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Chelsea Watkins: Not Christian Enough

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Chelsea Watkins: Not Christian Enough

What do young Christians find attractive?

Guys that sing and play acoustic guitar (those guys can worship like no one else), and girls who like deep theological discussions (they really dig coffee and the word). Don’t fit the criteria? Well then, “You aren’t spiritual enough.” Not spiritual enough? You don’t fit the high standards that many of today’s Christian men and women have of what Godliness is. If you don’t pray to Jesus in a certain way, talk about God every other conversation, and fall to your knees during every worship service, then you aren’t very godly. Don’t get me wrong, a guy that truly loves the Lord is attractive, but should that kind of Godliness be the limit of what we consider “attractive”?

If you think of what Godliness is (taken from Galatians 5) being Christ-like, or loving others like Christ comes to mind. It’s a basic biblical definition. Once it is applied to a possible dating partner, it becomes more of a cultural definition than a biblical one. In our current Christian culture, Godliness means someone who worships dramatically, loves talking about God, or always in prayer. It doesn’t sound bad on the surface, but we tend to have a narrow idea of what exemplifies those definitions. We end up picturing the extremes. We picture someone who jumps and shouts during worship, talks about God all the time (you know what I mean), and someone who prays really really intensely. Is it wrong to do those things? Not at all, but when it becomes a standard that we hold ourselves, and others to, it becomes a problem. Now that it’s a standard, the mindset becomes “If you don’t worship Jesus in that exact way, then clearly you don't follow Christ" and that’s ridiculous! What gets overlooked is that not everyone expresses their relationship with Christ in the same way. Some people are loud and outspoken. Others are quieter, with a softer voice, but that doesn’t mean one is more Godly than the other.

Godliness shouldn’t be a quality we use to attract a mate, but rather to lead others to Christ.
— Chelsea Watkins

How does this apply to dating and attractiveness? It seems that many possible suitors are turned down, because from the outside appearance, they aren’t as close to Jesus as some would like. Well if someone doesn’t meet this ridiculous new standard of Godliness, it doesn’t mean they aren’t on fire for God. It also doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of a date just because they worship a little differently. This whole thing distracts us from what Godliness really is, prevents us from truly understanding someone, and ultimately distracts us from God himself. A man or woman of God is way more than how much they talk about Jesus, or how extravagant their worship style is. Their Godliness can be seen through their character, how they treat others, and how they treat you. It should be every Christian’s goal to be like Christ, but in this we also need to keep ourselves in check. Ask yourself: “Do I worship the same in public as I do in private? Am I trying to impress others or exalt God?” Godliness shouldn’t be a quality we use to attract a mate, but rather to lead others to Christ. It’s important not to lose focus of that. Don’t start lifting your hands because some guy or gal might be looking. Lift them to worship the King who is already after your heart! When we start to view Godliness as an attractive quality rather than a goal we should be striving for, we shift our focus from God, and instead focus on ourselves. Then it’s not really Godliness at all. So while knowing that someone loves Jesus is an attractive thing, it shouldn’t distract us from Jesus.

In reference to someone being spiritual, instead of saying “that’s attractive”, say “that’s awesome”. Awesome that someone is unashamed to share the love, proclaim the love, and accept the love of Christ publicly. We shouldn’t judge how Godly someone is before we know their story, and we shouldn’t use our praises to bait someone into dating us. That’s not what it’s for. So even though the guy in the bro tank and snapback looks even better for having his bible with him, it’s only an outward appearance. Whether it’s for show or something genuine, it shouldn’t sway my opinion of how spiritual he is, because I don’t know him…yet.

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Jessika Martin: The Beauty Battle

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Jessika Martin: The Beauty Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you getting my drift?

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

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

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

He says,

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

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

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


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


About the author: 

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

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

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Joye Walton | Not A Mistake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Kirsten Stricklin: Comparison

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Kirsten Stricklin: Comparison

I’m twenty-one years old, and I struggle with being insecure.

This still comes as a shock to me. I had always assumed that when I was “grown up,” I would no longer have to deal with accepting myself for who I am. Every day, though, is a matter of letting go of my own insecurities and finding my security in Christ.

