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Archive for April, 2007

Insecurity. It’s a word that’s often used to describe a common condition. It’s a watered down way to talk about a problem of the heart: lack of trust in and focus on God. I know that guys may deal with insecurity, too. But I want to specifically address girls and insecurity over their appearances.

Most girls today are unhappy with the way they appear. Like it or not, we’re bombarded with images of perfect-looking models with great figures, creamy complexions, smooth, silky hair, and straight, white teeth. No wonder we feel insecure! But my question is: why do we want to have these things? I find that for myself, the answer is often to win the favor and approval of man (gender neutral). Any desire to be beautiful must stem from a heart motive of glorifying God. And honestly, I don’t think that having shinier hair or an hourglass figure will help me glorify God more.

It’s so easy to be insecure. Maybe you wonder if any guy will ever want to marry you, since there are so many prettier girls out there. Maybe you wish you had a better figure and could wear that oh-so-cute top that you saw on the mannequin in the mall. However, when it comes down to it, realize that insecurity about appearance stems from a desire to please man and not God. And that is sin.

The Solution: Trust and Gratitude

This doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup or attractive clothing. On the contrary, you can dress beautifully and modestly. We should ensure that our appearance is presentable, but that it is also that which befits a godly woman. From Creation, it is evident that God loves color and beauty!  But the most important thing is having a beautiful heart, and that comes only from a secure faith in God. Are you trusting in God with your appearance, with your money, with your future? Are you thankful for what He has given you? And are you careful in not using your beauty to cause men to stumble? Are you spending too much time or money obsessing over clothes? Is working on your appearance making you late to events? There is such thing as a good amount of time, money, and effort as far as wardrobe, make-up, and hair go. And it may be different for each of us. It is important to routinely perform a “heart-surgery” (as one of our pastors says) and prayerfully evaluate the time, money, effort, and worry that you put into things such as make-up, clothes, hair, and exercise.

As Shakespeare eloquently states, “…rosy lips and cheeks within [Time’s] bending sickle’s compass come…” Outward beauty may not last forever, but beauty that comes from a heart that trusts sincerely in God will last. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Enjoy the beauty God has given you! Be content with your appearance. I don’t mean a reluctant contentment, but a joyful, sincere, gratitude to God for what He has given you, and also, what He has given to others. You can’t be grateful and envious at the same time! Nor can you be grateful and complaining at the same time. God created us beautifully, knitting each part together deliberately (Psalm 139).

In desiring to please God, we must talk to Him about our struggles. Ask Him for help in managing what He has given you well and to His glory.

Confidently rest in Christ’s work for you on the cross and continual mercy and grace in your life. Joyfully thank Him for everything! Then, you will find true security- security that a perfect complexion or gorgeous hair can never give.

Resources

Here are some resources that have helped me in my struggle with appearance insecurity:

-Check out both of these Boundless articles that can be found here and here.

-Check out the Girltalk Beauty Section for thought-provoking, Gospel-centered articles.

-Download Carolyn Mahaney’s talk, “True Beauty.” It’s well worth the money!

-Listen to the episode of Albert Mohler’s radio show, “The Nature of True Beauty in Confused Times.”

And, most importantly, continue studying Scripture and knowing your Savior better. It is by gazing and focusing on Him that we truly stop obsessing over ourselves.

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Being a daughter who fears the Lord does not depend upon having Christian (or non-Christian) parents. We are to follow Christ wherever He places us. This looks different for each of us. In this post, I’m going to share a little about His ongoing work in my life in this particular area.

My Story

Although my mom is a Christian, my dad is not. And there are many things that follow from this. For example, though I’m thankful that he is my father, my dad doesn’t have the same sense of morals that he would if he were following the Lord. He makes choices that I don’t agree with, and there are things that are particularly challenging about that. But this isn’t going to be a post about the challenges I face. We all face challenges. Instead, this is about what the Lord is teaching me in His mercy.

Sufficient Grace

First, I’m learning to rely upon the Lord’s grace more each day. I feel as though my dad is always watching me. My dad is a very critical, skeptical, person. There are so many times that I feel like a complete failure- I don’t always glorify God in my relationship with my dad. I grow bitter at different things he is doing, and it makes it hard to love him well. I hate that I cannot perfectly reflect my Savior. This has caused me more and more to stop relying on my own futile efforts and lean upon the grace of God to help me fulfill the roles He has given me. I truly am nothing. God doesn’t need me; instead, He graciously allows me to participate in His plans. I’m learning that He can save my dad with or without me. I’m learning not to dwell on my mistakes, but to repent of them, to ask for His help in turning away, and to move on. It’s hard. I feel as though I am always on display. And I fail entirely at mirroring Christ when I rely upon my own strength and think too highly of myself and my role. I must cling to the Cross, relying upon His Spirit in me. This has caused me also to dig deeper into His Word and be more constant in prayer because I’m not self-sufficient, though I often live as though I think I am. As Paul wrote, “But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10). Great is His faithfulness!

