Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just a Note

Hey there! I've been super busy and haven't really been able to post this week; sorry. But I did just want to throw one thing up here for you all to think about until next week: how do you view yourself as God's child?
I know that's a little weird to say. But really, how often do you look at yourself and see a child of God? How often do you judge yourself by how your characteristics measure up against others, rather than the One whose standards are perfect?
Every child carries traits from their parents. I, for example, have almost exactly the same hair colour as my mom does, but I inherited my dad's short temper and rebelliousness. Anyone who knows my family can see my parents in me. So the question is, if God is truly our father, can people see Him in us?
That's just something to get you thinking until next week, when I'm hoping to go deeper. One thing I would love for you to do in the meantime is this: after you read this post, go to the comments and leave a comment naming one characteristic of God's that you personally would like to see in yourself more clearly. Then name one thing preventing you from displaying that characteristic.
Have a great week, everyone! When I return from my camping adventures this weekend, I'll pop in and go deeper.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Dangers of Caring Too Much

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us through off everything that hinders and the sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
-Hebrews 12:1-2

Sometimes, I've found that our struggle with beauty can be a weight; a hindrance designed to drag us down and make us turn our eyes from our Creator. Think about it: do you spend more time contemplating the glory of God or the imperfections you saw in your face in the mirror? I myself am often guilty of worrying more about the opinions of people rather than the opinion of God. This is a hindrance. The Devil doesn't want you to fix your eyes on Jesus; he wants you to invest in the treasures of this world, so that your heart is here and not in heaven. For girls our age, that often comes in the form of this never-ending quest to be "pretty." When we focus so much on how we look that it overtakes everything else, beauty has become an obsession that will only tear us down and make us feel worthless. This is when we come to such drastic measures as eating-disorders and self-harm; because we cannot fulfill our obsession.
There's really only one way to solve this problem: throw off everything that hinders, or-as in some versions-cast off every weight. Just like our rocks, things of this world can weigh us down and prevent us from truly running this race. This includes our quest for beauty. If we are focusing more on how we look than on how we are shining our light, it becomes a hindrance that we need to get rid of. In order to do this, we need to come to terms with a couple of things:
     1) we are created beautiful, so we need to stop trying to be.
     2) we cannot please everyone, especially ourselves. No matter how hard you try, you cannot impress everyone, so focus on the one who does matter, and who sees the beauty in your heart: God.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Throwing Stones

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the groups and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’"
-John 8:3-11 NIV

Everybody sins. We all make stupid mistakes. It’s a fact of life. In this story, we could all easily take the place of the woman, condemned and about to be punished for our crimes. But instead, let’s for a moment imagine ourselves as the teachers of the law; the ones doing the condemning. Let’s imagine ourselves holding rocks.
Every one of us has a rock representing some insecurity or fear. Mine was fear of being mocked or laughed at by my peers. We cannot seem to let go of these rocks, but it hurts to hold onto them, so instead we prepare to throw them. At others. At ourselves. We will do two things with our rocks: we will find someone else and throw our rocks at them in the form of condemnation in order to distract from our own wrongdoings, or we will turn and use our rocks to beat ourselves for the shame we can’t seem to be rid of. Either we feel so driven to cover up our own guilt that we gossip and tear down other girls who may be struggling just as much as we are, or we grow so disgusted with our own faults that we deem ourselves deserving of abuse and hurt ourselves mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically.
The struggle with rock throwing is that we are never offered an alternative by our world. There is a part of our culture today that tells us that this is normal; that it’s a part of growing up. With this mentality, our society actively condones these actions which bring nothing but hurt. My friends, this is not the way we were meant to be, and while it may be normal in our sinful world to throw rocks, that does not mean it is how we were intended to live. Does insulting another girl’s appearance truly make you feel better about your own? Does inflicting pain upon yourself really heal the pain in your heart? Not for long.
Rather than throw rocks, let us instead leave our rocks behind and recognize that when we identify with Jesus Christ, there is no need for this mudslinging. Only He can make you see your own worth independent of others, and only He can bring real healing, because in Him we are blameless and feel our sins no more.

So what about you? Do you want healing? Or are you just going to keep throwing rocks?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Basis of Biblical Beauty

It all started in the beginning, including your quest for identity and beauty.
"So God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female he created them."
-Genesis 1:27
If God is perfect, and we are all made in the image of God, then the only logical conclusion is that we have been made perfectly! Of course, we are human, and we are filled with sin and wickedness from birth, but there is absolutely nothing "wrong" with your appearance! "Don't fix it if it isn't broken!" If there is nothing wrong with your face, why cover it with makeup? If there is nothing wrong with your skin tone, why suffer endless sunburns trying to get a tan? If there is nothing wrong with your hair, why spend so much time complaining that it doesn't lay just right, even after being dyed and stripped and dyed again and layered and trimmed and highlighted? You were created EXACTLY as you were meant to be. Don't let anything tell you otherwise.