I finally caught a glimpse of how much it hurts the heart of God when I wish to be anyone other than myself.
— Kirsten Stricklin

My insecurities began, like many people’s, in middle school. I was shy. I sported hormonal acne-prone skin, slightly greasy hair, and a large gap between my two front teeth, and my fashion sense was a bit – undeveloped (to put it nicely). I had just started a new school, so I was struggling to make friends. In my eyes, the girls at my new school were perfect – they had close friends, cute clothes, and even boyfriends. And then there was me, with no friends, old clothes, and very boyfriend-less. As a result, I felt much less than perfect, undeserving of close friends, and fairly worthless most of the time.

I began to compare myself to those girls whom I viewed as perfect. I would see girls with silky blonde hair and begin to hate my own brown locks; I would see girls with flawless skin and, consequently, coat my face with makeup to hide the acne bumps and red splotches. I wanted a model body and an outgoing personality and for people to love me, just like they loved those seemingly “perfect” girls. The comparison battle was an endless cycle. Slowly, without realizing it, comparing myself became an addiction. Every day, I would compare myself to girls at my school, in books, in movies, and in magazines, imagining exactly what I would change about myself in order to be more like them. I began to feel unhappy, disappointed with myself, and thoroughly insecure.

Truly, comparison is deadly. Once we begin comparing ourselves to other people, it becomes almost impossible to stop. Even after my skin cleared up, the oils in my hair disappeared, and my braces worked a miracle on my teeth, I continued to compare myself. I never felt beautiful. I spent all of my time wishing that I was someone else altogether. I desired – even prayed – for a personality transplant, for a supernatural plastic surgery, for whatever it would take to make me anything other than myself.

It was my senior year of high school before things started to change. I finally began to quiet myself before God, and that made all of the difference. He began to whisper to me the truth about who I am. His voice was never loud, demanding, or accusing. He said lovingly that He sees me as a flawless creation, whole and fully perfect in every way. My personality, my looks, and everything about me was designed for a reason, even if I can’t see that reason yet. I finally caught a glimpse of how much it hurts the heart of God when I wish to be anyone other than myself. His voice was a sweet undertone in my day, gently speaking truth to my heart and breaking my addiction of comparing myself.

I can’t say that things are easy now – they aren’t. Comparison truly is like a drug, and it is one that does not loosen its grip easily. Every day, though, I choose to walk in the fact that I was designed by a perfect Creator who does not make mistakes. I am perfectly and wonderfully made. I am chosen. I am called. It is those truths that allow me to be secure – secure, fully and totally, in Christ.

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Heather Dickinson: It makes you stronger

I never thought rejection would be one of my biggest insecurities. And if you know me, you would never have thought it either.  Allow me to tell you the story of a third grade girl, who merely desired to change her world.  I grew up in church; colored coloring pages on the pews, used my brother as a road for Hot Wheels, and ate those cute little strawberry candies. A few months after I turned seven, I decided that I wanted to follow Jesus. At the time, I really didn’t know what that meant. That is, until I had a vision two years later. I’d had dreams before, but something about this one was different. We were on the playground. About five of my friends and I had formed some sort of Conga line, and we were marching around singing about Jesus. That may have been the extent of the mental vision, but divine visions never die.  I told my dad about this vision I’d had, along with how God was calling me to start a campus club called “The Disciple Train.” He was stoked, and helped by making me flyers and business cards to pass out.

I’d never been called to the principal’s office before that day in the third grade, and to this day it’s the only time I ever have been. As soon as I saw my parents, I began to rack my brain wondering what I had done wrong. I only remember one thing about that visit to the principal’s office. My principal holding up one of the business cards my dad had made, and her saying, “This is unacceptable.” I don’t remember her reasoning, but something tells me she was afraid of her school being rocked for Jesus Christ.

