Friday, July 13, 2018

on the "liked" and the "liker"...

We all know them. Maybe we are them. The selfie girls. 

The ones who post photos of themselves with a smile and a Bible verse or a fun caption about summer or Netflix or tacos. The photos are well-angled, well-filtered, well-timed. Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love social media. I am Instagram and Twitter's best friends. I love being able to see the lives of friends in other countries, of being able to share the Gospel in a caption, and to have a place to remind myself of life highlights. BUT, yesterday, my social media scrolling hit an all time low. I definitely had a log versus speck moment (Matthew 7 for reference).

I scrolled through, and there it was, THE selfie. I sat there, looking at this girl and I instantly was filled with rage, comparison, jealousy. My heart became anxious and I started wondering if people liked her more than me, if I was less attractive than her, if she was going to get the boy, if I need to start posting selfies in order to remind people that I am here and I am beautiful. HELLO, LOOK AT ME AND LIKE ME. Sure, maybe girls (and boys too!) post things out of insecurity, wanting to be reminded that they are beautiful and loved, wanting an instant gratification of self, and maybe they don't. We can assume and judge and criticize all we want, but I realized something in that other girls' selfie... It revealed my insecurity. I don't need to post a photo of myself in order for the Enemy to make me question my worth, all I need to do is watch others post theirs. Friends, the Enemy is sneaky and manipulative, he turns beauty into something to be jealous of and simultaneously ashamed of; he has been doing it since The Garden.
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"...I realized something in that other girls' selfie... It revealed my insecurity..."
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One thing that I know to be true is that whether you are the "liked" or the "liker", social media can become a breeding ground for insecurity. We begin to question our beauty, our strength, our quality of life, our identity. If not put in it's proper place, social media can deteriorate the innate and inherent worth of our souls. No matter what side we are one, the "liked" or the "liker", we are all searching for affirmation. We are all asking the same questions... Am I beautiful? Am I enough? Am I worthy of attention? Am I liked?

Our identity is NOT measured by an app on our phone.
Our identity is NOT completed or found in a single good photo.
Our identity is NOT compromised when she looks better than we do.
Our identity is NOT measured by the amount of "likes" and "YOU CUTE" comments.

My identity, OUR identity, is found in Jesus Christ, the one whose image we bear. We are each made in such a way that reflects Christ's uniquely physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Instagram cannot fully express or affirm who we are in Christ. Whether you are the "liked" or the "liker", may you measure yourself ONLY by Jesus and His words about you, those are truly the only ones that matter.

How are you clinging to His words versus the affirmations of this world?
How are you reminding yourself of your worth in a world that seeks to tear it down?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

on wisdom and sin...

The other day I posted a little snippet of what God has been teaching me over on Instagram.
Just because it isn't sinful, doesn't mean it's wise. OUCH. Lately, God has been using His Word (I have been camping out daily in the Proverbs, which is a staple for my morning chats with Jesus!) to remind me that wisdom is a rare and grey commodity. Sin is typically black and white, we know that difference between godliness and lawlessness, yet wisdom? Wisdom is a little more intricate, a little more blurry. 
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"Just because it isn't sinful, doesn't mean it's wise"...
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Wisdom looks differently for everyone; we all have our own convictions, sin-triggers, heartaches, desires, idols. What might be wise for you, may not be wise for me, and vice versa. Wisdom requires self-awareness, self-control, self-denial. Wisdom is incredibly nuanced; you must determine a biblical ethic in context to you personally. When it comes to these three areas, I think it is important to ask ourselves the big questions, like:

- Am I making choices that glorify myself or glorify God?
- Am I seeking out something that will benefit my spiritual health?
- Am I making choices that are not only wise for me, but for the others involved?
- Am I engaging in actions and behaviors that aren't sinful, but still aren't a good idea?
- Am I able to tell my mentor/accountability partner what I have done without feeling shame or guilt?

The absence of wisdom begets sin. Sometimes, being wise means saying no to the fun, saying no to the good, saying no to the common thing, and saying yes in faith, being obedient to His desires rather than your own. Jesus never said obedience would be fun and feel good all of the time, but He does say that it is worth it. 
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"The absence of wisdom begets sin..."
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The Bible says that if you seek wisdom, she will be your bestie and a forever friend. She will guard you, guide you, protect you. And I don't know about you, but that sounds like something worth pursuing. 

Friends, what is God teaching you lately? What does wisdom look like for you?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

a coffee date...

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how we are A WEEK AND A HALF away from Christmas! My nails are painted red, my Christmas pajamas are out, my playlists are updated... as a self-proclaimed Grinch, my heart is growing and bursting with Christmas joy! (But please note, I will always and forever hate eggnog. And all the people said "AMEN".)

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about your marshmallow to hot chocolate ratio. In "The Holiday", Jude Law gives his girls each five marshmallows per cup, and that's just not okay. I am a handful, sometimes two, kind of girl. (PS: I have watched this movie about six times already this season, don't judge me.)

If we were on a coffee date, we would probably talk about healthy boundaries, back pockets, and biblical promises. And I would probably start crying. 

