Approaching Grace in Red High Heels
Today I am privileged host a guest writer from the organization Proven Men. One of the topics our readers requested during the Facebook party earlier this month was ‘what should I look for in a godly man?’ David answers this question with six things to keep in mind as you interact with the men in your life.
Looking for Mr. Perfect?
Well let’s forget the Notebook for a moment and take a look at what the Bible tells us about what a true man should look like.
Passionate for God
A man who is passionate for God takes the focus off of himself and allows God to be his first priority. Rather than focusing on his circumstances, a man who is passionate for God will be focused on the Lord. Passion for God replaces lust and selfish desires. This also applies to men who are or want to be husbands. If this man is passionate for God, then he knows that God calls him to cherish his wife and place her before his own desires – and yes, that may mean Monday Night Football.
Repentant in Spirit
Admitting wrongdoing or confessing failure is not something that men tend to talk about while fishing on the weekend. Regardless, God calls men to have a repentant spirit towards their sin. Being repentant is more than having feelings of guilt or shame. Rather, it is confessing sin and pursuing God. Where there is true repentance there should be an active pursuit of lifestyle change.
You’ve stopped on the breakneck journey of life to read this post, and I’m glad you did. For the moment you’re here, I want you to set down the two suitcases you have in your hands – the one called Father, and the other called Mom.
I want you to set them aside and hear something true.
Every person on this earth has parents, whether that term refers simply to their biological origins or if it has the deeper relational meaning of a family tie. You have a mother and dad. Some of you don’t know either of them. Some of you lost one to death or divorce. Some of you were hurt by them, abused by them, or neglected by them. Some feel you can’t meet their expectations. Some of you were babied and enabled by them.
Our parents have a profound effect on our lives, and their choices have the power to influence us for years to come.
But dear girl, your life is not the sum of your parents’ failure or success.
You are neither a trophy nor a disappointment.
Your identity is not based on your last name or your parents’ actions. They are imperfect people, sinners just like you and me. But their flaws should not dictate our value, or we will go through life measuring our worth against the opinions of people instead of the opinion of God.
Some of us had parents who did things well: they loved us, they trained us, they taught us, they cared about us. But those of us with this story carry another burden: the burden of expectation. Just as some carry the weight of their parents’ poor decisions or disapproval, others carry the weight of comparison. They think their marriage is supposed to look just like their parents’ did. They think their lives, homes, and children are supposed to be just like their childhood. And when it isn’t – as most assuredly will be the case – they are assaulted with discontent and disillusionment.
Every married couple has a special story. It’s the differences that make those stories so fascinating. No matter how simple, how run-of-the-mill, it’s the individuality of the people in the story that makes us ask, “How did you meet?” “When did you know?” and “How did he ask you?”
So I won’t say our story is better than all the others. But it’s ours. And of course, I’m a little biased… both towards our story, and towards you.
I love our story not just because of how God wrote it or the role you played. I love it because it gave me hope. Our story proves that there are, in fact, men in the world who believe in something higher and holier than the basicness of the status quo.
Our story gives hope to many girls like me; girls who stand where I stood three years ago. I remember who I was then. I remember telling God my hopes and dreams, with eyes wide to see His promises come true. But I was a proud thing, with expectations and assertions and a keen sense of black and white. Your love changed me, and is changing me with every day.
Three years ago I arrived in Virginia with short hair, a shorter temper, and big plans. When I shook your hand in that bookstore parking lot, decked to the nines in my heels and overcoat, you were the last thing on my romance radar (those awful green plaid shorts!), and I was the last thing on yours.
When you sat by me during Sherlock Holmes (much to my irritation) and proceeded to be more impertinent than I should have ever allowed, I was appalled at your audacity. But I was intrigued by your confidence. “You’re not afraid of me, are you?” I whispered coolly as the movie played in front of us. “I just know how you think.” You shot back. Well, I never.
When you cancelled our coffee date because I said you were texting me too much (admit it, you were) I was peeved. And you were peeved I was ‘reading into’ our friendship. Somehow you still persuaded me to meet you for a baseball game – probably because deep down, I knew our little spats weren’t the destroying kind. They were the building kind.
