Saturday, September 27, 2014

What We See (and What we Don't) Part Two

So, I noticed something when I got onto a different computer to check the comments yesterday: the image in my last post doesn't always show up. I don't know why that happens, but I now know that this was the case; sorry about that. I think it has something to do with the file format of the picture. I'll try to avoid that for future posts. :)
At any rate, I hope these pictures show up. 
This is the picture I posted earlier this week. One of my friends thought they looked like candles burning in the dark. I still think of falling stars. Would it surprise you to know that this picture
is the same as this picture

is the same as this picture?

 This is a screenshot of the weather forecast on my iPhone. I cropped out everything but the raindrops on the sides (which is the picture above) and--using only the photo-shopping options available on my phone--turned it into the first picture you saw. Pretty cool, huh?

Yes, I promise there is a point to this, other than showing off my super-iPhone photo-shopping skills. :) You see with these pictures how easy it is to make something look like something it's not. You don't need an iPhone to do it, either. We do this every day. Think about it: have you ever been lying in bed on a Sunday morning and really not wanted to go to church, but you made yourself get up just so you wouldn't look bad to the other people at church? I, as the eldest daughter of our youth pastor, feel this way all the time. No, I'm not actually "photo-shopping" anything, but it's the same concept: manipulating something to make it seem like something it isn't. I'm trying to make myself look like a "better Christian" even though my attitude is all wrong.
We do this with beauty, too. I have always had trouble shopping for clothes with my mom, because she'll tell me something looks great in the store, but then I wear it and I feel like she always tells me there's something wrong with it, but she waits until after I buy it. I'm sure some of you feel the same. Have you ever complained to your friends about how strict your parents are--about modesty, about dating, about anything? I know I have. Sometimes, I even complain about decisions that I agree with-the jeans are too tight, the shirt is too low, etc. This is also "photo-shopping".
Everyone photo-shops. Wearing make-up is photo-shopping. Inventing a boyfriend so we don't look so alone is photo-shopping. Gossip is photo-shopping. And the purpose of much of this is to make you, the average Christian girl, look and feel inferior. "I have a purity pledge" becomes "she just can't get a boyfriend". "I don't wear make-up" becomes "she's so sheltered she doesn't even know what make-up is". "I dress modestly" becomes "she doesn't know what's cool". Don't buy it.
Our biggest challenge with this is to look through the photo-shopping to what's really there. I see girls every day who walk around with a boyfriend on their arm, wearing immodest outfits and layers of make-up, and they treat me like I'm inferior, but when I look past all of that, I see girls who are insecure and scared because the world has told them that their worth comes from having a boyfriend and looking "sexy". They're photo-shopping their lives to make themselves look and feel better, and most of them don't even realise it.
As Christian girls, we need to fight against this trap. Christ is the freedom we all desperately need, and He will use us to bring it to everyone, including the people we go to school and work with every day. But first, we need to see--as they do--that photo-shopping is better left for the iPhone.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What We See (and What we Don't)


Can anyone tell me what this picture is? I know it's a little bit weird. To me, it looks a little like a meteor shower, but blurry. Falling lights of some kind. Post it in the comments; I'll pop back in Wednesday and see what you think. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Voices in My Head

Hey, guys. I know I haven’t posted for a little while, but last week was just rough, and I didn't have the energy or the heart to put anything up.
Right now, before you read the rest of this post, I recommend that you take a moment to pray. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably reading this because you have a 3-minute window between activities in your massively-overloaded schedule, but trust me; take time to connect with God, even just for a minute. It’s worth it.

Even writing this post is hard. This issue is so close to my heart, and for many of you, it’ll probably be hard to read, because it’s something we all struggle with: insecurity.
A week or so ago, I said something in school that made it very clear to everyone around me what my views are: I stated that I believe homosexuality to be a wrong and unnatural way for people to live. I’m not really going to focus on what I actually said, though; that’s really not the point I’m trying to make. The point is that the instant I said it, I felt almost every person in the room turn to look at me. Then down at my shirt. Then back at me. My shirt said “Property of Jesus” on it.
Again; this isn’t really the point. I’m not looking to have a “homosexuality and the Bible” discussion; not right now. But wearing a shirt that identified me as a Christian and offering a controversial and rather unpopular opinion, I felt very marked. Very marked and very, very insecure.
I try to live totally uncompromising when it comes to God’s Word. But when everyone around me is trying to tell me the opposite, it gets really, really hard. For me, a Christian girl in a public high school, few topics are harder to deal with than purity.
I have a purity pledge, where I’ve promised myself to God and to the man He has chosen for me. But when no one at school notices me because I wear mostly t-shirts and jeans, it can be so tempting to pull out that v-neck, or that cute-but-low-cut sweater, just for the satisfaction of being noticed. I was told once, by a fellow high school girl, that if I would just “let go and draw a little attention to myself, guys might actually think you’re pretty enough to be noticed.” Whether or not she meant this to be insulting, I will never know. But the point remains that it hurts. While most of us don’t hear it this directly, we feel this message being thrown at us every day, and it’s hard to be secure in our purity.
But Jesus knew that the world was and will always be giving us this message, and in John 7:24, he commands the Pharisees, “‘Stop Judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment.’” We are not to focus on what we look like to other people, or what they look like to us. Still, though, it’s hard. It will always be. What do we do when we just can’t seem to get over the feeling that we’re not beautiful enough o ever be noticed? When we feel overcome by our own insecurity? When we can’t hear God because there are too many voices screaming at us that we aren’t worth anything? I hear these voices in my head almost every day, trying to make me believe these lies. How do I handle it? What do we do?

Run to Jesus. If I had a dime for every time I’ve cried myself to sleep begging God to show me that someone really will think I’m beautiful, I would be rich beyond compare. There’s no shame in crying out for God to just get you through one more day. Some nights, it’s too hard even to pray; I just have to trust that He knows what I need, and that He’s holding me.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” –Psalm 34:18