That day was where the insecurity of rejection came into my life. Rejection is the reason I didn’t even think about campus clubs again until the summer before my eighth grade year. For five years, I let it eat away at me, and still to this day I struggle. In seventh grade I attended a weekly bible club at my school, but waited until the end of the year to even get remotely involved. In eighth grade though, I took ownership of that club. I also began a weekly prayer meeting at the flag. And out of that prayer meeting came a weekly bible study. I was leading three bible clubs a week, and living in my vision.

I want to remind you that your insecurities don’t define you. In all honesty, they make you stronger.


When I entered ninth grade last year, I had one goal: rekindle the fire in my high school. There had been a campus club the year before, but was nullified due to low attendance. I had no clue how I was going to restart this club, but I knew I had to. Two months into the school year we had our first meeting in my Geometry teacher’s classroom. We had two meetings in his room, and then he started getting there too late for us to accomplish anything. We then moved to the Computer Applications classroom, and no one showed up. Filled with discouragement, I began to give up hope.  But one week later, I came home to some pretty exciting news. At the time, my dad was working with a local organization called Young Faith in Christ. He informed me that they had received a call from one of the coaches at my school, asking what he would need to do to sponsor a campus club. It took me a week to work up the courage to talk to him, but I am so glad I did. He helped us get the campus club off the ground, and this year it is an official club at my high school. This year I continue to be involved with that club. Last year and this year I also have assisted with a bible club on one of our elementary campuses.

This year though, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Even though I was super excited, this opportunity made me strongly fear rejection.  It took three months after the idea was proposed to get a teacher to sponsor the club. After a lot of rejection I started a new campus club. The Insecurely Movement Campus Club began Friday, November 8th, 2013. The club, targeted at high school girls, is a place where girls can come together to discuss the things that are thrown at us by society every day. With eight girls in attendance at our first meeting, three months of rejection paid off. I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for the club, this incredible movement, and for the lives He will impact with both.

In conclusion, I want to remind you that your insecurities don’t define you. In all honesty, they make you stronger. My insecurity allowed me to start a campus club for other girls dealing with insecurities of their own. My insecurity also allowed me to know what God wanted me to do with my life, and maybe yours could do the same.

 

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I am nothing but value.

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I am nothing but value.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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Yesica Goblirsch: Say goodbye to insecurity

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Yesica Goblirsch: Say goodbye to insecurity

Beauty is something we all strive for, but too often do we settle for a "worldly" version of beauty, as opposed to the true beauty given to us by God.

If I can be totally honest, two of my biggest struggles were lust and feeling beautiful. At a young age, I was taken advantage of by someone close to my family. As I grew older, I became aware and understood what he did to me. I felt like my purity was robbed and I struggled after this for years. I would exercise more than any normal person should, and if I didn't do that I would eat whatever I pleased, and continue on in this roller coaster called life. Trying my hardest to fully satisfy the deepest longings within my soul. I still believed in God, but I didn't fully know and understand His love for me. I was able to pull myself together and keep myself together, but I struggled with lust. That was my biggest struggle.

Although most never knew about my inner struggles, living in bondage to brokenness, to sin, to shame and to temptation truly held me back from my full potential in Christ. Even more so it held me back from the overwhelming, perfect, all-encompassing love of Christ. I didn't value myself and my decisions reflected lacked the fact that I did not possess self-respect.

However, a few years ago, God made himself more real than ever before. On the outside I looked fine, but on the inside I was struggling and God knew that. God saw and knew my heart. He had enough of seeing me like this, and met me where I was. In my brokenness, God loved and restored me. God held my heart as He pieced me back together. Every chain and lie that was holding me back was broken. My burdens and heaviness was lifted and I felt free again. The fogginess that blurred my vision was cleared and I could see the light, grace and love of Jesus that had been all around from the very start of time. It's amazing. After years of pursuing the world, the moment I fully embraced God changed my life forever.

I'm not sure what you're going through as you read a tidbit of my story, but I want you to know that you were made for SO much more! This world isn't always the nicest and too often do we allow ourselves to get bogged down by the world. God did not intend for us to live a life of insecurities! He sent His only Son so that we could have freedom! Do you understand that? I didn't fully grasp the significance of Jesus' sacrifice. He gave HIS LIFE so we could choose to live. Jesus was fully aware that there was a chance His sacrifice would go unnoticed, that some people will choose to follow the world instead of Him.

