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Jessika Martin: The Beauty Battle

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Jessika Martin: The Beauty Battle

It really bugs me how the world portrays beauty. They tell us that we need to be their version of beautiful so that we can succeed in life. If we don’t look the part, well, we won’t get the part. They feed us this made-up definition of beauty until it is engrained into our minds.

The grocery store turns into a walk of shame for young girls who have yet to find a sign that they really are beautiful. Because everywhere they look they see flattened abs, gorgeous hair, and seemingly flawless women. They see everything they are not.

This turns into fear. At 12 years old, girls are already feeling inadequate, needing more than the body God has given them. She’ll think that, since she doesn’t look like that model she saw on the magazine in the grocery store that she will never be worth anything in life. She is already worried that guys won’t like her, that the pretty girls will never invite her into their circle.

They are teaching her that if she isn’t the world’s standard of beauty, than she will never measure up to anything so she may as well give up now. She doesn’t want to give up though, so her life becomes a battle. An everyday struggle to become their kind of beautiful. She’ll starve herself, she’ll cover her face up with make-up, all the while simply trying to find a ray of hope that she, too, can be some sort of beautiful.

They are deceiving us, ladies. They tell us to believe the lies, that we need to strive to be beautiful, that we need to buy their products and their clothes so that we can begin to look like them.

The only true beauty comes from a life fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, where we have gotten out of the way and He can be seen in and through you

It’s so wrong, and I am so passionate about this because I believe women could do so much more with their lives if we were not constantly fighting the beauty battle. If we were not concerned about making sure our hair looked flawless before we stepped out of the door, maybe we would’ve been out in time to catch that old man on the street who needed a simple smile to help him carry on. Your simple smile.

Are you getting my drift?

We were made for more than this, ladies! We were made for so much more than fighting to be an airbrushed version of beautiful.

This is why God reassures you and me. He says,

“The king is enthralled with your beauty; honor Him, for He is you Lord.” (Psalm 45:11)

He says,

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

Don’t you see? If you want true beauty, I’ll tell you a secret. It comes from a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. It never really was yours to achieve, it comes from reflection of the Perfect One.

So are we going to rise up, women? Are we going to realize that there is more to life than the beauty battle?


I don’t care if I don’t fit your standards of beauty. The beauty I want to reflect is of the Heavenly King, not some airbrushed model in a magazine.


About the author: 

Hey! I'm Jessika. Just a young girl in love with Jesus and living to tell the story that He is writing throughout my life. I hope that my life constantly reflects the One who created me.
I hope I share Him in everything that I post, in everything that I do and say, everything. I want to become a missionary someday, actually, I hope I’m a missionary today. I just want to tell people about Jesus and make a difference in this world, however small of a difference it is.

I don't want to be average, because I wasn't created to be average. I was created to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to save the broken, and to love the unloved.

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Joye Walton | Not A Mistake

I’m pacing around my long driveway yelling at God, asking the question I have asked several times, “Why did you create me like this?”

I kept my most painful secret hidden until I was eighteen—I was molested for three years of my life.
— Joye Walton

This was a normal sight for me in high school. I was convinced that I was a mistake. My emotions were all over the place, and I took the blame for the hurt that my friends felt. I was a disease.

This lie made up the foundation for the belief that I held. God can use me to help people, but I am beyond help. When I think about that now, I almost laugh. How can I show someone else the healing power of Christ when I have yet to accept it? I came to Evangel University in the fall of 2011 unaware of what God was going to do. I knew that I was called into ministry, but I still lived in the darkness of self-hate.

I kept my most painful secret hidden until I was eighteen—I was molested for three years of my life. This took place during the ages of six to nine. I didn’t tell anyone until Fall break my freshman year at Evangel. I kept this fact hidden for so long because I was convinced that if I told anyone, they would think I was a freak or a weirdo.

My story is not the stereotypical one. I was molested by someone who was only three years older than me and the same gender I am. The awesome thing about this is God’s timing. I told someone after I was already in counseling at Evangel. This way, I had already built a trust with someone who had the tools to help me with this hurt. Dealing with this hurt is what gave me the tools to recognize the lies that Satan had told me for so long.

Now, I have a passion for people who see themselves as mistakes. My goal is to let people know that they are valuable. My heart is for the broken and rejected.
— Joye Walton

In the Spring of 2012, I forgave the girl who molested me. This act was what broke the chains of self-hate. I was able to say the past hurts, but it is only the past. God gave me joy in that moment. The ironic thing was I didn’t have joy before, and my name is Joye. God knew that I would wind up being joyful, and my name was his promise that it would happen because now I embody my name. I can relate to those who believe God had an off day when they were created because that was me.

