50 Shades of Opinions

I’ve seen hundreds of blogs lately about why we shouldn’t watch “50 Shades of Grey.” I’ve also seen hundreds of blogs lately about why you can watch “50 Shades of Grey” if you want to. Here’s the deal. Both sides are wrong. But both sides are right, too. 50 Shades is an explicit, erotic love story. It has a storyline – the love story and the way in which a strong, powerful man is weakened and thrown off by his feelings of true love, and how a shy, oddly beautiful woman falls for him and changes him more than he even changes her. It’s a beautiful storyline, really. It’s been done before, though. So, let’s throw in some crazy, weird, dangerous sex to really spice things up. I read the first book, and while I thought the way sex was portrayed in it was unnecessary and ungodly, I was in no way offended as a woman. I was offended as a person who takes sex and love very seriously and treats it as a gentle, beautiful thing rather than a rough, dirty act. That made me think about all the things I’ve read and watched in my life that have portrayed sex as a dirty game. “Sex and the City” is one of my very favorite shows. “Scandal” is also one of the best shows I’ve seen. Both of these shows are full of sex and adultery, but I don’t see any articles blowing up about that. If you’ve ever watched “The Hangover” then you’re supporting drugs, sex, and drunkenness. “Gossip Girl?” Well, the sin is in the title. “Girls” on HBO has more nudity than any show I’ve ever watched, but man do I enjoy the message and the wit that comes across through the writing. “Grey’s Anatomy” is another masterpiece on television that has some pretty corrupt stuff all in it. The bottom line is our world is filled with corruption. The idea of sex has been tainted. The “doing what we want” mentality is the most popular thing. Oh, and girls “acting like guys” when it comes to sex is yet another thing the world loves that allegedly empowers women. No. Just no. There are so many things we can do to empower women, and that isn’t one of them. Putting men down certainly doesn’t empower women either. We’ve just got it all wrong. Building others up is really the big secret to build ourselves up, man or woman. That’s why tearing people down for watching a movie is not helping the love movement in the world. If we can’t watch 50 Shades, we can’t watch 75% of everything else being put out there for our minds to absorb. While these movies, books, and shows have so many corrupt and sinful things going on in them, I watch and read a lot of them. Sometimes, they certainly do affect my thoughts, and that’s when I have to step back and push those thoughts out. I’m strong enough to do that most the time. When I’m not strong enough, when I’m at my weakest, I’m careful what I fill my mind with. We should certainly be careful all the time. It’s wisest not to fill our minds with anything unholy or unrighteous. We are to “set our minds on things above.” Music has some junk in it too. Some of the lyrics and the things they refer to are repulsive and demeaning, but no one is boycotting Beyonce or Maroon 5. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. When we let all these things become a part of us and a part of the way we act, think, and speak, it becomes a huge problem. If you aren’t going to watch 50 Shades because of it’s sexual content, then there are a lot of things you shouldn’t watch or listen to. I personally have to work on that often. There are so many things I love watching and reading that I know are not glorifying my God and that is a huge struggle of mine. I use the excuse that I love the writing of the show and the deep meanings and story lines. And that’s the absolute truth. But by watching it, I am supporting the corruption in it. And I understand that ┬áthat has been an argument for not watching this movie, but we can’t single out one sinful movie when there are thousands upon thousands we have supported for years. God sees all sin the same, so who are we to judge our brothers and sisters for this one sin? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I agree that 50 Shades is not an uplifting and glorifying movie, but I am also in no place to judge anyone for watching it. A very godly man once told me that judging is OK if we “judge out of love.” If we don’t struggle with the sin and don’t have issues with it, and if we encourage others not to fall into that certain sin in the most loving and uplifting way, then we are doing it out of the right place in our hearts. If we want to shine light on their sin and hide ours in the dark, we are not encouraging out of love, we are just discouraging bad behavior and discouraging the person. So, I say, we stop with the finger-pointing and discouragement, and lift each other up. Don’t go watch 50 Shades, but don’t do it to prove a point, do it because your heart is in it and you know it will not glorify God for you to watch it. Don’t go – because you know it will fill your heart with thoughts you don’t need in your mind. Don’t go – because you will think about things you shouldn’t and maybe even feel a little worse about yourself. But don’t not go and then tell everyone that went how awful they are. And if you do go, think about why you’re there and how you feel when you’re there, and really reflect on how it plays in to your relationship with God. But then, take that and apply it to every aspect of your life and everything you soak in. The world can’t tell you what to do. Only God can do that. And you get to pick who and what you listen to and look at anyway.

