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.
I was a 4th grader when I went home from school that day. But those feelings are still current in my 23-year-old self. I still become excited and hopeful when I get new clothes. I still long for other people to notice me, accept me, admire me. I sometimes feel lonely when I don't have attention from a loved one or even on social media. When the pressures of life surrounds me, and my feelings overtake me, it’s easy to fade away into a negative attitude and want to “go home sick”. 4th grader or young adult, those feelings are real.
I lost track of the brothers after they split up 6 years ago. On their own, Nick and Joe’s independent pursuits weren’t as wholesome as what the brothers had produced together. It quickly became apparent that their previous convictions to sexual purity were not taking priority as their music became riskier and the purity rings disappeared.
I was assigned the role of a pregnant, homeless teenager for the church Christmas musical. "How ironic is it that I speak and blog for a purity ministry and I’m playing the part of a pregnant teenager?” I should’ve known right then and there that it was time for a heart check.
God’s design for womanhood as laid out in scripture is beautiful. It’s not about being the “perfect housewife.” It’s about finding freedom in glorifying God when we live out His ways.
We’ve all had days when life won’t let up. Days when when our circumstances just seem to drag us down. Days when we feel the brokenness of our world so keenly. On these days, the despair threatens to swallow us up. Our circumstances bring feelings of loneliness. Hopelessness. Negativity. Anger. Defeat. Stress. Rejection. Anxiety. Shame. Fear. Bitterness. Our emotions can blind us and tell us lies about our circumstances. It’s only when we encounter Jesus, the Truth, that we can be set free from these lies.
A friend of mine recently reminded me that we can’t base what we know on what we feel. Our feelings are inconsistent and dependent on our surroundings - and God knows that. God’s love and presence are independent of our feelings. Faith is what we have in spite of our feelings.
Like a thief in the night. That moment in life when the only thing that matters is if - in the past - you’ve made a choice to prepare. This is exactly what the Bible tells us the second coming of Jesus will be like. Sudden. No warning. Like a 2am break-and-enter.
We want to feel satisfied and loved. But so often we look to the world for it. What does it offer us? At the surface, the Instagram Façade seems harmless. hBut underneath it is a boatload of filth.
We fail a lot. In fact, you could say it’s human nature to fail and to do so frequently. So how can we fail and be "perfect just the way we are" at the same time? Something seems off about that...