The day I discovered that a purity ring doesn’t help young people live purely was a shocking blow. And it changed how I view Christian purity.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition, so I know the ropes well. Campaigns that were intensely popular when I was a pre-teen, such as True Love Waits, promised that if I bought a ring and signed the included commitment card, Jesus would be happy with me, and I would be well on my way to a good Christian life.
So, with sincere intentions and my neatest handwriting, I wrote my name in the blank that said “I, _________, promise to do this and that” and signed my name in cursive. I slipped on the ring bearing a “True Love Waits” engraving and quickly became accustomed to its presence on my finger. And there I wore it, assuming its constant presence as my only guard through high school. When I lost the original in the dirt at a softball game, I bought another one, which I wore so much that it cracked. I proceeded on with my life, resting securely in the notion that I was pure and holy because I hadn’t broken the promises on the commitment card yet… nor had I ever been given the opportunity to do so.
Continue reading My purity ring didn’t keep me pure
I was recently asked if I am a feminist, and the question made me pause and carefully consider my answer. Am I a “feminist”? I surely hesitate to apply a label to my ideas on such a fluid subject; one of the first points I learned about feminism is that the ideology is not the same as it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. So I don’t know that I am a “feminist” in the same way that you, reader, would define it. But I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to lay out what I believe on the subject of women’s place in the world as it becomes an increasingly discussed subject in our culture today, from the #yesallwomen hashtag to accusations of a rape culture.
You see, I think any woman would tend toward ideas that empower women if she had ever been treated by men in her life as if she were an object that they deserved, or if she had been desired for purely carnal reasons.
Continue reading Am I a feminist?
College is busy. Really busy. And if I allow it to be, college can also be chaotic. Assignments, meetings, shifts, and exams attack rapid-fire for the entire duration of each semester, and it’s so easy to be swept up in the rush and scarcely take time to breathe. Some days, I’ll look around and realize, “It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I haven’t even had the time to sit down one time today.” But amidst the whirlwind pace of a college senior’s life, I can look back and see moments when time seems to slow down, and each second feels sweet and bright. When I break out of the monotony and catch a truly beautiful moment, the rest of the rush doesn’t feel quite as important.
Continue reading On sweet little moments.
“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” -Coco Chanel
I’m 20 years old. I have a fresh haircut, a fresh single status, and a fresh year to take control of my life. I have no ring on my finger and nobody telling me what I should do. This opportunity may never come around again, so I’m going for it.
In 2014, I’m going to graduate college. (Assuming it doesn’t kill me.) Then I’m going to go conquer the world. Because who’s stopping me?
I’m going to start with the little things – exercise, daily quiet time, eating only one bowl of ice cream a day – and do it all with my eyes more focused on Jesus and less focused on myself every day. He will fill me to overflowing so that I can love others like He loves me. I’m going to be successful and productive not to my own credit, but for His kingdom. I’m going to let Him use me in His timing and for His glory. This is gonna be good. Buckle your seatbelts.
In three weeks, the fall semester will be over. In five weeks, the year 2013 will be over, and we will embark on another semester and another calendar year. Looking back, I can only pray that if this next year is filled with as much pain as this past month has had, it also comes with the abundance of joys.
You see, as suddenly as I fell deeply in love with a man ten months ago, I tumbled headlong out of it this month, lost and confused and really, really hurt from the fall. My sense of purpose was gone and with it, my motivation and my joy.
Continue reading On November.
Close your eyes and imagine something with me. (Actually, maybe don’t close your eyes, since you need to keep reading. Maybe try to do both. I don’t know, figure it out.) Imagine you woke up one day and you couldn’t remember anything about yourself, about your friends, or about the human race, but then you stumbled upon your social network accounts. You have to try to figure out what your friends are like based on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Worse yet, you have to figure out who you are based on social networking. What would you decide about human nature?
Maybe you’d discover these things:
- Everyone spends the weekend in groups of people, having fun and partying.