Trusting, Hoping, Praying

Second, I’m learning to trust the Lord. He is sovereign over all, including my dad’s life. I’m learning to pray faithfully for my dad’s salvation, as well as for my mom, sister and I to be reflections of Christ to my dad and brother. I worry a lot. But God is teaching me to cast that on Him. He is gracious in giving me faith and trust- forgiving my doubts, helping my unbelief.

God Doesn’t Make Mistakes

Third, I’m learning that God has placed me in my home, and in that is my most important role right now. I am to rejoice in my role as a sister and daughter, cheerfully obeying, continually trusting the Lord.

Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner

Fourth (and the last thing I’ll mention now), I’m learning to be gentle and patient with my dad, not holding him up to the same standard as I do myself and other followers of Christ. I must rely on God in this area, too, asking Him for wisdom to know how I should react to Dad’s sin. This is a particularly difficult area for me right now, but God is faithful. Most importantly, He is teaching me to keep on loving my dad and serving him, as Christ does for us all.

Other Lessons

The Lord is using my home life to teach me in ways I never thought possible, as He does with all challenges He graciously allows in our lives. Though I still struggle with feelings of worthlessness, bitterness, and worry, God is teaching me to give those feelings up to Him. Through my home, God has also given me renewed understanding for those who haven’t grown up in the church with a godly mother and father. It has further encouraged me to pray for Christians in non-Christian or anti-Christian homes. The Lord gives me strength to keep on serving, as well as grace and forgiveness to come to Him when I fail. I don’t know the end to this story, but I do know it will glorify God. And in that I will rejoice.

In I Corinthians 7, after talking to the Corinthians about marriage and living with an unbelieving spouse, Paul writes,

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” (vs. 17).

God has given each of us different blessings, responsibilities, and roles. Life looks different for each follower of Christ. But we are all to be following Christ in our different lives. And He is faithful to supply us with the grace that we need to serve Him wherever He places us. Praise the Lord for where He has placed you! In part, I wrote this post because I’ve been struggling with discouragement- even envy- lately because of my home situation. God is teaching me to rely upon Him, trust Him, and rejoice in Him as I cheerfully obey Him. Live the life He has called you to- joyfully, hopefully, prayerfully!

Also, I would really appreciate prayer for my dad’s and brother’s salvation, as well as prayer for myself and the rest of my family members. Thank you so much! Thanks for bearing with me through this long and jumbled post!

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Senior Slide

 

 

 

Recently, I read some humorous statements about being a second semester senior.

You know you’re a second semester senior when…

..you actually find yourself doing a math problem to figure out how low of a grade you can get on your finals and still pass a class.

…you can tell someone the recap of every tv show on every channel from any given night of the week.

…you figure as long as you get a decent grade in your classes there’s no sense in doing extra credit or work.

…you think senior privileges of sleeping in means sleeping in…the entire day.

I hear it often from fellow seniors- tired of working and ready to graduate. It’s easy to adopt this slack-off attitude as the end of my highschool years come to a close. However, while day-dreaming my way through my math class it came to me (kidding). In all seriousness, while reading these humorous statements, the Lord impressed upon my heart that this lazy mentality is ungodly and does not bring glory to Him.

While we are students, school is part of our God-assigned work. Although it is a blessed time to learn more about the Lord and His world, it’s not just a preparation time for serving Him. School is one way we serve Him while we are students and under the authority of teachers and parents. As we obey God and work faithfully in what He has called us to do, we realize that we’re not working for a temporal goal, such as a diploma. We’re working to glorify God with every breath, every day, for we never know when it might be our last. We’re working for the eternal.

We cannot stop doing the work God has given us (or do it half-heartedly) simply because we grow weary of it. We cannot justify lazy attitudes. As followers of Christ, we are called to diligently do the things He has called us to do. We’re to work cheerfully and to the best of our abilities, knowing that we are working for Him, not for man. And He will bless that.

In all our work, let’s not think, “How little can I do and still (whatever goal you have- graduate, pass the class, make my boss happy, please my parents, etc)?” Instead, let’s ask, “How can I honor Christ in my work today?” This may mean doing more than the assignment calls for, or maybe just doing the assigned with a cheerful, grateful heart. May these words of the Apostle Paul encourage you in your working for the Lord today:

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him… Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 1:17, 23-24

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