However, he thought that the possibility of us having freedom in His perfect love, just the possibility to choose life, was worth it. Too often we fall beneath the lies of satan and this world, I know I did. But God loves you so much and He wants you to believe His truth, that you are beautiful and were created with a divine purpose. Psalm 45:11 says to "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Believe that you are beautiful, because it's true. Believe that you have immense purpose, because your life is significant and you have the ability to be a world changer!

Before God delivered me, I had to stand up with my chains on. Any insecurities, fears and doubts you may be dealing with are chains. I encourage you to stand up with your chains on and find truth and freedom in Jesus! You are beautiful! You are the apple of God's eye. You are a princess because you are a daughter of the King Most High. Let God shower you with His love because Jesus literally died so that you could experience the love and presence of God fully.

It's time to say goodbye to insecurities. Stand up with your chains on and find freedom.

 

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5 things someone should have told me when I was sixteen

This blog was originally published to our founder's, Hannah Beers, personal website. To read the original post, click here.

To sixteen year old me,

You’re at the top of your game right now. Sixteen forever and all that jazz, right? I wish I could be there with you, walking you through the decisions you’re making, but I can’t be. What they say is true. Hindsight is 20/20.

25790_331444516667_4669404_n1. Don’t worry too much about your future. It turns out to be more than you could have possibly imagined. Yes, it’s scary. I know those nights you spend laying in your bed wondering how you’re going to survive; how you’re going to survive without the family, without everyone knowing your name. I know it’s so scary, but breathe deeply. Please, enjoy the next two years. They will be some of the most important years of your life.

2. Please, don’t let that boy drive your decisions. He’s not good for you. How many heart breaks have you had because of him? He’s not for you. You know that. Yes, he’ll find someone eventually, and it won’t be you. Oh, and the next boy? Don’t worry about that either. Actually, just forget boys. Please. It’ll save you so much heartbreak. No? Ok, well, at least guard your heart. What does that even mean? I wish you’d listen. While we’re at it, stop flirting. No, it’s not harmless. Unless you’re ready to commit, stop it. Don’t you complain when they do the very same thing to you? Your relationships are not a game. Your heart is not a pawn. Stop playing with emotions that never go away.

3. Get off your phone. Do you have any idea how much time you’re wasting? Spend time with your family. You’ll miss them when you don’t see them every day. Facebook isn’t that important. In a few years, you will blush with embarrassment every time you look at the statuses you used to make. Just to let you know, :D looks dumb and :) isn’t needed every sentence. Oh, and adding extra letters to the end of your words is annoying. 75759_461926516667_4185272_n

4. The people you try to fit in with aren’t worth it. Yeah, sure. You go to school with them every day. What you don’t know is that your desire to be like them will turn you into a monster in just a few months; a monster who will make decisions that are awful and destructive, decisions that will take years to get over. Please, use wisdom. After graduation, the most you’ll see them is in the grocery store when you’re visiting home. Use your position to influence them, not the other way around. There are a few people, however, that you’ll keep life-long friendships with. Keep close to them. Keep close to the ones that you can trust.

5. Stop looking for your worth in another person’s words. You have a terrible desire to be loved and encouraged. It will continue to affect your daily life, but if used incorrectly, will lead to a dark place that will only hurt. It could be so different, though. You could use your weakness to encourage others. Someday, you will. Stop looking to other people to tell you who you are. You know who you are. You know who God created you to be. Be that woman.18748_301604671667_1550867_n

You’re going to make memories and mistakes, and that’s ok. Those experiences will lead to a life of growth. Just remember, God is with you throughout everything. When you fly through your best times, he’s cheering you on. When you feel at your lowest, he holds you in his arms.

 

 

 

There is never a moment without him. You’ll forget that someday, but he won’t forget you.

