To The Young: You Have Influence, Too

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12, NLT

Today’s post on Christian character is for the younger folk. Those growing up and learning how to navigate the nuances and social expectations of the world. It can be difficult to walk the thin line between what the world expects, and what your faith demands. These things are in constant conflict, and we, as parents, just don’t often know what this is like.

We, of course, know what it is like to be teens. It is hard. We have all walked the line between the expectations of the world, those of our elders, our own, and what we know to be right, or even wrong. We just didn’t have the internet, or phones at our fingertips to document our every move. If we had bullies, we could retreat to safety at home, and leave our bullies at school. Turn them off until the school bell rang the next day. And if we took a picture or someone did find something out about us, we didn’t have a tribe of people calling for us to be “canceled,” or jumping in on the smear campaign because it was the “cool” thing to do. Things really were just “different.”

I talked about integrity yesterday, and it doesn’t just apply to adults. It’s the same concept no matter your age. Are you who you say you are at home, and out in the world? At church and with your friends? Do you show Christ everywhere, or just at church?

You may be young. You may be influenced by social media. You may even be triggered by the mixed messages from the things you see from it’s sources, or the people you follow. Feel you don’t measure up.

However, you still have an influence on the world around you of which you may not be aware. Especially when you let others know you believe in Christ. There will be expectations of you. Yes, even when you are young. Even on your social media profiles, and no…it won’t feel “fair.” It will likely feel like it’s one more expectation someone has of you of which you will never measure up, but it is the most important expectation. It is the one God has of you.

He does not expect you to be without a few mishaps. A few blemishes. A few bruises. What He does expect of you is to put aside the world’s expectations. What Facebook. Instagram. TikTok think for a bit, and worry about what He thinks. Walk in the way He expects. And remain honest and true to His ways. A person. A young man or woman of integrity.

No matter how young (or old) you are.

TikTok Truths

 Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
    Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Psalm 96: 2-3, NLT

Last year when I began to embrace the girl God created, the one I knew I always was, but had forgotten for a time, I also began to embrace old dreams. Dreams others told me were stupid. Dreams I had convinced I was not good enough to pursue. Dreams taken. Dreams I didn’t think I was capable or even qualified to dream, let alone actually see come to fruition.

Once I began to reflect on God’s real love for me, and all that it truly meant, I realized those dreams were the ones He had placed there to build His kingdom. The only reason they were left dead, was because the enemy wanted them to remain that way. So…I began to write them down. Visions of things I wanted to accomplish. Visions of ways I felt God was leading me to serve Him.

Some I completed. Some I added to this years vision board. One included a daily video devotional. On TikTok of all places.

So why am I doing it? I don’t really like TikTok. Mainly because over the last 3 years I have heard about it from impressionable young teens, who see the questionable content and imitate it. Who take its advice as the gospel.

Because my overall goal and desire has been to spread truth. And though I have not always gotten it right, I pray that in my life I am able to show the people I encounter a person of integrity, and how one can be this person even in the midst of so much darkness and half truths. Some just plain UN-truths. And ultimately, this would be God’s desire as well. So, why not on a platform where most of what I have seen has not shown the way of Christ? Has had me muting my phone so when I open it around my kids the f-bomb doesn’t explode from my speaker (among some other unmentionable things)?

If we are light in the darkness, perhaps this is a dark place that needs some of His light, so I’ll be sharing a passage of Scripture each day, and some thoughts about how this applies to our daily lives. How to live it out practically and walk in the way God desires. You can follow along for your daily truth here, as well as on my YouTube channel. These are the only places this content will be available.

@straightupjanuary

When we send out the Word, He works on the harvest, it just takes time. Isaiah 55:10-11 #christiantiktok #christian #truth #fyp #foryou #god #godsword #devotional

♬ The Sower – Kevin Bean

I pray they encourage you as you seek to find the straight up truth from the Word and not from the world!

Links to both platforms are here!

Myths and the Truth about Christians and Boundaries

I want to be a woman who is known for her love of God, and because I know just how much a lack of boundaries can hurt us physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually, I have made it one of my professional and personal goals to establish some better boundaries in my life. This means figuring out the lies I believed about them, and what are the actual truths I now know. The road to boundary setting, both with my clients and in my life in general, has truly been an eye-opening journey. One that revealed that I was tolerating some very toxic behaviors in the “name of love,” that were not very loving, and only teaching others how to take advantage. Not to love at all.

