To Be Truly Understood
One of the greatest feelings is when someone just totally gets you. Your sense of humor, the reason you ate a whole pizza at 2 in the morning, the way you act when you’re nervous, the way you want to be treated without asking, etc. There is something internally within us all that wants to be known and understood with no questions asked. As girls we crave the thought of finally finding a friend, in most cases a boy, or a mentor who just totally understands everything that we are or are about.
With our society today, many girls are turning to other things to understand them, other things to make them feel like they’re worth knowing. There is a craving inside all of us to be the girl that they attractive boy has an instant connection with, or the girl that just clicks with the cool group at school. That craving inside of us will never go away, not unless we look to God to fill that void for us. God is the only one in this whole universe who knows absolutely every last detail about us. From the lies we have never fessed up to, to the boy we’re embarrassed to be attracted to, to the very desires of our hearts. Psalm 139 states, “ You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know where I sit and where I rise. ;you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
I don’t know about you but that sounds like the definition of being understood to a T. The God of the universe knows every thought we’ve ever had, and every place we’ll ever visit, and he laughs at every awkward joke we’ve ever told to impress someone. God gets us completely. We never have to try to impress him or be someone we aren’t when we talk to him, He just cares that we did. So next time you’re discouraged because your parents don’t understand your dreams, or the boy you spend all of your class time daydreaming about doesn’t get your humor, remember that God gets it. In the long run, is it more important for the world to get you or for our eternal Savior to get you?
Psalm 139 states,” For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.”
Unfortunately that is not the beauty lesson that many members of society today are preaching. They tell us that to be called beautiful we need to buy expensive makeup and cover our faces with it until we barely recognize ourselves.
It tells us that if we aren’t a size zero we are fat and worthless. It tell us that if we don’t have a boy constantly telling us we are beautiful that means we aren’t. And we believe it. We buy the makeup, run the extra miles at the gym, and tell ourselves we don’t have boyfriends because we aren’t pretty enough for them.
God wants us to challenge society’s rules. Long before the world began God was busy writing a love story, one that involves you and me. He was busy planning every step we would take, every word we would speak, and every feature of our bodies. He crafted us together the way an artist labors over his or her work. God created us authentically; differently than anyone else in the whole world.
I have definitely struggled a lot with understanding that God made me the way I look for a reason. Seventh grade was the year that I finally shot up to be 5’8 and I don’t think there was a time I hated myself more than that year. I went from being average height to suddenly being this massive giant. While all the other girls were stuffing their bras and praying for their periods, I was praying that I wouldn’t grow to be 6ft tall. This even continued to when I entered high school. I was terrified to wear heels or even sandals with a tiny wedge because I was convinced if I was even a centimeter taller I would start hitting my head on the ceiling, or people would actually realize I’m tall ( I was hoping it was a secret).
Then around my junior year I realized how stupid this was. I was sick of not wearing heels and crying because of my height. God had made me tall for a reason( hopefully one that involves a very tall boy) and without my height I wouldn’t be able to do so many of the things I was accustomed to. For example, I wouldn’t be as good of a runner and jumper for my sports, I certainly wouldn’t be able to wear some of the styles of clothes I enjoyed, and I would have to be one of those people who needed help reaching the top shelf.
Hating things about our bodies is only going to make ourselves miserable. No matter how much we cry, pout, and eat nothing is going to change the way we look. The only thing we can do is accept the things we hate about ourselves and learn to love them. I’m not saying this is an easy challenge and there are still plenty of days I wince at the thought of having to wear heels and be the tallest girl in the room. God alone is the one who can help us to accept how we look to Him, and to Him we are the authentic creation He made with His own hands. Every morning when you get up and look in the mirror, every time you head into a fitting room, and every time you pick up that container of ice cream to help you feel better, ask God to show you the beauty He crafted inside of you. He is waiting to show you how lovely you are to Him. All you have to do is let Him in.
