July 16, 2012

10 Things I Wish Every Girl Knew

#1. Consistently cultivate your heart in your love for Christ. Delight in Him. Chase after that which stirs your affections for Him. God, your heavenly, perfect Father loves you like no other person in the universe. He knows every single thing about you from your deepest desires, secrets, dreams, hopes, strengths, flaws, sins, weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, what makes you smile, what makes you laugh so hard your stomach hurts, what breaks your heart, what makes you cry, and what encourages you. He knows you fully, which includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. And He loves you in spite of it all. We need only look to the cross for evidence of this. Don't hesitate to revel in His love!

#2. Your pain is legitimate. Some of you have had horrible, heartbreaking things done to you. Story after story of abuse, violence, rape, illnesses, father wounds, harsh circumstances and situations, caught in cycles of disorders and addictions... overwhelming and heartbreaking don't even begin to scratch the surface. Anything I have to say here feels totally inadequate. I don't have a lot of answers for you (or for myself for that matter). But I do know is that it's important for our pain to be validated or acknowledged... and to know that for many of you, it wasn't your fault. So often the church can, and does drop the ball here. And by dropping the ball I mean they say the wrong things or don't take action. Women being told to "shake it off" or "that was in the past, let it go" or "learn to forgive them," which is all easier said then done. First, you can't just "shake it off" or "let it go." The wounds or deep, the hurt is very real, and healing takes a lot of time, a lot of help, and a lot of love. We need an inordinate amount of patience and grace for one another. Second, let's make sure we're all on the same page as to what forgiveness is, because some people don't understand what it really means to forgive: 10 Things Forgiveness is Not

#3. Harbor truth, not lies. The enemy, Satan, is referred to as the father of lies in scripture, and he is very real and active in doing just that. We battle against the lies he whispers to us with the truth, what God says in His Word. So keep yourself anchored in the truth, hide it in your heart, and fight.

#4. Emotions are not the enemy. God wired women to be more in-tune with their emotions and feelings for good reasons. However, how we respond or act upon those emotions, can manifest into sin (manipulation, revenge, lashing out, condemning, etc.) if we're not careful. Feelings are funny in that way. They can be a great blessing and helpful in our relationships with others, but if they go unchecked or if they're not rooted in wisdom, then there's the potential to use them to harm others and ourselves. A friend of mine put it this way:
...put your emotions under the lordship of Christ and to let His Word be your guide as to what your responses to your emotions should be. If you do, your God-given emotions could be the root of your greatest strengths. ~Courtney from dress up & twirl
#5. Be level-headed when it comes to guys. I wish I had a prettier way of saying it, but I don't. There isn't man on planet earth who's going to "complete" you. Hollywood has lied to you if you think that as soon as you find "the one" life is going to be a walk in the park and all your problems or issues will disappear. Your [future] spouse is not to be your Savior. But, this doesn't mean you date or marry just any guy. As God's daughter you shouldn't settle when it comes to the man you marry, but don't be ridiculous in your expectations either. There are healthy and unhealthy expectations to have of your [future] spouse. Wait for the man who loves Jesus. A man's relationship to Christ speaks volumes as to how he will treat and love you. (I Want to Marry a Man...)
The way a man loves God is the way he will love you. The way a woman loves God is the way she will love you. If someone is cerebral about their approach to God, they will be cerebral in their approach to loving you. If someone is passionate about serving God, they will be passionate about serving you. If a person is apathetic towards their commitment to God, they will eventually be apathetic towards their commitment to you. -Bianca Jurez
#6. You are equal to men in your value, but you are also beautifully and wonderfully different. Equality does not imply that we're to be identical or exactly the same as men (equality isn't to be equated with sameness). We live in a culture that is filled with women constantly trying to fight for equality and to become more like men. From my reading of the Bible I don't see God discussing a ton on how men and women are equal, because in His mind of course we're equal! There's no question about it since He made us both in the Imago Dei! The fact that as women we have differences and are prone to certain tendencies, isn't to be frowned upon or discouraged, but to be celebrated. God celebrates the fact that women are different than men, and if God celebrates and embraces this, then we should too.

