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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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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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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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Annie Torr: Brutal Honesty & a Side of French Fries

ANNIE This is a sensitive subject for me as I’m sure it is for many women and even men out there. I grew up in a Christian home and was affirmed from a young age that I was a beautiful girl. I never really struggled with body image until one trip to California. I went to visit some family friends and at the young of 10 I saw 2 beautiful college girls talk about how mad they were that their thighs touch when they stand up.

From then on my eyes were opened to thigh gaps (or lack there of), muffin tops, arm flaps, and back fat. I was kind of a chubby kid growing up and it took a while to grow into my skin. My insecurities really began to form in junior high and high school when I realized the boys I liked, liked my friends and not me. Never having had a boyfriend still to this day has continued to grow some of those underlying insecurities. “Am I not good enough?”, “Am I not beautiful enough?” “Am I not thin enough?” It is so unfortunate that these are the lies that so easily are fed into our thoughts.

Going off to college opened my eyes to a world I never knew before; a world of eating disorders. I began my freshman year at a college in Costa Mesa, California. I had always thought eating disorders were something that celebrities and famous people dealt with. Little did I know, it was everywhere I looked. The closer I got to the girls I was living with, the more I found out about the lies that consumed their mind constantly. When going to lunch I came back with a full plate (if not multiple plates) of food. For those of you that know me, I love food, especially French fries. They are kind of my weakness. My friends however, would put about 7 pieces of lettuce, vegetables, and a sprinkle of olive oil in a bowl and call that a meal. I have battled thoughts of not eating/throwing up but I can’t do it. The Lord blessed me (yes I say blessed) with some health problems in high school that restrict me from even being able to do those things.

Physical insecurities are the devil’s playground. He loves to toy with our hearts in thinking we are anything but beautiful daughters of Christ. My journey with my insecurities has not been easy and it’s unfortunately not over. I wish I could write here on this blog proudly and say I am completely and wholly confident in the woman God made me!......But I am struggling. With God’s grace and mercy I am working daily toward this. We have all heard Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”, but do we believe? Truly, deeply, in our souls believe this? It says I know this FULL WELL. I pray that if we don’t right now, that we learn to know this full and completely.

I could probably talk a lot more about this but for now I will stop. If you ever want to talk more about my story or about yours I would love to listen. I believe strongly in this movement. God is the ultimate creator. Who are we to say His creations are wrong, ugly, and flawed? . I hope as a community we can begin to accept our flaws as beautiful.

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

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Sarah Buford: I love you for your heart

SARAH“I love you for your heart, not your face.”  That’s what Jesus said to me on a long painful drive home from youth group a couple of months ago.  We all feel ugly at one point in our life.  In my case, I had horrible acne, and a freshman 15 I couldn’t seem to get rid of.  I remember crying out to God, “Lord I just want to feel beautiful and loved!!!  I’m sick and tired of being lonely, and doing new things.” After about 10 minutes of complaining, He simply quieted me and said, “I love you for your heart, and not your face.”  I immediately started laughing.  I had always known He loved me, but it was un-attainable to me that He loved me despite my ugly cry, mascara running down my face, without anything to offer, broken and miserable. He still loved me.  I had nothing to offer Him and He loved me.  There was nothing I could do to deserve that love, and yet He felt that way about me.  Little old me.

Even from the young age of 15 I remember my Mom coming in and telling me how pretty I was.  At one point, after asking me to put on some more mascara or foundation, I remember her asking, “You don’t think you are beautiful do you?”

I didn’t.

In High School a boy told me the reason he wouldn’t date me was specifically because I was not pretty.  I spent the remaining part of that time trying to prove I was. It wasn’t until this year that I can serve others and think un-selfishly about myself.  Because I thrive on verbal affirmation, compliments mean the most to me.  God knows that.

In fact when I am ugliest, late at night, or early in the morning, those are the moments I feel the most beautiful.  Why in the world would I say that?  This is simply because it is during those times I am most consecrated to Christ.