Some of those myths I believed, and that you may to-I am hoping to dig into today. These are the most common that demonstrate how the call to love and show compassion can get oh so twisted.

Number 1:

We are to allow and tolerate all kinds of behavior in the name of love.

Forgive, turn the other cheek. This comment will be used to justify poor behavior, but Jesus has some clear directions when addressing poor behavior both in the church and outside of it.

Number 2:

You can’t block people on social media, or in general. That’s rude and mean

It’s mean if the intention behind it was to be mean. But if the intention was to create distance, to remove a lifestyle trigger, or maybe you did out of respect for someone else, then it’s not mean at all. It’s a personal boundary that needs no explanation.

Number 3:

If I say “No,” I am being disobedient.

Did you lie about your “No,” or did you just decide you didn’t feel like helping? Or were you truly busy? You CAN help later. That is acceptable.

Number 4:

Setting limits shows intolerance.

Setting limits is teaching them how to treat you with respect, dignity, honor, and with the values you have decided matter to you and your household. One of these limits will have to be your desire to serve God over the world, which means some people will have to go.

Listen to the full episode and my full thoughts on each of these myths in on Spotify! You don’t want to miss this one.

WWJD-First, Let Me…?

I had the immense honor and pleasure a bit ago of baptizing my mother-in-law. I’ll share the details of the day in a different post (one related to silly prayers), but I have to say..the feeling was incredible. The honor of being the one chosen to participate with the Holy Spirit is one that really is indescribable. It was my first baptism. And of course Satan beat me up before and after. 

Before is for that other post. After? You know what he beat me up about after? Pictures. There wasn’t some glorious picture to be shared. No one was standing around snapping photos for social media fame.

Yes. I am ashamed to admit THAT is what the devil used to make me feel inadequate for that entire week after. The fact that I didn’t have anyone cheering this honor on with me. Well, in terms of social media likes, anyway.

The week wore on. I battled the devilish monster some more. Considered myself inadequate alongside the pictures of others’ “honors.” Until I considered this: I thought about the time Jesus walked along this earth. I considered Jesus’ baptism.

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:16-17, NLT

Jesus. Baptized. We still talk about this day. Yet, it was never posted on any social media platform.

Jesus. Performed a number of miracles. He healed a leper. He brought sight to a blind man. He raised a man from the dead. We still talk about these events that took place long before any camera was even thought of.

Does the absence of any form of physical evidence make these occurrences any less powerful? The witnesses to the events any less honored?

Which leaves me wondering: What would Jesus do with social media? Would he be worried about being “famous?” Loved? Wanted? Accepted? Getting “likes?” “Shares?” A thumbs up? Prior to helping the lady who had the bleeding condition, would he say, “Wait. Let me get a selfie?” Or would he be more worried about “being about his Father’s business;” sharing the message of truth, and his Father’s love?

I would like to think Jesus’ Insta page would not be filled with heavily filtered selfies, but words of the Father’s love. Messages of hope and compassion for those that desperately need to know about true love, mercy and grace. That his Facebook page would not be filled with only his happy moments, but he would be telling others of the 40 days he fasted, and was tempted by the devil, so others would be aware of his prowling. Yes, even his prowling around on their Facebook feeds. The ways in which social media can become our fuel for affirmation, and not the Lord.

Case in point:

I saw the much anticipated envelope waiting for me. I ripped into it with excitement, holding my breath, hoping it really was what I thought was inside. The final piece of confirmation I needed as proof that all the years of work I had put into this long journey had finally paid off. “Here it is!” I said to my husband, commenting that I needed a frame to place it in, so it could be displayed each year once it was renewed. 

His response? “Don’t you want a picture? You know, to humble brag?”

Did I? Did I need one? If I didn’t post one for comments and likes, did it mean the time spent. The work put in. The effort. Did it mean it didn’t occur?

No, that’s not what it meant. It meant I didn’t need to post the picture to feel accomplished. I didn’t need to post the picture to feel honored. I didn’t need the likes to know I had made it.

Just like that baptism. It still occurred. Despite the lack of a picture. God was still witness to it. The Holy Spirit still showed up, even if social media never got to see it.

