The Weight of Influence

I’ve talked before about vulnerability, and that it’s sometimes difficult to write because a lot of vulnerability is required (See “Gifts Used for Growth“). In everything that I write, a piece of my life, heart and/or mind is revealed to the readers.

That is one part of writing that is scary, but there is another I find to be much more significant. The aspect of writing that probably scares me the most is influence.

I used to be able to write with freedom and post without much forethought. I wrote about what I was learning and put it out for the world to see. As I’m getting older and am a leader in my church’s jr. high youth group, I’m understanding the power of influence.

What scares me is that someone might read what I’m learning, my thoughts and opinions and fully accept them for their own. I try my best to write honestly, to admit that I don’t know everything, or even very much at all. To show that I have weaknesses, and I fall short often. I do this in hopes that people won’t take everything I write as perfect and true, but to instead take it with a grain of salt.

The best example I have of this is when I wrote my post titled “Sex and God“. In all honestly, I didn’t even want to write it, but I also didn’t feel like I had a choice. It was my response to a blog post by a woman who walked through some difficult circumstances with intimacy in the beginning of her marriage. She wrote about why waiting to have sex until marriage messed her up. What bothered me the most while reading her post was seeing the potential influence it could have on others. I thought of any of my jr. high students reading it, accepting it and acting on it. That was what pushed me to write my response post, along with God’s graceful guidance. I wanted to add some Truth to a situation full of lies. I wanted to add some positive influence to a situation with the potential to have an incredibly negative impact.

The weight of my influence can sometimes be scary. I never want someone to read my writing and accept it without thinking through it on their own first. Not everyone will agree with what I have to say, and not everyone should.

I would say that one of my most common prayers when I sit down to write something new is discernment. I want to write honestly, I want to be open about what I’m walking through, and I want to encourage others towards growth, but that takes prayer, diligence and discernment.

Although influence is a scary thing, and in the wrong hands it can be deadly, it can also glorify God and bring honor and praise to Him. That’s what I want. I want everything I say to be God-honoring and to walk away knowing that I only write because of Him and the words He gives me.

Where do you have influence?

Do you understand the value in being a positive influence to others, in everything that you do and say?

Are you using that influence to further the Kingdom of God? If not, what are you using it for?

Do you recognize the weight of having influence over any single person?

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Advertisements

Made New

What an incredible God we serve. I wish this was something that I spoke as often as I breathe, because it puts everything into perspective. It draws me out of my emotions, situations and attitudes and places all of my … Continue reading

Single Sadness

The other morning I was taking my brother and his best friend to a bus stop in Cleveland. It was early and my brain hadn’t started working to its full ability. My brother and I were having random conversation when he asks if there were any updates on boys. I said no and he responded with a saddened, “awe..” to which I retorted, “why?” He then realized how quickly people apologize or are sad for you when they find out you are still single.

Why do we do this? I know I’ve done it, and I definitely know I’ve heard it. Why can’t we instead rejoice for all the amazing things God may be doing in a single person’s life?

This is something that has always bothered me.

I’m not sure I can count on my hands how many times I’ve heard, “I’m sorry you’re still single” and “You’re so young..you have time” within a single breathe! The problem I have with this is that, for the most part, I’m content with being single. I’ve been single my entire life, and I kinda like it. I like the freedoms that come with it. I like that I’m able to use this time to learn spiritual disciplines and step further into faith. (And I love that I don’t have to buy gifts for an extra someone on holidays!)

I’m not going to list all the great things about being single, because there are already plenty of resources out there. I also recognize the many great things about being in a relationship. And don’t get me wrong, I want those too! Whenever the time is right, I’m very much so looking forward to being in a relationship with a man, having God as the foundation.

So please, don’t treat single people like they should be in a rush to find someone and settle down. There are too many people out there who have settled for less already. Don’t tell us that we’re young and have lots of time; some of us have wanted marriage for years and there is nothing wrong with that.

Being single is not a disease and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us.

Quit telling us that it’s okay to be single and that we should also be getting married within one conversation. Instead, try asking us what God is doing in our lives. Ask about where we’re serving and how we’re furthering the Kingdom. Strive to know our hearts, not our relationship status’.

When I’m no longer single, I’m sure you’ll here about it. When the right person comes along, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. When I get a ring on my finger, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. The same goes for the many other singles my age.

