Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life Is What You Make Of It, Reprised

So, a few days ago I posted a little bit of reflection that I'd like to clarify was by no means self pitying whining, as much as just reflection, and what was on my mind as an observation at that time. I tend to do that sometimes, and definitely do it here - just say what I'm thinking. This blog is often more for my own cathartic thought processing as anything else.

But my post kind of got me to thinking, about, really, well, what's on my mind these days. I started thinking about what fills my mind, and what I choose to communicate to the outside world, sometimes sans filter, on a regular basis. Another factor that got me to thinking was the fact that someone I know started up a blog recently and within a few days she had 400 hits to it. Within days. I don't think I've had that many people read my blog in years! Her blog is called "Save His Girls", and it's a forum for her thoughts on the issues facing young Christian girls these days. It is written from the perspective of someone who grew up in the church, and is what I would call a very atypical contemporary Christian woman with a heart for God and His people. She is so sweet!

In some regards though, I can see our differences in this heart for His girls, not in the heart itself as much as the execution. Whereas my heart for ministry is definitely in working with young girls in the church, I would like to think that I take the approach of helping them think outside the box of contemporary Christian culture, and all that they hear in church and from well meaning family. In that sense, I would never want to be labeled as a "contemporary Christian". Yes, I want to encourage the young women I know, and love to realize that they have the power, through God's holy spirit, and the freedom bought by Christ, to seek the Father's heart as it truthfully relates to us human beings and is communicated to them in His word, as opposed to what they hear from both the world all around them (aka Christian culture) and the "World" all around them.

Girls these days don't just get conflicting messages, they get it from the most confusing of sources - from church, and family, whose overprotective and conservative views on one end of the spectrum can be just as harmful as the overly liberal, hedonistic and self-centered messages they get from pop culture and media on the other end. And not only that, I really don't think that there are enough Christian women who realize that the messages purported by Christian culture are equally harmful to these young souls, as there should be, and could be. I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of friends in my generation, who not only love God but are walking with Him in authentic and seeking relationships every day. There are a few of my friends I would be proud for any teenage daughter of my own to look up to, like my friends W or L. Or H, who I miss as a female co-sponsor, and whose life exemplifies all that these girls need to hear about living for God, not for husbands or children or boyfriends or images of what it means to be a good Christian girl. These are women who, whether intentionally or not, have managed to shrug off the image of, well lameness and sameness, that surrounds contemporary Christian culture and yet have managed to still have thriving, fruitful and deep relationships with God, and that can teach a whole lot more than any Point Of Grace album notes ever could.

In any case, I digress. As I was reading a friend's email last night, where he was talking about our jobs and how they are what we're doing in our life, but are they what we're supposed to be doing WITH our life, I began to reflect on the call to ministry God has put on my life. His words convicted me to look at both how I spend my time, and what I feel God has called me to do, and to really examine if I'm living out the mandate that God has impressed upon my heart, or if I'm just self-centerdly floating and coasting day by day. I'm thankful that a friend who doesn't often share, chose to last night, because in that instance it was both inspiring and convicting and it really got me to praying and thinking. I think that's called iron sharpening iron, but y'know. Anyways, one thing that came to mind was a realization that how I use this forum for communication (the blog) is one way I could be serving God more. And I realized that more often than not, blogging, for me, is just what I called it earlier, a cathartic means of self expression and self discovery through verbal processing. I'm a writer at heart, and writing things down helps me to think things through. Yet I hate journaling, so go figure. Having a blog has been one means of working through my own issues, sorting through my own feelings and facts and processing what is going on in my own life, more so than a communique or manifesto to the outside world or a tool for touching and impacting other lives.

Yet I asked myself last night, what would it look like if I followed in the steps of "Save His Girls"s author, and used it to post on issues relevant to young women, and from a perspective that thinks outside what they're getting all the time. Instead of self-reflecting rambling,
what about actually showing some purpose in what I write? What would that look like, if I chose to be so disciplined as to stick to it (something I really struggle with)?

There are so many things I want the young women in my life to know, and that I wish I had the words to communicate to them - things like life is more than worrying about the modesty of your Sunday school outfit, it's about making sure you're at Sunday School because you desire to learn from God rather than want to appease your parents. Life isn't about "Don't drink, don't chew and don't go with boys who do". It's about seeing Christ in every life around us, and honoring that dignity while encouraging holiness in those we are closest to. Life isn't as sheltered as you've been raised to believe, and the sooner you can see the world for all it's broken fragility and vulnerability, the sooner you'll gain a heart to venture deep into it, into the scary unknowns, and affect some change. If I had one wish for the young women in my life, it's that they would live with the courage to venture into places unknown, the skill to reach into lives untouched and the intimacy with God to do it from His heart and with His strength. If I had one wish for them, it would be that even now they would stop hearing messages that encourage, whether consciously or not, the thought pattern that life is about who you're married to and how many kids you have and what Moms group you attend, but that life is about how you let God flow through your hands and feet and mouth, how you see the world through His eyes and how you fearlessly get out there and do something to make it more like His kingdom. Whether you're playing KTIS or wearing a long enough skirt while doing it aren't nearly as important as just doing it, and I want to tell them that.

So, not to rip off a friend or anything, but because this has been something I've wanted to do for over a year, and I've let laziness hinder me from doing it, I'm starting a new blog, an offshoot if you will, aimed specifically for young women, Christian or not, to address the issues and challenges and situations that they are facing every day, and not just the ones we perceive they might have to deal with. One that they can post questions or comments to anonymously, and one that authentically and truthfully examines what they're dealing with without judgement or preconceived notions of what a good Christian girl should look like, think like or act like. A safe haven for their thoughts and (hopefully) an inspiration for their future dreams. I haven't decided on a name yet, and am still hoping and praying for a blog makeover, for both this one and the new one. But I've given myself a deadline of getting it set up within the week, and will keep y'all posted here once it goes up. I'm open to suggestions immediately, both on name, topic, and anything else you think should be included in this mission, this venture if you will. I'm also asking for accountability from my more faithful readers, since as I mentioned, stick-to-itiveness is something I generally lack.

More than anything, I hope that as you read this, you think to lift up in prayer the young women in your life, and ask God not just to protect them, which I know He faithfully and lovingly does, but to inspire them to dream big, to live bigger and to live a life of worship and full fledged service to the biggest God we know. He deserves all that we have, and they deserve nothing less than our hearts, time, love and support. For me, this is my calling, and I pray that I can somehow live it out on a daily basis. And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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