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His Side: Q & A with Josh

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His Side: Q & A with Josh

The following blog is is a continuation of the Question & Answer series. Josh Buckner, creator of Insecurely: A Spoken Word and our motto "You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful." answer questions that you, the readers, have asked. 

From a guy's perspective, what should you do when you really like a guy but they are blind to your interest?

I think this depends on where the friendship is now. If you are good friends with this guy then I'll quote Dylan Nieman who answered it perfectly in a previous blog. "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." …that is if ya'll are already good friends. If not, you first need to build a friendship with them. This will not only open opportunities for you to let them know how you feel but also let you know if you have those feelings for them or the idea of them. However you go about it, remember Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

If a girl can't get over her insecurities, do you find her even more ugly?

No. Absolutely not. Simply because we ALL have them and sometimes they aren't things we can just get over in the blink of an eye. Will I say that confidence is attractive in a woman? Sure. That just means that she loves herself the way God created her to be which is exactly how a man should love her. The only person YOUR insecurities have an effect on is YOU. You should worry less about someone else not liking that you have insecurities and think more about the fact that your insecurities are you not liking who God created you to be. 1 Samuel 16:7  "...People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

The world has placed such low expectations on guys; however, God has set high Biblical standards for them. What is the best way to encourage guys to become the men God intended them to be?

Very well said and a great question! I'm going to be straight up and honest with this one. I don't think the expectation on guys is from the world alone, but from what men of the world have made us out to be. Unfortunately, a man after God's heart isn't the most popular thing these days, but we are not an extinct species. It's up to us as leaders to bring this level of expectation back and, as you said, its up to you as women after God's heart to encourage us in that. How? Simple. You cannot give up hope and look at men the same way the world does. You know the level of expectation we should be held to and hold us to it. Accountability and encouragement go hand in hand. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." Don't give up on a man who doesn't seem to be living it out but encourage them to be all they can be for God.

What do you think of girls that are older (senior in high school or older) that have never had boyfriends? A lot of people say that means run?

I have to say that I completely disagree with that statement. There shouldn't be a "dating experience requirement." I mean, it's not like you're logging up hours of practice for "the one." In fact, I would say that I respect that girl even more for saving herself like that. To me, it means she knows what she is looking for and is trusting God to provide. People need to realize that dating shouldn't be a game. It isn't something you just go out and do with anyone you feel like. The bottom line is.. you date to marry. Now that's not to say you've got to marry that next person you're dating, but why else would you date? Speaking from experience, one of my best friends was the exact same way. She didn't date all through high school and knew that God had someone out there special for her. Then she met him (another one of my good friends) and now they are engaged to be married this coming May! In my opinion, they couldn't be more perfect for each other. That's all because she held out and knew that God would provide. A girl who doesn't date a lot isn't a red flag. It's a sign of self respect.

I'm so insecure but I can't let people know, so I act like I don't have a care in the world. I just don't feel like I'm worthy of a relationship because I'm so inadequate. What do guys think of that? Do they feel the same way?

Let's take this one step by step. First, you have to admit your insecurities so that they aren't a part of you anymore. That's what Rebel: Insecurely Day was all about. They don't define you. Secondly, It doesn't make sense not to have a care in the world about them because they are affecting who you are. You must care enough about them to say "You won't tell me who I am because God has told me that I am beautiful." Thirdly, please don't feel that you aren't worthy of a relationship because you are inadequate. God has made you so much more than that. You are not just your mirror's image. 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells us "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." The person that God created you to be is more than enough for anything or anyone of this world. You are worthy of whatever God gives you or else, why would he give it to you. Fourth, do guys feel this way? Oh yes. Inadequacy is not just a one sided battle. It is something that I would say almost everyone deals with at some point. Men have standards and expectations we are supposed to meet in society as well and it has just as big of an affect on us. Next time you feel that way, remember the person God has intended you to be with is probably feeling the same way. You are not alone and you are always enough. Love yourself and know that God has such big plans for your future and all your endeavors.

You are loved. 

You are valued. 

You are beautiful. 

Josh Buckner

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

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

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Can Guys and Girls Be "Just Friends"?

Nii Abrahams

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

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

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

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

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

 

Intentionality

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

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

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

Understand Unique Perspectives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowing Your Worth

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

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

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

You should be loved in your friendships.

You should be valued in your friendships.

You should be considered beautiful in your friendships.

Nii

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To connect with Emily, follow her on Twitter.

 

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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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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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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: I love you already

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I love you already.

Josh Buckner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...that's a joke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are loved.

You are valued.

You are beautiful.

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

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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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His Side: My Challenge to You

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His Side: My Challenge to You

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My take on Insecurely.

Joe Bulger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be made stronger through The Lord.

And pass it on to other women.

I’m praying for every one of you.

Joe Bulger

His Side Blogger

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

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