God is doing so much more in my life than giving me a love life worth talking about. God has called me to so much more than to sit and wallow in my singleness; He has given me (and each of you) the greatest call we could ever respond to! So join me in going into the world and making disciples! And help us singles out by asking how God is moving, rather than who we have our eye on.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

 

To Change One Person

 — It has been over a month since I’ve posted! A later post will explain why 🙂 —

I don’t write this to brag, or in search of affirmation. I write this to prove the goodness, love and incredible grace of our King.

Life has been rough. I’ve been overloading my plate of responsibility with substances that aren’t nutrient-giving. Of course there are days, even weeks, that work is going to feel like more of a chore than a blessing. There are times that school, no matter how much I love to learn, will be the most complicated and monotonous thing. There are moments that I will push myself way too hard and run out of energy. That’s where I’ve gotten to. I’m running on empty, and yet somehow still going. Many things have began happening to help me realize the emotional and physical drain my schedule has taken on me.

Several weeks ago, I had a meltdown. Between several pieces of hard news that I had recently received, and the chaos of life, I couldn’t hold myself together anymore. God came and held me together. He listened as I prayed, begged, for help. He collected all the tears that fell. He was glorified in my time of desperate worship. He wrapped me in His love and reminded me of who I am because of Him.

My prayer became, that in all the pain I’ve walked through, in the many challenging experiences I’ve gotten through by God’s grace,  in all the chaos that is my life, that God would use me to touch one person. That all of this would not be in vain.

That person showed up on my doorstep two days later. A beautiful young woman that went through an extremely challenging time during her 9th grade year of high school, while I was a senior, was sitting in my living room. Her older brother, the person she admired most, passed away. He was my brother’s best friend, and I decided to make her a priority in my life after all that had happened. I tried my best to stay in touch and made a point of stopping to talk if I saw her in the halls. My heart went out to her, because although I could stand and talk to her, I could not relate to the emotions and thoughts she had. All I could do was pray for and love her.

She came for a surprise visit with a mutual friend and it was such a blessing to catch up. She is doing so well, and is graduating high school in two weeks and headed off to University in the fall. She has so much life and adventure ahead of her. So many new things to discover and challenges to overcome. Nearing the end of the conversation, she said some words that hit me harder than I could have ever imagined.

She told me how much she appreciated that I checked in on her in high school and kept an eye on her, and let me know how much that helped her.

I was, and still am, blown away. Here I had felt like I was not relevant at all, like I couldn’t offer her enough giant hugs or listening ears to make up for the heartache she was battling with.

God knew that I needed that. He knew that I needed to be reminded that all the challenges and struggle I face in my faith walk is not in vain, but is completely, 100% worth it. A common question I have when making decision or facing strong emotions is “Is it worth it?” Is the struggle and the fight worth it. God once again has reminded me that it most definitely is, no doubt about it!

I’m writing all of this for the sake of it being a reminder of God’s character. This isn’t an ego boost or a prideful moment, it’s a time of me to reflect on how glorious and incredible our God is! Sometimes, God chooses to gift us with things we don’t deserve, but He freely, and loving gives, regardless. What an amazing God we serve.

In times of desperation, times that it may not feel worth it or like you’re changing anything. Remember that even though you may not realize it, there are plenty of people whose lives you have touched, you may just not know it yet.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

 

Modesty in 2014

This past weekend I went to the mall and actually looked at clothes for the first time in a while. Not only was I in shock, I was also thoroughly disappointed.

I, for the most part, shop at second-hand stores or the clearance racks at department stores. I don’t like to spend more than $10 on one piece of clothing, with the exception of jeans and shoes.

I am a firm believer that modesty is more about how you wear clothes, rather than the clothes you wear. Modesty has a lot to do with your heart, and how you choose to present your body.

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines modesty as, “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.”

Biblically, dressing modestly is about wearing “respectable apparel” and not wearing flashy things just to get the attention of the opposite-sex, or anyone really (1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Peter 3:3-4, Proverbs 31:30). It goes beyond simply the way we dress, into to the way we act as well.