The cool thing is that is not me anymore! Yes, I still struggle with these thoughts from time to time, but they no longer have power over me because I know that they are lies! I am called by the most high God who has amazing things in store for me. He uses what the enemy intended for evil for good. He has transformed me!

Now, I have a passion for people who see themselves as mistakes. My goal is to let people know that they are valuable. My heart is for the broken and rejected. I can truly say I understand, but I can also say this doesn’t have to be you forever.


If you need to talk to someone regarding sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673. 

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Nii Abrahams | The Pop-Culturalization of God's Calling

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Nii Abrahams | The Pop-Culturalization of God's Calling

“I’m called to be a youth pastor!”

“I’m called to be to a worship leader!”

“I’m called to be a worker against sex trafficking!”

“I’m called to be missionary to all the little kids in Africa!”

 Sound familiar?

 I have spent my entire life in the Christian bubble. Have you ever seen the movie Bubble Boy with the illustrious Jake Gyllenhaal? Yeah, that was me—but replace the actual bubble and add church camps, Royal Rangers (Christian version of Boy Scouts), Bible Quiz, “trendy” contemporary Christian Radio, and of course numerous True Love Waits rallies.

Ever since I could remember, there has always been this idea, this elusive mystery that was known as “God’s calling”. I can’t count the hundreds of hours I’ve watched my friends at camps and conferences fervently pray that God’s voice, which we all secretly hoped sounded like Morgan Freeman, would resonate in their head proclaiming they are “called to ­­______________”. If they didn’t get it, they would leave the alter defeated, as if it were stamped on their forehead that they were a nobody in the Christian faith, destined for a life of nothingness.

I, too, was one of those kids down at the alter. Although I can’t remember the specific time or place, I do remember feeling that I was called to be a youth pastor around the age of 12 (which back then meant I was going to be “cool” and all the good Christian girls would want to date me). Fast forward a few years later and a couple interesting things happened. First, I felt led to Missouri State University instead of a Bible College like Evangel University or Central Bible College. Second, it only took a semester for me to feel that my supposed calling wasn’t youth ministry but actually college ministry. Now, four years later, I am standing at the crossroads of my life, like many of you are now, quietly wondering what my friends and I meant the billions of times we claimed we were “called” to…

You don’t have to be called to vocational ministry to still be an incredibly impactful member of God’s kingdom!
— Nii Abrahams


 What does the Gospel Say?

Luke 5:10 “…Then Jesus said to Simon (Peter), “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 

Matthew 4:19-20 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Mark 1:19-20 “When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”

 

In all three of these instances we see something interesting. When Jesus called the disciples he never said, “Hey Peter! Come follow me as our song coordinator!” or “Hey James and John! We need a baptism specialist and a healing specialist! You down?!”  Jesus called these disciples for one sole purpose: to be fishers of men. Jesus, in the Great Commission (Matthew 28) left us with three commands and the first of which was to simply make disciples. I don’t know if it was ever Jesus’ intent for the modern day Church to be so exclusive in that.

In a sense, we have turned God’s greatest command to be fishers of men and make disciples into a department store. We have this section exclusively for this, and that section can only be for that—and heaven forbid that this thing over here accidentally lands in that place over there.

People still ask me what I feel called to do, and although their intentions may be pure, it almost feels like some sort of holiness gauge and my answer is a badge that highlights my spiritual level. This isn’t condemnation; we all are guilty of it! I don’t know about you, but I know I have been guilty in the past of looking down on someone who didn’t necessarily feel called to any particular type of ministry. Just because it isn’t “holy” to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a purpose in God’s beautiful tapestry!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE CALLED TO VOCATIONAL MINISTRY TO STILL BE AN INCREDIBLY IMPACTFUL MEMBER OF GOD’S KINGDOM!

God’s calling has become pop culturalized in the church—it has become something of a fad to claim that you’re called to a specific type of ministry.

