I Am Ready…

I am yearning for something else.

I have no real words for what is going on inside of me, no direction, no path, no vision, no clue.. I just know that I am in need of a major shift.

I am tired of doing things just to get through and survive. I am tired of stressing. I am tired of controlling everything going on in an effort to avoid saying or making any mistakes. I am tired of being unintentionally insulted in mistaken and selfish encouragement.

I am ready for something else. I don’t really care what it is, I just need a dramatic change.

I am tired of my work and efforts not really being for the benefit of anyone else.

I am ready for challenge and motivation. I am ready for passion and compassion to enter my world again.

I am ready for my Savior to do what He does, to change, restore, make new, and move me.

August Wrap Up…

I am really astounded that tomorrow is the end of August.. WHERE DID IT GO!?!.. Seriously. Part of me is looking forward to sweatshirts and jeans, and part of me is dreading the cold that is soon to follow.

I had a fantastic weekend in Atlanta, not only do I love Atlanta, my bff and her husband live there.. Which is always a welcome reprieve from my life. We literally spent all weekend moving them into their new (totally perfect) loft condo they bought. I absolutely love the NYC feel, and they are so excited about it, which made it a lot of fun to help them move. Plus, I always cherish being able to be a part of those moments in my bff’s life. They tend to be more of the mundane flavor, but they create all these fantastic memories, and links in our life that just bind our friendship more every time.

Not to mention we end up eating well (although who’s gonna pray and where are we gonna eat end up being a “not it” debate every single time haha), but we also spend good quality time together talking about anything and everything. I say this all the time, but my bff just gets me, she hears what I say, but understands what I mean, and gives a much better description of what is going on and how I am feeling instead of my typical ramblings about things I am frustrated and upset about. I have no idea how she does it, but she is by far one of the best people in my life for understanding what my heart means. I need her in my life more than she will ever know, and I am so thankful and so blessed and encouraged by her constantly… Plus, I think she’s hysterical, so that helps 🙂

Considering how hard life has been, this was a great change of pace. 🙂

Ps. I started reading The Scent of Water on the plane ride home.. It’s incredibly riveting and brings in such an interesting healing element with it. Highly recommend it!

Like the Ocean…

I was talking with my roomie last night, and we were discussing the challenges that have been the last year of our lives and friendship. How different things have been this summer versus last winter, and how much less time we have had together, but how we both are confident in our friendship. We began likening our current state of life to swimming, and I described it as “active floating.” You know, the type of floating you do in the ocean. Not the typical ‘I’m just gonna lay here and bask in the water’ but the ‘I have to be intentional about floating or I’ll get swallowed by a wave’ kinda floating.

(Please note that none of these pictures are mine, so they are linked to where I found them to give proper credit)
(This woman isn’t really active floating… but it helps give a visual)
Then I made a brief comment about having a metaphor for the way people interact with Christ, and the way they approach being a Christian.
There are five types of ocean people.
1. The beach dwellers, they never really care to get into the water or even touch it at all. These people are perfectly content to play in the sand and really not even acknowledge the water at all.
This person is the one that never encounters Christ and pretends He is not there.
2. The wave walkers, the ones that likes the water well enough, but really just prefers to dabble in it. They are content to walk along the waters edge, let it swirl around their feet, and occasionally get the bottoms of their pants a little wet. But, regardless, they are definitely touching the water, it just has no profound impact on them.

These are the people that are “Christians” but are not really all in. They know, understand basics, and feel Christ, but they are not overly moved or effected by it.

3. The water waders, the person that enjoys getting in the water, but there is no way they are going to go deep at all, and they are perfectly fine with “wading” as their main pass time. They are definitely moved and affected by waves, the sand under their feet moves quite a bit, but the ocean still has no profound impact in their life.

This is the type of person that is involved enough in their relationship to Christ that they know and feel Him moving, but they really are still only comfortable if they feel like they are in control of their life.

4. The casual swimmer, they enjoy the ocean, they like playing in the waves, are definitely moved by the tides, and have a great deal of fun, although they still want to touch the ground so they only go about waist deep. For them, playing in the waves is fine as long as there is a measure of ability to control how much interaction with the ocean they have… even if it is really only an illusion.

This is the Christian that means it, there is no hint of just talk in their relationship with Christ, but they still have a few major beefs with the whole “surrender” to Christ. There is still a measure of restraint and fear in letting go and being free in Christ. However, regardless, these people are clearly moved, sometimes covered, and definitely playing in the ocean.

5. The body surfer, they are truly abandoned in the ocean. They are rolling in the waves, ignoring potential dangers, and completely at the mercy of the ocean. The waves, tides, and sheer force of the water create an exhilarating feeling of adventure, joy, and play.
This Christian is all about Christ, wherever He leads, whatever they are called and moved towards, they go. This is the “here I am, send me” person. Not to say their ride is easy.. because let’s be honest, playing in the waves can be incredibly dangerous, but they don’t care because they are out of control.

I think once you have been out further, coming back seems less and less appealing, although I think if we are out in the waves playing, we will have moments where we waffle between the measured bit of control we feel like we have playing where we can still touch, and then finding the courage to play completely out in the waves again.

So, in this metaphor, God is like the Ocean, how we enter the Ocean says a lot about who we are, and who we want to be in Christ.



The Help…

Last night I went with a couple of my friends to see the new movie The Help (the book is by Kathryn Stockett). The movie was much better than I was expecting, and had a different cadence to the movie than is typical. Instead of one climax, the movie was a series of minor ones, which gave it a definite feel that it was a book instead of a movie.

