I recently asked a couple of high school girls at my church what they’d most want women of all ages to understand about what their generation faces; they paused to think, and then they started talking. The list came…and it kept coming. The key takeaway was that no matter what others were encouraging them to do, it always came with some level of pressure. The idea that you should try everything at least once, and if you’re not trying it, you better at least be joking about it, seemed to clearly come through in our conversation.
This got me to thinking about my “adult” life. I’m 29, so I’m past the phase of experiencing the public school hallway pressures, I’m occasionally cocky enough to label myself above bowing to societal trends, but the reality is, I still feel the pressures and make mistakes, they just may look different. Sure, no one is actively and directly telling me every day I should try vaping, sex, or drugs, but at the very least, I feel the pressure I should be comfortable joking about them, and I’d certainly better not judge someone else for choosing them. When I look at the media I’m exposed to or the occasional friend or family member I come across, I can feel it, the pressure to become more tolerant, more accepting, less of a “prude”.
Romans 12:2 (NIV), "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Feeling the pressure at every age
I have a clear advantage over each of these high schoolers…I am in control of who I surround myself with on a daily basis. I pick my friends, my church group, I can drive to get around healthy community, I even work in a Christian environment. And yes, they can certainly control who they allow to fully invest in their lives, but even if they find a “good” group, each of those teens is facing the same pressures. It’s not easy. As an adult, I’ve found myself occasionally caving to social pressures just because it seems like everyone is doing it, and while I have never tried vaping, sex, or drugs, I’ve become more comfortable joking about those things even when I shouldn’t.
The slippery slope of youth certainly does follow-us our whole life. So whether you’re a 15 year old, or a 62 year old, I feel for you. It’s not easy standing your ground, sometimes it’s not even easy figuring out what your ground should be. I’m so thankful for the Word of God which helps us find our footing, and I love how the Bible does not sugarcoat the fact that following God is going to make us weird in our culture.
No matter where you’re at in your life journey, I want to make a moment to think about why you are who you are. Why yes, I know that’s a deep question. But for real, what has shaped you or is shaping you? Are you becoming who you’d like to be, are you becoming more of who God has designed you to be or slowly shifting as culture ebbs and flows?
A missing ID AND discovered IDENTITY
I recently lost my driver’s license on a vacation. I had flown, and upon losing my license shortly after arriving, I instantly felt the insecurity of, “I cannot prove who I am.” How will I get on the plane in 6 days? How can I drive my rental car? Every time I went into a restaurant, I had to second guess myself and wonder if I was going to be allowed in there or if they’d need to see my ID and I’d be sent packing. Sure, I knew who I was, but I could not prove it, there was nothing to validate it; in a lot of ways, it was like my identity was in question, someone could have accused me of having a known terrorist, and I could not have proven otherwise. That same thing can happen with us when we do not know who God is and who we are as a result. We’re walking around without a firm understanding of our identity, and when we start to question it, that’s when the Word of God comes in with clarity.
1 John 3:1-2 (NIV), "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."
There is a real difference between when I don’t have sex outside of marriage just because I’m a “good Christian” girl and I know my parents would be upset vs when I don’t have sex outside of marriage because I trust God, want to honor Him, and I believe He, as the creator of all things (including sex), is smarter than I am and His ways are better than mine.
In the example of my missing ID, I had things I knew to be true about myself based on experience and what my family also knew about me, but there was still that insecurity of not knowing where I belonged or how I could get to where I was going, but with God’s Word as the source of my identity (i.e. having my ID), I could walk in confidence, knowing who I am…because of Him!
And, I can prove to you who you are. Because just like my driver’s license will tell you what sets me apart from others, and the fundamental truths of who I am, so the Bible will tell you the foundation of who you were created to be. And once that foundation is known, well, the process of figuring out all the little intricacies about you and what makes you unique can turn into a fun journey since your Creator will be the One to lead and guide you as you grow. It’s not always easy, but it sure is worth it. And today, we can all use that reminder, no matter what our age or marital status.
JOIN US AT OUR FIRST EVER WOMEN’S CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN OF ALL AGES
FRI, MARCH 13 | 6:30PM – SAT, MARCH 14 | 4PM
With ten years of experience reclaiming purity and sexuality, Across My Heart Ministries invites you to our FIRST EVER women’s conference at Grace Community Church (Ages 16+). We hope you’ll join us for worship, teaching, food and fun as we uncover why God created sexuality, what it reveals about the gospel, and how purity brings clarity to our everyday lives.