Compromise

As I become older, and my girlfriends do as well, we are faced with many challenges involving relationships.

 

It would seem that when we take a stand for purity, suddenly the enemy picks us out of the crowd and attacks. Lately many girls that I know have been under attack (including myself) in regards to relationships.

 

I want to encourage you, dear hearts.

 

In this day and age, godly men are rare. Honestly, it can be discouraging to stop and take note that the handful of godly men we know seem to be ancient sages, married, or….our little brother. 🙂 We are inundated by the World’s standard of men; surrounded by what the world deems as “real men” in our music, television, social media, novels, magazines, etc. As Christian women we have been brought up to know that these are not the kind of men we should desire to marry. We know we want a Bible-believing, God fearing, Godly man. So we wait. As we become older we realize there aren’t really that many young men that fit such a description. So when a guy comes a long that seems to be okay…our first inclination might be… “maybe he’s ‘it’!”

 

We are enamored. He likes me! Someone actually likes me! And….he isn’t a bad guy. He’s actually really sweet.

 

We begin to compromise. Girls, I want to share some truths that keep coming up before me over and over again. Truths that I have been trying to share with some friends. Truths that come to me while I pray, truths the Lord has given me in my own struggles. These are truths you might need to hear again. Even though you were taught them, or you know them to be true. People do not discuss them much. And right now, in this day and age, and more specifically, at this time in my life, I am seeing innocence under siege.

 

Girls, a lost man is incapable of loving you. He can’t. Because God is love, and without Him, it is impossible to love.

 

The lost man that is pursuing you might be a nice guy, but stop and think why you wouldn’t marry him. The reasons that just came to mind should be the same reasons to keep you from encouraging any relationship with him. False love is more destructive than hate. It will catch you unguarded and leave you deeply wounded.

 

If this guy isn’t an option right now, than he shouldn’t be a struggle either. He shouldn’t be treated like an option. Maybe he is a Christian, but your family doesn’t have a peace about him. You aren’t sure. If your brothers, Dad or Pastor, feel uncomfortable about the guy, you should too. Men understand men better than we do.

 

We, as ladies, are prone to weakness. Our hearts are easily moved. Admit it, we are emotionally driven. Predators are attracted to weak prey. Not all men are predators by any means. Many are protectors. But all women are weak when it comes to the heart. We will attract predators. With this knowledge we can take precautions by allowing ourselves to be protected and guarding our hearts.

 

We shouldn’t start a relationship we know might have to be ended. Many girls I know right now have come to a “Y” in their relationship path. And they don’t even want to admit they have to make a choice.

 

Girls, there is no such thing as neutral ground. I am seeing the same scenarios in these various young ladies lives. Of course there is balance….we have to realize that temptations come and they in and of themselves are not sins. (See post on Temptations ) But, if you are in a less than good relationship, and you know that it cannot continue, then a decision must be made. Not to decide is a decision. You are choosing to move forward.

 

There is no such thing as being a good friend with a guy who wants to pursue you. He doesn’t want to “just be a friend”. Being this man’s friend is not an option.

 

This man is either the man God has chosen for you, or he isn’t. There isn’t an in between. And if the Lord does not give you or your God-given-authorities peace about him than he is a “no”. And must be treated as such. To do otherwise would be dishonest and hurtful to him.

 

Some girls don’t want to make the decision. They would rather choose to “struggle” instead. Because it is easier and feels better to have someone attracted to you. You feel attached to this man.

 

He won’t magically go away on his own if he isn’t the right guy. You can’t soothe your conscience by deciding that in the future you will make a choice. It’s a cross roads now. It won’t happen unless you decide to decide now.

 

Continuing to be around this guy, fellowshipping, contacting, continuing to “get to know” and be “friends” is inappropriate. Who in their right mind, while on a sugar-free diet, would prepare chocolate cake? Even if they didn’t plan on eating it?

 

Girls, your heart is at stake! Your purity, your future husband and your future children. Not to mention your little siblings who are watching you.

 

What if he is meant for later on down the road? Perfect. You can wait; for all things not in His time are not beautiful. God is bigger than our no.

 

Is compromise considerable when it comes to the 2nd most important decision in our life? It’s difficult to be objective when our feelings are tangled up in the matter. I know. But we must let God guide us. It is imperative. If we manipulate our circumstances now, we will never know if “he” really was the one or not. When hard times come, you will doubt.

 

Does God know who we will marry? Absolutely! Then, why do we struggle?

 

We struggle because we choose to side with our flesh instead of choosing to love that man. If we truly loved him we wouldn’t vaunt ourselves, we wouldn’t seek our own. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

 

We love the enjoyment we get out of the relationship more than we love the person himself. It’s true. If we know continuing down this relationship path is potentially harmful, or not His will, less than good, than to continue on anyway is purely selfish.

