought came. Have you happened upon yourself singing a song you never learned? Have you ever used an expression simply because of how often you had heard it used? Little wonder Paul says “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character. Our eyes and ears are gateways to our hearts and the fruit shows up when you least expect. I mean, I did not even know I had those pop up ads until the first time one showed up and subsequently there were all sorts of ads. Well, the root of those ads was on my phone, so they had permission to unveil themselves in all their glory. One couldn’t even tell what to expect next. But you know what? I had invited the seed and its fruits became evident. Our character is revealed when a particular area of our life is tested and the fruit we have been incubating is revealed. What fruit will show up when I am under pressure?
- Whilst letting the ads onto my phone was not deliberate, taking them off was extremely deliberate and came at a cost. I needed to completely reformat my phone to lose the ads that I did not ask for in the first place. In like manner, many things come into our lives inadvertently, and like bad habits which we formed slowly and steadily over time (sometimes unconsciously), we need to decide that enough is enough to lose some of those harmful effects. If I waited for them to go the way they came on (which was without my wilful participation, nothing would have happened.)
- If we don’t sort ourselves out, we will become uncomfortable and maybe even begin to act secretive or out of character. Oh my, I cannot explain how conscientious I had to be about the volume of my phone or just how inconveniencing having those ads pop up mid chat was. I deliberately started leaving my phone behind when going to meetings, and sometimes after listening to some media and forgetting to turn down the volume, they showed up again and embarrassed me when I least expected. When we delay fixing some of those stuff that came in upon us unawares, they cost us. The secrecy and all it takes to hide a bad habit that we perhaps formed inadvertently is quite costly for instance.
- Freedom is sweet!!! Yes, I was inconvenienced when I had to restore my phone to factory settings and install all my apps all over but, honestly, the peace of not seeing those pop ups was more than worth it. The freedom from all that I had to do to avoid being embarrassed whilst those ads stayed on my phone was more than worth it.
What does this feel like to you? Is there a random thought that you allowed to grow in your heart which is now choking the peace of God in you? Is there a habit that you developed from a moment of indiscretion that is taking control of your life like a raging storm? Are you in an environment that predisposes you to spiritual infections that wage constant needless war against your soul and spirit?
Just like I really cannot tell what I clicked on to introduce those ads, maybe you don’t even know how you arrived at this place where you are a surprise to yourself, your thoughts are totally alien to who you thought you were. Whilst you didn’t arrive here on purpose, you have to be deliberate to take your life back.
You need to hate this place enough to do what it takes in your will to be free which begins with talking frankly to God about it. God never forces us to go against our will and His grace is available for us when we allow Him room. I hated the pop up ads, I hated the inconvenience and embarrassment, I hated them so much that losing my apps and starting over was not too big a price. I hated them and spent hours finding out how to lose them. I didn’t just sit back and expect them to disappear the way they appeared. No, I decided to let them go.
I do not know where you are today, but God’s grace is available for us.
If you are willing, He will make you whole.
God bless you
Image Credits: Greenbot, raisingmisters.wordpress.com