Friday, January 18, 2013

Respect and Reputations

Hey, ladies! In light of all that has been publicized about the “Hoes of [Insert your city here]”, I wanted to take a few minutes to expand on this. If you are unaware of what I am even talking about, please see the following article:

Apparently, this happened to some of the girls in my hometown as well. It’s easy to get caught up in looking and feeling pretty—especially when you gain attention. Right? Well, it’s important to remember that not all attention is positive. It is better to just remove the temptation for others—don’t give them the opportunity to embarrass you, or to lust over you. You are a beautiful child of God—cherish that reputation!

Just a few points of advice:
1. Keep your FB clean.  
Don’t post any pictures of yourself in promiscuous poses to any form of social media outlet. Even if you are making a “silly” face, your only-half-clothed body language can say a lot by itself.

2. Watch what you say
Creating an immoral identity does not happen through pictures alone—it is through words as well. Inappropriate language and vulgar insinuations can damage a reputation just as badly. Professing love to one another in posts, or how you can’t wait to “get down” with someone on the weekend. These make you appear extremely vulnerable, and trust me, there are predators looking for just that. Protect yourself, and stay a little mysterious.

3. Value your dignity
Dignity is a wonderful thing! Until you realized it’s lost. It is one thing that no one can take away without your permission. The choices we make can determine whether or not we forfeit that dignity.
“Right now I think censorship is necessary; the things they're doing and saying in films right now just shouldn't be allowed. There's no dignity anymore and I think that's very important.” -Mae West 

4. Respect yourself
Classic ideology – Others will not respect you if you don’t choose to respect yourself. Makes sense, right? For example. If you have posted numerous pictures (or even texted via cell phone) to a boy, he’s going to assume you’re open to all possibilities. Why wouldn’t he? You’ve already proven that you do not respect yourself enough to wait, and save yourself for a true partnership in Christ.
“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. “- Abraham Joshua Heschel 

5. Hold up to your moral standards
We are all raised differently. Not everyone has had the chance to learn from great examples—I understand this. But I pray that if you were taught that women were not valuable and precious, that you would learn that now.  I would hope that, deep down you understand the differences between right and wrong in these specific situations.

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33

If this post is coming off as self-righteous, please hear me out. I have absolutely (repeatedly) screwed up numbers 1-5. It is from the lessons I learned that I write this with urgency. Remember, that once you post something on the internet, it is there FOREVER. Even if you delete it in every way you know how, it remains. There is no telling where it will end up. The internet is a very, very powerful tool and, unfortunately, is frequently used for evil.

I am saddened that this cyber bullying has happened to these young girls—it breaks my heart. But my prayer is that other young girls will learn from this, and prevent it from happening again. Once a reputation is ruined—it is extremely difficult (and painful) to repair. Why risk it? I cannot tell you this enough—you are beautiful being you. You don’t need the attention of a boy to satisfy your need to feel wanted. Jesus wants your attention! How magnificent is that? He lives to protect you from evil, and to give you a promising future.

No song today--
Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Steal my Show

What a night!

Have you ever had someone repeatedly poke your arm in the middle of the night and say, "Wake up, wake up, I need to talk to you"?

Yep, that was my night.

God was saying just that. It was almost like I knew the "serious talk" was coming. "Okay, okay! I'm up!"

I started praying, asking for Him to tell me what He needed to--prayed that my 2am heart would be receptive (and cognisant). With the rush of upcoming classes, programs at work, and fitness/weightloss, I quickly began losing sight of all he had prepared me to do this semester. Don't get me wrong, all of these make me who I am, and they are all good things. But that's just it--classes, programs, weightloss--they're only things. Focused back on material items, beauty, and outward adornment, I took a step in the wrong direction. To sum it up, I was just becoming self-centered again. (Why is this so easy?!)

He led me to this scripture and it turned my night upside down.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." Philippians 2:3-7

He reminded me that He should be my main focus. There's a wonderful song by Vicky Beeching titled "The Wonder of the Cross". These lyrics became a prayer in my heart tonight: "May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the Cross". Amen to that!

After turning on my Spotify (since I wasn't able to sleep anyway), a song I had never heard before started playing. I'm not much of a Toby Mac fan (sorry!!), so I don't have any of his music on my lists. However, at some point, this song was added to my playlist--"Steal my Show". I was cleaning my room, and just caught the first part of the lyrics, and I couldn't believe it! I listened to the entire song, and it was absolutely relevant to the conversation I just finished with Christ. Needless to say, it was a miracle that it ended up on my playlist, and played at that moment in time. 

The lyrics that caught me?

If You wanna steal my show, I'll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin' to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can't wait to watch You go
So take it away...

My life
My friends
My heart
It's all Yours, God
Take it away
My dreams
My fears
My family
My career
Take it away
Take it away
It's all Yours, God
Take it away
Take it away
It's You I wanna live for.

Alright, Toby--I'll cut you some slack. 
What an amazing experience with the Holy Spirit tonight. Just thought I'd share.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reflections and Resolutions

Welcome to 2013!

When I think back to my own “life plan” from this time last year, I could never have imagined how much God would intervene. God is never-failing, and  I am always amazed at how much He knows me better than I know myself! 

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

He has appointed everyone a unique mission--will you accept yours?

My number one resolution for 2012 was to become truly joyful in the Lord Jesus Christ. Please note that I did not say “happy” or “easy” or “comfortable”. These words, to me, express temporary feelings that are stolen by the trials of life.  God has molded my heart throughout the year, and prepared me for the work I was created to do. I have found that in order to understand the true value (and gift) of life, one must understand the true meaning of the Gospel.

"He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed." 1 Peter 2:24

"He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins." Ephesians 1:7

I mean, seriously, does anybody else feel like dancing for joy when they read that?!

There were a few highlights in 2012 that absolutely changed my life (for the Glory of God!):
  • Community Group – I have grown closer with my church family, and have expanded my Bible knowledge (as well as practical application of the Word). 
  • Mentoring – Right before the turn of the year, I started to mentor two additional young ladies.
  • Obedience to God – It has been difficult, but I truly believe that this past year, I was able to put my personal preferences aside, to follow the commands of God. He has confirmed my decisions on various occasions, thus encouraging me to press on. "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
  • Confidence in Him – Before I had the strength of Jesus Christ within me, I was unsure about my future, my calling, and my ability to fulfill his purpose for me. But thankfully, I have grown to live by the words of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • New faces – I have met so many new (and amazing) people within this past year. Whether it was at work, church or simply the quick crossing of paths, God has placed numerous Christ-centered people in my life. They have provided encouragement, fresh perspectives, and opportunities for growth.
 I’m so excited to see what is in store for 2013. I have listed a few resolutions for the new year!
  • Mentoring—In 2012, I slipped a bit with my mentee from Big Brothers, Big Sisters. My plan for this year is to begin growing with her spiritually, as well as the girls from the Carpenter Place.
  • Church Involvement – I plan to stay involved with the children’s ministry, as well as the hospitality for my church! The opportunity to serve my church family is an answered prayer. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
  • Family Time—So many precious moments with family can be lost because of busy schedules (mainly my own schedule…) I pray that 2013 will bring me much love, much laughter, and many memories with my beautiful family.

I pray that you have a successful year, and that God blesses you immensely! I ask that you please pray for Imani, Josie, and Justice as they are all entering an age of critical development, surrounded by a society that is saturated with false messages.

Attached below is a song by Audio Adrenaline that has such a wonderful message, and it is absolutely relevant to my current mission. Give it a listen--you won't regret it.

Thanks for reading!