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Archive for August, 2010

To all the nice people who left me comments and read my blog these last few days:

I love you all. :) The reason I didn’t get back to you was because I was camping. Please forgive me this wrong. ;) Thanks a ton for all the encouragement. Now to the blog post…

So I know people always tell us as teens (well, to all Christians, but usually targeted towards younger adults) that we can’t just live out Christianity at church, but it has to be relevant in everything we do, everything we say, etc.

If you’ve been churched your whole life, you can recite this message by heart, I’m sure. I know for a fact that I can. But then a Christian girl I know said,

“I just don’t think that it’s possible to be truly in love with God an still listen to bad music, continue in sin, and watch sketchy movies without it bothering us.”

And that hit home. To be honest, I rarely ever listen to anything with swearing, “mature” themes, drugs, etc. Rarely. But there are some songs that are just so catchy I’m always finding myself singing them, listening to them, etc. 

I then decided that I was going to only listen to Christian artists.

Do you know how hard it is to find Christian artists that don’t sound like the normal Christian singer? I want sounds like Ke$ha, Rhianna, etc. without the terrible lyrics. It’s almost impossible to find any Christian artists who sound like them. (If you know of any, please let me know.)

But still, I listen to songs that don’t necessarily have swearing in them, but definitely aren’t pleasing to God, and I don’t feel any prick of guilt from my conscience. At all.

And it makes me wonder, where did it go? I used to not be able to lie without coming crying 5 minutes later because I felt so convicted against what I had done. Now I can back myself up and make excuses.

That’s not good. God calls us to live a life holy and pleasing to him. Do you think he’s going to settle for second-best? If you do, you’re terribly wrong. God only takes those who are completely devoted to him in every aspect of their lives. Whether it’s what kind of people you befriend, what music you listen to, what movies you watch, whether you swear or not, whether you lie or not–everything has to be an honour to him.

He gave his life for you. Don’t you think he deserves something as small as your music choices?

Becca

(Side Note: I don’t even know how I know songs from bad artists–I don’t listen to radio, my friends’ ipods, anything, but I know a lot of them.)

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We all know the little kid rhyme “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

When someone teases five-year-old Sally about how she spilt ice-cream all over her pretty dress, or 6-year-old Tom about how he fell into the box of toys, we recite the rhyme and hopefully win backa smile from the little kids’ faces.

But inside we know that the words hurt more than the sticks and stones.

Kelli from Unaverage Relationships wrote a neat post on this very subject, and it’s what got me thinking on it. Here’s what she said (my favourite part, anyway): (note, this post was directed towards guys, so that’s who she’s talking to.)

I have guy friends that joke about girls weight around them. For example, they will say something like “move over chubs” and I know they don’t mean it because they never do it to a girl who is overweight, but you never know what’s going on with that girl. Maybe she thinks she’s overweight and you saying that just affirmed that lie in her head. I had a guy friend say something joking like that to me and I said “That’s mean” and he said “Kelly, you know I wouldn’t say it if it were true!” I know he didn’t mean it, but for a second it hurt, and because I said something about it he affirmed in me that it wasn’t true, but most girls won’t call you on it. They will just think “He’s right. I am fat.” Whether that results in something as serious as an eating disorder or not, her self-esteem just dropped a little and she may be a little more conscious of the things she doesn’t like about herself, rather than the things she does like. That’s when insecurity and the feeling worthlessness start to work their way in.

She’s totally right. Something as small as a joke about someone’s weight can become the reason someone stops eating. Calling someone annoying can cause them to believe no one likes them. Words are such powerful weapons–and are too often used for bad.

Wounds inflicted by words almost always hurt more than physical hurt. You know why? Because those kinds of wounds will be with you forever. If you break your leg, it’s broken for a few months and then it’s back to new not too long afterwords. It’s like it never happened, unless you have a visible battle-scar.

But words stay. And not only do they stay, but they work their way deeper and deeper and deeper until they suck the very life out of us.

You know something, though? They don’t have to stay. They don’t have to torture and burn. You are able to get rid of every single scar left on your heart because of something someone said to you. Jesus is waiting with his arms wide open for you to give it all to him, and you’re the one running away. God is right there for you–are you going to let him help you? He’s begging you to run to him–will you listen to his call? Or will you choose to stay in a world or turmoil, heartbreak, depression, confusion and chaos?

I’m going to listen to Jesus. I’m going to give all the hateful things people have said to me over to him. It’s hard to surrender even a part of your life you hate over to Jesus–but please, give it to him.

He wants to comfort you–let him. He wants to lift you up and show you how much of a beautiful princess of God you are. Will you let him?

Becca

Here’s the full entry from unavereage relationships. Check it out!

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Picture this: It’s the day of the track meet. You’ve been training for months, and the top three will move on to an even bigger competition. Your parents are cheering you on, your friends–everyone you know, except one girl: Rachel. She’s in the race, too. You know she’s been working hard, and that she’s beaten you before, so the tension has been thick between you two at church for the last couple of weeks.