I love you, little girl. That’s what you are, you know. You’re not an adult, no matter how hard you try. You’re a teenager; a silly, emotional, wandering teenager. Enjoy it, Han. These days will only happen once.

To connect with Hannah, follow her on Twitter.

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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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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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Crissy Morein: Just be confident already

DSC_9744Confidence. That is one word that has always challenged me. Growing up I always wanted to be confident. I would always look at older girls and how they stood up tall seeming completely secure in who they were. Of course, I never felt like I could stand up straight and tall because I didn’t think I had anything to be secure in. I didn’t have confidence in my beauty, in my personality, in my talents, in my dreams, in my body, in my words. I was just young, and didn’t think anyone thought of me as anything special. In middle school and high school I would see the popular girls around me talk to anyone with confidence. Teachers, parents, guys, the principal, and I felt like I couldn’t do that. I saw the guys at school only giving attention to the popular girls and couldn’t understand why. Was I not pretty enough, or cool enough? Why didn’t any guys pursue me? The summer before my junior year of high school I had a change of heart. The Lord really showed me the value I have in His eyes. I realized that confidence comes to those who know who they are in Christ. I am confident in Christ so I can be completely confident in who I am, because God created me exactly how he wanted me to be. From then on I carried myself differently. Of course, I still have insecurities that I deal with just like many of you, but I don’t sit around wishing I had the confidence of that girl, or the beautiful hair that she has, or the incredible speaking skills he has. I am not completely secure in who I am just as Crissy Morein; but Crissy Morein, daughter of the King. That is someone I can be completely confident in.

So, if you’re reading this blog, let me just remind you of some things. Confidence is attractive. Guys and girls look for confidence in a spouse. I know that is one of the top things I notice when talking to a guy. If they are confident it doesn’t matter how weird, or silly, or crazy they are, it just matters that they are confident in that.

Confidence also shows maturity. When you reach the place in your relationship with Christ that all you need is His approval you have reached an incredible level of maturity with the Lord. That shines through in your life.

Lastly, Confident people change the world. I know I have some pretty big dreams that God has laid on my heart, and if I wasn’t confident in who I am I would never strive to see those dreams become a reality. Think about all the world changers you know or have heard of. They were all confident in the dream they had and strived to achieve it.

When you are secure in who you are in Christ, confidence will shine through you. Confidence is an incredible quality to have and through Jesus Christ we can have that quality. Don’t forget: YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR THROUGH CHRIST! You don’t have to conquer your insecurities because Jesus Christ already did that for you. You simply have to believe and be confident. Jesus overcame it all for YOU. You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

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Megan Hallmark: Appearances won't make you beautiful

Megan Growing up I never felt beautiful. I had many insecurities. I have three older sisters, who are all gorgeous. I always wanted to look like them.

In the 4th grade, my teeth were horrible. I had fangs that stuck out. In hopes of straightening my teeth, I had some of them pulled. So, at this point, I pretty much had my four front teeth, with two of them fangs. I had kids ask me why my teeth were the way they were and I would never smile in fear that they would show.

In addition to that problem, I was born with keratosis pilaris, or as I would always call it “chicken skin.” It's a condition that gives you dry bumps on your cheeks, backs of the arms, and thighs. I was always red.

To make it worse, when I was in middle school I was already 5 foot 5 and weighed 108 pounds. I was bigger than all of my classmates and none of the other girls were even close to being 100 pounds! I felt fat all the time even though I was proportional for my size. I would compare myself to models or older women whom I thought were very pretty, but I didn’t have the soft clear skin, the hourglass figure or the perfect, non-frizzy hair. I did not have the beautiful smile that they had. I felt ugly and insecure, so I searched for my securities in guys. I wore skimpy outfits and would do anything for attention.