The Day I Decided I Wasn’t Pretty Enough

I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t pretty enough.

I’ve probably spent most of my life thinking it honestly. During those awkward middle school years, I especially thought it because so many people told me I wasn’t.

I guess that carried with me forever because I’ve never, not one day ever, thought I was pretty enough. Sure I have felt pretty before. I have looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow. You’re kind of beautiful.” But that thought would soon be wiped away and my confidence stolen right out from under me by a comparison to someone else.

It doesn’t matter how pretty I look or feel, I know in the back of my mind someone, a lot of someones, out there are far prettier than me. It doesn’t matter in my twisted mind that I look totally different than anyone else and I have my unique qualities that are beautiful. I just compare myself to anyone and everyone who everyone thinks is beautiful.

It’s funny that we can see the unique, striking qualities about others that make them beautiful, but we can’t always seem them in ourselves.

It doesn’t matter how many compliments I receive or how many times people have told me I’m pretty, I won’t feel pretty enough.

I have decided many times that I’m not pretty enough for my dream career, I’m not pretty enough for a great boyfriend or husband, I’m not pretty enough to wear certain things, and I’m not pretty enough to go do so many things I want to do.

On Saturday, I went to visit some of my college friends, and I complained about myself the whole time. About my skin, my body, just about how “hideous” I was in general. That means I talked about myself more than I listened to them and talked about uplifting and glorifying things. That means I completely shamed a child of God.

On that Sunday, as I drove home feeling completely empty, I finally really realized that I really would never be pretty enough. And I accepted it with wide open arms and a screaming, crying heart.

No one will ever be pretty enough because what does that even mean? What IS “pretty enough?” Being “pretty” should not matter in deciding what to do for the day or for the rest of your life.

Following your heart in love, life, and work has absolutely nothing to do with what you look like. Now, that’s no reason to let yourself go and stop showering and dress like a slob, but you DO NOT have to look “perfect” in order to get what you want out of life. Let that sink in. Tape it to your mirror, repeat it every day, and do not let the thought enter your mind that you are not worthy of great things just because you don’t look like a supermodel.

Be Content In Your Dreams

Be content. Find joy in all situations. That’s what we are told to do and that’s what we know we are supposed to do.

But being content doesn’t mean we have to be complacent.

That’s a fear of mine. Accepting what life is, but never shooting for the stars I once dreamt of.

So many times we get caught up in the mundane of the every day. While, yes, we need to be content and rejoice even on the simplest of days, that does not mean we have to settle with not having more.

Philipians 4:12 tells us to be content when “living in plenty or in want.” It doesn’t say we can’t want, strive, and hope to be better.

There has to be a balance. We can’t dwell on our dreams so much that we become stressed and worried every day, but we can’t just give them up for the sake of being content.

God wants us to be happy with what we have and use that to help others and help ourselves. He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) but we do have to work for what we want.

He does not want us to sit and be idle. Being content goes hand in hand with patience. Being patient is crucial, but being patient does not mean sitting around and waiting. God wants us to bet content and patient in waiting for His plans to come to fruition, but He wants us to put in work and use the talents and resources He gives us to see the things He has in store.

I think we are caught up in a world of either too much or too little. We have lost the art of “in between.” We either go 110 mph or come to a screeching halt, and that’s no way to live.

If you don’t like your job, it doesn’t mean you have to quit tomorrow, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay for the next four years either. It means you should be content with where you are, but be consistent in working toward where you’re going.

If you don’t like your living situation, you may have to save money for a while before you can change it, so rejoice in where you live and make the best of it, but make an effort each day to change it.

No matter what aspect of your life you are not totally happy with, you can find the positive in it and be content and calm in knowing that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)

No matter where you go in life, for the rest of your life, contentment will be the threshold for your joy. Where you are content, you will also be at peace and be joyful. But that never means you should give it up and call it quits on things you dream of doing every single day.

Be content in your dreams too. They are in your heart and soul for a reason, so be content in the fact that you have goals, dreams, and hopes for yourself and for people you love. It’s a blessing to want more for ourselves, but we can’t allow that to make us unappreciative of what we already have.

It’s a balancing act, this life thing. And we have to find the dead center balance between being content and not being complacent and stuck.

You have a light inside you that’s getting ready to ignite. Doing it the right way and putting in the work will make that fire burn brighter and longer than it will by losing your contentment and being irrational in your life choices.

Contentment means patience means reaching your goal at the right time, right place, and with the right heart attitude.