Have you ever had one of those moments when you set out on a mission to do one thing, and end up achieving or learning something so much better than what you originally planned? If so, (and perhaps even if you haven’t) you may be able to relate to my recent experience.

Over the past few weeks I chose to start following a bunch of bloggers on Instagram, particularly those that share a blogging niche similar to mine (faith + lifestyle), to see how they used social media to complement their blogs. Because of this choice, my Instagram feed became filled with positive, edifying, and uplifting content. I’m not talking about generic affirmations, although those are good too, but posts and statements grounded in biblical truth.

Why is this significant? Because by filling my mind with biblical truth and light, I was encouraged to invest more in my faith, and when I invested more in my faith, I was even more abundantly filled. Not only that, but a lot of negative thought-patterns I was struggling with started to give way, and were replaced with joy, peace, and other fruits of the Spirit I was missing by not continually seeking out God’s presence. The process reminds me of what Paul says in the book of Romans about being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

It’s almost like a tree transplanted from a desert to a rainforest…

By not filling myself up with truth, I was keeping myself in a desert ecosystem, where lack of nutrients and rain made growth difficult. But now that I’m purposely cultivating a rainforest ecosystem with abundant rain and nutrients, I can grow, bear fruit, and be a healthy tree.

If you want to grow, not just spiritually, but in other areas as well, you have to be intentional about what you take in. Follow people, both in real life and online, who encourage and inspire you. Consider the music you listen to, the YouTubers you watch, and the posts on your timeline and ask, is this helping or hurting me? As I discovered, you have to be proactive, not passive, if you want to succeed.

“[And] [f]inally, brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8