Friday, April 26, 2013

Letter to A Young Friend

The following is specifically written to young ladies raised in typical Conservative Holiness Movement churches. What I say will not apply to every girl, but I am convinced that many will relate to this fictitious "dear girl," and my prayer is that it will help someone who is battling with similar conflicting feelings, thoughts, and ultimately life-altering decisions. I will be posting in small portions what I intend to make a series on this topic.

My Young Friend,

I see you, dear girl. I know what you are feeling, what you are thinking, and I care where you end up. I care deeply. I've learned that how we think and how we deal with our feelings and desires greatly affects where we end up. I write to help you think honestly about what's going on inside of you. Since I am convinced that as the Proverb writer says, "The wisdom of the prudent is to understand His way," and as Austrian-British philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein said, "Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself," we must fight with all our strength to live in honesty with ourselves before God. It is rare and difficult to live without self-delusion.

You just want to be "pretty," don't you? You know being "sexy" is not appropriate for a Christian girl; you just want to be "attractive" or "pretty," not sexy. You want to be one of those mysterious princesses you read about in fairy tales long ago. You want a handsome young man to sweep you off your feet and love you forever--the sooner the better. While you watch for him, you fix yourself up as prettily as you can. You spend a lot of your time thinking about how you look and how others think you look. You spend a lot of time shopping, looking at magazines, getting manicures and pedicures and bad-hair cures, buying this outfit and that, trying to always get "pretty"--never frumpy, definitely not frumpy! Your main focus is to catch the eye of your dream-man, but you are aware that it just feels good to be fixed up "pretty."

Another part of you says, "I wanna be a Christian. I wanna do what's right. I wanna go to heaven."

You kind of realize in the back of your mind that the pursuit of being "pretty" doesn't exactly fit with focusing on the will of God and eternal things, but you think to yourself, "There's nothing wrong with being pretty. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be married and getting married." You try to mesh the two together, and you can't think of anything in the Bible that says a Christian girl can't be pretty. You're confident you are a Christian because you wanna "do what's right." You've been told you should love God with all your heart, and you do... well, you're sure you do because you say you do. You've heard there are certain "principles" you must live by in order to be a Christian. So, you've drawn some lines, some lines you are sure you will  never cross. You feel okay about God and yourself since you aren't crossing those lines and you faithfully attend church, enjoy happy music, and have fun friendships. You may even consistently have personal devotions. That makes your feel really good about your genuineness. It kind of helps that meshing everything together and keeps you from feeling anxiety about the questions that lurk deep inside from time to time.

The strongest thought you have is to be pretty. You like the flutter you feel when guys look your way and raise their eyebrows. It feels really good when your girlfriends say, "You are looking so good!" It's not that you are fully aware of all that is going on within you. You just feel the feelings when they come, and you don't spend time trying to figure it all out. These things just happen. They're just natural, and enjoying them doesn't raise any red flag in your mind since you are not "crossing any lines you've drawn."