Leslie Ludy, states it this way:

“A young woman who is deeply, passionately, intimately in love Jesus Christ glows with a radiance that overpowers even the most noticeable of flaws. I’ve seen many a godly woman light up an entire room with her presence. To study her closely, you would not think of her as beautiful; in fact she might even have major physical blemishes that would normally be distracting. But when a woman’s passion for Jesus Christ is so deep that it is the focal point of her existence, it effervesces from every corner of her being – and she glows with heavenly beauty. No matter what her physical flaws might be, they go unnoticed when Jesus Christ is center stage in her life.

Insecurity is simply an unhealthy focus on yourself, rather than a healthy focus on Jesus Christ. It’s something the enemy can easily use to keep us turned inward rather than outward. Just like the temptation toward any sin, we must nip thoughts of insecurity in the bud the moment they begin to arise.

As soon as the enemy comes in with whispers of, “Everyone is noticing your physical shortcomings. There is nothing attractive about you – no one wants to be around you,” your response must be immediate. Instead of entertaining those thoughts and meditating upon them, fight back with truth, scripture, and prayer!

If you begin to ignore thoughts of insecurity and deliberately choose to smile, reach out to others, and focus on being an example of Christ, you will soon realize that insecurity has no soil in which to grow. It may take some time before this principle becomes a habit in your life, but if you lean on the grace and strength of God, He will give you all that you need to triumph in this area.”

"I love you for your heart, not your face."

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His Side Blogs

The Insecurely team has been dreaming up ideas. What can we do next? We're so excited to announce our newest venture!  

During a girl's life, she has questions. Constant questions. Questions that sometimes, other girls just can't answer.

That's why we're announcing our next big thing!

His Side Blogs. 

His Side blogs are a collection of 5 college age guys who are going through life, following Christ, and trying to figure out their place in the world - just like us. They'll be blogging about their perspective on things: dating, Christianity, and confidence.

Meet the guys and get excited for the adventure!

 

Joe Bulger

Joe Bulger

Joe 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.

 

Josh Buckner

Josh Buckner

You'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.

Dave Krstevski

Dave Krstevski

Dave is a senior at Evangel University and 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!

 

Dylan Nieman

Dylan Nieman

 

Dylan 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.

 

Adam Wood

Adam Wood

 

Adam 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.

 

Each of these men have a passion for helping others - and that's exactly what they'll be doing.

Welcome to Insecurely!

 

 

 

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Perfectly: An Insecurely Poem

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You look in the mirror

And see so unclear With a mind full of lies It’s hard to see yourself right

When you hear all around What’s in and what’s out Your heart starts to pound Wondering, do I fit in now?

You frantically seek approval in their eyes But they can’t see past your crafted disguise That covers every blemish and scar That is written on your fragile heart

But you see, your appearance is a fake If your heart isn’t awake Beating for the One Who sent His only son So you could see the truth That doesn’t lie in what you do

No make-up covers hidden shame No perfect smile can hide your unforgettable pain No words can change your fractured heart No actions define who you are

Only God can show you proof Of what He created out of you How you’re made in complete perfection

Your face doesn’t need any correction Your strength doesn’t always need to strive on, Just let go, and let God be the ONE Who holds your impossible world in place And fills your reality with his grace

Who desires for you to see You’re created exactly as he wanted you to be And who you truly are Lies within His open heart

Your scars you thought you had inside Were healed the day God made you alive That you could finally see again That your unquestionable beauty lives within The very heart you long to share God molded and shaped with precision and care To reflect His very heart In the person that you are

Who you are was made unique So that you wouldn’t feel the desperate need To be someone you’re not and change To finally stand out and not be the same

You are beautiful and so are they But you’re both made in different ways You each have talents to express your heart That reflects God’s gifts in who you are So realize the beauty you have within That God made before your life began So that no one person would be the same But made unique in Jesus’ name

Don’t let your insecurities blind your heart From seeing yourself for who you truly are

Be secure in the God above Who created you carefully in His love

Look to his heart and you’ll see your own It’s far more precious than diamonds, and far more valuable than gold

The answer to your heart lives deep inside Just give God a chance to open your eyes You’ll be awestruck, speechless- with no words to describe Of the undeniable beauty you’ve had all this time

So in those moments your heart begins to feel weak Know that God created you- perfectly.