The older I get, the more I’ve learned that modesty is a serious heart issue. It is more about your intentions behind how you dress, and where you heart is. I feel that when your heart is in the right place, that truly does shine through your choice in clothing.

photo 1

When we think of modesty, we often think of the picture to the right, most likely with extra layers and a less form-fitting dress:

While there is nothing wrong with dressing like this, there is also value in feeling good about yourself and having confidence when out and about. Again, this is majorly a heart issue! We have to be confident in who we are in Christ before we can exemplify that to others!

Why bother being modest? This is a question I have asked myself, and this is what I have come up with.

1) We’re simply called to it
As I mentioned above, the Bible is filled with a calling for women to dress and act modestly. As Christ-followers, we are called to follow the narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14), and I believe that modesty is something that comes with the territory of that path!

2) Leading by example
This is something easily overlooked when you aren’t in a position of leadership, but it is so important! There are and always will be younger ladies looking up to you to lead. Whether it be a sister, niece, cousin or a perfect stranger. Girls are always looking up to their superiors and how you dress can profoundly impact those girls. Also, we are biblically called to be an example, not just to those younger but to everyone around us (1 Timothy 4:12, Titus 2:6-7, Proverbs 22:6).

3) Attracting the right audience
I have had many experiences with men that are less than deserving of my attention. Not because I am better-than or perfect in any way, but because I am a sweet child of Christ and though I don’t deserve it, I desire to be treated with respect. Frankly, when dressing in what may be culturally acceptable, you attract disrespectful “men” that simply want you for what they think you’re offering. I’ll even pull scripture out for this as well, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, says that we are to treat our bodies as temples. If you want to attract the right kind of godly man, then you should be dressing in a way that will do just that!

These are three reasons that keep me dressing modestly, and refresh my thoughts to be Christ-centered.

Although, I feel that most clothes can be worn modestly, I was in shock while at the mall this weekend, mostly because I couldn’t find a way of wearing most of it modestly. There are not enough layers in the world to pull off a spaghetti strap tank top that barely covers your chest (unless you’re wearing a long, baggy hoodie over it!).

These are some of the clothes that I saw, that just sent me over the edge:

PicMonkey Collage

So how do you dress modestly in a culture that hardly sells modest clothes? It requires a lot of patience and searching. It requires a lot of layers and checking your motives. I often will not wear an outfit out of the house, unless I would be okay with walking into my church with it on.

These are some of the standards I hold myself to:

  • Not wearing yoga pants/leggings, without my bottom covered, out of the house if at all possible
  • Dresses being at least 2 inches past my fingertips when arms by my side, if not, then wearing either tights, leg gins or pants underneath
  • Shorts being at least at my fingertips when arms by my side
  • Wearing a camisole under any plunging, low-cut or see-through tops

You don’t have to be frumpy and out-of-style to be modest. With warmer weather on its way, I decided to showcase a few outfits that you might find me in during the spring and summer that are modest, and yet still in-style (excuse my messy hair!).

my clothes

I often times wear tights or leggings under that dress. It is also really challenging to find longer shorts that don’t fit awkwardly, so sometimes settling on looser shorts can help if they are a little shorter, just make sure that your buns are tucked away! Camisoles are a miracle worker, and they can be found in all colors, styles and sizes. Also, cardigans can cover up a lot of unwanted showing skin. I have a plethora of them in my closet and you can almost always spot me wearing one.

So, now that I’ve had my rant and discussed why modesty is important to me, I challenge you to question your own motives. When you’re getting ready in the morning, ask yourself if you would walk into a sanctuary wearing what you are. Ask yourself if you’re leading by example, or simply following cultural norms. Check to see if you are honoring Christ with not only your clothes, but also your intentions.

I think that when we find clothes that not only fit properly, but that also honor God, we are worshipping Him in a way that most women don’t.

I’m most definitely not the perfect example of modesty. There are days that I don’t stop to check myself before leaving the house. There are times that I realize what I’m wearing and begin to feel really uncomfortable, wishing I had worn more layers or something entirely different.

Obviously, there are exceptions. When working out, I generally am wearing yoga pant and a tank top, because…well, I’m in my own home! When I am at home all day working on school, I’m not so concerned about what I’m wearing. I’m talking about modesty when leaving the house.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Single Yet Loved

Being single at twenty can be challenging at times.

I know, I’m young…I have all the time in the world.

I’m reminded of this all the time, and if you’re single, I’m sure you are too.