Elegance Isn’t Just For Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn once said “Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.” I couldn’t agree with her more. As little girls we all love to dress up, have tea parties, and pretend to act like princesses commanding our kingdoms even if we only have our families as subjects. There’s a reason that even as small children we long for people to notice us because of the way we act, for having class. Haven’t you ever noticed that class is truly the one thing on this planet that can’t be bought, bargained for, or stolen? It’s a one of a kind quality for someone who is truly one of a kind.
To me having an elegant air has 2 main parts:
1.It’s the way you dress. You don’t see elegant girls and women running around in crop tops or Daisy Dukes. They are always stylish while maintaining their modesty. 2 Timothy 2:9 says, “ Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” There are plenty of cute clothes out there that are modest and will still help you to look fabulous. Take it from me, someone who is almost 5’9, if I can find shorts that are longer than my underwear and at the same time not Bermudas, then anyone can.
The truth is a lot of the respect we gain in the world today comes from what we wear. People will argue with that statement and say that it’s awful to say that, but think about it. How many times a day do you catch yourself silently judging someone for wearing too short of a shirt that shows a hint too much cleavage? I admit I do it much more often than I should. We are all human and as much as we try, we are all judgmental at some period of time. Don’t give people any more reason to knock you down. Be the girl who when people look at you say “Wow, I guess modesty really isn’t dead.”
2. It’s how you talk. I don’t know about you, but every single person I admire for having class or elegance does not have a potty mouth. You never hear about them gossiping extensively for hours with their friends (guilty!), or tearing other people down with their words for mere pleasure, or shouting swear words at random Canadians who cut them off in the outlets’ parking lot. Many people say that the Bible says nothing about swearing, but they would be wrong.
Ephesians 4:29 states, “ Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits for occasion, that it may give grace to hear.”
Sadly, as much as I love gossiping with my friends and even thinking a couple swear words when I’m frustrated about life, it is not grace for anyone ears, much less our Father’s. We need to use our words to lift people up, to encourage people who need it, to love on the unlovable. Being a person who talks much more than the average, I definitely have struggled with being too blunt, for saying things I shouldn’t have behind people’s backs, and not learning when to keep my mouth closed. To me a girl who is nasty or says nasty words is like the deceptive part of beauty that Proverbs 31 talks about. Don’t you want your beauty to stand the test of time? God certainly does.
So why is this important to beauty? Because displaying a quality and confidence of elegance is just another way for the world to notice that we are different. When people notice we are different by acting in these positive ways, it doesn’t just give us good attention; it gives God great attention. In the world today Christians are often given a bad rep as being too hypocritical, unloving, insincere, judgmental, etc. God doesn’t want us as His daughters to be known for these things. He wants people to look at us and admire us like we do Audrey Hepburn. The great C.S. Lewis once said,
“ Don’t shine so that others can see you, shine so that through you others can see Him.”
We need to be positive advocates for God’s kingdom and that starts with getting class. This is one quality of beauty that if mastered will never fade, and never be forgotten. Leave a legacy that is as unforgettable as the God who created you.
You often hear the word brilliant used to describe gifted doctors, amazing business people, the size of the ring you want your future husband to buy you, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. The word brilliant is not one you hear carelessly tossed around like high school girls use the word pretty when they’re on Instagram. It’s a special word reserved more often than not for special people. It’s tough to get up in the morning look in the mirror and think you’re right, I am really am brilliant God. That’s why I’m going to my minimum wage job, because I’m so brilliant.
The definition of the word brilliant is having an exceptional talent or intelligence. I can honestly say I almost laughed when I read that definition to myself. Because I’m pretty sure the only exceptional talent I have is the number of times I can manage to fall down when walking across a flat surface. And as for intelligence, well attending Grove City College, where people are constantly telling me their incredibly high SAT scores means I don’t normally spend my days feeling like I’m the smartest person in the room.
The crazy thing is part of the essential makeup that makes me who I am includes the brilliance that God created me with. I know that He alone created me to do specific things that not everyone can do.
In 1 Corinthians 12:4 it says, “ There are all kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in men.”
To put it plainly, God gave us all different kinds of gifts that we alone specifically can use.
