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christianity

Thank you, #rebelinsecurely

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Thank you, #rebelinsecurely

You know how it feels to plan and plan and plan and work and plan some more and then it happens and you finally just let and a breath and think, "Wow. Did that just happen?"

That's us tonight; myself and the Insecurely team. We are exhausted and happy and exhausted some more. But, I can't let myself crash tonight without letting you know how incredibly amazing each one of you are. 

That fact that you took the time, energy, money, and strength  to participate in such a scary day means so much. To you, it may have been a new, interesting thing, or something much more. To us, it changed our lives and encouraged so many souls!

Do you know what you did today? 

You changed the world.  

Yes, I 100% believe that. You changed the world, because you know what the world is? The world is people. You stood up for someone. You stood up for yourself. 

You were a part of changing the entire world.     

That. Is. Beautiful.  

 

So, here's to you shy, scared, happy, overbearing, silly, brave, exciting, sad, courageous, incredible person: You're a world changer. And this, well...

We are Insecurely Movement, and this is Rebel. 

 

Hannah & the Insecurely Team

 

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Yesica Goblirsch: Say goodbye to insecurity

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Yesica Goblirsch: Say goodbye to insecurity

Beauty is something we all strive for, but too often do we settle for a "worldly" version of beauty, as opposed to the true beauty given to us by God.

If I can be totally honest, two of my biggest struggles were lust and feeling beautiful. At a young age, I was taken advantage of by someone close to my family. As I grew older, I became aware and understood what he did to me. I felt like my purity was robbed and I struggled after this for years. I would exercise more than any normal person should, and if I didn't do that I would eat whatever I pleased, and continue on in this roller coaster called life. Trying my hardest to fully satisfy the deepest longings within my soul. I still believed in God, but I didn't fully know and understand His love for me. I was able to pull myself together and keep myself together, but I struggled with lust. That was my biggest struggle.

Although most never knew about my inner struggles, living in bondage to brokenness, to sin, to shame and to temptation truly held me back from my full potential in Christ. Even more so it held me back from the overwhelming, perfect, all-encompassing love of Christ. I didn't value myself and my decisions reflected lacked the fact that I did not possess self-respect.

However, a few years ago, God made himself more real than ever before. On the outside I looked fine, but on the inside I was struggling and God knew that. God saw and knew my heart. He had enough of seeing me like this, and met me where I was. In my brokenness, God loved and restored me. God held my heart as He pieced me back together. Every chain and lie that was holding me back was broken. My burdens and heaviness was lifted and I felt free again. The fogginess that blurred my vision was cleared and I could see the light, grace and love of Jesus that had been all around from the very start of time. It's amazing. After years of pursuing the world, the moment I fully embraced God changed my life forever.

I'm not sure what you're going through as you read a tidbit of my story, but I want you to know that you were made for SO much more! This world isn't always the nicest and too often do we allow ourselves to get bogged down by the world. God did not intend for us to live a life of insecurities! He sent His only Son so that we could have freedom! Do you understand that? I didn't fully grasp the significance of Jesus' sacrifice. He gave HIS LIFE so we could choose to live. Jesus was fully aware that there was a chance His sacrifice would go unnoticed, that some people will choose to follow the world instead of Him.

However, he thought that the possibility of us having freedom in His perfect love, just the possibility to choose life, was worth it. Too often we fall beneath the lies of satan and this world, I know I did. But God loves you so much and He wants you to believe His truth, that you are beautiful and were created with a divine purpose. Psalm 45:11 says to "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Believe that you are beautiful, because it's true. Believe that you have immense purpose, because your life is significant and you have the ability to be a world changer!

Before God delivered me, I had to stand up with my chains on. Any insecurities, fears and doubts you may be dealing with are chains. I encourage you to stand up with your chains on and find truth and freedom in Jesus! You are beautiful! You are the apple of God's eye. You are a princess because you are a daughter of the King Most High. Let God shower you with His love because Jesus literally died so that you could experience the love and presence of God fully.

It's time to say goodbye to insecurities. Stand up with your chains on and find freedom.

 

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His Side: Q&A with Dylan

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His Side: Q&A with Dylan

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert and my advice is by no means perfect or even universal. My thoughts come from making mistakes, listening to mentors, thoughtful prayer and careful study of scripture. While I have learned a lot about life through these experiences, my journey has just begun. Some of these answers may fill you with joy and be exactly what you were looking for while others may offend you and leave you with more questions. Whatever your interpretation, you may always reach out to me on my twitter or the contact form on my personal web page and I will always take time to respond. Now that all of that is out of the way, here are the questions!

I'm really into this guy, but I think he's into someone else and he's a valuable friend to me. What should I do?

If he’s really a valuable friend to you, you should tell him how you feel. If he shares the same feelings you do, you’ve just made life a lot easier for both of you. If he doesn’t, you can move on with your friendship and be mature enough to not let things be awkward between you.

Guys say, "you look beautiful without makeup." but I think it's always just because they want you to feel better. Honestly, how do you feel about makeup?

I can’t speak for all guys, but I can honestly say that I believe girls don’t need makeup to be beautiful. I think any real man would agree. God made you in His image, and while I think makeup can enhance beauty, it can’t replace your natural beauty. There will come a day when your husband will see you without makeup and he will still love you because you are you, flaws and all.

I am 20 years old and really want to find someone and settle down. Is that too early?

The short answer is no. I have several friends who have been married at 19 and 20 and were mature and ready for that step in their lives. However, I will give you a few words of caution. 1. Don’t get so focused on trying to find someone that you settle for less than what you deserve. 2. Don’t get so focused on trying to find someone that you romanticize all of your relationships with the opposite gender. 3. Live in the now. You’re young and now is the perfect time to have fun without having to worry about balancing your job, your marriag

e, your kid

s, and other commitments. Remember Romans 12:2.

Do guys really struggle with the way girls dress? If I dress too modest no guy will ever notice me.

While not all guys struggle with the ways girls dress, there are many that do. It is scientifically proven that guys are more visually stimulated than girls (although recent studies have shown that our culture is literally rewiring girls’ brains to be more visually stimulated). You’ve probably heard this statement but it really is true. “Modest is hottest.” When you pick your outfit in the morning your goal should never be to make a guy notice you. This isn’t just coming from me, this is a principle we can see all over the Bible (1 Timothy 2:9). When the right man comes along, it won’t take a revealing outfit to get him to notice you.

Where do you draw the line between "accepting" yourself and striving for the person God made you to be... i.e. being overweight. Do I strive to be in shape? Is being overweight a sin?

Let’s start with the first part. I think there is a difference between accepting yourself and striving for the person God made you to be.  We can accept and be secure in the fact that we are a child of God, made perfect in His image, while still

recognizing that we are continually on a journey to be more like Christ each day. Now let’s address your second question. While I do not believe being overweight is inherently sinful, I do believe that it can be an outward evidence of sin. For example, the Bible tells us that laziness is sinful, gluttony is sinful, selfish indulgence is sinful, and deliberate misuse of God’s temple is sinful. These are all lifestyle choices that can inherently lead to being overweight, being unhealthy, or being emotionally distressed. That being said, there are also health conditions and other factors that can lead to these conditions and if you are experiencing this I believe God understands your situation and will meet you where you are.

How do I

combat the fact that I am not sexually attracted to men? What does this mean, and is it Biblically wrong to be attracted to other women?