There is nothing wrong with being single at this age.

It doesn’t make you less valuable, and it certainly doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

At my age, my parents knew they were going to marry each other and both of my brothers knew they were going to marry their, now, wives.

At times I feel the pressure to hurry up and meet the person I will marry. Not that I’m less-than or slow, but just that I should be there, you know?

I then look at all that I’ve experienced to-date and what the next few years entails for me. I see the places I’ve gone and the opportunities I’ve taken, and I’ve realized all the amazing freedoms that come with singleness.

I’m not saying that there is no reason to sit in bed with a tub of ice cream and a cheesy romance and cry (for that is perfectly acceptable). What I am saying is that there are perks to being single that we should take advantage of while we can!

Have you always wanted to travel? Then travel!

Have you ever wanted to teach English in a different country? Then teach!

Have you ever wanted to go on a date, just to go on a date? Then date!

Why is there a rush? Why has our society put this horrible expectation on twenty-somethings to find “the one”?

I get that women have an innate desire to be loved, but we also have an innate desire to love and be loved by God.

Why then, is the Christian population not pushing singles to simply fall in love with God, rather than making them feel less-than because we don’t have someone to hold hands with, or to bring us flowers “just because”.

Every girl wants that, but what every girl truly needs is more of Jesus.

This isn’t anything new. It doesn’t change things. It is simply a reminder that the only love we really need in our lives is God. We don’t need a man, because even the best of men cannot fill this God-shaped hole in our hearts.

Don’t stop watching those chick-flicks, because I get it, they can be addictive. Don’t stop praying for your future husband, because prayer is a powerful thing. Don’t stop desiring to be loved, because, well…you can’t. Don’t stop reading those Christian singles books, because they may come in handy some day!

But do start loving God more.

Start letting Him love you more! Start reading the Bible more, it is His love letter to you! Start basking in His presence as often as possible, and letting Him fill you up!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Completely in Love with Jesus

There are a lot of Christian women out there, including myself, who are settling for less than what God desires for them. I know some of them, I am one of them, therefore I am sure there are plenty more.

We settle for a boy, who has chosen not to grow up and become a man, but to become stationary. We settle for a man who has a relationship with God, but is not willing to lead spiritually. We settle for a guy who doesn’t even love Jesus, because we think he’ll be the only guy to come around and appreciate who we truly are (which is a lie). We settle for a boy who has promised us change, who has “given” his heart to Jesus because of us.

I’ve been there, in every one of those situations, and I understand that it’s not easy to stop settling.

My favorite quote from the Boy Meets Girl series by Louie Giglio is this: “You can’t be united with someone who doesn’t share your heartbeat for the most important thing in the world.” My heart jumps every time I hear those words. It is far to easy to become comfortable with a man who isn’t completely in love with Jesus.

Women were created for relationships, we were created to crave deep, meaningful relationships. It is sewn into the very stitches of our soul. We want to be loved and to feel wanted, by someone, anyone.

So when a handsome “man”, or even a not-so-handsome one, waltzes into your life and attempts to sweep you off your feet, you let them, regardless of where they stand with Jesus.

But how can you build a relationship with someone who doesn’t desire Jesus in the same way that you do? What do you build a relationship like that on?

I’m making a declaration tonight, and my prayer is that others would along with me.

I’m declaring that I will not give my heart to any man who isn’t 100%, completely in love with Jesus, and who is not prepared and willing to lead spiritually. 

I’m done settling for less, not because I deserve more, but because I’m worth more. I’m beginning to understand that waiting on God is not about all of the times He says no, but to those incredible times that He says yes. Those blessings are sure to be far more fulfilling and godly than following after what we desire.

I don’t want a man to sweep me off my feet anymore, but instead one that will seek God in order to find his way to my heart. I want a relationship with God as its foundation, because seriously, if you find someone who is completely in love with Jesus everything else fades into the background. I want that. I want a man that is so wrapped up in Christ, that I can’t see him without first seeing Christ.

Anyways, enough rambling about my wants.

I have made this declaration, to God, to myself and also to any of you who read this.

I want to be held accountable for this because our relationships are some of the most important decisions we make in life. They largely affect who we become, and what we bring into future relationships and all other aspects of our lives.

I truly hope to have inspired you in some way, whether it be about your current relationship or future relationships.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie