No More Fluff
I have been convicted. I recently read a blog by Jen Wilkin which further pricked at my conscience. I started this blog last year with good intentions. I wanted to unite Christian women and encourage them. But I found myself using “fluff” to try and get more page views and more readers so I could grow the blog into something bigger. I told myself I would not do that. I would not compromise the message for page views. I posted a lot of Bible verses and quotes from other sources to social media to encourage and gather “likes” but that’s as far as those snippets go usually. I think about myself and when I scroll through social media and seeing a short verse of encouragement and how I may “like” it, but I don’t really take it to heart. I realized that as humans we want the feelings without the discipline. But the most important things in life are never about our feelings. How we feel so often can betray us.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 NLT
For instance, we may feel loved by our husbands one day, but the next day we don’t for some reason based on circumstances…or hormones. Does that mean that we deserve to look for that feeling elsewhere because we aren’t getting that loving feeling from him? No! It means that we have to choose to love even when we don’t feel it. If we walked away from every relationship in our lives because we didn’t feel it anymore, we would never understand love. God didn’t walk away from us when we were unlovable. He loved us while we were yet sinners. He chose to love us.
“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 NLT
Sometimes I feel God working in my life and I feel blissful, like His face is shining on me. But other times everything feels dark, like God isn’t even in the same universe as me. Yet I hold to the truth that He is with me always, even when I don’t feel it. Because He told me so.
“…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b NLT
I have faith knowing that He protects me even when I feel afraid. I can cling to that Truth even when I don’t feel it in the moment. I think part of the reason I haven’t continued blogging is because I was looking for the feels, the feedback from readers. I wanted to think I was doing something great. But I gave up when I didn’t feel that encouragement. I had the wrong intentions in doing that. First and foremost, this should be a ministry in response to loving God. I pray I keep my focus on Him from now on.
When I started this blog, I chose the tagline and the purpose of “encouraging women in their faith, marriage, and self-love.” I really do want to be an encouragement to you. But I also want to give you substance: Truth, for when the feelings run out. For when the hard times come. I never really liked the part about self-love. Self-love seems like popular message among women these days. Among Christian women there is a constant reminder to encourage us that we are daughters of the King. Maybe that’s why I chose “self-love” as a part of my blog because I know as women we want to feel loved and we want to love ourselves and feel empowered, but so often we just see our issues and our flaws. I find that fixing our issues doesn’t start with loving ourselves though.
It starts with loving God.
When we see Him for Who He really is: infinite, omniscient, incomprehensible…we will be in awe of Him. And when we see ourselves next to Him, we realize our sins because we fall so short.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 NLT
We need to recognize our sin. Otherwise, we would never know to repent. But at the same time, we don’t have to wallow in our sin and shame because God sent Jesus to wipe it all away so we could live in a right relationship with Him forever. He made a way to know us personally and He wants us to know Him. He loves us so much that He said we are worth dying for.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
I recently saw a Bible verse posted for women which said, “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” That is the NIV version of Psalm 46:5. If only posting that verse in that translation, it sounds encouraging to women. It sounds like it’s saying God is within us and we cannot fall, but it’s taken out of context. The verse actually speaks of “her” as the city of God. The NLT version of verses 4-5 says, “A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.”
There’s a women’s movement about self-love lately. It seems like a positive movement, but is it really what God is calling us to do? I hear all the time that we should love ourselves and our bodies because we are beautiful and perfect just the way we are. I hear that instead of berating ourselves, we should take pride in ourselves. And I’ve actually shared similar uplifting things about how God made us beautiful and we should love ourselves. I know what it’s like to feel down on myself because of my flaws, especially with my physical body. But I was never meant to take pride in something that is not my own. In fact, my pride is a sin.
I was created by God. My body was created by Him. He gets all the credit. But I’ve damaged His perfect creation because of my sin. We have flaws that were never meant to be there because of the sin of the world. It’s our lack of perfection that highlights our sin. Only Jesus is perfect, and the rest of us fall short of God’s standard. But wallowing in our flaws and feeling shame and beating ourselves up without making changes does no good. I can feel shame all day long because of my sin and still not repent. God does not want this. His conviction is not like shame.
His conviction brings repentance and healing.
Shame brings despair and depression.
God calls us forward. When we repent of our sins, our focus should be on Him. If we spend our time loving God and seeking to do the right things, we won’t have time to beat ourselves up when we do the wrong things. We can just repent and receive forgiveness from God. Instead of focusing on our flaws (like bodily imperfections), we should focus on God’s forgiveness and healing. We should be thankful for all He has given us. Our focus should be on Jesus, not ourselves. So yeah, my body is no longer perfect because I have sinned and I will forever wear the scars. But one day God will replace this flawed body with one that’s brand new. One that I can’t mess up because sin will be no more.
We shouldn’t put so much focus on ourselves by being prideful OR by being down on ourselves. Jesus doesn’t want either. He wants us to love God first and love others. He never said, “Oh, and don’t forget to love yourself.” But we aren’t to hate ourselves either. Being down on ourselves is a form of pride. It seems like the opposite, but the focus is still on SELF, and that is the root of pride. I’ve struggled with pride my entire life, whether it be about areas of my life that I do well, or my low self-esteem because of my failures.
Wallowing in self-pity is just as bad as bathing in self-love.
Both involve SELF. Both look to SELF first. The world today worships a god of SELF. Everything revolves around SELF. If SELF isn’t happy, then it’s someone else’s fault. Maybe if we put our esteem in God and not in SELF, we would be more joyful. In fact, living in the Spirit produces joy in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23) I pray that we can go forward and not be so focused on SELF. Instead, I pray we are focused on God and Who HE is and what HE has done.
I don’t know who will read this. My last idea and attempt at blogging didn’t work out so well. I’m sure I lost a lot of readers due to my absence here. But that’s okay. I believe God will bring the ones who are meant to read this to this page. He is in control after all, not me. All my work on a website, emails, social media shares, etc. cannot make this blog a success. It will be a success even if only one person reads this and learns Truth and comes to know God and desire to know God more. It would even be a success if no one reads it and the purpose was just for me to write it to further understand the Truth myself. So I’m going to be changing things up a bit and changing that tag-line. After all, it shouldn’t be about self-love. It should be about loving God and being a woman after His heart. It’s time to get rid of the fluff and focus on God.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please comment below if you would like to share.