Write a Letter to Your Own Teen!

Can we just move past it? Please stop writing letters to other people’s children. Let’s start writing letters to our OWN children.

Here, I’ll start the first one:

Dear teenage child of mine,

You are going to encounter all types of people in this world.

A small select few will think, act and dress similar to you. The very large majority will not. They will not care about your personal standards of modesty and purity of heart, mind and body.

They will not care if what they wear, what they post online, or how they act around you causes you to stumble in your walk with the Lord. You need to learn to guard your own heart.

You can’t do it alone. The flesh is weak. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Allow Him to be your guide. If it even remotely feels wrong, flee with all your might. If you look left at church and a young lady is wearing a provocative dress next Sunday (and let’s face it, this is becoming the sad norm in our churches.) please try your best to look right. Maybe ask your parents if there is any way an elder can gently approach the subject of the girl’s outfit. Sometimes you can remedy those situations, and well, sometimes you just can’t. Not without running the people right back out the church door. And what is the church for, but to help sinners (which would mean every last one of us, not just those whom we label as “worldlier” than we) to be a little more Christ-like everyday.

Unfortunately you are going to have to learn to not only look away, but to filter your friend circle. For now you have mom and dad to help you with that. They tell you who you can and can not hang out with, or have as a friend on social media. But there will come a day very soon when you will have to make those decisions yourself. Begin now really thinking about the character traits of people who make good friends. Ones who always have your back. Ones who help you make good decisions, not stupid ones. And maybe you already have to make those decisions on your own. Maybe your parents don’t monitor your facebook, or read your chat conversations (yep-unashamedly guilty!). Oh boy is it hard. Especially when you don’t have someone to be accountable to.

We all can’t be the behavior police. There is an old saying that has helped me a ton of times in my life, from my teenage years on up…”You can’t change the behavior of others, but you can change the way you react to their behavior.”

See a selfie online that looks a little too provocative? That girl was kissy facing in that low tank top,right to you through the screen? That boy was showing off his beach muscles just for you to see how manly and sexy he is?  Well, first off, don’t click the like button dummy! Secondly, why exactly do you have a friend who would be posing like that? If it’s someone who otherwise doesn’t engage in that type of thing, maybe it was a spur of the moment regrettable decision. Haven’t we all done things only to wish we could take them back a second later. (or a week later, or a month later). In that case, click that little “hide” button, turn the browser page, and if you are close enough to the person,  maybe even have a little conversation with them. A simple, “Hey, what was up with that pic you posted on Thursday? Kind a little over the top, don’t ya think?” will usually make them think a little more about what they did. Or, not. if they get all bent out of shape over you speaking out on things you see as wrong, well, remember that friend filtering I just mentioned a second ago?

For the rest of your life you will be bombarded with images and behaviors that are unbecoming. Even in the church. Unless you want to hole yourself up on some compound and leave the modern world behind you then you are going to have to build up a strong enough backbone. One that won’t bend every time you go into Wal-Mart. Immodesty and immorality are going to be rampant in the last days. And believe it or not, we are there. Where wrong is right, and Christians are persecuted and ridiculed for their standards. It’s not going to get easier for you teenager. You won’t magically become superman of wills when you turn 18 or 21. You will battle the flesh your entire life. Start fighting that battle now! And I’ll be there to help. Stay in church and you will always have older advocates rooting for you, mentoring you and helping you along the way.

Love, Mom.

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Think On These Things

Yeah, I saw the headlines just like everyone else. It seems that she jumped off the deep end. I mean, really. When you shock the most liberal of Hollywood….sister, your train has left the station.

And then after I glanced at the headlines, I turned the page. Not literally mind you. But the browser page. I’m a little too 21st century to actually get newspaper ink on my hands….unless I’m couponing. Er…I digress, I think I’m getting off topic here.

I didn’t read the articles. I didn’t watch the videos. I didn’t engage in dialogue. I didn’t comment on facebook posts. Why?

One reason. Well, one verse actually.

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

We live in a revival of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

And you are shocked?

I’m not.

I will do all I can to share the Gospel to those who are lost.

I will do my best to disciple the people around me and to lead them in living a godly life.

But I will not immerse my mind or my eyes in looking at or thinking about sin.

As Christians we are called to be separate.

2 Corinthians 6:17

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

When you click every yahoo link, comment on every facebook post, retweet and share, are you separating yourself from the world, or are you immersing yourself in it?

Think on THESE things.

 

The Idolatry of Modesty

Nothing can rile up conservative Christian women like the subject of modesty. I have seen so many innocent women dragged into a false idea of modesty simply by blog hopping. Judgements, preconceived notions and finally arguments all are the product of the modesty debate.

It’s no secret…the ladies, young and old, in our home do not wear pants.

But is that the end-all-be-all to modesty? The line in the sand? If you cross that line are you venturing into worldliness?

MODESTY POSTER

In our little conservative bubble I see so many different definitions of modesty.

Every one of them are the correct definition. Every one, that is, that has been brought about by prayer, conviction, and searching the Word of God.

In one blog I see a family with 8 children who wear pants, a little light makeup, and even cut their hair….that family is modest. They make sure necklines are high enough and pants loose enough to not show off anything. They are not loud in their spirits. They do not flaunt their bodies. They dress in a way that is modern, yet does not show off or accentuate their sexuality.

In another blog I see a family with 2 children. The mother and daughter wear only skirts and dresses. They also practice head covering. They have never cut their hair. They are modest. They are not loud in their spirits. They do not flaunt their bodies. They dress in a way that is a little more conservative, and they do not show off or accentuate their sexuality.

In yet another blog I see a family with 14 children.  They are in the middle of the road. They wear only skirts and dresses, but do not choose to cover their heads. They style their hair and their clothes, while very conservative, also follow the trends of modern fashion. They wear a little jewelry. They are modest. They are not loud of spirit. They do not accentuate their sexuality.

Each of these families have a different definition of modesty.

Modesty in an of itself is relative.

I think we all can agree that there are some base factors that define modesty.

Not accentuating our sexuality would be the biggest. Next might be to have a quiet spirit (by that I mean not boastful or self-centered)

After that base is defined, each family will have to add the blocks of modesty that fits best with what they feel God is calling them to.

To some that will be higher necklines and giving up shorts.

To some that will be giving up pants and opting for skirts only.

To some that will be not cutting their hair.

To some that will be giving up jewelry.

To some that will be covering their heads.

To some that will be giving up printed fabrics.

To some that will be covering arms and legs.

When we focus on others’ details in modesty and not the spirit of modesty itself, we are setting the subject up on a pedestal. That is when it becomes an idol.

Should modesty matter? Absolutely.

Should we care what image we are sharing with the world? Yes!

Should we try and encourage others to adopt a more modest mindset? By all means.

But when we care more about what’s on someone’s body (including our own) than we care about what is in the heart, we have our priorities misaligned.