Insecurities. We all have them. They tug at us, they pull at us, they cause us to do things that we wouldn’t usually do. They corrupt us, our minds, our souls, our actions, and our words. They shape us in a way. It’s acceptable to have insecurities. They make us who we are. But when they start to get in the way of the person that we want to be, that is when we need to step back and take a better look at ourselves. Perfection is a loaded word, and we as a society have began to alter the word perfect. We simply glance at a pretty girl’s Instagram picture, and we think, “Wow, she’s perfect.” Perfect? How can that be? We have been taught ever since the early sunday school years that no one’s perfect. Hannah Montana is probably the one who emphasized this the most throughout my childhood, with the song “Nobody’s Perfect.” I knew the lyrics by heart, and could probably still recite them. It seem to me that often times I am taught things but I never truly learn them. Things have been ingrained into my head but I never truly ingrain them into my heart. Sometimes we take this word perfect and simply apply it on the outside rather than the inside, which is where we are the most flawed and blemished. But who we are God and his image of us is what matters the most, not the way that others see us, or even the way we see ourselves. It is important to think next time before we use the word perfect. Because perfect means unflawed, unblemished, and sinless, which none of us are or can ever be. But Jesus, the son of God, came to save us from our sins, and redeem us from our brokenness, and in his sight we are beautiful. We are beautiful in the eyes of God. We as humans need to look at others in the way that he looks at us, regardless of our sin, regardless of our imperfections, we are still beautiful and we are still loved. We are loved by the creator of all, the maker of the universe, the ultimate judge, and he in all his glory and all his powers looks down upon us and says, “She is perfect.” I don’t know about you, but I would rather hear that from God than from any boy I like or any girl I envy. If the King of the world sees me as beautiful, then that is more encouraging than anything. Stop looking at the beauty of others, and judging them by their imperfections, but humble yourself, look beyond their flaws, and recognize their beauty.
I’m from California. I’m a West Coast girl, but my heart is not here, it’s in the South. I love everything country. Every aspect of it. I love country music, sweet tea, southern boys, old pickup trucks, saying y’all, chivalry and manners, small towns, and cowboy boots. You can imagine that I don’t really fit in in Southern California. I stand out more than anything, but that’s just who I am, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. So many people, including myself, desire popularity, and want to fit in more than anything in high school. I mean we are living for Friday night rather than anything else. It’s all about gaining social standings, because that’s what cool in high school, and we all want to be cool. Our culture has wired it into our brains. Don’t even get me started on Hollywood, and how brain washing they are. But the most important thing to keep in mind as a Christian is that those things don’t matter. Being cool, being popular, 30 years later, is that what you want to be remembering? The numerous hours you spent every morning trying to find the most stylish outfit, or the people you ignored because they weren’t going to boost your popularity. That’s not what I want to remember my high school years as. I want to remember them as pleasing to God. I want to learn as much about God as possible. I want to grow not in popularity, but in my faith, because in the end that’s what’s going to matter. That is what’s going to last, not my shallow high school friends, or the jeans that I payed too much money for, not even the pinterest board that I spent hours adding things to. The important things that will last beyond high school, are the relationships and the impressions that you leave on people, if all you’re trying to do is impress others, then what is the point in that, how will that grow you? The main focus during this time in your life, is your relationship with God, which is number 1. You should spend this time, when your responsibilities are fewer, to grow closer to God. Be careful who you surround yourself with, because whether you realize it or not, they will impact you and they will influence you, whether or not they have your consent. You should also make your relationships with others a priority. When you are engaging with others, you are constantly learning. They are teaching you. You are teaching them. You’re family is a key part of your life. Don’t let them come second to your friends. Because I promise you that one day when your friend that you thought would stand by you no matter what leaves you in the dust, it will be your family who picks you up. Don’t overlook them, because whether or not you notice it they are there for you when others are not. Overall high school seems like the high point in your life, if you don’t perform well, if you don’t succeed then you are screwed, but I promise that that is not the case. Focus on God, and the rest will come.