I believe the question you are trying to ask is whether or not homosexuality is sinful. My answer is yes. The Bible defines marriage as the sexual union between a man and a woman and prohibits extramarital union, including homosexual ones. Aside from marriage or sexual unions, the Bible implicitly includes homosexuality in its prohibition of sexual immorality. This is not only referenced in the Old Testament under the old covenant but also in the New Testament under the new covenant that was established through Christ (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:18, 22, 24, 25; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:25−27; and 1 Corinthians 6:9−11). The best way to walk in the Perfect Will of God is by spending time studying scripture and also spending time in prayerful conversation with God.

Be Blessed,

Dylan Nieman

 

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Michaela Smith: To the women of today

DSC_4847Granny Michaela, grandma, and little old lady were all names I was called in high school. No, I was not over the age of 65, and no I did not have graying hair. I was called those names because I refused to conform to what my high school peers wanted me to wear; I refused to reveal my body. I remember one day during sophomore year of high school; I had gone shopping and purchased a gray, flowery sweater I thought was super cute. I walked into school the next Monday wearing the new sweater feeling confident, until I heard my friend say, “Why does she wear the ugliest clothes? Seriously, it’s like she gets them from her grandma’s closet.” After hearing those comments I felt defeated, and hung the sweater back in my closet to never wear again during my high school years.

This conversation I overheard was just the beginning.

Throughout the next three years “friends” said to me, “Michaela, pull your shirt down!” “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” “Stop being so conservative, no wonder you’re not dating anyone, guys like to see skin.” These comments bothered me, and I always felt as if I was being judged and attacked for the way my society at the time wanted me to be…that I was disappointing them.

I wish I could say that I brushed those comments off, and that I continued to live my life without my peers affecting my choices. Unfortunately, this blog can’t end that way.

Daily, I looked myself over in the mirror. I thought to myself, “Will I get made fun of today for wearing this?” “I hope no one says anything today to me about my shirt…” “Maybe I’ll just wear my jacket all day so that people won’t notice what I’m wearing.” However, I should have been thinking less about what I wore, and more about empowering my friends to change the way they saw their outward appearance.

Now that I think back to my high school years, I am deeply troubled that my young women peers viewed their bodies as display cases for their assets. They wanted to be seen as sexy, provocative, and immodest, instead of being lovely, respectable, and empowering.

Ladies, your body is a temple of the Lord. “Know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.” 1st Corinthians 6:19

 

To the inspiring women of today,

Only you can change the way you see yourselves. Do not, for a second, think that you have to dress immodestly to be seen as beautiful. Instead, motivate and inspire young women around you who so desperately want to be noticed by their bodies, and not by their hearts. If I could change the way I reacted to my peers in high school, I would tell them that I dress this way so that I will not cause men to falter in lust. I would tell them that I dress this way to assure myself that I am a respectable woman who is not to be seen as a provocative icon.

Ladies, set yourself apart not only by the words you speak and the actions you take, but by the clothes you wear. You can be a Godly example to women around who struggle with immodesty, the ones that are looking for affection by using their body as the tool.

Embrace the body God has given you, and never believe that you have to conform to the immodesty that your friends want you to fall prey to. You are too smart, too loved, and too respected to less than honor God’s image of yourself.

So, be the influence on your peers of modesty, and guide them to understand that revealing clothes should not be tolerated amongst one another. With your help, we can help to change the society we live in today, and create an image of beauty that is pleasing to God.

 

Love,

Michaela

 

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His Side: Can guys and girls be "just friends"?

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His Side: Can guys and girls be "just friends"?

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Can Guys and Girls Be "Just Friends"?

Nii Abrahams

It’s a picturesque fall afternoon. Out of the corner of his eye he sees her from across the park. He notices what she has and realizes he has to have it. He immediately stops what he’s doing and sheepishly approaches. She sees him coming and begins to lock her eyes with his. As he nervously steps into the sandbox, he musters up the courage and asks: “Can I play with you?”

What happened to the sandbox experience? Do you remember those times when guys and girls had no expectations of each others’ company other than the possible risk of getting cooties (which we all knew you could easily wipe off)?

Somewhere between recess and freshman orientation we’ve turned the innocence of coed relationships into this intensely awkward samba of mixed feelings and sexual frustrations. One of the biggest beliefs that society has (especially since coming to college) is that guys and girls cannot just be friends.

Apparently, guys have this innate desire to pursue every girl they meet, and girls can’t help but fall hopelessly in love with a guy because they said “hi” to them. The only thing is that God didn’t design us to live in this tension. He created men and women uniquely — each with distinctive dispositions, perceptions of the world, and social realities. Girls like to eat spaghetti on Venus, while guys like to eat the occasional waffle on Mars (I think that’s how the phrase goes… or whatever).

We were meant to grow and learn from each other in a harmonious relationship. However, because this concept has been severely warped, it affects how we see ourselves—as objects that have to be admired by the opposite sex rather than fully understanding what we can contribute to a healthy co-ed relationship. So how can we get back to where God intended for us to be?

 

Intentionality

No romantic relationship is just randomly created. Whether you want to believe it or not, somebody either did something, said something, or acted in a way that gave the other person a green light to pursue. I’ve seen too many people on one side confused and the other heart-broken because his words claimed “just friends”, but her text message inbox inferred otherwise.

People, especially but not exclusively guys, have this habit of putting themselves in relationship-like situations with no intention of pursuing. Maybe this rings a bell — have you every invited a guy or girl to “just watch a movie” with you alone? How about going on a “simple walk”? Maybe multiple study sessions when it’s just the two of you, or even texting late into the night every night? Unfortunately, we are all guilty of these actions in some shape or form. The worst part is we act so clueless when the other person acts on those perceived pursuit signals! We don’t want to take ownership of the situations we place ourselves in. And if you find yourself in that situation, don’t think “I’m not ready for commitment” is your get out of jail free card. Take ownership and be real.

When we allow someone who we have no intention of pursuing become an emotional crutch, or dare I say, pseudo boyfriend or girlfriend, we are being deceitful and setting ourselves up for failure. Let’s face it. College students are notorious for using their friends as substitute boyfriend or girlfriend. You might know them as your “favorite cuddle buddy” or maybe even “best friend.”

Understand Unique Perspectives

I am blessed to be surrounded by an incredible community of guys and girls while at school. The best part is, I truly value my friends that are girls. In my quest for finding my Topanga (Boy Meets World), I have said and done some really stupid things. It’s not enough that I am a guy, which means I’m genetically disposed to Foot-In-Mouth Disease, but I haven’t had a lot of dating experience.

If it weren’t for the unique perspectives of my female friends, I would not be the guy I am today. Their advice on not just dating but life in general has been invaluable. Their encouragement to me and my encouragement to them isn’t flirting. It’s a genuine respect and mutual love. We both learn and grow from each other.

You see, our human nature only gives us one vantage point. Having the opportunity to see through another’s perspective is incredibly beneficial! Through that benefit we have a better understanding of what our friends of the opposite gender go through. I have had some incredibly deep talks with these girls and didn’t feel that I had to instantly pursue and marry them!

I have a hard time thinking that God created beings that were supposed to coexist in tension. When God made man and woman, he made them perfectly in his image. If we start viewing the pursuit of coed relationships as an act of worship, we will begin to restore the true intention of God’s desire for male and female relationships.

Even Jesus had female friends he had no intention of pursuing. I know we like to imagine Jesus and his disciples rolling around being holy bros while racing camels and whatever else they did back then, but in the Bible we see he deeply cared for Martha and Mary. In one account, he went out of his way to visit them, and another he showed great remorse when he saw them hurting because their brother Lazarus had died.