Instead of ruin it for you, I thought I would just comment on the fact that while the story is essentially fiction, it highlights some very real facts about how life “used to be” and what was seen as “normal” yet really was insulting, degrading, and embarrassing.

But, overall the movie is very endearing, touching, inspiring, and entertaining. I am really glad it is doing well in the theaters!

Modesty Talks…

One of my brother’s friends posted the article Is Modest Really Hottest? from Relevant Magazine and basically asked for comments and thoughts. It sparked quite an interesting discussion, but true to form, I have more to say than what will fit on a facebook wall comment box.

So, I thought I would expound on my thoughts here.

First, let me start with, Matthew Paul Turner the author of the article did one of the better jobs that I have ever seen in terms of addressing the spirit of the debate, and highlighting an area or two that are inherently flawed in the modesty debate as it stands in the Christian culture right now. When I first clicked the link I was already mentally preparing to be frustrated with what the article was about to tell me, and I was gearing up my arguments and defenses about what is wrong with the current state of the debate about modesty. However, surprisingly (and thankfully) I found none of the typical answers or comments I was expecting. I was impressed (and humbled) by the lack of finger pointing to the female population; which I am fairly certain is a first for me in regards to the modesty discussion.. or debate.. or argument to date.

At this point, I am going to divert my thoughts from the article itself to the discussion about modesty as a whole. I see some serious flaws with the debate as it stands right now. I am fairly certain I have heard all of the reasons and debates behind “modest is hottest” and as a general rule I agree, but I vehemently disagree with the way in which it is expected to be carried out by the female population. Let us just start with some logic in this debate…

Since I am a Christian single woman who would like to some day get married… let’s say I decide I am going to do everything possible to help my Christian “brothers” out in the lust department. I think this is a noble thing, but the problem is which brother am I helping?.. The one that is my elder? The new Christian brother that is still trying to disentangle himself from his past? The non-Christian but seeking brother? The solid brother who is married but easily distractable from his wife? The brother who is a solid Christian and single?.. And, my overarching question, “How do I know if I have succeeded?” Who will tell me when I have done a good job or failed with an outfit? Am I really subject every single day to other men’s ideas of whether I am successfully modest? Which man’s opinion do I pay attention to? So, you see, before I even getting into the culture or region element of the debate, I already am having problems defining who my target audience is and the litmus test by which I will know success. The inherent problem with “helping my Christian brother” is each man has a dramatically different perspective of what modest is!

How does region and culture play a role? It is a fairly well known fact that the further south (or closer to the Equator) you get the less clothing is worn. Purely from a practical standpoint, it is just too hot in Florida to wear the same clothing that is a necessity in Alaska. And, from an economical stand point, standard clothing in the US (say bras for example) are not seen in the African countries (Ghana, Swaziland, and South Africa) I have been to. So, I am sure an argument can be made with the “when in Rome….” perspective, but the problem is, that still leaves modesty in the eye of the beholder.. region.. culture.. etc.. A never ending moving target dictated by an ambiguous definition.

However, each of these two vantage points removes responsibility from both players. Men are removed because they have no accountability in their own actions in regards to women and modesty. But, women are removed because it turns into what they should or should not do based off of a moving target. Neither perspective takes the heart into account at all; which is really where my trouble with the modesty debate as it stands right now lies.

No female will ever be able to be completely modest. Ever. Which means, we have been set up to fail.. and our hearts are keenly aware of this fact. Deep down we know that our moving ambiguous target of being “modest” to help our “brothers in Christ” is a battle we are doomed to fail because, men cannot even agree on what is modest.. or hottest. Some men are attracted to hair, eyes, legs, butts, chests, stomachs or some combination there in. So, the debate quickly becomes an “in the eye of the beholder” debate over personal preference.

Basically women can wear a mu-mu and still be found attractive.

One of the things that I appreciated the most about the article is it points out how one sided the debate has been to date. Men are essentially free from responsibility. Thank you Matthew Paul Turner for finally pointing out this flaw.

I would like to point out that it is incredibly disturbing from a woman’s perspective that we are held to the standards of each individual man, most of which we have little or no contact with ever. How can I possibly be held to the standards of a man I may never interact with? That is not biblical at all. In fact, I think now is a perfect time to loop the Bible into this debate…

“The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” – Genesis 6:5 – We cannot do it alone, our only hope is the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

” Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” – Psalm 4:4 – How is that for an action item of what to do when you lust?!

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” – Proverbs 4:23-27 – Again, this requires each person to take responsibility for their own actions.. including lust.

Talk about loving your neighbor in regards to the way modesty is approached: 
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” – Proverbs 12:25

And finally, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:2-3

I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where our hearts and actions are held against someone else for the role they unknowing  played in our struggle. The Bible is full of taking responsibility for our own actions. We will stand before the Lord for our OWN heart’s intent, and if we believe Christ, He will as He has already done, take our sin on Himself and pay the price. We cannot blame someone else for our own heart and eyes lusting or struggling.

The entire modesty debate is 
really a way of diverting our own responsibility by pointing to someone else 
and demanding they take responsibility because of 
our own rights to wear what we want 
or our struggles to look away…

Modesty is a two part dance, each partner has their role to play. Girls (I) must check the heart’s intentions, actions, and reactions. That is our role in the dance.
Guys must do the same, but it is crucial to point out, girls are not involved in the guy’s role, we cannot do it for them, and we are not held responsible for their part of the dance; and vice verse.
The entire issue of modesty is just like every other element of life, it is between each individual and Christ.