 

Our Response

So what happens when our alleged calling becomes our identity? There are a several things that could happen:

1.    We become mentally and spiritually pigeonholed into only serving in that type of specific ministry role

2.    We allow our pride to get in the way, and consciously or not, we judge others based on what “calling” they have or don’t have

3.    We even deny going on dates or moving forward in relationships because one person may be called to be a missionary, and the other a children’s pastor or businessman (because that couldn’t ever possibly work)

4.    We feel guilty if we ever leave or our desires begin to stray from that calling

5.    We get so focused on "the call" that we miss "the NOW".

 

The reality is, God has called us ALL to be fishers of men. Now don’t get me wrong, God has also given us incredibly unique talents and passions that gives us directions and a sense of purpose. I am by no means saying that if you have a talent for music that it is wrong to pursue worship leading or if you’re great at numbers that it is wrong to pursue accounting. But what I am saying is that if you let that calling define who you are, you’ll completely miss the bigger picture and what God has in store for you and those around you.

If you have a knack for accountancy, be the best darn accountant you can be—but don’t pass up an opportunity to be small group leader just because you don’t feel “called” to teaching. If you’re passion is music, don’t pass up an opportunity to be a Sunday School teacher just because it’s not on stage. The disciples literally set down their lives and what they were occupationally skilled at to follow Jesus.

 God called us to the moment we are in. If he opens a door for you, then he's called you to be as effective as you can right there. That door may be a season where you are a youth pastor, and the next you may be a middle school principal. But whatever door He opens, whatever season you are in, your biggest “calling” is to be a humble and obedient servant.

Many of you, including myself, are entering a new phase in life and I hope this helps. I hope this encourages you to not be discouraged if you feel like you haven’t been called to vocational ministry or feel as if you have to be called to a specific ministry. At the end of the day whether we are a college pastor or professor, a worship leader or businessman, a missionary to the little kids of Africa or beautician, we are all called to share the love and hope that is Jesus Christ!

 Nii 

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31 Days of Difference | Carefree & Product Free

You are beautiful NO matter what. Be confident of the person God created you to be. So don’t only leave the make up off, but lets leave the hair products on the shelf for the day. (Boys, this includes you too).

If you are anything like me, this day is not exactly easy. Your image matters to you, and that’s okay! Beauty is wonderful, it is a part of God’s creation—you are God’s beautiful creation. The issue is not thinking makeup, hair products, or clothing make you look nice. The issue arises when those things are more important to you than your beauty on the inside. Think about it: if you didn’t have pop culture telling you what “beauty” is, you would just be you. You wouldn’t worry about makeup, hairstyles, or clothing; you would recognize the beauty in who you are. We see this in 1 Peter 3:3-4,“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” God has wrecked my heart to recognize that who I am on the inside far outweighs what I could ever be on the outside. (You can read more about my personal journey on my Insecurely blog: http://www.insecurelymovement.com/blog/2013/06/23/emily-taylor-beauty-is-________)

         Today is a day to come to the reality that you are beautiful just the way you are—without touch ups, pin backs, or jewels. So my challenge for you today is this: take the time you would normally spend on primping and spend it on beautifying your heart through prayer, reading the Bible, or simply making a note to stick on your mirror to recognize the beauty that you behold. Take off the products and recognize the undeniable beauty within your very being.

Emily Taylor

 

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31 Days of Difference | Forgiveness to Freedom

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31 Days of Difference | Forgiveness to Freedom

Forgiveness. It's not simple, and it can seem impossible to do on a whim. But today, we challenge you to do just that. Forgiveness is a choice. It isn't saying "I wasn't hurt." Or  "What you did didn't matter." It's a way of saying, "I am strong enough, and I am capable of moving on. I am no longer held captive."

The unforgiving mind is full of fear, torn with doubt, confused about itself;  it is afraid, angry, and weak. And as sad as it is to say humanity is born into this. Bitterness and unforgiveness is innate; we are born with it. We are born with the instinct to look out for ourselves, for our pride, for our well-being, and we'd rather be dead than let someone take any of that from us.
However, forgiveness is acquired. It is DIFFERENT than what we are born to know. So today, show the immense difference God has made in your life, and forgive someone.

-xoxo from the girl who learned her lesson,
Nicole Finnell

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31 Days of Difference | Go Beyond Your Boundaries

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31 Days of Difference | Go Beyond Your Boundaries

Today is the first day of the 31 Days of Difference, but it's not just that. It's the beginning of a journey. 

When we were brainstorming this event, one thing was clear. We wanted a new start - a new beginning with a new purpose. That's where 31 Days of Difference came from. 

That's not what we're talking about here, though, is it? It's today's theme. Go beyond your boundaries. 

Why? Give yourself a new perspective. What better way to do that then do something you're not used to? So, get outside of your comfort zone. Go do something fun or crazy or exciting or scary. Go beyond your boundaries. 