You get ready, and you’re off! Flying down the track, you and Rachel are neck-and-neck when suddenly she trips, hurting herself so badly that she can’t run anymore.

You end up in first, and feel better than you have in years–you did it! But then you see Rachel, and suddenly you feel terrible for her, and run up and give her a big hug, letting her cry on your shoulder, and letting a few tears of your own fall, genuinely sad because of what happened to her.

New scenario.

Same race. You and Rachel are tied for first so far when suddenly a little kid throws a ball for her dog and it bounces onto the track, causing the little bundle of fur and teeth to come running straight towards you. You lose a good 5 seconds and 5 girls pass you. You didn’t make it.

Your mom gives you a hug, and after you’ve had your little cry she whispers in your ear, “Go give Rachel a hug and tell her you’re proud of her.”

Which scenario is easier?

Last night, while I was on facebook much later than I should’ve been, a random verse popped into my head:

“When one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it. When one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.”(1st Corinthians 12:26)

We, as Christians, are the body of Christ. When we think of which sounds harder at first, we believe that it’s easier to rejoice with others than to suffer. But often that’s not the case–more times than not it’s so much easier to shed some tears than to cheer and clap for someone else.

When you’re crying with somone, odds are they haven’t beaten you or performed better than you in anything. Odds are you either weren’t a part of whatever they did or you beat them.

Sometimes it is easier to rejoice, though. Brittany’s mom is finished her chemo treatment and the doctors say that she did much better than was expected. That’s a reason to rejoice. Your friend Brian has been working really hard to get his grades up and finally came home with an 83% average. Thos are causes to rejoice, and easy ones to rejoice with.

But I’m talking about times where you lost something becuase of another Christian’s success. Those are hard–I know they are. It isn’t only suffering, though, that God has called us to do–he’s called us to celebrate alongside our Christian brothers and sisters.

For we are all one in Christ. And if a brother or sister is happy, shouldn’t we be happy with them?

Let’s work on rejoicing and crying for others–even when it’s tough.

Becca

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Hey everyone!

So I haven’t written in a while (my bad), but it’s because I had no inspiration. I usually get at least one inspiring thought a day, but it’s allergy season. So give me a break. ;)

But just this morning I was reading through my comments (because they make me happy) and realized that there was a recurring theme from the parents that post. Usually the comments state that they are surprised at how well-thought my posts are, and that I’m wise beyond my years.

These comments make my day, but they make me sad at the same time.

If I’m wise beyond my years, and it’s surprising that I’m thinking about God and everyday life in a deep way, then what’s expected of teenagers? It shouldn’t be a huge deal when a single teenager is contemplating the meaning of her existence, how to please God in her everyday actions and speech, or how to better herself to prepare for when she has to be out on her own in three years time.

But teenagers are expected to be ditsy, boy-crazy (or girl-obsessed, depending on the gender), lazy, stupid, and ignorant about the important things in life.

(Cue brief subject change.)

When you teach a 6 year old how to read, you’re not expecting them to take three months to learn their alphabet. You’re teaching them how to read. By the end of the year, you want them to be able to read at least grade 1 level books. That’s a push for them–they have to work really hard.

But because you expect a lot from them, they’re going to rise to the challenge.

Same thing with teaching a 5-year-old how to ride a two-wheeler. It’s scary for them–they might fall and hurt themselves. But because they know mommy and daddy want them to be a big-boy and ride his bike, he’ll try with all he has in him.

Why don’t we do the same for teenagers?

If we, as a culture, have high expectations for teens, I think we’d see more teenagers holding their jobs, less drug-dealing on the school grounds, a lower teen pregnancy rate, etc.

I’m not saying it’s our culture’s fault for all of this, but if we keep treating teenagers like stupid, ditsy kids, that’s what we’re going to act like.

It kinda makes me sad that there’s low enough expectations for teens that when I write my blog posts it’s extraordinary that a teenager has been found who thinks about deeper issues.

How can you raise expectations for your teen? If you are a teenager, how can you raise your own expectations and live up to them?

I recently read the book Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris, and it was amazing. I think everyone (all ages) should read it.

It challenges us to do hard things to make ourselves better fit for helping advance God’s kingdom. So I made a list, and I’ll share a bit of it with you.

  • Read my Bible every day
  • Finish my schoolwork at least a day before it’s due. (online high school)
  • Clean up after myself. All the time. Put away dirty dishes, pick up my shoes when I take them off and put them on the shoe-rack, etc.
  • Consistently studying each subject for a to-be-determined amount of time a day to get rid of my procrastination problem.

So yeah. That’s just a bit of what I’m beginning to expect myself to do. If I can’t do the easy, little things in life, how am I ever going to be able to do the harder, more difficult things?

