Can I please just rant about a few things really quickly? I’m sitting here at work…stuck here for a couple more hours, so I have nothing better to do anyway!
The Christian Community. In my case, Cedarville University as well as the small church that I have attended since I was a baby.
Do we do some things right? Yes. But there are so many things that we subconsciously do probably just because that is how we always did them. Baptists never do anything new, remember?
What about clothing issues? Okay, maybe I am just talking from personal experience and no one else has had this experience…but here’s what I’ve been through and, in many ways, am still going through (yes at 20 years old!). I have grown up in a culture where clothing is so important. We say it’s not. We say it’s all about the heart…that the heart is what God really cares about. But do we really believe that and live that way? I don’t know if we do. Clothing and modesty have been so important that that has begun to be the only thing that we can see anymore. Literally. When we see someone, the first thing we start to subconsciously do is analyze what they’re wearing. And that’s the thing.
We don’t even realize we’re doing it!
And on the other side of things, do you know what it’s like to feel like you’re not truly seen. Not for who you really are or who you’re trying to become. But that you’re only seen as articles of clothing that someone doesn’t approve of. A disappointment. You didn’t get it right again because you’re opinions do not line up with someone else’s. When you’re talking to someone and telling them about your day and finally spending some time with them, all they can see is what you’re wearing. They aren’t listening. They don’t care. About anything besides what you’re wearing. It’s evident on their faces. Oh, they love you, they do. But you feel like you can never get away from the judgement.
And then, before you know it, you start to judge others too. And it is beginning to take over your life!
I think that that is so wrong. Do we need to be careful with what we wear? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that clothing should be the only thing occupying our minds ALL OF THE TIME and when we see someone dressed differently, we still have no right to judge them. I am sick and tired of caring so much. And honestly, because this has been such a huge deal all during growing up, it has made me care less about how ‘modest’ my clothes are. I’m quite fed up with the whole idea sometimes and I’m about ready to throw my hands up and give up. I’m tired of worrying about it. I’m tired of fighting about it. I’m tired of thinking about it. I’m tired of feeling like I will never look beautiful. Ever.
What if we stopped making it such a big deal? That being said, we should be concerned with it because obviously I do not think God wants anyone to flaunt their bodies like the culture says we should. But there has to be a happy medium, here. What if we just worked with each other to find cute outfits that are truly flattering, but still cover up enough? What if we could just stop thinking about the outfit that someone is wearing (and how much of a sinner that makes them) and just start loving the person underneath like Jesus did. What if every time you enter the room you DON’T feel the disapproving scowl because of what you’re wearing for once.
Because you are more than the clothes that you are wearing! I don’t think God wants us to make it as big of a deal as we have. Because, in a way, it has become an idol. Even to those who are super conservative and draw their ‘modesty lines’ way farther than anyone else. Because then what are we always thinking about? Clothes. Modesty. How immodest we think someone’s clothes are. Therefore, how much of a sinner someone is simply because they have drawn different lines than you have. Please…just stop making it such a big deal!
Alright…now that we got that out of the way….let’s talk about the whole dating issue, because you know that’s a huge topic in Christian communities.
Here’s a question for you:
Why have we put so much pressure on people who start dating?
The pressure of “You have to marry her once you start dating!” and “You have to save your first kiss until your Wedding day” and “You should only be with one person.” I’m sorry, but I’m beginning to see that that is a load of crap. You may disagree with me and that is completely fine, but here’s my reasoning behind all of this.
I think it was because of how I grew up, but I used to semi-believe in those things above. Not exactly to those extremes, but a little bit. The purpose of dating IS marriage, right? So…why not just think about that right away? I never made any sort of commitment for my first kiss to be on my Wedding day…and I never wanted it to. But I did sort of want it to be with the same guy that I ended up marrying. And I always thought it was super cute if someone had never dated anyone or only like one other person.
But I’m not sure where I stand on this anymore.
Yes, the purpose of dating is marriage. But how are you supposed to know if it’s right if you don’t try it? Putting that pressure on people who just want to ask someone out on a date just makes both of them freak out. It makes them nervous and it makes them pull back. That pressure is so unnecessary. Dating should be fun! I know that that isn’t the only purpose of dating, obviously! But it seriously should be fun! It should be about getting to know each other and hanging out and I personally think that it should be kept pretty relaxed and fun, especially at the beginning stages. When you start to get serious, it might look a different. But at the beginning, especially, stop putting stupid pressure on people to get married. And it’s okay to date several people…honestly, that is what helps you figure out what you want in your future spouse more than no experience would!
And I realize that getting your heart broken is definitely no fun. You should try to be careful to make sure that doesn’t happen…but if it does, take the lessons that you learned and just move on! It is NOT the end of the world if they break up with you or you feel like you have to end it! It’s life. And it is FAR better that you end things now, when you discover that it just isn’t working, then to end it years later after you’re married and end up getting divorced. You can learn a lot of things by dating someone. I am not at all saying that you should date everyone you see…I think there needs to be a balance, to be sure…and if your first girlfriend/boyfriend is right for you, you are so lucky. But maybe that just doesn’t happen to most people anymore.
Okay…and as far as the whole ‘courtship’ thing…some Christians seem to be under the impression that that is how it should be done. I disagree. I understand what they were trying to do, whoever came up with that. But today…I do not think that it will work, at least for very many people. Maybe it did or will for you, and that’s great. But for the majority, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Because being ‘courted’ gives even MORE pressure to ‘look perfect’ and look like the perfect Christian couple and to end up happily married the day after you graduate college. And there are other issues with it that I don’t feel like getting into right now…
So girls, just believe that you’re beautiful. Dress like you know you’re beautiful…but don’t flaunt your body. Don’t allow guys’ acceptance of you define your worth. Because you never know…they might be crazy about you but they are just too scare to do something about it at the moment. Be Beautiful!