Like a lot of things, society has warped what God has intended to be pure. Especially in our young adult years, we are told that members of the opposite sex are more like objects rather than individuals. Guy or girl, don’t let anyone tell you that the opposite sex doesn’t deserve to be treated with the utmost respect!

Now in these co-ed friendships, we have to understand there has to be boundaries. As young adults, the level of accountability and the information we share should be a lot different than our same-sex friendships. Even more so, those relationships have to change when our friends or ourselves get into romantic relationships. I could say so much more about this, but that topic alone could be its own blog!

Knowing Your Worth

The only way we can truly allow ourselves to just be friends with the opposite sex is if we are confident in who we are. I’m not talking about confidence that comes from wearing your favorite outfit (I know we all that that one sweater that makes us feel like we’re invincible), but I’m talking about the confidence that comes from knowing that our identity isn’t dependent on other people.

When we rely on others to fulfill our self-worth, guy or girl, we use whomever we can find to attempt to fill that void. This always results in using our friends in a negative way. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend may be nice, but it won’t complete you! When we stop looking at every person of the opposite sex as a potential Mr. or Mrs­­­. _______________ , we are giving ourselves the freedom to explore, create, and utilize the benefits of a healthy co-ed friendship without having the pressure of trying to impress that person.

Isn’t that what friendship is? The ability to jam out to One Direction in your car without fear of persecution, or attempting to talk in a Jamaican accent all day long — just to be your goofy self? If who you are is enough for God, then it’s sure good enough for others.

You should be loved in your friendships.

You should be valued in your friendships.

You should be considered beautiful in your friendships.

Nii

2013-08-20 18.17.16Nii Abrahams is a Senior communication major/sociology minor at Missouri State University. He is a student leader and extremely involved in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. He has a passion for college students and quickly fell in love with the Insecurely Movement because of its incredible impact on future families. To connect with Nii, follow him on Twitter.

 

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A His Side Response: Ladies, it's our job too.

DSC_9784Last week, we featured a His Side blog by Joe Bulger called His Side: For the Guys. Tonight, we feature a response by our very own Emily Taylor, social media staff member.

Today our society has placed a lot of fault upon the men of our culture. We try to place all the blame upon the men when we, as women, are taking little responsibility for a problem that is not one-sided.

We must value the men around us enough to do whatever it takes to direct them in a path towards Christ. Here is where the issue lies: we focus more on turning his gaze towards ourselves than turning his gaze towards Christ. We are called to build each other up in faith, not tear each other down! "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." (1 Thess 5:11). True men are not looking for a stumbling block, but rather a solid rock in whom they can rely upon!

How we treat men is how they are going to treat us back. Our actions speak volumes into a guy's ear telling him exactly how we want to be treated. Flirting with every guy, or even just one guy, who you know is not the one for you is simply selfish. Some will say, "I just have a flirty personality." I'm just going to be real here and say that notion is absolutely and totally ridiculous.

Ladies, we know when we are flirting with a guy and each little thing we do makes up a perception of who we are to him in his mind. This goes along with the way we dress. Men are much more visual than women. Do our clothing choices reflect the purity of our hearts? Are the skirts and tops we are wearing reflecting a pure spirit? Would you wear that outfit on a father/daughter date or to hang out with your brother? Are you dressing to draw attention to your body or your heart's beauty? Are we showing these men that we are solid, confident, women of God or are we telling them that we are broken, incompetent, and easy? …(and if brokenness is the place we are in, then know that no man will be able to mend our hearts aside from Christ alone.)

Where are the women of God? If we want an Ephesians 5, we better be growing into a Proverbs 31. Don't settle for less. Men, don't settle for less than a Proverbs 31, because they are out there waiting for you. Is your woman growing you closer to God or making you fall farther? Is she a stumbling block or a solid rock to lean on? Does she respect you, encourage you, and lead you on a path pursing righteousness, or is she tearing you down?

To fix this problem we must recognize our worth in Christ so that we are able to recognize the worth others have in Christ. When we do this, we are able to treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Ladies, we desire to be with a man who portrays a Godly lifestyle, yet we ourselves have not met the mark of who Christ designed us to be. We settle and in turn so do the men. We sit and demand more from men, yet often we are the ones who give in first. It's a cycle of complacency that will never end unless someone chooses to rise above. Will it be you?

Ladies, let's stop blaming the men for treating us disrespectfully and let us demand dignity by our actions. We cannot be used if our actions refuse to allow anything but the best. Let's be the change. Ladies, it's our job too.

To connect with Emily, follow her on Twitter.

 

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Crissy Morein: Just be confident already

DSC_9744Confidence. That is one word that has always challenged me. Growing up I always wanted to be confident. I would always look at older girls and how they stood up tall seeming completely secure in who they were. Of course, I never felt like I could stand up straight and tall because I didn’t think I had anything to be secure in. I didn’t have confidence in my beauty, in my personality, in my talents, in my dreams, in my body, in my words. I was just young, and didn’t think anyone thought of me as anything special. In middle school and high school I would see the popular girls around me talk to anyone with confidence. Teachers, parents, guys, the principal, and I felt like I couldn’t do that. I saw the guys at school only giving attention to the popular girls and couldn’t understand why. Was I not pretty enough, or cool enough? Why didn’t any guys pursue me? The summer before my junior year of high school I had a change of heart. The Lord really showed me the value I have in His eyes. I realized that confidence comes to those who know who they are in Christ. I am confident in Christ so I can be completely confident in who I am, because God created me exactly how he wanted me to be. From then on I carried myself differently. Of course, I still have insecurities that I deal with just like many of you, but I don’t sit around wishing I had the confidence of that girl, or the beautiful hair that she has, or the incredible speaking skills he has. I am not completely secure in who I am just as Crissy Morein; but Crissy Morein, daughter of the King. That is someone I can be completely confident in.

So, if you’re reading this blog, let me just remind you of some things. Confidence is attractive. Guys and girls look for confidence in a spouse. I know that is one of the top things I notice when talking to a guy. If they are confident it doesn’t matter how weird, or silly, or crazy they are, it just matters that they are confident in that.

Confidence also shows maturity. When you reach the place in your relationship with Christ that all you need is His approval you have reached an incredible level of maturity with the Lord. That shines through in your life.

Lastly, Confident people change the world. I know I have some pretty big dreams that God has laid on my heart, and if I wasn’t confident in who I am I would never strive to see those dreams become a reality. Think about all the world changers you know or have heard of. They were all confident in the dream they had and strived to achieve it.

When you are secure in who you are in Christ, confidence will shine through you. Confidence is an incredible quality to have and through Jesus Christ we can have that quality. Don’t forget: YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR THROUGH CHRIST! You don’t have to conquer your insecurities because Jesus Christ already did that for you. You simply have to believe and be confident. Jesus overcame it all for YOU. You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

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Megan Hallmark: Appearances won't make you beautiful

Megan Growing up I never felt beautiful. I had many insecurities. I have three older sisters, who are all gorgeous. I always wanted to look like them.

In the 4th grade, my teeth were horrible. I had fangs that stuck out. In hopes of straightening my teeth, I had some of them pulled. So, at this point, I pretty much had my four front teeth, with two of them fangs. I had kids ask me why my teeth were the way they were and I would never smile in fear that they would show.

In addition to that problem, I was born with keratosis pilaris, or as I would always call it “chicken skin.” It's a condition that gives you dry bumps on your cheeks, backs of the arms, and thighs. I was always red.