Perhaps you like to commemorate great moments to “celebrate” the milestones. That’s great. If that works for you. Wonderful. I do ask you take heed to one command from Paul as he writes to the church in Colossae: And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17, NLT

Perhaps you like to scroll through all the accomplishments of others, and you don’t feel the need to compare yours to theirs. I applaud you. I wish I had that willpower at times. I wish the devil didn’t know this is a deep insecurity of mine and didn’t use this to beat on me. If you are an encourager: So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT

Or perhaps we could all be more like Jesus, and just let our accomplishments, our works, our efforts speak for themselves. Knowing that even if no one ever took a picture, God is looking down from heaven saying, “This one, this one right here. That is one with whom I am well pleased. That one brings me so much joy!”

Are we really that different?

So many differences among us. If you turn on any news outlet. Scroll through any social media commentary (which I just don’t do anymore), you will note that it seems the world is at odds. No one seems to agree on anything. Relationships are in shambles if you really dig down deep underneath the surface. We seem to all be fighting to get through a pandemic that seems to never end, and muddle through continued struggles and strife that rock our close and distant world. All while…none of us seem to relate.

On many days it seems we are actually seeking to expose all the differences that divide us. Argue over them. Create rifts that only create more division and grief. Instead of seeking to find the common ground that connects us all.

The things we all go through.

The things we all battle.

All the things we share and of which we can truly relate.

Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22, NLT

If we put down our phones, and relinquished our thumb wars. If we had actual conversations instead of virtual or text messages that only cause confusion, more arguments, or sometimes no resolution at all-we may find out some things about each other. We may find we can relate.

Different. Yet the same.

We are human.

We feel pain. And we have inflicted pain.

We have been hurt. And we have caused the hurt.

We have shunned the sinner. And we have been the sinner.

We’ve all started new jobs. We’ve all needed help at those new jobs.

We’ve all needed a friend. We’ve all left a friend in a time of need.

We’ve all felt grief. We’ve all not known how to handle our grief.

We all have a past. We are all trying to somehow overcome our past.

We’ve all been the outcast. We’ve all made someone feel like one.

We’ve all needed love. We’ve all made someone feel unloved.

Can you relate?

Listen to all the Monday music inspiration here on my Spotify playlist!

Staying truly connected

One of the things we all crave is connection. We are all looking for someone with whom we can feel we can share our lives. Our secrets. Our dreams. Our hearts. We want connection. 

Connection also requires vulnerability. Vulnerability requires us to bear all. Bearing all causes hurt. When we become hurt, we retreat, and the one thing we want to do most of all is disconnect. 

In an effort to avoid the same pain. The same judgment. The same wounds. The same abandonment. The same rejections. The same patterns.

I realize in my effort to avoid hurt, I became a staunch advocate for disconnection. Some of it was for good. I learned some good things from my time of burying my head in the sand so to speak.

But I also learned that disconnecting is not always the answer.

It keeps us from hearing about the ways in which we can be a healer in a hurting world.

For instance, as I sat listening to the story of my fellow sister in Christ tell of a dying daughter, stuck in her native land of Liberia; I researched other missions in Liberia. I found so many things that I knew nothing of; simply because my hurt had caused me to disconnect. In my selfishness. In my focus on myself, I had shut out the voices of the needy around me.

I learned that some of the very people that had encouraged me in the past, I had shut out simply because I had shut off some of the noise of some who hurt me.

Case in point, when I heard the voice mail. I heard a voice of a woman who adored me. She missed me. Even if it was through a post. An encouraging message. When I saw another in the church cafe, I realized I hadn’t seen her in months, but she remembered me, because I had an encouraging word to speak. She was a partner in my ministry, and I had shut her out, simply because I wanted and needed to silence one or two negative voices. Because I focused on a few who had hurt or caused harm.

But I did learn some valuable lessons. Disconnection revealed that sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader. That you have to dig down deep to find the core of who you desire yourself to be. Because when you disconnect. You find there are not that many people cheering you on any longer.

That the one ones who do are often not the ones who live in the same area code as you. Even share the same family tree. When social media connections are cut, so are the connections and conversations. And no one comes looking for you. No one is cheering on your accomplishments. Or wishing you well on your next big test except those who have still been burning up the phone lines. You learn that some are actually willing to still come looking for you. Drop off goodies at your job. Swing by just to say hello. Check on you when you have been silent for a while.