Becca

Disclaimer: To the people who sent those comments, I really love them! They honestly make my day, so none of this is against you. :) It’s mostly pointing the blame towards the teens who don’t work hard enough to do the hard things in life.

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Unlike most, this post is targeted towards parents of teenagers. But if you’re a teenager, still please read and post your ideas and thoughts below. :)

Our culture revolves around the idea that biggest is best. You, as parents, are told that unless you are the coolest dad/mom, give us the best clothes, throw us the best parties with all the best people, and unless you give us the best gifts and the best house ever, you won’t ever be able to have a good relationship with your teen daughter/son. (I’m going to focus on the daughter bit, since I understand that better. You know, being a girl and all.)

I have the friends who get the best of everything materialistic. The ones who buy Abercrombie clothes without so much as glancing at the price tag. The ones who seem to have all the best parties because their parents let them do whatever they want. The ones who have the best stuff in general. And you know what? They don’t love their parents as much as they should.

Parents, we don’t need the biggest. Sometimes the biggest isn’t the best. If you focus on giving your kids the biggest all the time without teaching them how to care for others, you’re going to turn them into rich, spoiled brats. (Sorry, but that’s just how it is. It says it in the Bible.) And take it from a teenager–no one likes to hang around someone like that.

Sometimes the best ways to form a good relationship with your teenage daughter are the simpler ways. A long walk around the neighbourhood. Picking her up from a friend’s house and using that opportunity to talk to her about something that you saw on her facebook page that worried you. Let her know you care—let her know you want to be in her life. Every girl wants to have a Mom or Daddy that they know wants to be an active part in their life, even if they say they don’t. Even if it seems that she doesn’t, your teenage daughter loves you and wants to make you proud.

And you don’t need to buy her that cherry red mustang to achieve that.

Becca

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So last night my parents went for a walk and came across a big, fat, fluffy beaver.

We have a marshlands near where we live, and apparently the beavers have decided to make their home among the mosquitos and pond scum and general ickiness.

All fine and dandy. Except that by their second day here, they’ve managed to build a dam that has increased the water level by at least 1 foot already. And our houses all border this marsh. Any huge change in the water level could potentially flood all of our basements.

Looking at this guy, you wouldn’t think that he’s able to do much against us. He’s just a cute, tree-gnawing, fluffy brown animal. But the amount of damage that two beavers can do is amazing. So the city will probably have to ship them out sometime soon.

Good-by, beavers.

So how does this apply to us? I think too often we underestimate ourselves. We have excuses such as, “I can’t minister–I’m only a teen” “I don’t have the time with my hectic schedule. I’m already expected to do more than I possibly can.” or “I’m not a good enough Christian to share my faith–what if I say something stupid?”

God doesn’t make mistakes–he has you made for a purpose! When you put yourself down in any area, you criticize God’s work. God may have made you small, but small people can do big things.

The world is looking at us like I do the beaver, thinking, “they’re too small to do anything of great importance.” But they’re wrong. God created us to do some damage in today’s society–we’re going to change it for the better.

So be a beaver. Just like that little rodent can flood an entire subdivision, we can change our nation with our love for Christ.

Go beyond expectations, don’t let obstacles stop you, but give it all you got. We can make a difference.

Becca

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Guilt

Have you ever felt guilty about something you did or didn’t do?

Have you ever wished you had said that one thing to her before it was too late?

Have you ever beaten yourself up over the fact that you didn’t try to help him before now?

Guilt can eat away at us. Often we convince ourselves that we should have said something, should’ve helped, but now it’s too late and it’s all our fault.

We can start to believe that a situation entirely out of our power happened because of a failure on our part.

The guilt begins to consume us, telling us we’re worthless–and we begin to believe it, thinking that God is punishing us for some sort of disobedience.

But God doesn’t want us to feel guilty. The only guilt we will ever have that is from the Holy Spirit is conviction.

Paul states in 2nd Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I suffer a ton with feeling guilty about stupid things. If you asked me, I could tell you things I feel guilty for that happened in grade 5. Mhmm–five years ago and still eating away at me.

This verse brought me hope. If the guilt I’m feeling is from the Holy Spirit, it is to convict me, make me repent, and then I will be forgiven and the guilt will be gone. Yes, I may regret doing something, but I will be at peace about it because I know God has taken care of it and it was used by Him to make me a better person.

Any other guilt is from the devil. You do not have to listen to anything that tells you that you are worthless. God will never call you hopeless. If guilt remains after repenting and making things right with whoever you have hurt, it’s the worldly sorrow Paul talked about. Pray that God takes it away.

One of the beautiful things about the Christian faith is that we don’t have to live with regrets. God is begging you to hand your guilt and regrets over to him so that he can throw them as far away as possible.

Why aren’t we doing so? Is our guilt really that precious to us?

Give your guilt to Jesus. He longs to take it away from you.

Becca

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