Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Carrie Fisher is Beautiful and so am I

It just makes me angry. How can you possibly say things like that?! In what world is it okay for people to just start shaming people for GETTING OLDER??

In case you missed it, read this:

Okay, so Princess Leia isn’t 25 years old anymore. She has gray hair and hips. Um…So do all women who get to be that age unless they dye their hair (I’m not hating; I’m sure I will). That. Is. Life. “Carrie Fisher hasn’t aged well.” “Age hit Carrie Fisher in the face.” Um…Yeah. And it will you, too, you little punk!

What is wrong with the world? In what realm is it okay for people to just say things like that because they don’t look like they did when they were a kid? I’m angry.

But it’s more than that. It’s not so much that people say these things because, well, people are jerks a lot of the time. It’s the fact that it’s okay to judge women based on their age and appearance. It makes me so sick. Am I nothing more than my size? Is that my worth?

Driving home from our family’s Christmas celebration last week, my husband could see that something was bothering me and asked me if I was okay. It’s amazing how well this man knows me after just three years of marriage. But he was definitely right. My weight was on my mind, like it is and has been so often all of my life. I’d eaten a TON for two days straight and was freaking out about the scale going up and how I’d ever be able to get the weight off.

Backstory: For those of you who don’t know, I was in a heated battle with anorexia when Matt and I got married, and even though I’ve recovered SO much, it’s still something that threatens my peace on a daily basis if I let it.

Without me even having to say a word, Matt followed up his first question with, “Are you worried about how much you ate?”

“Yes,” I said, and went on to basically recap the past two days’ worth of meals so that I could affirm my argument that I had, indeed, overeaten and that I was perfectly justified in freaking out. Because, in all likelihood, I would gain 10 pounds and begin a slow, steady spiral into morbid obesity.

“Why does it matter so much if you gain weight?” he asked, already knowing my answer after three years of the same question. (I’m onto him by now. He’s got a master’s degree in counseling, so he knows that by asking me these questions, he’ll get me to out myself with bad logic. He’s right, of course.)

“Because it’s my worth!” I practically yelled.

See? There it is. The root lie that’s still there in my mind. And, really, how can you blame me when this stupid world we live in tells us this same thing EVERY DAY?

Look at what happened to Carrie Fisher! Look at what people said to Kelly Clarkson after she put on weight! Look at what people said to Pink when she was photographed at a NORMAL size with her daughter! (If you don’t follow pop culture, just take my word for it that a few celebrities gained weight and got blasted by people in the press or media.)

It’s SICK and WRONG! Women have bodies! We gain weight and lose it. We are going to have hips, curves and fat cells…and that’s HEALTHY! And OKAY!

I’m really upset now. This is so stupid. In what world does our body shape determine our value? (Ours, of course, but rhetorically speaking.) Is it my workout routine that’s going to love my family? Is it my ability to skip meals that’s going to make me a more patient, kind person? Is it my ability to look skinny in selfies that’s going to change the world? NO!

As much as I’d like to change the world with blog, I won’t. I doubt I’ll change anyone’s mind unless just for a moment. And that’s fine. Honestly, I just needed to say all of this to remind myself of the truth. The truth that God created me to be more than just a body. He gave me a mind, personality, heart and soul and planned out a way for me to use them all for GOOD in this world. And only a VERY SMALL portion of that—the part that involves self-discipline—has to do with sit-ups and diets.

I am more than my body. My body doesn’t get to tell me what I’m worth. YOU, world, don’t get to tell me what I’m worth.

Jesus does that. And He says I’m awesome. (In so many words, of course, but you get the gist.) And because He’s the source of absolute TRUTH, that’s what I’m going to rely on.

But, just in case I forget, will you remind me? J

Love y’all.

- Jill

Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Open Letter to the World

Dear World,

It’s been an interesting week for you, hasn’t it? You’ve seen a lot in just the span of a few days, and I know you consider it to be pretty monumental. I get it. I’m sure if I didn’t believe the way I did, I’d think it was pretty monumental, too. But the thing is, I do believe differently than you, so I’m not celebrating. Instead, I’m fighting back the tears and frustration because you seem to be blaming Someone very dear to me for holding you back and keeping you in slavery and oppression for hundreds of years. It seems like you want me to keep my mouth shut about my beliefs so that you can enter into this age of new enlightenment and dance all over the ways of the past. But, dear World, that’s so dangerous. I know you think you’re doing what’s right and generating freedom, and I admire you for wanting justice, but I need to share a few thoughts on the matter. It may not be what you want to hear, but hopefully you’ll discern a heart of love behind it—not mine…His.