To make it worse, when I was in middle school I was already 5 foot 5 and weighed 108 pounds. I was bigger than all of my classmates and none of the other girls were even close to being 100 pounds! I felt fat all the time even though I was proportional for my size. I would compare myself to models or older women whom I thought were very pretty, but I didn’t have the soft clear skin, the hourglass figure or the perfect, non-frizzy hair. I did not have the beautiful smile that they had. I felt ugly and insecure, so I searched for my securities in guys. I wore skimpy outfits and would do anything for attention.

In 8th grade I started to gain confidence in my appearance. I learned how to control my crazy curly hair and started to feel like someone who could be beautiful. Finally, in my sophomore year of high school, I was able to get braces. My teeth slowly straightened out and I felt more and more beautiful. I actually started to smile with my teeth for the first time. By senior year, I had my braces off, I had figured out how to clear up my skin, and I felt beautiful. I had grown so much in my walk with the Lord because of a depression that I went through that it didn’t matter anymore what guys thought of me. I was content and happy with whom I was and my husband was going to love me for me. Now, I am not saying that all of my insecurities are gone. I still have people that point out the fact that I'm pretty flat, but I just say that God made me beautiful and I can accept who I am. It has taken me a long time to finally get to this point. I still joke about it with my friends, but it is a part of who I am and I don’t need the hourglass figure to feel beautiful.

The thing is, what's really important is not that I felt beautiful. After all of that, I realized that none of that appearance ever mattered. I had the same worth with my ugly teeth, weird skin, and awkward body as I did with my fresh braces-free face and better hair. Sadly, that's the thing that happens so many times. You don't realize how worthy you are until you've found the worth in something else.

Do not gain your confidence or your beauty from what the media says or by how many guys you have dated or like you. It will lead you to despair and destruction of yourself. Just remember that God made you beautiful. He is going to bring you the desires of your heart.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7

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Amanda Bollinger: Quiet Ears in a Loud Society

AMANDA  

Growing up, I was never the most confident in how I looked. I found my self looking around at other girls my age thinking, “I don’t look like that.” and, “She’s definitely prettier than me.” If a guy was in the room that I liked, I would find my self looking around to see if there were any girls that were prettier and if so I would tell myself, “He won’t like you. She is definitely prettier. He would choose her.”

I had this mentality that there is always someone more beautiful. I felt that I could never live up to what anyone thought was beautiful. I found my self diving into romantic movies and chick flicks, eventually getting the understanding that what was happening in these movies would never happen to me. I remember feeling so ugly.

My cousins were always skinnier growing up; so fit looking in their bikinis. I felt so huge next to them in my tankini. Weight became another thing that I couldn’t live up to. I wasn’t pretty enough and I wasn’t skinny enough.

I finally came to a point in my life where I had to come to terms with who I was because at this point I wasn’t so sure. Who am I? I had been trying so hard to be like every other girl that I was no longer Amanda Bollinger. I was bits and pieces of all my friends, of girls I had seen, and what I thought boys really wanted. When I realized how I was living, I saw a life that felt kind of like hell.

It was all because of the battle in my mind. The devil kept telling me, “You aren’t good enough” and “No one will ever love you.” He had me focused on exactly what he wanted: the things of this world. God taught me that I will never be beautiful unless I am myself entirely. If you are trying to be someone else it won’t work.

Who will show the beauty that God gave to you and you alone? If you aren’t showing it, no one else will. Girls in today’s society waste their beauty away wishing for a substitute that is almost impossible to achieve; a substitute that comes from the things we hear, see, and feel.

I promise you this. If you turn your eyes towards God, he will show you how beautiful you are. If you let Him, He will place blessings in your life that will. I know this to be true because He did it for me. If we can learn to quiet our ears in a loud society, we can hear God telling us, “You are so beautiful. You are so beautiful my love.”

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His Side: Letter from God

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David Krstevski
Letter from God
The following letter is an illustration of God's message to you.
Dear Girl,
What you may have heard from this world; the image that it tries to create of you; the desolation in its promises is not where you need to look. Before I created the heavens and the earth I thought of you out of love (Ephesians 1:4). Before I created you I set the stars into motion (Genesis 1:14), I set the rivers flowing (Genesis 1:9).  I created this earth, the universe and all its galaxies for you. I created for you a place where you can laugh, learn, find love, and grow in me.Do not get confused with the messages around you. Do not get confused by man, by the media, or by your own discoveries. When I created you there was no media - just you - in the garden of life.  When I created you, I even placed man in a deep sleep so that I could perfectly mold you without interference. You are my perfect creation. You are my beautiful daughter. Now I see you, a woman, grown in excellence and splendor with my virtues residing within you.

Yes. Out of the rib of man I created you. Out of his rib I created you not because you are lesser than him. Out of his rib I created you because I wanted to mold you to be just like me. You see, my spirit is the protector of man’s heart and just like that rib, you provide protection for the most delicate part of my creation: the heart. When I created you, I showed the world who I am. As Adam walked in the oasis that I had prepared, he was lonely. Although he felt my presence and experienced my spirit he could not see me nor touch me. And that is why I created you. You emulate my strength, my compassion, my purity, my forgiveness and my love.

Just so you know - when a man tries to hurt you, tries to deceive you,  tries to devalue you - he is doing that to me.  Of all my creation your heart is the closest to mine. You deserve the best. Your beauty is solidified by the words that come from my spirit and not from the lips of a man. You are beautiful because I created you. Next time you look in the mirror and see what you think are only faults and imperfections remember, I designed you and I created a beautiful you. You are created in my image, my likeness and in my perfection (Genesis 1:27).

Every woman out there looks to be a part of a wonderful love story, and that’s okay. Just remember you are the subject of the most beautiful love story because I decided to love you first.

You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

Sincerely,

God
Dave KrstevskiDavid is a senior at Evangel University that has a passion for showing people the love of God. When he heard about Insecurely, he knew that it was something that couldn’t be passed up. Dave joins us as a His Side blogger and social media correspondent! To know more about David, follow him on Twitter.

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Inspiration of the Week: Paige White

paigePaige is featured as Insecurely Movement's "Inspiration of the Week." She is a sophomore bio/pre-med major at Cedarville University and plans on taking medicine overseas to use for medical missions. She absolutely loves Insecurely Movement because of the awareness that it’s giving young women of their God-given beauty and seeing the confidence and hope it's restoring in their lives so they can take on the world while staying secure in His love.  Ladies, the assault on our hearts as women is growing intensely harsh in today’s society. Whether its music, movies, magazine photos, high school hallways, teammates, classmates, or Heaven forbid our own friends, we are constantly rained upon with attacks from the enemy. It takes very little for us to believe that we are inadequate, worthless, and in no possession of a beautiful and captivating personality. We are told that everything we should be has to be made up with make-up and false character. We are emptied by lies until we have barely the strength to make ourselves into what we are told is “worth pursuing”, and even then we are still left feeling incomplete and…dead.

Anything that tells you that you are worthless is a lie. Anything that tells you that you lack beauty is a lie. Anything that tells you that you are powerless is a lie.