In 8th grade I started to gain confidence in my appearance. I learned how to control my crazy curly hair and started to feel like someone who could be beautiful. Finally, in my sophomore year of high school, I was able to get braces. My teeth slowly straightened out and I felt more and more beautiful. I actually started to smile with my teeth for the first time. By senior year, I had my braces off, I had figured out how to clear up my skin, and I felt beautiful. I had grown so much in my walk with the Lord because of a depression that I went through that it didn’t matter anymore what guys thought of me. I was content and happy with whom I was and my husband was going to love me for me. Now, I am not saying that all of my insecurities are gone. I still have people that point out the fact that I'm pretty flat, but I just say that God made me beautiful and I can accept who I am. It has taken me a long time to finally get to this point. I still joke about it with my friends, but it is a part of who I am and I don’t need the hourglass figure to feel beautiful.

The thing is, what's really important is not that I felt beautiful. After all of that, I realized that none of that appearance ever mattered. I had the same worth with my ugly teeth, weird skin, and awkward body as I did with my fresh braces-free face and better hair. Sadly, that's the thing that happens so many times. You don't realize how worthy you are until you've found the worth in something else.

Do not gain your confidence or your beauty from what the media says or by how many guys you have dated or like you. It will lead you to despair and destruction of yourself. Just remember that God made you beautiful. He is going to bring you the desires of your heart.

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

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Amanda Bollinger: Quiet Ears in a Loud Society

AMANDA  

Growing up, I was never the most confident in how I looked. I found my self looking around at other girls my age thinking, “I don’t look like that.” and, “She’s definitely prettier than me.” If a guy was in the room that I liked, I would find my self looking around to see if there were any girls that were prettier and if so I would tell myself, “He won’t like you. She is definitely prettier. He would choose her.”

I had this mentality that there is always someone more beautiful. I felt that I could never live up to what anyone thought was beautiful. I found my self diving into romantic movies and chick flicks, eventually getting the understanding that what was happening in these movies would never happen to me. I remember feeling so ugly.

My cousins were always skinnier growing up; so fit looking in their bikinis. I felt so huge next to them in my tankini. Weight became another thing that I couldn’t live up to. I wasn’t pretty enough and I wasn’t skinny enough.

I finally came to a point in my life where I had to come to terms with who I was because at this point I wasn’t so sure. Who am I? I had been trying so hard to be like every other girl that I was no longer Amanda Bollinger. I was bits and pieces of all my friends, of girls I had seen, and what I thought boys really wanted. When I realized how I was living, I saw a life that felt kind of like hell.

It was all because of the battle in my mind. The devil kept telling me, “You aren’t good enough” and “No one will ever love you.” He had me focused on exactly what he wanted: the things of this world. God taught me that I will never be beautiful unless I am myself entirely. If you are trying to be someone else it won’t work.

Who will show the beauty that God gave to you and you alone? If you aren’t showing it, no one else will. Girls in today’s society waste their beauty away wishing for a substitute that is almost impossible to achieve; a substitute that comes from the things we hear, see, and feel.

I promise you this. If you turn your eyes towards God, he will show you how beautiful you are. If you let Him, He will place blessings in your life that will. I know this to be true because He did it for me. If we can learn to quiet our ears in a loud society, we can hear God telling us, “You are so beautiful. You are so beautiful my love.”

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Inspiration of the Week: Paige White

paigePaige is featured as Insecurely Movement's "Inspiration of the Week." She is a sophomore bio/pre-med major at Cedarville University and plans on taking medicine overseas to use for medical missions. She absolutely loves Insecurely Movement because of the awareness that it’s giving young women of their God-given beauty and seeing the confidence and hope it's restoring in their lives so they can take on the world while staying secure in His love.  Ladies, the assault on our hearts as women is growing intensely harsh in today’s society. Whether its music, movies, magazine photos, high school hallways, teammates, classmates, or Heaven forbid our own friends, we are constantly rained upon with attacks from the enemy. It takes very little for us to believe that we are inadequate, worthless, and in no possession of a beautiful and captivating personality. We are told that everything we should be has to be made up with make-up and false character. We are emptied by lies until we have barely the strength to make ourselves into what we are told is “worth pursuing”, and even then we are still left feeling incomplete and…dead.

Anything that tells you that you are worthless is a lie. Anything that tells you that you lack beauty is a lie. Anything that tells you that you are powerless is a lie.