Some even in different zip codes. That’s true connection.

You often learn that mere strangers can encourage you far more than those you thought actually “knew” you.

You learn about “connection” when you disconnect.

You learn that some were around just to keep up. Small towns are like this. We connect to see if you were really who “you used to be.” We all do it, and really, unless it’s for the reasons I’ll mention below, and we are not seeking a connection in order to have gossip worthy tea for girls night out to talk about the “boujee” pastor (wink, wink) or to make ourselves feel good for whatever reason…then just disconnect.

Disconnection isn’t always good. But reconnecting in the same ole way isn’t what’s best either. Why? Because our way of connection is a facade. Connection is simply that. Connecting. Not putting on a false face or persona that we hope to portray for the outside world in the hopes that someone will resonate with it. We connect by reaching out to others in our broken down places. And I mean reaching. Not for our smart phones through a media app. I disconnected from over 500 Facebook friends for almost a year, and I felt more connected than ever. What’s that say?

Connection is acts of mercy. Connection is seeking justice. Connection is loving the lost. Connection is showing love to the unloveable.

Connection is encouragement. Building someone up. Showing support for someones accomplishment.

Connection is choosing to accept someone who may be different than you, and being willing to at least LISTEN to their perspective.

Connection is coming to the realization that we all grow, and instead of standing in crowds and gossiping about it, we can stand in awe and applaud someone’s growth together.

Connection is raw, emotional, honest, true, intentional, genuine, and too often rare. In these days of darkness and despair, it is what we all desire and crave, and even with these apps at our fingertips it’s really what we have the least of.

You want to be connected to me? Be a little less like that connected troll calling out that all the wayward ways of everyone’s past from high school in small towns, and be a little more like the connected qualities listed above. Otherwise, don’t be offended if your request is declined. I promise I’m not being “boujee,” just selective.

What happened when I deleted Facebook

If you have been around for a while, or ever seen my YouTube videos, you know I deleted Facebook about 8 or so months ago. I had my various reasons why; some that had to do with my overall well-being. Regardless of those reasons, stepping away from the ever-popular app has had benefits, and has been eye-opening.

First, I am going to take a queue from Paul here and mention, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23. You may have no problem with Facebook. You may be able to scroll and it not affect you. Let me just say-it was not beneficial for me.

Here are the various things that have been good for me. Things I learned and have gained since my Facebook exit:

I didn’t miss the 100 or more obligatory Happy Birthday posts.

No, I really didn’t. I had maybe 10 instead. All sent to the place where meaningful connections usually take place. To my actual phone number. I didn’t miss the birthday wishes that only came because an app reminded someone to do it. Instead, I enjoyed those from the people who actually remember my born day (Shout out to those who do!). Called. Sent meaningful, heartfelt wishes, and I love you’s. Simply because they know. They may need a calendar to tell them it’s my special day. But they don’t need a social media notification to do so.

I began to engage in meaningful conversation.

Think about it. How many of your conversations center around what you saw or read on Facebook. I’ll admit for a while I had a little bit of FOMO. “I didn’t see it, you know…deleted Facebook.” Thought I was missing the latest and greatest. But after a while, I noticed I engaged less with those who spent all their time trolling, and commenting on social media concerns, and more time having real-time, face-to-face conversations with people. Learned more about them, and who they were beyond their latest post.

I turned off the “noise.”

And for a while even the news. No, I didn’t bury my head in the sand, and pretend the world wasn’t still spinning in utter chaos…I just chose to engage in reputable sources. Those without comments from people arguing back and forth. I read and formed my own opinion, without all the “noise” in the comments section; or from the news feed convincing me how I should think.

I turned off the “noise” in my own head.

As I mentioned in my video about my decision, Facebook left me anxious. It provided me with a very negative mindset. It also allowed me to judge people in ways they may not be, simply because they posted or “liked” something. It left me in a constant state of comparison to others “highlights,” and left me feeling like my life was empty and meaningless. I questioned motives. I questioned intentions. It was bad for my headspace. For me. That’s my personal experience. Yours could be very different.

I learned who was really down. Who would reach farther than the social media messenger function.