This week my amazing grandparents traveled up to my home to stay with us for a few days. It’s always exciting to see my grandparents, and there are always funny stories that are created when they are around, but when we got into a deeper conversation rather than the usual light hearted, my grandparents said something that was somewhat sad to hear. They each said that they wish they could do life over because they regret many decisions they made. I mean we all have instances where we wish we could take the knowledge that we have now and go back in time and change things. It’s only natural to feel this way, we all make mistakes, and the reason for that is because we don’t know it all. Sometimes we think we do, but in reality we know nothing in comparison to God, but it’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s part of life, and it’s part of growing up. We can’t always make the right decisions, and we gain knowledge from our mistakes, they are meant to teach us and to grow us. If we always knew the answer and did everything right then we wouldn’t be human. Sometimes I look back on my life and think to myself, wow that was not a good choice to make, but I am now a smarter person and the next time that I come upon a similar situation I will know what the right choice is. Don’t live in the mistakes that you have made, live in the now, and make your future self proud. Even if you’ve made so many mistakes that you feel you’re unredeemable, think again. That is not the case. Mistakes are meant to guide us, and they are there for a reason, so don’t feel bad about the decisions that you’ve made, instead be happy that you have learned from them, and make the right choice next time. Don’t hold regrets.
I love the speaker in this video, Jefferson Bethke. If you ever have time I would definitely recommend browsing through some of his youtube videos. They are so powerful and truly convicting. Each time that I watch one of his Spoken Word videos, tears are literally brought to my eyes. This is a man who has given up all of the things of the world, and turned his entire life completely over to God. He is a true model of Christ. His videos directly project this. He is full of biblical knowledge that most people do not have. I am truly amazed by him, and he inspires me to be a better Christian every day. I recently ordered his book, “Jesus>Religion” and I can’t wait to start it. If you have time I highly encourage you to check out some of his videos because your heart will truly be impacted.
We’ve probably all heard the phrase “love your neighbor as yourself” more times than we can count. It’s a catchphrase for our daily walk. I first learned it in my young sunday school days, and it has followed me for the rest of my life. But the problem is, to hear it and to live it out are two different things, to recite it and to implement it are complete opposites. It’s easy to make goals in our minds, it’s easy to create task for ourselves in our minds, but the only way those will ever get these done is if we act upon them. I find myself listening in church, and taking everything in, but not applying it to my life. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. We don’t go to church just so we can fill our minds with knowledge, that is one reason, but another is so that we can learn how to live our daily walks with God. We can’t do it on our own, and it’s important to be engaged in fellowship, accountability, and mentors. These are all important ways to strengthen our faith. But other people cannot live our faith out for us, that is our job. We have to be willing to do our share. We have to be strong enough to put our faith to action. Loving those around us is one very important way of living out our faith. I’ve always known this, but had a very hard time truly following it. I would hear my friends making fun of someone, and let them know that it is unkind, but then I would think similar things to what they were saying in my mind. Loving the unlovely is a huge struggle of mine. It’s a hard thing to do. Some people I can get along with very well, but there are those people who just get on every last nerve with every word they say. It’s uncontrollable to be irritated by their comments. How can we stop that? How can we change not only our words but our thoughts? The only answer that I have to that is God. I surround myself with good godly people, I live a Christian lifestyle on the outside. But the only way to change our inner feelings is to incorporate God inside of us, not just on the outside, because that is just putting on a show. We have to be constantly filling our mind with things of God, positive things, holy things. Phillipians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” The only way that we can learn to truly think in this way is to fill our mind with God. I’ve realized this more and more recently. I had previously had the belief that as long as I knew that I didn’t agree with something, I could still participate in it. As long as I knew that homosexuality was a sin, I could watch shows that exercised this lifestyle. As long as I knew that sex before marriage was wrong, I could still listen to music talking about this this. But the more I watched, and the more I listened to it, the more unaware I became of the sin that was practiced. It started to not phase me anymore. My parents would advise me not to fill my mind with these things, but I was still under the mindset that I knew these programs were wrong therefore it was acceptable to watch these things. But let me tell you, that is not the case. You only become more and more numb to these sins, and you learn to agree with them without even realizing it. I would warn you based on past experience that following Phillipians 4:8 as strictly as possible is only for the best. God is not trying to limit us from engaging in enjoyable activities, he is only trying to help us to stay on the right path.