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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: You're Not Alone

his side header

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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Abbi Leathers: Insecurity for real

 Abbi Leathers

Insecurity: The oh-so-lovely gift from SATAN to pretty much the entire population of girls on this planet Earth (and boys too I guess, equal opportunity and stuff).

Okay but for real.. insecurity is totally straight from Satan. Want to hear about my never-ending battle with the nasty crap? (Sure Abbi, I’d love to!) Alright, sweet. Let’s just back it right on up to THE WORST YEAR OF ANYONE’S LIFE EVER: That’s right, you guessed it, sixth grade. Can I get an “amen”?! You know, that’s the year when you returned to school after summer break in your cool new jean skirt and leggings, and half the boys were still smaller than you and the other half grew about ten feet, started talking with that bass down low, and sprouted massive amounts of armpit hair that they insisted on showing off every chance they could with their jank, homemade cutoff t-shirts. You with me? Yeah, well that’s the same year when I learned all I didn’t want to know about pimples. I was only twelve years old when I went to my mom and demanded to learn about the wonderful world of makeup. I was in my last year of elementary school, and my dependence upon hiding my face had already begun.  And let me tell you, I got to be pretty good at it.

So basically, that continued all through the awkward junior high years and right on through the high school ones too. I’ve always struggled with my complexion, and I’ve literally tried every remedy known to man. And despite the fact that I’ll be twenty years old in just a few short months, my face still acts like it belongs to that twelve year-old girl in the sixth grade.

Since all that began, I can honestly say I’m not even sure if there has been a day in my life that I’ve gone without makeup completely. Over the years I grew to be embarrassed of my face and did my very best to hide it. I cut my bangs and never pulled them back in an attempt to hide half my face, and when someone would try to make eye contact with me, I’d quickly look away. I was the epitome of insecure.

Like most girls, I’ve also battled with a lack of confidence in my weight, size, hair, voice and pretty much everything else about myself too. I know what it’s like to grow up in a culture consumed by commercials with undressed Victoria’s Secret models and an obsession with sex. And I definitely know what it’s like to want to be desired. Been there. Done that. Still fighting that battle.

But I can honestly tell you that when I realized that the Creator of this entire, amazing universe desires me and is relentlessly pursuing me, well that’s when my perspective changed a little. As Christian men and women, we’re all for the idea that God is perfect in every way and Created the Earth and everything in it. But then we continue to hate ourselves and every feature we possess. But do you not realize that YOU were created by that perfect Creator? The Creator that makes no mistakes and does everything intentionally? The One who created the ocean and heartbeats, daisies and oxygen? Not only did He create those things, but he stepped back from it all in the end and said “Dang, that’s good,” (or something similar that.) THAT’S the God who created YOU. He made you on purpose. He made you for a reason. He makes no mistakes. And He’s your biggest fan. You are His most prized masterpiece.

Now do a brother a favor, and the next time you look in the mirror, try to see yourself the way your Creator sees you. Because He says you are beautiful, you are original, you were carefully made, and you are a masterpiece.

And maybe skip all the foundation. It’s actually kind of liberating once in a while.

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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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