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What Jesus, Nutella, and Harry Styles have in common

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What Jesus, Nutella, and Harry Styles have in common

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Hi! I bet you found the sound of this article interesting! You must either:

  • Be one of those people that read every Christian article/blog and share it on your Facebook or Twitter
  • REALLY like Nutella (which I found out sells about a half-billion pounds to more than 70 countries per year and sells over $240 million per year in the US alone)  or
  • Be a hardcore “Directioner”.

I could make up this bogus article on how these three completely random things have a common bond.  And I bet if I make it sound super spiritual, you might even share it on social media. Now this isn’t coming out of pride, and I’m definitely not condemning you by any means—it’s just a trend I’m noticing. As information becomes more readily available, coupled with the new era of social media, we ALL have become journalists. We each have the ability to get on a wordpress, write a blog, post it online, and if we are lucky (assuming it has to do with dating or love), it could blow up.

I’m infatuated with understanding people and how we communicate our lives, thoughts, and emotions, which is why I have a degree in Communication. Lately, while I’ve been doing my daily social media stalking, I’ve noticed a huge increase in blogs/articles being shared on everything from finding love in your twenty-somethings to how Canada was behind 9/11. Since I am a connoisseur of this stuff, I’ll usually take a gander at what these people have to say—but what I find is simply alarming! Christian men and women are sharing posts that quite frankly are terrible pieces of advice. These pieces of advice and commentary on social issues have allowed God and Biblical principles to be misconstrued and misused to the point where the Gospel is no longer clear. The issue gets bigger because by sharing these articles, we essentially endorse it.  This has been on my heart for a long time because I understand the incredible power that communication has on our society. As Paul says in Romans 1, we have traded the truth of God for a lie, and have worshiped (and shared) created things rather than the creator. Our thoughts, actions, and opinions are literally shaped by everything we consume. So I guess the question is… are you consuming the right things?

At the end of the day, everything we do—the lives we live, the actions we display, the attitude we exude, and the things we support—are hanging on this question. Does it point people to Christ?
— Nii Abrahams

So where do we go from here? Here are 4 tips to help you evaluate the information you consume and show.

Check the source. 

Before you read any article, this should be the first thing you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s for leisure or for academic purposes. The source says it all! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Facebook arguments ERUPT over an article from The Onion—the most nonfactual, satirical, fake news site in the history of the world. Checking the source of your article or blog allows you to first filter the credibility of the subject at hand. At some point in our lives, we’ve all had that one friend you couldn’t trust a single word that came out of their mouth. They could say things like “Bro, I SWEAR I saw our librarian riding that bull at the rodeo this weekend!” or “No, I PINKY PROMISE he likes you and wants you to text him”, but you knew better. You knew not to trust whatever they said—let alone spread it. Don’t let a bad source make you look bad! You can save yourself a lot of time by simply checking the source beforehand.

Is it scriptural? 

I’ve mentioned this other times in my other articles, but I am a part of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at Missouri State University. Recently, we had the director from Central Arkansas Chi Alpha come speak to our staff to offer some advice since we are doing some reconstruction of our ministry and their Chi Alpha is extremely successful. However, before he gave his own opinions, he immediately referenced scripture and showed how the scripture dictated his personal opinions. I will never forget that. He had the opportunity to market himself and his opinions supreme, but he made sure that the words he said were a clear representation of his dynamic relationship with the Word of God. The advice we are allowing into our lives, the things we are sharing on social media, are they based in scripture? Otherwise, what truth are we endorsing? The Word of God is the foundation that we set our lives on. I dare you to read the Bible for yourself and discover the Truth that lies within. As a close friend of mine says, “There is such a thing as absolute Truth, but it won’t be found in every blog.” 

Is this advice I would share with my kids?

If you know me, I love thinking of the future—I even have a list of what I think are cool names for my future kids on my phone (make fun of me if you want, I have accepted it). Although you might think this question is awkward or premature in your life, just think about it… why consume advice for your life, if you wouldn’t even want to give it to your kids when that time comes? Some of the blogs and articles I see (especially when it comes to dating) circulating around Facebook make me cringe! If I know Zion and Jayden (that’s a sneak peek at my list) aren’t going to be reading that stuff, I shouldn’t fill my own life with it. It’s funny how when we objectively take the mindset of a parent, everything changes! 

Does it point people to Christ?

At the end of the day, everything we do—the lives we live, the actions we display, the attitude we exude, and the things we support—are hanging on this question. Not every article has to have a written alter call or a “come to Jesus moment”, but does the article or blog come from a place of love or arrogance? Servanthood or selfishness? Does it speak truth or does it have the power to deceive? As Christ-followers, the rhetoric we allow to manipulate our thoughts, actions, and opinions should always point toward the cross.  What we read and allow others to read should edify and uplift each other!