#7. Submission is not about a woman's equality with men or her value. God made both men and women equal in essence, value, and worth. That doesn't change. Submission has to do with making a choice and having a mindset to be respectful, amiable, and receptive. Don't attach your value to your responsibility in regards to submission. Christ has already given you value. (If I Titled This Some of You Wouldn't Bother Reading It)

#8. Learn to be discerning between biblical teaching, feel-good teaching, and legalism. There are a lot of Christian books out there on the shelves geared towards womanhood that are full of (for lack of a better word) garbage. Just because something sounds good or "touches your heart," doesn't mean it's true. "Follow your heart" isn't what Jesus calls us to. Christ asks us to surrender our hearts to him, fill them with wisdom, and trust Him to lead us. Our hearts are to be rooted in the gospel. That's no small task for any human, and at times it can be extremely hard. I'd be lying to you if I told you different. On the flip side of that though, there are lots of teachings that preach a form of legalism to you as well. Women who are so focused on rules and regulations... they're no fun to hang out around. They'll guilt you from here to kingdom come. Women who will tell you that you're a lousy wife unless you do a, b, and c. *Women you will tell you your not a good mom unless to homeschool your kids... or unless you send them to private school... or you work outside the home... or unless you go au natural in birthing you kids (seriously, you have my sympathies there...)... or unless you go organic... I hear a lot of stupid things like that. If that's the crowd you run with, legalistic women, leave. Go hang out with the women who love Jesus, not rules. Or as one pastor put it, "Hang out with the women who kneel at the cross and tell you there's room for you too, not the women who lean up against the cross and tell you what you have to do in order to be accepted" (paraphrased). And for goodness sake, if you want the epidural, get the flippin' epidural. Nobody in their right mind will judge you for that. God let you live in the 21st century, so take advantage of the blessings that come with it.

#9. Makeup is meant to enhance your natural beauty, not to paint yourself like a clown. (Unless... you have a secret dream to be a clown in a circus. In which case it I guess that would be a job requirement... but I can't imagine the odds of that being too high.) Don't go to the tanning salon. People can tell the difference between a fake tan and the real deal. Plus, I'm not sure getting skin cancer is worth looking like toasted almond.

#10. We can't have it all. When we fight and strive to have it all we end up getting burned out and burdened. I find it really hard to believe that we can give our best 100% in several venues (home, work, school, church, etc.) at the same time. And it's not just me saying this, but research is starting to show that women are burning out at an earlier age now more than ever (Forbes). It's OK to slow down and to say "no". If I had to pick a word that describes nearly ever woman it would be tired. We run ourselves ragged trying to achieve "the list." Slow down. It's far better for us to be purposeful and intentional about what we do, and that means picking and choosing what we're going to give our best effort, time, attention, skills, and ourselves to.

*I'm not against homeschool, eating organic, or natural birth, but doing those things doesn't make one more "spiritual" or more loved by God.

12 comments :

  1. perfect, perfect list! Thanks!! I agree with it all, EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

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  2. Love this. Number 8 - so true. And I love number one - thank you so freaking much for the reminder.

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  3. Woaah! So good a always Natalie. Thank you for speaking these incredible, encouraging, truthful words!!

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  4. These are all so true! Number three definetly hits home, the enemy uses lies against girls all of the time to make us feel inferior and insecure! You are so encouraging, Natalie!

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  5. This is so good! Number 8 really resonates with me. I've shared it with the girls I know. Thank you, Natalie! :)

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  6. WOW, this was amazing. thank you for writing this. thank you for being in my life through your unbelievably amazing blog! thank you :) i especially liked number 2

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  7. Such a stellar list,, Natalie!

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  8. Nicely done!

    I'm with you on a lot of these but the makeup stood out. I hardly wear any and have the hardest time layering it on. I feel like a clown haha and normally stick with the bare basics to do just that...enhance. :)
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  9. love it girl :) thanks for quoting me! and amen to #8 :)

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  10. What an amazing post:) I'm so excited I found your blog...I can't wait to read this again tonight to allow these truths to sink in! Love love! love Katie

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  11. "Go hang out with women who love Jesus not rules." - AMEN to that!!! Finding them however, is the issue!

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  12. I agree with all of these. You took the words right out of my mouth! For me, "Your pain is legitimate" seems to be the number one thing my christian girlfriends talk to me about, and something I see as a real issue among women at the moment. Why do we constantly feel the need to not validate the hurt we've experienced?! Especially the notion of 'the past is in the past' gets me.. while that's true, majority of the time you'll need to deal with that in your present, in order to move into your future!

    I'm lost for words on how to agree with you more about all of these! haha! I love your heart! x

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