I know that sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re exceptional when you’ve had a hard day at work where everything that could’ve went wrong did, or when you scrolling online and notice that you once again were excluded from an outing with the people who are supposed to be your friends, but you are.
And guess what? God, the sovereign Lord of all things, handpicked and equipped you to help Him further His kingdom. He can use us even when we think we have sinned too much, failed too much, or are just not brilliant enough to handle what He has asked of us. It doesn’t even have to be something that seems like a brilliant task, it can be as simple as telling a friend who has been down in the dumps that her hair looks nice or befriending someone who is an outcast at school.
The truth is, though, we can’t help our Father out if we are too busy beating ourselves up. So what does that look like in everyday life?
- Pray. Pray to God that He will help you to see yourself as brilliant like He does. Pray that He will help reveal to you what your talents are and how He wants you to use them.
- Stop doubting. There are so many examples in scripture of God providing us with gifts. Believe that He has something great in store for you.
- When you wake up in the morning and look at your makeupless, sleepy eyed self in the mirror, instead of immediately going for those toxic thoughts, practice saying, “I’m a brilliant creation of God.” The more you say it, the more God will help you to believe it.
The first part of you embracing the beauty that God has uniquely created inside of you is believing you are exceptional, brilliant. No matter what society, boys, and petty girls tell you, the God of the universe thinks you’re a treasure of creation that can only be described by using a special word like brilliant. Let His opinion of you be the one that counts.
Is Beauty Truly Fleeting?
For girls mornings are one of the hardest things about the day. The minute you wake up and have to go to the bathroom and look at yourself without any makeup on. Inevitably we all think, “Wow, I look like crap.” Yet shouldn’t we be above this? The minute we are taught that we are made in God’s glorious image shouldn’t a light bulb just flick on and we have this incredible enlightening experience where we realize just how beautiful we are and never again doubt that. Well, if that is the case I must’ve missed the memo. Just because God thinks we are beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean we think we are.
One of the saddest things that society has affected us with today, is insecurity. Hundreds of teenage girls everywhere are affected by eating disorders, major body image issues, and hating the reflection that stares back at them in the mirror. Yet I want to challenge this. Psalm 139 states very clearly, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful and I know that full well.” We can hear that verse a million times and still not believe it. The truth is, God did make us exactly the way we are. He crafted us in our mother’s womb with such care, and every time that we pick ourselves apart in the mirror is insulting His brilliant creation.
Satan knows full well how we as teenage girls are susceptible to these insecurities, and that we care much more than we should if people think we are attractive. He can use his lies on us to make us believe that we just need to lose a little weight to feel happy, or that the next color we dye our hair will finally make us feel beautiful. But his lies are just that, untruths that we waste our time and energy believing.
Those of you that know me, know that I am very tall for a girl. I stand 5’8 and ¾ inches (yes when you’re tall you tend to be exact) tall and I am proud that, but I didn’t use to be. I used to hate my height. It felt like it was this awful curse that I was doomed to deal with until I died or married someone who was 6’6’ (neither have happened), but one day I just decided enough was enough. I was sick of not wearing heels because I didn’t want to be any taller, sick of slouching around everyone, and just sick of tearing myself down over something I had no control over. It didn’t happen overnight but after lots of prayer and trying to think positively, I embraced my height. Now I love being tall and wearing heels because I finally realized that God made me tall for a reason (hopefully one that includes a very tall boy). It made me realize that us hating things about ourselves and praying that we look like someone else was like rejecting a gift that someone had taken great care to get for us.
Isn’t it crazy to realize that the God that sculpted the mountains, who placed the stars in the sky, who makes gorgeous sunsets also created you? I believe that every day God’s heart is breaking over the girls He sees crying because they feel like they are ugly. It breaks my heart too, and often times I am one of those girls who is looking in the mirror wondering why I can’t look like Selena Gomez. But God didn’t create us to feel insecure, to compare ourselves to others, to hate being in our own skin. God made us for a great purpose and with great purpose. So the next time you’re staring in the mirror hoping you can mentally fix one of your imperfections stop and remember that God doesn’t make mistakes, not ever. To Him you are much more than a beautiful girl He has crafted lovingly, but a daughter that looks just like Him.