 1 John 4: 5-6 says “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”  

Now this may sound intense, but Peter is adamant when speaking to his audience about false teachings. I want you to understand that I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t read or share anything that doesn’t come from Relevant Magazine, Boundless, or Focus on the Family (that would get so boring), but understand that the viewpoints of the world will always inherently be distorted truth. Seeking advice from people is cool and all, but I know a place where the advice is always free and never wrong. You just read four pages of an article by a 22 year old who has a lifetime of spiritual growth still to do, but have you even read 4 pages of the Truth today?

Maybe I’m crazy… Maybe I’m being too critical… Maybe there really is a connection between Jesus, Nutella, and Harry Styles.

Nah….

Nii 


Nii holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. He is currently an intern for the City of Springfield, Missouri and is pursuing his Master's degree in Communication. In addition to writing for Insecurely, he's known to do a fantastic President Obama impression.

To know more about Nii, follow him on Twitter. 

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Bradley Coleman: Catch for us the foxes

Critical - Expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments. I know the meaning of the word critical all too well. Always being the shortest person was my life story. I even received a nickname throughout my younger academic years, Simon Birch. You see, Simon Birch was a movie that hit theaters when I was in fourth grade. It was about an individual who had a birth defect of inadequate growth; he was literarily 2 foot tall. Being the shortest of my class was not that bad during this time though, so I embraced the identity. Even in middle school I was the shortest individual.

Still yet, I clung to athletic activities so that I could prove my worth to others. I was actually decent at sports. I was a part of the starting roster in every activity. However, in high school things changed. No longer was I physically able to start in athletic activities. This affected my view of my self and I began to become very critical towards my image.

As if it was not enough for me to be critical on my image, I also had upperclassmen bullying me. The constant threats of being shoved into lockers or into trash cans haunted me every time I walked into the doors of the school. I, however, was clever. Instead of constantly being made fun of by my peers, I began making fun of myself. In return, my peers began to laugh at me and eventually became my friend. I became quite popular. While these remarks seemed to be a joke to my peers, there were so much truth to each of the remarks. The critical remarks left scars, that still to this day, are not completely healed.

Being critical about your physical image literally tears you apart. In the end, you are left with the feelings of brokenness and being unwanted! Whenever we become critical of our appearance we also start to destroy ourselves. A great illustration for this is talked about in the Song of Solomon 2:15.

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” I like to think of every critical thought towards ourselves as a little fox. Our image is the vineyard that is in full bloom, beautiful. Yet with every negative thought towards ourself we begin to destroy the vineyard that is our image. The fox is cunning. Sometimes we do not even realize we are tearing down our image. We must be mindful of our thoughts throughout the day. Are they building us up or tearing us down?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
— Psalm 139:14

I believe that most of everyone is critical about their appearance. We have a mentality that if we could just change this one thing about us, then we would be beautiful. It is almost like an artist. Have you ever met an artist? When my artist friends show me some of their pieces that they have worked so exhaustively on, I often reply that the piece of art displayed to me is absolutely incredible. Despite my opinion, the artist usually says it is ok and maybe even reply, “I could have done this part of the piece better.” Artists are their own biggest critic. In the same respect, we are our own biggest critic.

We see ourselves as a painting. We labor on the piece of art, that which is us, thoroughly. Then we look at the painting and critique it, saying, “If only I could change this about me, then it would be better.” There is a huge problem with the mindset that we are painting the image we want for ourselves.

You see, we are not even the true artist. The true artist is the One who was knitting you together while you were in your mother's womb. The true artist is the One of which you were fearfully and wonderfully made. The true artist is the One who designed you to be a masterpiece, completely unique, an original design. The true artist is God.

The psalmist would agree. He says in Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Hold on, time out. What does, ‘fearfully made’ mean? It simply means that God, the artist, used caution in making us. He used precision in forming us to His image. He did not use precision in creating us just so we could carelessly degrade us. That is not our purpose, the paint brush is not in our hand. The psalmist also says, “...all of God’s works are wonderful I know that full well.” Do we know that full well?

Please understand when we are critical about our appearance we are essentially saying that all of God’s works are not wonderful. If we say, “If I can just change this about me,” we are basically saying, “All of God’s works are wonderful, except for this.” Do we not understand that every single work from God is wonderful and not just most works? You are the work of the almighty God. You are wonderful.

So what can we take away from all this?