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Kaytee Mitchell: My Greatest Insecurity

KAYTEE My greatest insecurity is my greatest fear: love.

I know that this sounds totally bizarre and cliché, but this is the greatest fear I have ever had. Fear of love, to find love, to lose love, to pass love by, anything to do with it, it scares me. My entire life, love has been like weather. It has had its bright days, rainy days, storms, and tornadoes, but no matter what it is, I tend to run from it. Run from the thought of having something so good and having it fall right from my hands. Run from the thought that I will never be good enough for the love I desire. Run from the love from those who cares about me so I don’t hurt them. I run, and run, and run, and yet, God just keeps running with me.

It all started when I was little. My mom and dad divorced, and my mom married my step-dad. This was the beginning to my fear. My mother used to come into our rooms bawling some nights saying we were leaving and she was divorcing my new dad, and I didn’t mind because I wasn’t really sure what love really was. Yet, it slowly built this fear in me that I, myself, would never find true love. Over time, my family just seemed to be SO chaotic. My step-dad hated my brother, my mom used to hate my step-sister, and I was just there in the middle of it all. Eventually, I depended FULLY upon my friends and boyfriends to fill the love that I constantly needed when I was little. Nine years went by: nine hard years. I was trying everything to please my friends so that they wouldn’t leave, going boyfriend through boyfriend trying to find the “perfect” love. I could never find satisfaction.

When I finally figured out that my real dad had been lying to me and avoiding me all these years when he repetitively said, “I love you so much, and I wish I could see you,” my world stopped. There I went… running again. It was a constant marathon. It still is. I liked the same guy for a “long” time, only to find out that after waiting years for him, maybe he isn’t the one for me. We both changed, something I greatly feared was going to happen. I have found amazing friends, and yet I have breakdowns of fear about losing them. I try to not hold on too tight, but I’m constantly petrified of losing people who mean so much to me. So what caused all this? Why does fear cover the good I’m reaching for? Well, because my dad ran from what is good, and now I am afraid to be like him: losing everything that is good because I was so afraid. I’m afraid to be afraid! What in the world? I told you, my greatest insecurity is my greatest fear.

However, each day God walks with me step by step, trying to teach me to love, to show that it’s okay, but in the back of my head love seems impossible. Yet, there are people who show me love and it breaks my walls of fear. For example, Miss Hannah Beers once said, “Kaytee, when you became my friend, you stepped into our circle of friends, and I’m not letting you step out and run away. I’m not letting you go.” That night changed my life because finally, I wasn’t allowed to run away, and so I didn’t. She is now my best friend, who I love incredibly. <3

But, how do I stop running from the fear of love? Well I run to the only love that will protect me, God’s. It’s just not easy. I still have breakdowns, I still push “amazing” things in my life away, I still look down on myself, I still think that guys are too good for me, I still cry when someone shows me true love: even when it’s just a meaningful hug or the words “I love you.” It’s my greatest insecurity, but it’s also my greatest strength. It has taught me to run to God when I feel insufficient: which is a lot! There are SO many times I look in the mirror and think, “Who could ever love this?” There are tons of times that I think I laugh way too much and need to calm down. I can’t count the number of times I have depended upon someone else’s satisfaction of me for the satisfaction I have of myself. It’s because when you are constantly running from a love that is all around you, fear seems to run your life: every thought, emotion, action... it’s insane.  YET! That’s why I give love so much: because I want people to know that they are loved always. The phrase I didn’t hear enough is the phrase I say repetitively. I want to let people know that they are loved and beautiful, I just one day need to believe it for myself.

To read more of Kaytee's writing, go to her blog. 

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