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:   Forget your people and your father’s house.  Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:10-11

Think about that for a second…The King of all Kings is absolutely captivated by your beauty. He designed you and crafted you with an intentionality and purpose unlike anything else in creation.  You have a unique beauty all to yourself that God desires for you to share with the world. Don’t get rid of that! Your beauty is utterly powerful. We women are warriors in an ongoing spiritual battle and our greatest weapon is our beauty. Our beauty reflects God’s beauty; it is something that brings rest, diminishes doubt, and gives life. The enemy knows that; he is keenly aware of our insecurities and that is why he will stop at nothing to ensure that we believe the lie that we have no beauty to offer. Our beauty must be cultivated and cared for. It takes time, fellowship, prayer, vulnerability, and lots of our attention and effort. The only weapon the enemy has against us is the one we lay in his hands. Let’s try our hardest not to let him get to our hearts. Guard your hearts ladies; everything you do, everything about your life flows from your heart.

To my brothers, hey there! This might sound harsh, but can you do all of us girls a favor and not mess with our hearts. If you’ve received the green light from Dad saying that you can pursue us because you have a purpose and intention in doing so, then go get her. But if you haven’t received the green, back off with the flirting. There is a way to be a loving, caring, strong and protective brother of Christ without sending the wrong message. Nothing is more refreshing to me than for one of my brothers to encourage me in my faith, congratulate me in my success, or challenge me in my struggles. Just please remember that our hearts are precious and tender, and I’m asking that you treat them as such. I love all you guys. Keep fighting your insecurities as well. We appreciate you and your strength and leadership. Don’t let the enemy lie to you either, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you guys.

For my ladies, remember this: "There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.” -Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Now go show the world what you’ve got, beautiful.

 

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Laura Prosapio: Identity

 

Laura Prosapio

Ever since I can remember, I tied my worth into how well I could accomplish the tasks that lay before me. Whether it was getting good grades, winning a spelling bee, or being in control of my every word and action—I needed to be working my hardest or best, or else it wasn’t good enough for me. And if it wasn’t good enough for me, then I reasoned it definitely wasn’t good enough for God.

I measured my achievement based on whether or not I got a compliment. If I worked especially hard to present my best, and then I didn’t get the amount of praise from others I thought I deserved, I would feel completely devalued. Even when I did receive praise, it never seemed to be good enough because it never satisfied my heart. As soon as I felt approved by those around me, I felt I needed to take it to the next level and be even more perfect, more pristine, and more worthy of love. Sure, improvement is usually something healthy to strive for. We always should try to be our best. But people cannot meet our deepest desires for approval—even our closest friends cannot make us feel completely secure. Only God can make us secure in Him, providing us with an identity that nobody can take away.

 I learned this lesson during the beginning of last semester at Evangel University when I was about ready to explode out of not being able to meet my own expectations and garner all the approval I was after. Of course I wanted to live to bless others, but deep in my heart, one of my motivations for blessing others was so that I could receive approval from them, and in turn, feel loved. I recognized the harm of this way of thinking, because without fail, I felt totally insecure in what I had to offer others—regardless of whether or not they were noticeably touched by my actions. If I could not make somebody happy or make sure they smiled after being around me, I felt I had failed them in some way. Thus, I failed myself. If I could make somebody’s day (or at least convince myself that I did), I would feel like I accomplished something great. Being in between these two extremes of shame and pride not only weighed on my heart, but it weighed on my relationship with God. Instead of allowing His grace to flood my heart and my identity to be found in Him alone, I worked to pursue perfection apart from Him. I didn’t even ponder that His love made me complete.

It wasn’t until a close friend invited me to a Bible study at Central Assembly in Springfield that I had a life-altering realization that has transformed the way I live today. The study was based upon the book Chase by Jennie Allen, and in reading the first chapter, my world was turned upside down.

I read from this book with a convicted heart, “Our value comes from God; it can never be found in how we measure up. So whether you feel worthy or ashamed, this news should probably undo you. It is the character of God that gives us worth, not anything we have done or will do. There is freedom in accepting our unworthiness and receiving God’s worth. But self-esteem dies hard, especially for those of us who stand on a great performance. The work of Christ steals all shame but it also steals all of our pride.”