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:   Forget your people and your father’s house.  Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:10-11

Think about that for a second…The King of all Kings is absolutely captivated by your beauty. He designed you and crafted you with an intentionality and purpose unlike anything else in creation.  You have a unique beauty all to yourself that God desires for you to share with the world. Don’t get rid of that! Your beauty is utterly powerful. We women are warriors in an ongoing spiritual battle and our greatest weapon is our beauty. Our beauty reflects God’s beauty; it is something that brings rest, diminishes doubt, and gives life. The enemy knows that; he is keenly aware of our insecurities and that is why he will stop at nothing to ensure that we believe the lie that we have no beauty to offer. Our beauty must be cultivated and cared for. It takes time, fellowship, prayer, vulnerability, and lots of our attention and effort. The only weapon the enemy has against us is the one we lay in his hands. Let’s try our hardest not to let him get to our hearts. Guard your hearts ladies; everything you do, everything about your life flows from your heart.

To my brothers, hey there! This might sound harsh, but can you do all of us girls a favor and not mess with our hearts. If you’ve received the green light from Dad saying that you can pursue us because you have a purpose and intention in doing so, then go get her. But if you haven’t received the green, back off with the flirting. There is a way to be a loving, caring, strong and protective brother of Christ without sending the wrong message. Nothing is more refreshing to me than for one of my brothers to encourage me in my faith, congratulate me in my success, or challenge me in my struggles. Just please remember that our hearts are precious and tender, and I’m asking that you treat them as such. I love all you guys. Keep fighting your insecurities as well. We appreciate you and your strength and leadership. Don’t let the enemy lie to you either, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you guys.

For my ladies, remember this: "There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.” -Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Now go show the world what you’ve got, beautiful.

 

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His Side: A Love Letter to You

 

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Nii Abrahams

A Love Letter to You

 

Dear Jen, Ashley, Rachel, Whoever You Are,

I know this is a little weird. You probably weren’t expecting a letter from me, and I myself didn’t have any plans of writing a letter to you, my future wife. In fact, this is kind of out of my comfort zone right now. I feel like a middle school boy in one of those awkward Sunday school classes where the only reason you go is because of the free donuts.

Regardless, I’m writing this for you, dear, because you have been on my mind lately. I don’t know who you are, what hobbies you have, how you like your eggs, or even how bad your breath smells in the morning. But, I do know that you’re out there, and things aren’t easy for you — especially in today’s society. There’s so much pressure on you to act a certain way, to be a certain size, to go even farther with the next guy. I’m writing this letter to you to remind and encourage you that despite all the junk around you, I’m here — praying and patiently waiting for you — and waiting to know that you actually hate scrambled eggs, and your breath really is terrible in the morning…

I’m not going to lie. It stinks not knowing where you are. I know God has a plan and his timing is perfect, but it doesn’t make it any easier. There are so many expectations for a guy like me. I should be drinking more, partying more, and hooking up with girls more. But, the reality is, I don’t want or need any of that. Just as much as you are preparing yourself spiritually, be secure and know that I am doing the same. Just know that I’m not perfect. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and I can still act like a 3-year-old when I don’t get what I want (and not in a cute way). Be secure that with all of my struggles and trials, I am becoming a stronger man to lead our marriage, our kids, and our family. Even though I don’t know you, I pray for you every night. I pray that your love for God grows daily, you are an example for girls around you, and that you are secure in his love.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I love this verse so much because it’s a constant reminder that God is always growing and developing me into a man after his own heart. Be secure that God’s ways are greater than anything we can comprehend. You just have to trust that he is molding me as well!

So, here is what I need from you. I need you to keep this letter on your heart. Know that when things get tough, I’m here waiting for you. I can’t even imagine the pressure you have to constantly impress guys around you. I know you are constantly being approached and asked out (because you’re gorgeous, duh!), and I want you to enjoy and learn from those dates, but just remember you don’t have to change the way you talk, the way you laugh, or the way you ferociously eat a double cheeseburger.

If you find yourself sitting alone in your room thinking about changing all those things for a guy, then that guy probably isn’t me. If he has something to change about you now, imagine the things he’ll have to change about you 10 years from now! Before you know it, you’ve lost the original beauty of who you are. God has called us both to be secure in who we are because our identity is in Him. I want a girl who is confident in her awkward dancing, obnoxious laughing, and obsessive thrifter ways! He created you to be who you are and that’s never going to change! I’m not going to change the way I laugh at my corny jokes (because quite frankly, I think I am hilarious). I know that whoever you are, you’ll think I’m funny too!

Don’t you see? You have a heavenly father who created you so intricately and delicately that it is not possible He could have made a mistake. What you may see as quirks, I see as the little things that make me a better man. You may not like your feet, but I already love them!

Be secure and steadfast in your prayers. Just as I pray for you, I hope that you pray for me. Pray that I have the strength to lead us with integrity. Pray that I don’t let the things of the world like lust, greed, and pride bring me down. Pray that above all else, God is and always will be the center of our relationship.

For the sake of not writing a novel, I’m going to end this. I don’t want you to think I’m this overly emotional dude. I still have every intention of stealing the remote, leaving my socks on the floor, and snoring. Sorry in advance!

Just remember that above all else, be secure in your relationship with God. Let him fill you every day with his incredible grace and peace that passes all understanding. And when you feel down and alone (even when your stubborn self doesn’t want to admit it), just know that I’m here patiently waiting for you!

You are LOVED. You are VALUED. You are BEAUTIFUL.

 

Love,

Your protector, knight in shining armor, boo-thang, schnookums, and most importantly - your best friend.

 

 

2013-08-20 18.17.16Nii Abrahams is a Senior communication major/sociology minor at Missouri State University. He is a student leader and extremely involved in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. He has a passion for college students and quickly fell in love with the Insecurely Movement because of its incredible impact on future families. To connect with Nii, follow him on Twitter.

 

 

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Laura Prosapio: Identity

 

Laura Prosapio

Ever since I can remember, I tied my worth into how well I could accomplish the tasks that lay before me. Whether it was getting good grades, winning a spelling bee, or being in control of my every word and action—I needed to be working my hardest or best, or else it wasn’t good enough for me. And if it wasn’t good enough for me, then I reasoned it definitely wasn’t good enough for God.

I measured my achievement based on whether or not I got a compliment. If I worked especially hard to present my best, and then I didn’t get the amount of praise from others I thought I deserved, I would feel completely devalued. Even when I did receive praise, it never seemed to be good enough because it never satisfied my heart. As soon as I felt approved by those around me, I felt I needed to take it to the next level and be even more perfect, more pristine, and more worthy of love. Sure, improvement is usually something healthy to strive for. We always should try to be our best. But people cannot meet our deepest desires for approval—even our closest friends cannot make us feel completely secure. Only God can make us secure in Him, providing us with an identity that nobody can take away.

 I learned this lesson during the beginning of last semester at Evangel University when I was about ready to explode out of not being able to meet my own expectations and garner all the approval I was after. Of course I wanted to live to bless others, but deep in my heart, one of my motivations for blessing others was so that I could receive approval from them, and in turn, feel loved. I recognized the harm of this way of thinking, because without fail, I felt totally insecure in what I had to offer others—regardless of whether or not they were noticeably touched by my actions. If I could not make somebody happy or make sure they smiled after being around me, I felt I had failed them in some way. Thus, I failed myself. If I could make somebody’s day (or at least convince myself that I did), I would feel like I accomplished something great. Being in between these two extremes of shame and pride not only weighed on my heart, but it weighed on my relationship with God. Instead of allowing His grace to flood my heart and my identity to be found in Him alone, I worked to pursue perfection apart from Him. I didn’t even ponder that His love made me complete.

It wasn’t until a close friend invited me to a Bible study at Central Assembly in Springfield that I had a life-altering realization that has transformed the way I live today. The study was based upon the book Chase by Jennie Allen, and in reading the first chapter, my world was turned upside down.

I read from this book with a convicted heart, “Our value comes from God; it can never be found in how we measure up. So whether you feel worthy or ashamed, this news should probably undo you. It is the character of God that gives us worth, not anything we have done or will do. There is freedom in accepting our unworthiness and receiving God’s worth. But self-esteem dies hard, especially for those of us who stand on a great performance. The work of Christ steals all shame but it also steals all of our pride.”

 Wow. This one paragraph has truly humbled my heart and made me realize how selfish and prideful I had been. I had been living to give myself glory because I felt my identity was rooted in what I made of myself. However, the “undo”-ing truth that God gave me my identity and it is secure—despite my best and worst efforts—made me a whole new person. I am a whole new person because I am in securely with God’s love. Nothing I do can take that away. Nothing I don’t do can take that away. Now, my delight is to give glory to God, and in doing so, I find my identity and security.

If you’re struggling with having to be perfect and approved by others to feel like you have a secure identity, I’m here to tell you that you can stop finding your identity in others’ approval.

 

“She didn’t have to be perfect because she was perfectly loved.” ~Holley Gerth

 

Allow this truth to go deep into your heart. Know that you don’t have to do anything or put on any false appearance to be loved. You are already loved by a Father whose love can fill every recess of your heart. What a life-transforming truth.  

Satisfied in His Love,

Laura Ashley

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His Side: Objectify This

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His Side: Objectify This

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Objectify This

Dylan Nieman

Each and every one of us was created with a unique and important role in bringing God’s glory to a world filled with darkness. But our culture is constantly attempting to define who we are. We are told how to dress, how to style our hair, how to carry ourselves, how to speak, how to fit in, how to be successful, how to find meaning. The list goes on and on.

My hope is that after you read this blog, the first of many I plan to write, that you will be encouraged on your journey to find the purpose that God has for you. Maybe you’ve come across this blog but you have no idea who this “God” is that I’ve been talking so much about. My hope for you is that this blog will spark the beginning of a new relationship between you and a Divine Creator in Heaven.

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on this subject. I’m just a normal guy who deals with normal problems and insecurities much like everyone else. My thoughts and advice come from making mistakes and overcoming some of the stumbling blocks of life. And while I have learned a lot about life through these experiences, my journey has just begun.

Our culture tells men that objectifying women, watching pornography, sleeping around, playing sports, acting arrogant, and being childish are normal and actually encouraged. Magazines, billboards, TV shows, movies, newspapers, tweets and websites that objectify women almost constantly surround us. It’s easy to understand why women feel insecure. It’s easy to understand why women feel unvalued. It’s easy to understand why women feel unloved.

But it’s also easy to understand why men feel insecure. It’s easy to understand why men lack integrity. It’s easy to understand why men believe nice guys finish last. And it breaks my heart.

If you’re not careful, you will spend so much time trying to become who the world tells you to be that you’ll miss out on becoming who God wants you to be. Luckily, you don’t have to settle for being another statistic. Will it be easy? No. Will it be popular? No. Will it be glamorous? No. But I can promise you this: It will be rewarding.

Understand that you were created with a purpose and that gives you value. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” You may not know or understand the purpose that God has for your life but you can find comfort and confidence in knowing that God has gone before you and prepared a path for you.

Know that God has prepared you. Psalm 18:39 says “For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.” From the moment you were created, God began equipping you with the tools you need to face the world. There was a time in my life when I carried this verse everywhere I went and if I found myself struggling I would read it aloud, sometimes multiple times.

Be confident in your beauty. There’s a Hebrew phrase I came across recently: Tov Meod. It simply means “very good” or “something that can’t be added to”. And yet this small, simple phrase carries incredible weight. It’s found in Genesis 1:31. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Here’s the best part: He was talking about YOU! You are formed in the perfect image of God. You are the best of the best of the best of His creation.

I know that I’ve only scratched the surface of some these issues but hopefully you have been encouraged and inspired. Until next time, I’ll leave you with a this:

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

Be blessed,

Dylan

Dylan NiemanDylan Nieman is a Senior at Evangel University. While at Evangel he serves as the Assistant Director of Public Relations and Media for Crosswalk Student Ministries and leads worship at James River Assembly. His passion is to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. Dylan is excited to be a part of the Insecurely Movement because he believes it is empowering a generation to redefine cultural standards and help both men and women see that they are loved and valued by a Divine Creator. Dylan is joining us a His Side blogger and web designer/videographer. To connect with Dylan, follow him on Twitter, or visit his website.

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Alyssa Moore: The Crooked Life

alyssaWhen given the challenge to write about my insecurity, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write about. For sure, I’ve had times where I didn’t have the healthiest self-esteem, but I got over that in junior high amazingly enough. I had this incredible youth leader who told me how beautiful I was every week. She told me how I was a warrior princess bride of the creator of the universe, so I felt pretty much invincible despite my braces, chubby cheeks and awkwardly curly hair (it randomly decided to turn from straight to curly…So, that was cool). I went through that time of my life feeling great, and confident of who I was in Christ. Shout out to Nicole for investing in me for those three and a half years. You rock.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with scoliosis. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a condition where you have a curvature in your spine. We found out that I had a double curve. It looks like a backwards ‘S.’ Super cute stuff. Well, I wore a brace for the next three years of my life, and that was horrible. Strapping plastic around my back and into my sides was a pain (metaphorically and physically).

My family and I gave the whole situation over to God. He can make a crooked path straight. Why couldn’t He straighten my spine, right? Well, after following what the Bible commands and going before the elders of my church and being anointed with oil, I still wasn’t healed. It was extremely confusing to me that I hadn’t received my healing. What else did God want from me? I had all the faith in the world, I trusted Him, and still I was left with daily pain that I’ve learned to ignore and deal with.

You really can’t tell that I have scoliosis unless you’re looking for it. I’ve gotten so used to it that I only realize it when somebody points it out, and when I lay down at night and my back muscles scream a cry of relief.

Any way, I picked out a super adorable royal blue dress for Christmas last year, and I begged my mom to let me have it early so that I could wear it to church. I wanted to impress this super attractive guy who had recently started coming to my church (who is now my boyfriend! Holla!). I tried it on the night before and went to show my brother just to make sure he approved and thought it was modest. He told me I looked great, and I was feeling awesome until his fiancé told me that you could really see my scoliosis in it. Now, I’m not much of a crier at all. Unless there’s a move of God or something in my eye. Guys, I totally lost it. I stinking cried right in front of the mirror staring at how my hips are off-center and my shoulders aren’t straight. I feel like I could cry right now just thinking about it. Although, I thought I had fully given it to God, I was still holding on to a very big piece. My brother said to me, “Wipe that insecurity off your face. You are beautiful.” I love my brother so much. He speaks an incredible amount of life into me, is always there to protect me, and remind me of my main focus, Jesus.

Honestly, I don’t really care that I have two curves in my spine. My insecurity blossomed in my relationship with Jesus. Scoliosis started to drive a wedge in between God and myself. That’s a frightening place to be. Getting over that is a daily decision. I know God will heal me, and I claim His blood and healing over myself daily. Anytime my mind starts to doubt or wonder about what’s wrong with me, I lift it up before Jesus. I find my security in Him. I find my healing in Him. He is the one who is teaching me perseverance. I feel like I’ve learned it by now, but apparently God has more for me to learn. I’m thankful for this lesson, and I’m excited about everything else God is going to teach me through this.

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His Side: I love you already

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I love you already.

Josh Buckner

I'm going to take a different swing at insecurities. You know - just as well as I know - that our insecurities go much deeper than the way we look or what is on the outside. Sometimes they have such a hold on us that they become who we are. ...Especially around the opposite sex.

NO. I know what you're thinking. This is not a blog about dating or Godly dating, courtship, waiting or whatever cheesy names you want to come up with for one christian guy spending time with one christian girl. This is more about just being who you are.

It is so obvious sometimes, from an outsider's point of view, how fake people can be around  just to impress. The list of possible characters is endless. Anything from being rude, to sacrificing morals for acceptance, to the worst.. playing dumb.

I can't count how many times I've heard voices change or attitudes completely transform when someone else walks into the room. If anyone knows me, they know that I really just don't understand that.

I'm going to try not to be very wordy with this so let me just say what I need to say (my apologies for getting that John Mayer song stuck in your head).

Over this past summer I went on a... well, I guess you could call it a date. In reality, it was just a little dinner at a steakhouse with an awesome and beautiful girl. Neither of us had never been to this place and thought we'd give it a try. We made our way in, were seated, and the night had already started. The conversation alone was full of depth and laughter because we weren't trying to hide anything or be "romantic." We were just being ourselves and having a good time!

The waitress came around our orders for our FOOD! YES FOOD, LADIES! You know? The thing your body needs to survive? Well, me being a guy, I had no problems. I ordered wings and fries and was ready to have a ball. Then, it was her turn.

Let me pause here. The next part of this story is included to show how awesome the following event was. Now, back to the story.

She asked what the waitress recommended, as we had never been before, and the waitress started on a roll. She was explaining all these burgers and sandwiches, and then said this, "..and if you aren't looking for any health value at all, we have a new fried cheese and bacon burger..." She gave us a few more minutes to look over the menu and came back. The girl I was with was unsure on what to order, so I looked at her and said, "Seriously, just get whatever you want." So she closed her menu, looked at the waitress, and said "You know what? Whatever. Give me the fried cheese and bacon burger!"

I heard angels. I had to keep myself from getting on one knee right there and telling her that God meant for us to be together forever.

...that's a joke.

You see, it wasn't her getting a burger with a fried piece of dairy on it that made me remember that night so well. It was simply that she was comfortable enough in her own skin to not settle for a meal that is "acceptable" for a girl to eat. She was comfortable enough to enjoy herself while eating with a guy. She was secure enough to know that I wanted to spend time with the girl that I took out that night - not an act.

That, to me, was beauty! That's exactly what she is: a beautiful woman.

No, nothing really happened between us, but I can gladly call her one of my very best friends and one that I hope I'll never lose.

Now, I'll quit rambling and close this by saying that you don't have to live as something that you're not.

Whether that's with a group of friends or someone of the opposite sex, if they don't want to spend time with you while being yourself, do you even need to be around them at all?

To me, it seems like you really aren't around them. It's just the person they want you to be. It is all fake: someone else. It is those insecurities making you put on the act of a character. One thing leads to another and you find yourself thinking, "Is this my life anymore?" That's the worst position you could be in.

If you want to hear the 'what guys are looking for' spiel, I can't give you that. I can only give you what a true man is looking for. After seeking God, he is looking for you.

Say that. Look in the mirror if you need to and say, "Somebody out there is looking for me and I'm perfect for them just as I am." All the goofy personality traits, giggles, and awkward things that make you you are what he is looking for. A true man is not looking for a measurement or a trophy. He is looking for his counterpart. He is looking right past the outside surface and wants to see you. That is who you need to be.

God created that man to find you exactly as you are, but how can he do that if  you don't exist anymore?

You can ask any true man of God and he will tell you the same. Being true to yourself and loving who you are is one of the most beautiful things in a woman. You may not know who your husband will be, but he loves you already, just as you are. Never ever forget.

You are loved.

You are valued.

You are beautiful.

Josh BucknerYou've already met Josh - in the Insecurely: A Spoken Word video. Josh is a sophomore at Missouri State University. When he heard about Insecurely, he fell in love with it on the spot. He can’t wait to write and show each of our Insecurely girls how beautiful and unique they are. Josh joins us a His Side blogger and our resident spoken word artist.

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Sarah Buford: I love you for your heart

SARAH“I love you for your heart, not your face.”  That’s what Jesus said to me on a long painful drive home from youth group a couple of months ago.  We all feel ugly at one point in our life.  In my case, I had horrible acne, and a freshman 15 I couldn’t seem to get rid of.  I remember crying out to God, “Lord I just want to feel beautiful and loved!!!  I’m sick and tired of being lonely, and doing new things.” After about 10 minutes of complaining, He simply quieted me and said, “I love you for your heart, and not your face.”  I immediately started laughing.  I had always known He loved me, but it was un-attainable to me that He loved me despite my ugly cry, mascara running down my face, without anything to offer, broken and miserable. He still loved me.  I had nothing to offer Him and He loved me.  There was nothing I could do to deserve that love, and yet He felt that way about me.  Little old me.

Even from the young age of 15 I remember my Mom coming in and telling me how pretty I was.  At one point, after asking me to put on some more mascara or foundation, I remember her asking, “You don’t think you are beautiful do you?”

I didn’t.

In High School a boy told me the reason he wouldn’t date me was specifically because I was not pretty.  I spent the remaining part of that time trying to prove I was. It wasn’t until this year that I can serve others and think un-selfishly about myself.  Because I thrive on verbal affirmation, compliments mean the most to me.  God knows that.

In fact when I am ugliest, late at night, or early in the morning, those are the moments I feel the most beautiful.  Why in the world would I say that?  This is simply because it is during those times I am most consecrated to Christ.

Leslie Ludy, states it this way:

“A young woman who is deeply, passionately, intimately in love Jesus Christ glows with a radiance that overpowers even the most noticeable of flaws. I’ve seen many a godly woman light up an entire room with her presence. To study her closely, you would not think of her as beautiful; in fact she might even have major physical blemishes that would normally be distracting. But when a woman’s passion for Jesus Christ is so deep that it is the focal point of her existence, it effervesces from every corner of her being – and she glows with heavenly beauty. No matter what her physical flaws might be, they go unnoticed when Jesus Christ is center stage in her life.

Insecurity is simply an unhealthy focus on yourself, rather than a healthy focus on Jesus Christ. It’s something the enemy can easily use to keep us turned inward rather than outward. Just like the temptation toward any sin, we must nip thoughts of insecurity in the bud the moment they begin to arise.

As soon as the enemy comes in with whispers of, “Everyone is noticing your physical shortcomings. There is nothing attractive about you – no one wants to be around you,” your response must be immediate. Instead of entertaining those thoughts and meditating upon them, fight back with truth, scripture, and prayer!

If you begin to ignore thoughts of insecurity and deliberately choose to smile, reach out to others, and focus on being an example of Christ, you will soon realize that insecurity has no soil in which to grow. It may take some time before this principle becomes a habit in your life, but if you lean on the grace and strength of God, He will give you all that you need to triumph in this area.”

"I love you for your heart, not your face."

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His Side: My Challenge to You

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His Side: My Challenge to You

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My take on Insecurely.

Joe Bulger

First off, I want to start by saying this movement is incredible. I can see God’s hands all over this.