1. Every negative thought is like a fox that tears away at the garden, of which is our image. Be mindful of these thoughts, sometimes we do not even know we are doing it. I know for the longest time I would say negative things about my self. It was not until a close friend asked me why I did these things did I even realize that I was doing it. Be cautious of your thoughts throughout the day, especially when they regard yourself.

2. Build yourself up in the Lord. Instead of having negative thoughts towards yourself, find out your strengths and dwell on them. We do not do these things so that we can become prideful, but so that we can ultimately reach God’s creation with the love that he has shown us.

3. We are not the painter of our lives, God is. Allow him to have the paint, leave the critiquing of your appearance to Him. You are made in the image of a beautiful God, you are beautiful. By allowing him to have the paint brush, we also allow him to continue to work on his masterpiece. Allow God to form His painting to the image of his son, Jesus Christ. This is the overall goal when we hand the paint brush to God.

How can we be more like Jesus? How can we continue developing our relationship with Him? Allow some time for just you and Christ. I recommend spending time talking to Christ, but more than just you doing the talking, also listen to His voice.

4. All of God’s works are wonderful, not just most of them. You are the work of the almighty God. His works are wonderful, you are wonderful. I firmly believe that we do not serve a mediocre God. His works are not mediocre, You are wonderful.


Bradley is our newest His Side blogger. Welcome him to Insecurely! If you'd like to write for Insecurely Movement, email us at team@insecurelymovement.com.  

 

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

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

“I’m called to be a youth pastor!”

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

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

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

 Sound familiar?

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

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

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

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


 What does the Gospel Say?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Our Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 Nii 

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David Krstevski: A Call to Integrity

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David Krstevski: A Call to Integrity

The call to live with integrity is a call to us all. It is a call to search our minds and our hearts. It is a call to examine our actions and to ensure that they are in alignment with God’s plan for ourselves and the world that we live in.
— David Krstevski

I know there has been a lot of talk about the lack of integrity or vice versa in many areas of both our private and public lives. It is of special concern in areas such as politics, economics, business, journalism the media, and even in church. It's often discussed in a psychological and moral sense. There must be integrity within as well as beyond in all areas of life. The thing is that there is no short cut to becoming a person of integrity. It is a journey with all the twists and turns that you could imagine. It is not a simple destination.

What is integrity? Integrity stems from the Latin word “integer,” which means “whole” and “entire”, “unbroken” and “consistent”. This definition calls us to look deeper within ourselves in an attempt to get in touch with the Divine source and foundation of who we are. By connecting with this Divine (GOD) we allow His Divine presence and His power to transform our lives from the inside out. Love, justice, peace, compassion, and wisdom begin to flow out and influence all areas of our daily lives. In this way we begin to live a life of integrity in harmony with our values based on God’s Word.

Now, talking about getting there is easier than actually getting there. We live in a culture that is saturated with false distractions of every kind imaginable. We are faced with transparent choices in the media wherever we go and there aren't many beacons that guide people to make choices in their lives that reflect a life of integrity. God's voice often gets drowned out by the clutter, noise and temptations in our everyday lives. But, praise God that his light is the brightest and stands out above all types of distractions that we have and will face.

The call to live with integrity is a call to us all. It is a call to search our minds and our hearts. It is a call to examine our actions and to ensure that they are in alignment with God's plan for ourselves and the world that we live in. This will never come without a cost, but it will surely pay off in the long run. Hey, nobody said success was easy. The reason why the majority of people are not successful in whatever area you want to talk about is simply because they did not do what it took to become successful. It takes a lot, but with conscious effort every single day it can be done.

Some of us may be foreign to this idea of integrity and some may already have a pretty good grasp of what it is. However, we can all look around ourselves to find some examples of lived integrity and be thankful to those who have had the courage to exemplify it. People often have “spoken” out courageously against war, nuclear weapons, abortion, abuse of power and greed. Many have questioned why two-thirds of the world goes to bed hungry every night when there is more than enough for all of everyone’s needs.

I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.
— 1 Chronicles 29:17


The thing is, when we choose to live integral lives we go from speaking to acting. Our lives will reflect and declare our true selves that are rooted in the Holy Spirit. Only in this way will we be able to establish a world of truth and justice for all to see. This is an ongoing journey of trials and growth; a lifelong constant examination of our values and making sure we live with integrity in our everyday lives.

With the help of the divine source from within (GOD) there is little that we cannot do. The task may look daunting but our God is greater.

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD.
— Psalm 119:1

David Krstevski is a senior at Evangel University. He recently acquired his ministry credentials with the Assemblies of God and plans on spending his life ministering the incredible news of God's word to others. 

You can learn more about David by following him on Twitter

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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: Letter from God

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

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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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