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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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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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His Side: You're Not Alone

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You're not alone.

Adam Wood

When the idea of Insecurely was first discussed with me, I was excited. I was very excited. Insecurity is such a big issue among girls in today's society. You are told exactly how you must look, exactly how you must act around guys, and exactly how perfect you must be. It's an incredibly harsh standard, and it's entirely fabricated and untrue. But after more thought, I realized something else: I was limiting the insecurities of women to purely physical ones--those based simply on aesthetic standards and how you must appear to guys. I was limiting it to those insecurities of relationships and how many women feel like they need a boyfriend to feel loved and to feel accepted.

But some girls don't battle with insecurities in those areas. Insecurity comes in many forms.

As a (very protective, I might add) big brother of two beautiful sisters who have never wasted their time jumping from boy to boy, I know that there are plenty of girls who don't struggle with those "cookie cutter standard" insecurities but have their other areas of struggle. And guys have those problems as well.

"I'm not funny enough." "I don't get taken seriously." "Everyone treats me like a little kid when I want to be seen as mature." "My best friends can talk to girls so easily and I have such a struggle to be myself. I'm just too awkward."

These are all insecurities that guys struggle with, and I have dealt with (and still do to some extent) all of these at some point in my life. And I know that there are girls out there who have insecurities that may not seem quite as common as others.

You're not alone.

Here's one thing that I've always had a hard time with: we men aren't able to show insecurity. I mean, after all, we're men! We're protectors! The priests of our homes! The powerful leaders of our families! To show insecurity as a male is a great sign of weakness, and weakness is the LAST aspect of personality we're allowed to come clean about. So what do we do? We overshoot, we correct ourselves to a fault. We appear to be perfectly capable on the outside when we're perfectly broken on the inside. Our insecurities lead us down a shady path that ends in the same dead-end yours often does--one that tells us we need an outside fix, whether that may be a love interest, a new sense of style, a little bit more of this, a little bit less of that, and the list goes on. These outside fixes never solve the problem.

New clothes won't change you.

Being a little bit smarter will still leave you feeling just as confused, empty, and insecure as you were before.

A better boyfriend won't make you happier.

I'm going to take a little bit of a side note here because I feel it needs to be said. Ladies, if you're in a relationship that isn't        honoring the LORD, get out. Run away from that harmful relationship! If he isn't respecting you, he's not being a man at all. And men, if you're reading this, take heart! There are plenty of girls out there who are simply waiting for you as well. It seems to me like "the good guys" always get pegged as the waiters, the Godly, the fighters, yes, the "FRIENDZONED." They're the pure warriors who feel that no ladies out there are upholding those standards anymore, and they're waiting on the ladies to come running to them. I know that isn't the truth at all. Many women have stood the test of purity and have guarded their hearts waiting for God to orchestrate their path until the time is right. Find them, pursue them, honor them, and love them as God has called you to do. Side note over now. Moving on!

Anyway, as I was saying, outside fixes never change anything. Just as a weed must be pulled from the root, we must get down to the bottom of the problem. And there's only one solution.

That Solution loved you so much that He gave what was most dear - His life. The love of Jesus was so compelling that He bore the sin of humanity just so He could be with you forever.

That's enough for me. That's enough, right there, to take into battle against every one of my insecurities.

Will I still struggle with insecurities? Of course. And you might as well. But as brothers in Christ, know that there will always be men standing with you, and we're going to help you battle through every single problem you encounter.

You're not alone.

Adam WoodAdam Wood is a sophomore at Evangel University. His passion for Insecurely began at its start – knowing that Insecurely had the capability to change lives. Adam joins us as a His Side blogger and a videographer. To know more about Adam, read his personal blog or follow him on Twitter.

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Nicole Finnell: Healing Process

Nicole Finnell

 

These are the words of the very things that shaped who I am. I have to dig deep to bring my insecurities to the surface. I’ve dealt with a lack of confidence due to both my appearance and personal experiences. Growing up, I was the slightly more than chubby girl with the slicked back hair and the face covered in acne. I spent a great deal of my time in books. I was a “nerd” who found her security in school. My brains were what gave me value. I found comfort in being the class clown because that seemed to be the only way I fit in contentedly with my peers. I found security in my humor. Until the summer before my junior year when the weight came off, the acne cleared up, and I learned that I didn’t have to wear a ponytail every day of my life. I became confident in my looks, I became okay with who I was and my personality stayed the same.

I enter into my junior year thinking this was it. “I’m finally free of the burden of worrying every day whether I was presentable and acceptable to the world.” Little did I know that I would soon meet my biggest insecurity. His name holds no significance. It was his actions that made all the difference. His words made me feel beautiful and his actions made me feel worthy. For the first time in my life I was being noticed by a guy. Within no time I fell head over heels for this boy, and with that, my self-worth would start to grow attached to the opinions and thoughts of this guy. Everything he wanted I did. Everything he disapproved of, I stopped. I wasn’t Nicole anymore. Instead of being an original, like I had been my entire life, I was a carbon copy of the person he wanted and created. As time went by, he got tired of me. A crushed little girl, I tried to move on pretending he didn’t destroy a little piece of me.

This same guy will be seen in and out of my life for the next four years. I was his fall back girl and I had a low enough self-esteem to be exactly that. Even if for the moment I wanted to be wanted and I longed to feel beautiful… So I let him use me. Eventually, I would become the secret; a hidden aspect of his life. I would feel as though I were not good enough, not pretty enough, not perfect enough to be a part of his reality, so I did my best to fit into his fantasy. I gave what was most precious to me so easily to this guy only to be left alone. Again. And hurt. Again. And feeling worthless. Again. It’s easy to see that I let my insecurities in my worth take control of me, leading to the insecurities I would struggle with (and still struggle with) because of these experiences. It has taken time, and still more time is needed, for me to fully recover from such a long period of being used as I was. Through the fasting and praying of dear ones, and the time spent seeking God through it all, I have come to terms within myself and about myself. I have learned to be content with me. I know I have worth, I know I deserve more, I know I deserve to be treated better, and I am fighting with all the newly found strength I possess to keep what purity, integrity, and honor I have left, knowing that my God is gracious enough to restore all that I had given away.

Today, I’m still in love with learning, I enjoy making people laugh, and I struggle with who I am on occasion. I wear the scars of my insecurities as proof of healing. God did more than put a band-aid over my wounds. He completely healed them. He is the God of restoration, and He fixed what satan was bent on destroying: my self-worth and my relationships. These scars are my testimony, my evidence of a great God who has done wonders within me. I can now face this guy saying I know I am worth more, I know I deserve better. I can honestly forgive him, and I can know he forgives me. I can look in a mirror with confidence and say I am beautiful. If this journey has taught me anything it is that I am more than meets the eye. I am not defined by the mirror I stare in each morning. My confidence and security comes from a God who says the world’s standards of beauty are severely screwed up. I am declared beautiful and valuable by the creator of the universe. No other source can tell me any different for their opinions are negated and considered void by a greater truth. I am Nicole Lynn Finnell and I am secure in Christ.

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