You see, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I think you’re familiar with His name, but I’m quite sure you have no idea who He is. I can’t blame you. There is a lot of false information out there, as well as a great number of people who claim to be like Him who act entirely opposite. The only reason I know Him is because I was blessed to be raised by some people who knew Him well and showed me that He was (and is) the epitome of love at its highest and most powerful. I definitely don’t do Him justice as His follower a lot of the time when I try to model Him, but I do know a good deal about His real character—that He’s so good and loving and powerful. I don’t think you know that; and if you do, I think you’re only seeing part of the picture—the parts you want to see so that you can make Him into what you want Him to be.

Again, I get it. People like me have done a terrible job of showing His character to you. We’ve said hurtful things and done a lot of damage to His name by saying one thing and doing another. But that’s why it’s important that I share this message with you, because Jesus isn’t defined by the actions of His followers. It is us who are defined by His forgiveness and grace when we fall short.

This Jesus that you keep railing against is not the enemy here. There’s something so much more sinister and evil at work that I really wish you’d understand. It’s not Jesus who has condemned you or made you feel less than loved. It’s not Jesus who has oppressed you. It’s the enemy of our souls who has done this to us all by blinding us to the Truth about Christ and His love, grace and salvation. Jesus wants to free you. He is entirely FOR you, and He promises so many wonderful things if you would just let Him in. He promises grace, mercy and forgiveness. He promises comfort, peace and rest. He promises strength, wisdom and faithfulness. Why are you so vehemently opposed to that? Don’t you want life to be fulfilling and joyful, or do you really want pain, confusion and anger to fuel you forever?

Oh my stars, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to walk in darkness and be locking arms with things Jesus didn’t desire for me. I’ve been isolated, depressed, sick, angry, confused, terrified, panicked and defeated. I’ve gone my own way, and it was miserable. But Jesus came for me. I let Him in, and He restored me through a slow, beautiful, challenging, beneficial healing process. I still have much to learn in Him, and I still struggle, but He is the only way. I know this now more than ever. He IS life! And I don’t understand why you hate that—why you hate Him for saying that He knows the way to all things good. Why would you be so angrily opposed to that? To Him? Don’t you know how much He loves you?

I know you struggle with His rules. And yes there are some, but they’re all designed to protect you and bless you, dear World. Like I said, He is FOR you. Just like a good parent protects his or her children from touching a hot stove or running with scissors, He wants you to follow Him so that you won’t have to suffer so much pain unnecessarily. And I KNOW you have pain in your life. Don’t tell me that you don’t. It’s the kind of pain that no substance, luxury, person or law can even begin to heal. It’s the kind that eats at your innermost being and won’t ever, ever relent. Pain from the past. Pain from the present. Pain from what you think is your future. That kind of pain won’t go away without the healing of the soul from a Savior. I know.

There’s a parable in the Bible that Jesus tells about a son of a wealthy man who really messes things up for himself. He asks his father for his inheritance early and then goes off and blows it all on everything and nothing. He eventually runs out of money and is so poor and destitute that he is desperate for even a bite of the slop being fed to the pigs around him. Now, he knows he messed up
by squandering his inheritance, and he’s ashamed of himself, so he plans to go back to his father and ask to be brought on as a hired hand so that he can at least earn a living. But to his surprise, when he heads back home, his dad is just so glad that he’s come back that he simply runs out to meet him, rejoices that he’s back and throws him a big welcome home party. The father doesn’t give the irresponsible son what he truly deserved; he just welcomed him home and brought him in.

Man, that’s Jesus. That’s our Father. He doesn’t hold our stuff against us; He LOVES us. But He won’t force His love on us. He’s not into forcing His children to do anything. He’s given us the choice to either love Him back or not, and He will respect our wish. If you/we push Him out of our society and out of our lives, He will let us. But He knows what it will cost us: every ounce of peace, joy and true freedom we don’t even know we want. And, what’s worse, we’ll inherit eternity apart from Him and His unrelenting love.  

So, that’s my letter to you. I may write more in the future because I don’t want to give up on you. You are filled with such promise and talent and wonderfulness, and I am breaking down in tears when I think about how desperate you are to throw away the one relationship that could give you more than this crazy, rebellious society ever will. Jesus died for you, World. He isn’t your enemy. He’s your advocate. And He loves you so much that nothing could ever stop Him from wanting what’s best for you: His beautiful creation.