I didn’t know the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was last night until one of my readers emailed me about it. Perusing her letter, I realized she brought up some great points, but she was honest with me:
“I admit to wishing I had their spidery long legs, tan skin, or full D cups as well. So all that to say, what are your thoughts? Specifically how should we, as women of Christ, respond?”
We live in a world of extreme reactions, and this includes the church. I’ve heard some women wish fire and brimstone upon lingerie stores for daring to sell such merchandise in the public sphere; I’ve heard (often younger) women writing off the fashion show as a cultural commodity, watching it with glee regardless of their Christian faith. Like almost every issue I write about, this one requires balance.
I love lingerie. I think it’s awesome. I believe in always wearing matching sets in case you get in a car accident, and now that I’m married, I’ve had the opportunity to invest in an extensive wardrobe of lacy goodies. But I don’t watch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and here’s why.
1. These women are employed to work out, wear makeup, and walk a runway: they are not a legitimate comparison to the average woman.
I think the VS models are all very pretty. While I don’t approve of their career path, I’m not saying they didn’t work for it.
But that’s just it: they worked for it. These women are employed to model lingerie. That is their day job. And frankly, that’s not the case for the average American 20-something.
I don’t watch the VS fashion show because of what it says to my sex. Let’s read some of the comments from Twitter:
“Day after #VSFashionShow…. every girls diet starts TODAY”
“The day after U.S. airing #VSFashionShow every girl is hitting the gym”
“I know it’s just a fun spectacle, yet can never shake the feeling that the #VSFashionShow is potentially disastrous for young girls.”
“Ask me why I’m depressed lol #VSFashionShow ”
These are my kind. They are women like me. And as they watch this entourage of ‘perfect’ women they can’t help but think it must be possible to look that way… and if it’s possible, why am I not making this happen?
I love the feeling of a newspaper in my hands: and not just the feeling, but the type on the page, the stories, the photos – everything about the news. But these days, it hasn’t left me feeling very chipper.
I sat contemplating the issue in Ferguson, the accusations of ‘rape culture’, the national debt, healthcare bills and immigration reform, and then my mind turned to the emails in my inbox. There reside the letters from girls who just need someone to listen: girls asking, “Is there still hope for me?” “What do I do if…” “Is it wrong to want to be married?” “How do I set aside my desires…”
I asked myself, “What is the solution to all of this?”
Is there a solution?
Girls often ask me how to deal with the desires in their hearts. Young men write my husband asking how they can fight temptation. And both myself and my husband have our own battles to fight in this journey of sanctification, as do we all. Sometimes it’s overwhelming.
Those who think about the world are often the most depressed by it. That’s why they say not to watch the news. But as I considered the current events, the desires, and the temptations that face us as Christians each day, I realized an important point that makes all the difference in our circumstances. The video below shares what that is.
As the year draws to a close, it’s common practice to take time and reflect on the year that has been; the experiences, decisions and mistakes; the good and the bad. We take stock and tally our achievements and our failures. Sometimes the failures seem to outweigh the achievements. There are more mistakes than good decisions. The hard times are more than the good times. We see our foolish mistakes in glaring lights and we beat ourselves up and think how life would be better if we had just done things differently.
Can I offer some encouragement?
Jesus has been with you through the year; He knows the whole story. And He wants you to know something: it will all work out. Every hard time you’ve had; every mistake you’ve made; every bad decision. All of it! It will work out – it is working out even now – because He says so; in Romans 8:28:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (KJV).
He is working all those kinks in your life for your good and for His glory. He is turning your story around even now. All those things that don’t look good, those things that aren’t good? Turn them over to Him, and watch Him make something beautiful of your life. It may take a little time; the wait may be long and the pace may be slow. But trust Him. He will not change course. He won’t get tired of you; He loves you even when you make the same mistakes over and over again.
He sees your confusion and He understands your frustration. But He wants you to trust Him and wait on Him. Even now, things are coming together. Even now, He’s working in your heart; making you more like Him. He’s pruning you; taking away the dead stuff, the sick stuff, the stuff that’s not of Him. It’s painful, but hang in there; in His perfect time, He will show you the full picture and you’ll see that everything you’re going through right now will be worth it; the joy will outweigh the pain.