- People typically look happy, put-together, and well.
- Everyone attends awesome, fun events constantly.
- Your friends who are dating have flawless, happy relationships; your married friends have well-behaved, cute kids.
But then, forgetful, confused you would wander outside into the “real” world and look around… and you wouldn’t see everyone sitting around, looking picture-perfect at coffee shops. Because that’s just not life.
Continue reading So much more.
The fact that man has constant encounters with the reflection of God every day is marvelous. Through the mental and spiritual faculties uniquely possessed by man, God’s characteristics are imperfectly yet clearly displayed. Due to the fall of man, no fallen person can perfectly reflect God’s nature; however, traces of it remain in each person because he was initially created in the Imago Dei, according to Genesis 1:26-27. Thus, when a person sees the men around him as image-bearers of the Almighty God instead of chance mammals that evolved from a lower life form, that person gains a unique appreciation for each individual. As an aspiring English teacher, I am training to be granted the privilege of shaping image-bearing minds and hearts. Knowing that each individual in the world is made in the image of God drives a teacher to value the opportunity to shape young reflections of God.
Continue reading On the image of God.
One lazy summer weekday morning as I lounged in my bedroom, scrolling through endless Facebook posts about the thrilling adventures of all my friends, I experienced a sudden burst of motivation.
I am wasting so much time on Facebook, I thought. I ought to fast from it for a while.
And just like that, I posted a status boldly proclaiming that for the rest of the month of June (about 2 weeks), I was going to stay logged off of Facebook so I could enjoy the valuable time I have in these precious, warm summer months – time to spend with family, read more, and grow with the Lord. If friends needed to get in contact with me, they could text, call, or email. But no more of this silly Facebook scrolling habit. I resolutely deleted the app and closed the window. Once I was logged off, it slowly dawned on me that I had little other reason to be on my computer, so I turned it off and read a book instead. I read my Bible before going to sleep that night (not a consistent occurrence, I must admit ashamedly), I slept wonderfully that night, and woke up feeling great about my life.
That afternoon, I slyly logged back on to see what I’d missed in the past 18 hours. I logged off before anyone could catch the little green dot beside my name and hold me accountable.
Continue reading Serving God and nothing.
Do you remember when you were younger and you fell and scraped your knees? If you had a caretaker similar to my mama, you were held down as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol was poured or dabbed onto your wounds. I always preferred hydrogen peroxide because the bubbles that would erupt as they killed infections fascinated me. But oh, did it sting. I kicked and screamed, crying and fighting and trying to resist the bitter treatment. But as a result of that pain, my knees never got infected from the dirt and pebbles that had the chance to hurt my skin.
Recently, I made a mistake. My attitude poisoned those around me as I wrestled with the consequences of my choices. I was filled with excuses and prideful denial, and my only goal was to protect my own skin, when I should have been thinking about how to make the right, God-honoring decision.
Continue reading On times when the truth stings.
One night during spring break, at a very wee hour of the morning, I sat in the passenger’s seat of my boyfriend’s car with my mascara and tears seeping into the sleeve of his shirt. The weight of my sin and my emotional impurity were burdening my heart, I felt like the most rotten girlfriend in the world. Rotten for looking at pornography in the past, and for thinking impure thoughts, and for objectifying my boyfriend in a way that is not honoring to the Lord nor fair to him. As I leaned on his shoulder and held his hand tightly, feeling like I didn’t deserve him nor the love of God, he prayed for us, then I prayed too. I felt a little angry when his prayer was so calm and so at peace with God. Come on, I thought. You have a past too. Don’t you feel guilty? Don’t you feel convicted by all this junk? When I prayed after him, my insides caved in as I was wrecked with the guilt… not just of my sin, but the guilt of making the Lord forgive me again. I came before his throne, head hung, saying, “We’re back. You’ll never guess what I did wrong this time.”
Continue reading On amazing grace.