Look…I’m just being real. I’ve had the same phone number for 16 plus years. It’s been inactive only when I’ve been out of the country, which was no more than 14 days in those last 16 years. Social media is not my only connection to the outside world. I have unlimited texts and phone calls, and I can count on my two hands how many have used this method to still keep in touch. Those would be the “loyal” circle. If social media kept you in the “circle,” and now you have cut that“circle” off…my dear, I’m fine with a smaller one. Harsh? Possibly, but it’s the straight up truth. Connections with people should go much deeper than a random Facebook comment, or “thumbs-up” here and there.

I realized…lives are not often a true reflection of what is posted.

Don’t let social media fool you. Since I have had more time to really talk outside of apps, I have learned that marriages that look the happiest aren’t. That the people that look their “best,” are struggling with their self-esteem. That the houses that look the “cleanest,” have dirty corners no one dares mention. The family on that dream vacation has been at each other’s throat the entire time. No one shares these moments. What you are seeing on Facebook is highly curated posts and updates only highlighting what is good. Stop comparing yourself to what in most cases is a false representation of the people behind the “happy” smiles. There is truth to that often referenced quote: “People are not always what they post to be.”

I had more time to do things I had put off for so long.

Without the desire to check on likes, statuses, messages, and post every single moment, I created space to update my “read” list (books that is). Write AND publish a devotional instead of a Facebook worthy post. Study for an exam I had to put off. Focus on my mental health. Actually enjoy family dinner without phones. I had time to declutter. Time with friends. Time with God first thing in the morning, and not my news feed. And none of this newfound time and connection involved scrolling through endless media chatter.

I found solace in a more private life.

A media hacking may have forced me into the need for privacy, but I found that when I shut off the app, my desire to post every single detail about my life also shut down. I still share. But my kids are no longer the subject. My grandchildren are for me (and their parents) to enjoy and raise. My private moments, are well…private. I now blog my deeper thoughts. Journal. Or just say nothing, and I realize that the more people know about you; know what you are doing, where you are going, who you are with, what cause you are supporting, what moves you are making; the more they can use against you. When I stopped posting every little thing, I learned to move and accomplish things with the support of my biggest (physically present) cheerleaders, and not the constant peering of a social media “crowd.”

I don’t even miss it!

Look. I get it. It’s hard to pull the plug. You want to keep your distant relatives posted with cute pics of your kids. You want to see what your “friends” from high school are up to. But could a photo sharing app accomplish the first? Could a birthday phone call do the trick? And about that high school acquaintance…well, is there a reason they need to keep up with you? Or are you secretly hoping your life looks better than theirs? Or even better than it did in high school?

What now?

Personally, I don’t miss it. One single bit. Really. Why? Because my life was full of negativity and uncertainty with it. Most especially my worth. Now? Well, my life is just full. And I don’t have to tell all my 500 plus “friends” it is so.

Not ready to pull the plug completely yet? Try it for a month. Then tell me if your experience is anything like mine. I’d love to hear all about it…just not on Facebook, of course (see the Get Social Page for alternatives).

I quit…and it’s not what you think, I bet.

I’m quitting social media. Yep. Every single bit of it. For an indefinite amount of time.

And here’s why:

It’s a time sucker.

While I’m standing over the stove cooking dinner, I’m scrolling. While I’m waiting in traffic, I’m scrolling. While I’m waiting in the doctors office, I’m scrolling. While I’m folding laundry, I’m checking my notifications. And on the way to clean the bathroom…yep-scrolling. I bet I could get much more done if I wasn’t always scrolling.

It’s a family time sucker.

Right before I wrote this, I felt deeply convicted to actually sit downstairs with my husband and spend time with him. Talk. After a long day. I did. But I wasn’t engaged. What was I doing? Oh yes, scrolling. Checking Facebook. Instagram.

During family game nights while waiting for my turn I found myself picking up my phone, feeling convicted because I don’t do this with the littles at work, why do I feel it’s OK here?

It’s a hope sucker. I like to think sometimes that the little bit of love and kindness I sprinkle makes a difference in the midst of all that seems so dark, but kindness doesn’t go viral too often. And with the one or two uplifting posts sprinkled throughout, there are twenty more news stories of gloom and doom. While I don’t want to live under a rock, I don’t want to place my hope in anything but the Solid Rock. And He isn’t found on Facebook. He is found in the Book!

It’s sucking the life out of our generation of kids. Their childhood. Their innocence. Their desire to just go ride a bike! The exposure to people, subjects, and things beyond their tender years is astounding. I hear it daily. And I no longer want to be a part of it.