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you how your soul is doing, really doing.

If we were on a coffee date, I would confess that lately I have been living in a lot of fear and insecurity; prayer, worship playlists, and Scripture have been a soothing balm to my heart over these past few weeks.  

If we were on a coffee date, I would share this devotional reading for A.W. Tozer that I found this week. 

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about 2018 and what we are expectant for in the coming year. For me, I already have a feeling that 2018 is going to be full and stretching. What about you?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

on the contentious woman...

"...a constant dripping on a day of steady rain and 
contentious woman are alike...
- Proverbs 27:15
During the past week, I've been reading a Proverb a day (because wisdom please!); I've noticed the idea of The Contentious Woman. She is mentioned roughly five times in Proverbs (Proverbs 21:9;19; Proverbs 26:21; Proverbs 27:15) depending upon translation. The Contentious Woman given to argument or strife; she is quarrelsome, characterized by controversy and provoking. There is an absence of peace and faith; truly, she is the opposite of the woman characterized in Proverbs 31 who has no fear for the future, who laughs, who builds up, who brings life to those around her. I feel like the Lord has been really opening my eyes to this contrast of character; He brings to mind recent conversations where I've asked unnecessary questions, tried to provoke thought, to control, change and gain clarity... places where I've been seeking answers from man, not from God.
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"...contention roams in my heart when there is fear and insecurity, 
a lack of peace and trust in God to be who He says He will be..."
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So, what makes a woman contentious? What makes a woman argue and provoke and be a "constant dripping", or in other versions, a "leaky faucet"? I don't know about every woman, but I know that contention roams in my heart when there is fear and insecurity, a lack of peace and trust in God to be who He says He will be. I don't think that I am a consciously contentious woman, but I definitely see myself becoming one. I have contentious tendencies. When I am operating out of fear for the future, out of the insecurity that the Enemy plants in my heart, then I am prone to quarrel and strife, to provocation and urgency. The only Person who is built to carry our contentious spirits is the Lord; we can come before His throne with any sadness, any question, any heartache, any grievance and upset. For me, becoming contentious is not something I strive for, it is something that I become when I am not rooting myself in truth, grace, and love.  
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"...if I am filling myself with the truth of the Living Water, 
there is no need to become a "leaky faucet"..."
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I do NOT want to be characterized and motivated by fear and insecurity, but rather out of peace and security. A woman who is at rest in her identity in Christ is not contentious, THAT is the kind of woman I desperately desire to be. If I am filling myself with the truth of the Living Water, there is no need to become a "leaky faucet", to be seeking affirmation and answers from places that simply just cannot provide such things. There is beauty in His control; when He is in control, that means that I don't have to be! And where there is that kind of freedom, contention has no place. 

Am I a woman who is prone to peace or prone to provocation? 
Am I constantly seeking affirmation, constantly asking questions, 
or resting in the security and knowledge of Christ?

(PS: I think this applies to men as well, just saying.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

on snakes and good gifts...

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven given what is good to those who ask Him!"
- Matthew 7: 7-11
When I think of gifts, I do NOT think of stones and snakes. I think of Christmas and birthdays and hand written notes and surprise coffees on my desk (which are always and forever welcomed). It comforts me to know that even in our sinful humanity, we know how to practice the art of gift-giving; we know what would bless our friends and family. I am comforted in the idea that as much as my earthly community seeks to give, the Father desires to give abundantly MORE. 

Matthew 7 is quickly becoming one of my favorite portions of Scripture. It is a portion that reminds us to trust in His character and not in our circumstances. When we come to our Father as children, asking for the desires of our hearts, the deep and heavy things, God does not desire to trick us. He is not scheming and plotting against us, figuring out clever ways to confuse us or hurt us. He does not ignore or forsake or forget, He does not withhold any good thing, He does not give us stones or snakes. He will hear His children and give to them according to His kindness and His will, and when He doesn't give us our specific desires, He gives us Himself, the greatest gift of all. He does not give us stones, because He is the one who rolled the stone away. He does not give us snakes, because He trampled The Snake with His heel. His desire has always been to gift Himself to us, through joy and trial. 
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"He does not give us stones, because He is the one who rolled the stone away. He does not give us snakes, because He trampled The Snake with His heel..."
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We all have times where we pray for a good thing and think we have received a snake. Trust me, I have SO been in that place! We think that He is withholding from us, when in reality, He is blessing us with the gift of His sovereignty and protection. When I look at the past, how God has been so faithful to give, protect, and save, why would I ever think He would toss me a stone or a snake? Our God is good and He extends goodness to us always. We have to remember who He is when those snake-like lies slither into our hearts. Every good and perfect gift is from above, and the most good and only perfect gift, Jesus Christ, was sent to us out of the kindness and compassion of the Father. What more could we ever truly ask for? May we trust God as the Almighty Stone Roller and not a stone giver. 

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow..."
- James 1:17

Where are you tempted to see snakes and stones in your life?
What are the good gifts you are trusting God for today?