Who Says It Has To Be Itsy Bitsy??
So for my first official post in my blog I thought I would discuss Christian views on bathing suits. It is that time of year where everyone wants to go lie by the pool and maybe have some cute waiter bring us a drink with an umbrella in it. All joking aside, I feel like this is a subject the Christian community is fairly divided about. On the one hand people argue that girls should wear one pieces to be more modest and not draw attention. But hey, I’m a teenage girl, and honestly wearing a one piece literally makes me feel like I’m suffocating my stomach. Face it, every girl likes wearing a bikini because we feel like guys don’t really notice us in one pieces. There really is nothing better than getting checked out by a cute boy on the beach. Talk about a shot of confidence.
The truth is, however, the Bible doesn’t really say anything about which type of swim suit girls should wear. It does, however, talk about modesty which is part of the essential makeup I feel like all truly Christian women should possess. 1 Timothy 2: 9 says ” likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self control. “
So I began to do more research on one piece bathing suits. The problem teenage girls run into today when looking for one pieces is that they are all horrible. They all seem to have the same nasty, flower print design, or have a skirt attached to the bottom, which I think might be more to help grandmas stay afloat than for actual decoration.
Then I stumbled upon Jessica Rey’s swimwear. Jessica Rey is an amazing woman who believes that one pieces are the way to go. She was so fed up trying to find an attractive one piece that she decided to create her own. I’m going to post the link to her website and I encourage you to check it out. Her bathing suits really are adorable. I also watched a YouTube video Jessica posted which discussed why she decided to make the switch to one pieces. She mentions a poll where Princeton college males had their brains scanned when they were shown a number of images. When the males were shown pictures of scantily clad women, the part of the brain associated with power tolls lit up. However, many men showed zero activity in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain, or the part of the brain where one thinks of another’s thoughts and intentions. When this information was revealed to a college professor, he commented saying, ” They are responding to these pictures as if they were objects.” I don’t know about you but I definitely do not want a guy to view me as an “object.”
So on the one hand I feel like yes, it would be more modest to wear a one piece, but on the other hand just because you are showing more skin in a bikini doesn’t make it immodest, necessarily. The problem with bikinis today is that so many of them are literally colorful scraps of fabric that don’t really cover all the areas they should. At the end of the day we all just need a bathing suit that isn’t going to fall off when we go running into the ocean. Nothing is more distracting when you are trying to enjoy your time in the water than constantly checking to make sure you haven’t flashed your cousins or brother.
That is why when shopping for a bathing suit one needs to always, always, always try it on. Here are some things I always like to check before purchasing a bikini. First, does it cover my boobs and butt? Because if it isn’t covering everything in the fitting room you know it won’t be covering everything when you’re splashing around in the water. Secondly, are the straps going to hold up? One type of swimsuit my mother never allowed me to have was the classic string bikinis, I needed something a little more durable when swimming in the ocean. And finally, are the bottoms as big as my underwear? Because if those swimsuit bottoms aren’t covering your underwear they won’t be covering enough when you’re on the beach.
The sad reality is that today girls are shying away from swimming and going to the beach because they feel uncomfortable about how they look in bikinis. The media hardly makes it any easier with their ads for dieting before swimsuit season and only hiring skinny models to portray their swimsuit lines. Girls, we have plenty of time to hate our bodies in swimsuits, like when are all 40 and have had children, then we can hate ourlseves in swimsuits. Not when we’re 16, 17, 18, 19. This is the time where we should love our bodies because honestly it’s only going to go downhill from here. The best thing to do to beat the swimsuit blues is to pick the right type of swimsuit for your body, something that is going to make you feel fantastic. Because at the end of the day we were all fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and saying anything else is an insult to him. Remember the next time you hit the pool, don’t wear your smallest suit, you might be surprised by the attention you get for covering up.