Thursday, March 11, 2010


(I realize that this blog is more rambling than usual, but it something I had to write. Please bear with me as I pour out my thoughts…)

I am a people-pleaser by nature. I always have been. When I was little, if I was corrected by my Sunday school teacher or got scolded for talking I would be devastated. I want so badly to please the people that I respect, yet I still want to stand up for my beliefs.

It is very hard for me to take criticism, simply because I think that when I do something wrong that I have let that person down. While this may be true, most criticism comes out of love and a want for me to improve in my spiritual life. I have come a long way in listening to others thoughts about me, but I still stumble.
When criticism is given unjustly, my heart is broken. When a person judges me unfairly, I weep inside. Sometimes it is hard to know that someone dislikes me or doesn’t care for the REAL me, and I often wonder if I have done something wrong.

But I must stand strong. I cannot let others run all over me simply because they don’t like me or have listened to gossip about my life. I must learn to look to God for my self-worth, not the world’s view of my life.


I didn’t know I struggled with this until the last few months. I thought I knew who I was, and was prepared to always defend my beliefs and my identity. But it has been severely tested, and I wonder sometimes if standing up for myself is worth the pain and the trouble.

But God has told me again and again to look to Him for my value. I am a sinful human, and sometimes I am so overcome with my wrongs and troubles that I forget to look to the One who created me to be beautiful on the inside. The song “Mirror” by BarlowGirl has helped me remember that although the world may see a strange, crazy girl, God sees my heart that has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

Luke 16:15 says, “He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.” It is so easy to justify myself in the eyes of the world, but I remember that God knows my heart and loves me unconditionally.

When I am beaten down by those who do not respect me, I must remember that God knows my innermost being. 1 John 3:20, “…whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” My heart may condemn me, but God is greater than my sin and my sadness.

If you have ever had trouble comparing yourself to others or have wanted to be something that you know you are not, please listen. It is hard to overcome our minds which deceive and torture us with thoughts on our sin and our incapability to do anything, but God allows us to focus only on Him, ignoring the people who jeer and laugh at us for our beliefs. God is in front of us, and if we look at Him, we will never stumble.

Jesus was laughed, beaten, and jeered at in a much more horrible manner. Yet He endured it. We must follow His example of loving kindness even in times of trouble.

Job 11:15, “…then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Moving the Line

Imagine with me that a man is about to start a race in which he has to run a short distance. His opponent is formidable, and he knows there is no way to win. So, he goes to where he is supposed to finish and picks up the paper line that marks the finish of the race and moves it three feet backwards.

What is my point in this silly story? Well, I relate it to our present society, and how easy it is to let our standards slide.

Imagine that you have made a promise not kiss a man outside of marriage. You start dating someone who does not have that same standard, and you fall deeply in love with this person. You know what you have decided in your heart, but somehow, an excuse works its way into your mind. Then one day, you kiss this person. In this situation, you have just moved your “line of conviction” back three steps. If you have no problem with moving it, then you will certainly move it again. Pretty soon you will be doing things that you told yourself you never would do outside of marriage.

Another example would be drugs and alcohol. You tell yourself that no one can tempt you, that no one can cause you to drink or do drugs. And then someone you know hands you a drink or a packet of drugs. You look at that person and think, “Well, they don’t look drunk or stupid. I guess it is okay.” Then you start going to parties, getting drunk on the weekends, and spending your savings on the drugs that you desire so much. This is another example of moving the line backwards. Although you had a standard set in your heart, it only took Satan’s excuses to set you on a road of addiction and pain.

Then there is the example of a person who does not know where their line stands. They try out dating without any real standards and experiment with drinking and drugs without firmly deciding that they are wrong. These people’s lines move constantly, going through spurts and phases. Although this person may eventually find the path of Life, they will make many mistakes in the process.

YOU MUST KNOW WHERE YOUR STANDARDS LIE. I cannot stress this enough! If you do not have specific convictions and a determination to keep them, then Satan will run all over you and your life will become something you never imagined.

Deuteronomy 8:11 says, “Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” This verse stresses the fact that we must not forget God while we live our lives! Excuses can ruin even the best of men, making them believe that “just this once” is a worthy defense.

Standards must be set and carried out if you are to remain strong and unwavering in your faith. Moving the line is easy and must be avoided at all costs. Though it is hard, we must fight. Though excuses pervade our thoughts, we must ignore them and keep pressing forward in our Heavenly Father’s light.

Keep your standards where they are or move them forward, but never let them slide back to a place where you have ruined your life.