 Wow. This one paragraph has truly humbled my heart and made me realize how selfish and prideful I had been. I had been living to give myself glory because I felt my identity was rooted in what I made of myself. However, the “undo”-ing truth that God gave me my identity and it is secure—despite my best and worst efforts—made me a whole new person. I am a whole new person because I am in securely with God’s love. Nothing I do can take that away. Nothing I don’t do can take that away. Now, my delight is to give glory to God, and in doing so, I find my identity and security.

If you’re struggling with having to be perfect and approved by others to feel like you have a secure identity, I’m here to tell you that you can stop finding your identity in others’ approval.

 

“She didn’t have to be perfect because she was perfectly loved.” ~Holley Gerth

 

Allow this truth to go deep into your heart. Know that you don’t have to do anything or put on any false appearance to be loved. You are already loved by a Father whose love can fill every recess of your heart. What a life-transforming truth.  

Satisfied in His Love,

Laura Ashley

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Alyssa Moore: The Crooked Life

alyssaWhen given the challenge to write about my insecurity, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write about. For sure, I’ve had times where I didn’t have the healthiest self-esteem, but I got over that in junior high amazingly enough. I had this incredible youth leader who told me how beautiful I was every week. She told me how I was a warrior princess bride of the creator of the universe, so I felt pretty much invincible despite my braces, chubby cheeks and awkwardly curly hair (it randomly decided to turn from straight to curly…So, that was cool). I went through that time of my life feeling great, and confident of who I was in Christ. Shout out to Nicole for investing in me for those three and a half years. You rock.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with scoliosis. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a condition where you have a curvature in your spine. We found out that I had a double curve. It looks like a backwards ‘S.’ Super cute stuff. Well, I wore a brace for the next three years of my life, and that was horrible. Strapping plastic around my back and into my sides was a pain (metaphorically and physically).

My family and I gave the whole situation over to God. He can make a crooked path straight. Why couldn’t He straighten my spine, right? Well, after following what the Bible commands and going before the elders of my church and being anointed with oil, I still wasn’t healed. It was extremely confusing to me that I hadn’t received my healing. What else did God want from me? I had all the faith in the world, I trusted Him, and still I was left with daily pain that I’ve learned to ignore and deal with.

You really can’t tell that I have scoliosis unless you’re looking for it. I’ve gotten so used to it that I only realize it when somebody points it out, and when I lay down at night and my back muscles scream a cry of relief.

Any way, I picked out a super adorable royal blue dress for Christmas last year, and I begged my mom to let me have it early so that I could wear it to church. I wanted to impress this super attractive guy who had recently started coming to my church (who is now my boyfriend! Holla!). I tried it on the night before and went to show my brother just to make sure he approved and thought it was modest. He told me I looked great, and I was feeling awesome until his fiancé told me that you could really see my scoliosis in it. Now, I’m not much of a crier at all. Unless there’s a move of God or something in my eye. Guys, I totally lost it. I stinking cried right in front of the mirror staring at how my hips are off-center and my shoulders aren’t straight. I feel like I could cry right now just thinking about it. Although, I thought I had fully given it to God, I was still holding on to a very big piece. My brother said to me, “Wipe that insecurity off your face. You are beautiful.” I love my brother so much. He speaks an incredible amount of life into me, is always there to protect me, and remind me of my main focus, Jesus.

Honestly, I don’t really care that I have two curves in my spine. My insecurity blossomed in my relationship with Jesus. Scoliosis started to drive a wedge in between God and myself. That’s a frightening place to be. Getting over that is a daily decision. I know God will heal me, and I claim His blood and healing over myself daily. Anytime my mind starts to doubt or wonder about what’s wrong with me, I lift it up before Jesus. I find my security in Him. I find my healing in Him. He is the one who is teaching me perseverance. I feel like I’ve learned it by now, but apparently God has more for me to learn. I’m thankful for this lesson, and I’m excited about everything else God is going to teach me through this.

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