I want more time. To read. To actually clean my house and complete it. Heck, maybe I’ll finally write a book. Learn to knit. Start running again.

More time talking to my family. Laughing with my family. Playing with my family not on my phone. More time spending it with friends. Maybe invite some people over since my house will now be clean, and I won’t be scrolling during game nights!

I want to have intentional conversations. Intentional friendships. Not those that only exist because we are social media “friends.” Not conversations that include instant messages and never-ending pings on my phone. Reach me the old-fashioned way. A call or note will do.

I want to start looking for hope in the things around me, because I NEED to know it still exists here. The small, simple, joyful moments. That they are still possible. Even if they are not documented all on Facebook or with some Insta filter. I am going to seek hope from The One where hope can always be found.

And though my act of “rebellion” and “defiance” is not gonna get rid of sites like Snapchat (though I wish it would just disappear) or TikTok (poof, go away already) decide to shut down…maybe someone reading this somewhere will decide to be an example for their own kid. For someone else’s. Or decide not to hand over their cell phone with that oh-so-easy access to the World Wide Web playground.

Maybe. Just maybe. But even if not….I quit.

“Feeding” a different beast

This past summer I spent the entirety of my time off in a period of self-care and healing. Working on and loving who God had created me to be. Part of that was understanding just how much I was loved. Through that process, I spent a lot of time in His Word, writing down a number of verses that spoke to my identity in Christ.

Thirty-one verses from God to remind me how awesome I was. That I could flip back to on those days when I didn’t feel so awesome.

But had I? Had I used them?

For about 2 weeks now there has been this on-going battle in my home over social media, whether or not to let the middle have Instagram to be exact. In the same 2 week span I’ve listened to parents who have struggled with setting limits with their own children over media usage, watched kids seek attention in negative ways, and even discussed the ways in which social media makes them “look good.”

Then yesterday in my own journal I wrote this:

I’ve been very distracted lately, Lord. It’s been hard to find my center. I’ve been distracted by people. By work. By media. By the news. And when I sit alone in this chair, I can’t filter it all out, and I get discouraged by what I have seen and heard all day. It’s hard to feel like I am succeeding in Your Wisdom when I am distracted by all that looks anything but kind, but instead looks ugly and dark. 

No, I hadn’t flipped back to those pages. I had scrolled through Pinterest looking for all the right words to make myself feel better when I felt ripped apart by mean ones. Vented on Facebook about crappy people, and the need to be more kind, but had I sought truth from His Word? Had I looked to Him to remind myself whose I was? No. I was distracted by my feed. And when I wasn’t distracted by those voices and trying to feed my soul with feel good videos, I was distracted by all the stories of evil lurking in the world. Discouraged all over again.

I can’t make media go away. It’s here to stay. It’s getting into the hands of kids at younger and younger ages.

But I can choose not to be distracted. Not to reach for it to validate what I may be feeling in the moment. Instead of reaching for His truth or calling out to Him.

I can set the example at least in my own home with my daughter. And, yes…maybe even for others. Because whether they want to admit it or not. They are watching. And what message do I want to send? That love comes from Him? Or how many likes, hits, streaks (whatever), retweets I get on a given post?

That every time I have an issue or have something to say it needs to be shared? Without consequence? That is why I write. To remember. But not everything is Facebook worthy. Not everything needs to be said out loud. Or should be posted for the world to see.

I want girls to know their worth cannot be measured by the number of likes they get on a picture. That life is also unfiltered, unaltered, completely messy, and not usually a highlight reel. That bodies come in all sizes. Even “pint-sized…,” like me. And most of us, yeh, we don’t “wake up like this.” I want boys to know that they are more than a rating scale. That God thinks they are a perfect ten. Even the ones that don’t fit in anywhere right now. That it is OK, more than OK to be nice. To be a gentleman. To stand up for a woman (or a boy) being treated badly. That’s the kind of man I would want in my corner!

That is what I will be sharing from now on.

Unfiltered. Some days with no makeup on. Some days in my pjs. Maybe days my face will be tear-soaked. There will be highlights and lowlights. It will not be perfect. It will be flawed. Guaranteed.

But fearfully and wonderfully made. Molded and made new. Loved by God in all its mess.

Just like you.