I believe this movement is being used to show woman of all ages, backgrounds, and races that he doesn’t make mistakes. There is a verse that is read by so many, but accepted by so few that has everything to do with this movement. Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” First off, I think that it’s so big that it starts with praise. If only we would start everyday with praise. He deserves it doesn't he? “I praise you because...” Not I will praise you when I decide that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Not I will praise you when you make me shorter, or when you make me skinnier, or when you make me prettier. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it reads “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is a command! Give thanks to God more than you look down on yourself, and the devil will no longer have a foothold in your view of yourself. If we all saw ourselves as we really are, a child of the most high king, our perspectives, actions, and attitudes would change drastically.

God is looking at you in complete awe because of how beautiful you are, young woman. But God is also looking at you with sadness in his heart because the lies of the devil seem to have been put at a higher volume than his voice. It breaks God’s heart. Frankly, it breaks my heart too. You don’t know how many times I have heard a girl deny a compliment from someone. She plays it off with a joke, and disagrees. But deep down I know that God’s voice is getting quieter in their lives every time they disagree with the very way the God of the universe sees them.

As a guy, my perspective is simple. I wish more girls could understand the volume of his love and approval that he wants to pour over you, and I wish they would silence the devil’s voice so that God’s voice can be broadcasted in their lives daily.

God is waiting for you to let him tell you how beautiful you are, and he is waiting for you to let him tell you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

My challenge is for you to turn God’s voice up! That means get in the word everyday. Every single time the devil tries to tell you that you aren’t good enough, get in the word and listen to God’s voice instead! Ask for God to help you silence the devil’s voice in your life!

Be a part of a group of women that are not going to listen lies anymore.

Be made stronger through The Lord.

And pass it on to other women.

I’m praying for every one of you.

Joe Bulger

His Side Blogger

Joe Bulger is a Sophomore in College from Springfield, MO that enjoys photography and traveling. He is passionate about Insecurely because he believes everyone is made purposefully.

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Tori McMunn: Dark Made Light

Tori McMunn  

Growing up, I always thought insecurities meant weaknesses. They were just silly things that we couldn't handle and that we covered up to hide from everyone else. My weakness was worry.

Coming from a long line of what I thought was very strong, independent, Christian men and women, turned out that once I got older I found out my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all had their own weaknesses. They hid secrets and lies that no one talked about very much. I figured I shouldn't talk about what worried me either so I bottled it up inside. I thought for far too long many nights.  I would lose sleep and have sudden fears during the day because I was worried of whatever was on my mind. Sometimes it would come out in tears or anger. It was a constant battle in my mind. The fact that my parents fought made me scared to tell them what was wrong. I figured it would make their problems worse. I was able to share minor details with friends and I allowed my grandparents in on my struggles with communicating with my parents. But it still never solved anything completely.

Finally, the summer after I graduated High School, my family went through the darkest time of our lives. Many secrets were made clear, lies then turned to truths,  and everything that had been bottled up trickled - actually gushed - out. All cards were on the table! It was my worst nightmare come to life. It wasn't until I had been at Evangel for nearly 6 months until hope started arising inside of me. A guest speaker was leading an alternate chapel one night. Although I don't remember what he spoke on, I remember a pulling inside of my heart to turn to Isaiah 46:8-9. I didn't even know if there was that many chapters in this book. I finally turned to what seemed like a random passage but this is what I read, "Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I Am God, and there is no other; I Am God, and there is none like me." I cried in amazement of what I just took in. God had told me to not forget but to let it go and give my insecurity to him. He is God!

After that night, it was like the battle in my mind had grown smaller. The things I felt I had to bottle up no longer made me weak. I understood that I'm not weak because my God is strong! Sure, I had to still face my insecurities but it felt more manageable because I wasn't by myself. God had been through everything with me. God continually works through our weaknesses to show us how mighty he is! He can take what we feel we can't handle on our own and actually make it manageable in his hands. I found out I couldn't do it on my own and that I didn't have to hide my worries. God had been there the whole time. And he is there for every single one of you! He doesn't want you to forget, but he does want you to let go so he can manage it. What ever the insecurity God is stronger!

My name is Tori McMunn and I am secure!

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Kaytee Mitchell: My Greatest Insecurity

KAYTEE My greatest insecurity is my greatest fear: love.

I know that this sounds totally bizarre and cliché, but this is the greatest fear I have ever had. Fear of love, to find love, to lose love, to pass love by, anything to do with it, it scares me. My entire life, love has been like weather. It has had its bright days, rainy days, storms, and tornadoes, but no matter what it is, I tend to run from it. Run from the thought of having something so good and having it fall right from my hands. Run from the thought that I will never be good enough for the love I desire. Run from the love from those who cares about me so I don’t hurt them. I run, and run, and run, and yet, God just keeps running with me.

It all started when I was little. My mom and dad divorced, and my mom married my step-dad. This was the beginning to my fear. My mother used to come into our rooms bawling some nights saying we were leaving and she was divorcing my new dad, and I didn’t mind because I wasn’t really sure what love really was. Yet, it slowly built this fear in me that I, myself, would never find true love. Over time, my family just seemed to be SO chaotic. My step-dad hated my brother, my mom used to hate my step-sister, and I was just there in the middle of it all. Eventually, I depended FULLY upon my friends and boyfriends to fill the love that I constantly needed when I was little. Nine years went by: nine hard years. I was trying everything to please my friends so that they wouldn’t leave, going boyfriend through boyfriend trying to find the “perfect” love. I could never find satisfaction.

When I finally figured out that my real dad had been lying to me and avoiding me all these years when he repetitively said, “I love you so much, and I wish I could see you,” my world stopped. There I went… running again. It was a constant marathon. It still is. I liked the same guy for a “long” time, only to find out that after waiting years for him, maybe he isn’t the one for me. We both changed, something I greatly feared was going to happen. I have found amazing friends, and yet I have breakdowns of fear about losing them. I try to not hold on too tight, but I’m constantly petrified of losing people who mean so much to me. So what caused all this? Why does fear cover the good I’m reaching for? Well, because my dad ran from what is good, and now I am afraid to be like him: losing everything that is good because I was so afraid. I’m afraid to be afraid! What in the world? I told you, my greatest insecurity is my greatest fear.

However, each day God walks with me step by step, trying to teach me to love, to show that it’s okay, but in the back of my head love seems impossible. Yet, there are people who show me love and it breaks my walls of fear. For example, Miss Hannah Beers once said, “Kaytee, when you became my friend, you stepped into our circle of friends, and I’m not letting you step out and run away. I’m not letting you go.” That night changed my life because finally, I wasn’t allowed to run away, and so I didn’t. She is now my best friend, who I love incredibly. <3

But, how do I stop running from the fear of love? Well I run to the only love that will protect me, God’s. It’s just not easy. I still have breakdowns, I still push “amazing” things in my life away, I still look down on myself, I still think that guys are too good for me, I still cry when someone shows me true love: even when it’s just a meaningful hug or the words “I love you.” It’s my greatest insecurity, but it’s also my greatest strength. It has taught me to run to God when I feel insufficient: which is a lot! There are SO many times I look in the mirror and think, “Who could ever love this?” There are tons of times that I think I laugh way too much and need to calm down. I can’t count the number of times I have depended upon someone else’s satisfaction of me for the satisfaction I have of myself. It’s because when you are constantly running from a love that is all around you, fear seems to run your life: every thought, emotion, action... it’s insane.  YET! That’s why I give love so much: because I want people to know that they are loved always. The phrase I didn’t hear enough is the phrase I say repetitively. I want to let people know that they are loved and beautiful, I just one day need to believe it for myself.

To read more of Kaytee's writing, go to her blog. 

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