Welcome to this journey. Let's discover!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
— Walt Disney
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I am nothing but value.

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I am nothing but value.

In the moments of our greatest strength, we become the most weak; it's when we have it altogether that we feel most incomplete.

We tend to break so easily in a world so small compared to a God so big. It's as if we forget that He is ours and we are His.

 

Why is it that we feel defined by our makings rather than our maker? That through these creations we convince our hearts are better.

That somehow, we find assurance from what's around our built up walls ,instead of the One who's within us that's held us through it all.

 

That in the moments we begin to gradually fall apart, we run to the things that shattered us instead of the One who mends our fragile heart.

You see, reality isn't always as it seems to be; no, God has much greater than we can even see.

 

Life is a journey and every journey is a dream, waiting to be discovered and waiting to be believed.

For better or for worse, our words may say. But in those times of trouble, our promise fades away.

 

When the truth is, we are nothing. But these are the words we don't want to hear. We strive to be more, but God makes it clear.

We aren't enough because He is. And because of His love, we are called His.

 

We are chosen, crowned, branded by His love. But we try to find our worth in quotes, gifts, and love.

We wait forever for this drastic change in our life, overseeing the fact that our revolution lives inside.

 

We have been built up in such a lie that our heart has become blind, to forget that our value was bought when Jesus died.

So stand up! And rebel against the lies, the hurt, and the pain. They won't make you stronger; they're not for your gain.

 

Give it all to God, and He'll transform your heart. He brings freedom from bondage that sets you apart.

Trust beyond understanding for in seeking comes truth, for your value is found in your seeking, and patience is a virtue.

 

It's a step-by-step process, where God writes on your heart, with mountains and valleys, you'll discover Whose you are.

This same love that made you creates you in truth. You just have to believe that Jesus died for you.

 

When you begin to grasp how He paid the highest price, you'll begin to believe the value you've always had inside.

You're a treasure, a jewel, with imperishable beauty. There is no flaw, no small mistake, you're made insecurely.

 

You are loved, you are valued, and you are beautiful, but you are nothing without the God who gave you His all.

Because you were worth it; you always have been. You just have to see your true beauty lives within.

Believe it, accept it, and then you'll start to see, who you really are opposed to what you were supposed to be.

 

"God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns."Psalm 46:5

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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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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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His Side: For the Guys

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For the Guys

Joe Bulger

 

 

You don't have to look very far to see the way the world tells men how to treat woman.

As men we are told by the world to use woman instead of love them as Christ told us to. It screams at every corner, sometimes too loud to ignore. We've become abusers instead of protectors. We've traded real relationships with weightless flirting and meaningless "love".

As men we need to look to the words of God on how to treat and respect woman.

1 Timothy 5:1b-2 "… treat older women as your mother, and treat younger woman with all purity as you would your own sisters."

There you have it. Treat older woman with the respect you would give to your own mother. Treat younger woman with all purity as you would your own sisters.

But what does all purity mean?

That means anything you wouldn't say to your sister, don't say it to other girls. That means any way you wouldn't look at your sister, don't look at other girls in that way. There doesn't need to be any further explanation, as the verse is very clear to how young men should treat women. Show women the love that Christ has for them in the way you interact with them. Girls should walk away from a conversation blessed by the way you treated them, instead of walking away confused and hurt.

"Does that mean I can still flirt with girls as long as I don't do anything physical? I mean come on, it's just a little harmless flirting."

No, It's not just harmless flirting.

As guys we don't put a lot of thought into our actions sometimes. Most of the time we just do things. But God has called us to be smarter than that. Treat every girl with respect.

As men if we are really looking for a Proverbs 31 woman, we should treat every single girl we interact with as such.

If we are looking for that girl that is more precious than rubies, how do we expect to treat her as such if we are treating other girls as though they are cheap counterfeit jewels?

Guys, it's time we wake up to the lies that are being spread and resist the temptation that the devil is so heavily laying on us. It's time we start treating every girl we meet with the love and respect that the lord intended us to give to woman. It's time we start setting the example to the next generation.

1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."

Every conversation counts. Every time you interact with a girl you have a choice. You have a choice to build or destroy.

We all are guilty of this, and I would be the first one to confess. But there is still time to change.

Guys, let's be builders of the young ladies around us, not destroyers. There are far too many guys that are destroying. We need more guys to step up.

Let's change this.

 

Joe BulgerJoe 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. Joe comes to us as a His Side blogger and a graphic designer. To get connected with Joe, follow him on Instagram at @beingasajoseph.

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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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