 

It has been said that we never really love anyone until we can do without them for their good.” (Hannah Whitall Smith in God is Enough, 139)

 

Convicting. He has someone picked out for us. If He is silent on the matter of who our man is, it’s on purpose. There is a reason. Our outward conduct is important, but so is our inward. For as a man thinketh, so is he…and what is in the heart we will speak. What is in our heart we will do. Even if sub-consciously we have decided we won’t take a stand, then we won’t. It is possible for a Christian young woman to revel in selfishness. Or, we can take a stand. Of course our fathers can help us in this….but ultimately it is your choice whether to give your heart away or not. Let’s take a stand. Your heart is worth fighting for.

 

 Never give in to compromise.

 

Is it Compromise?

Image result for meditation

Because I am interested in natural health I continually come across eastern medicine and also things like yoga, meditation and such therapies.

For the last few months I have been involved in many sessions of something called “I-Rest”.  I decided to give it a try, being open minded and also seeking God’s discernment of whether or not it was compromise.  This is what I felt I learned.  For many of you it may not have any bearing in your life since you are not interested in such practices.  But this is an issue that is given very little thought by open-minded Christians who seek to have a “non-legalistic” viewpoint.  And honestly, I believe we have a duty to “have an answer” to those who have found peace outside of God.

Some of you may say “Impossible!  There isn’t peace outside of God!”  But with all respect, you’re wrong.  I’ve seen people over and over and over find “peace” without any credence given to God.  People who have found real help.

What is I-Rest:

I-Rest is a discipline of mentally and emotionally supporting your healing process by guided meditation. It is not an emptying of the mind, as some would believe meditation, but simply taking the time to listen, to know, to face, and ultimately to welcome the unresolved issues in our lives. In our fast-paced world we rarely take the time to listen to the signals and messages our body tries to tell us. Someone asks us “How are you?” and we habitually reply that we are “good”, without the slightest notion how we really are. When is the last time we took notice? To know “where we are at”? We live in stress, or anxiety or fear or guilt (the list can go on and on) but we aren’t even able to put a label on our unrest; it’s just a hanging burden. A burden we get so accustomed to we forget it’s there. But it’s there; constantly wearing us down. We haven’t taken the time to face “it” because we haven’t even accepted “it’s” existence. I-rest teaches how to stop for a moment and listen. To ask yourself where you’re at in life. How are you? Really, how are you? And the stressor will come, the fear, the guilt, the trauma, it will come to you. I-Rest then gives you the chance to hold “it” in the light and view it for what it is. It’s no longer a nameless, constant weight in the back of your mind. You can see it. You can face it. And you have the choice to either continue to ignore it, or to welcome it, accept it, feel it; instead of flee. And in that moment there is a liberty that comes with the courage of holding onto it without letting go.

Why Christians can use it:

I-Rest is a tool; not a religion. I-Rest actually promotes biblical principles. Instead of ignoring or running away from our negative emotions or circumstances, I-rest teaches that these can be embraced and accepted and learned from. As Christians, we know this to be true. The bible says “…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Hardship works our our faith and teaches us patience and ultimately creates completeness. This is biblical. I-Rest teaches to embrace pain, to face it, to hold it along with joy, and to accept them both. I think of the hymn “More Love Oh Christ” and the verse “Let Sorrow do it’s work, send grief and pain, sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain, when they can sing with me, more love oh Christ to thee…” This is in essence, I-Rest. I-Rest says, instead of fleeing from sorrow, why not let it do it’s work? Allow yourself to feel grief instead of continually building a barrier to emotion. Instead of resisting, sing with them! C.S. Lewis, the renowned Christian author, practiced this discipline. When his wife died Lewis decided to “observe” his grief. He wrote about it. He held it. He wept. He felt it. It was a constant companion. And by observation he was able to heal. “Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” – C.S. Lewis, ‘A Grief Observed’,59

The reason Christians would not use it:

Although I-Rest is suited to the Western world, it’s roots are founded in Indian philosophy and Yoga Nidra. Modern Yoga Nidra is basically a relaxation technique that was derived from ancient tantra (Hindu ritual text dating to the 6th-13th centuries) by an Indian student of Yoga, Swami Satyananda in the 1970s. Although the intentions were to make Yoga Nidra available to every culture, regardless of religion, it’s roots are undoubtedly connected to ancient Indian religion, including their god, Vishnu. I-Rest is an indirect adherence to the doctrines and principles of the tantra. Though I-rest is several steps removed from it’s eastern religious background, it’s roots lead directly to Indian rituals. This is something, that as a Christian we cannot be comfortable with, because we believe in one God.

Dueteronomy 6:4-5 “…The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might.”

Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the LORD do all things.”

…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” 1 John 14:6

This is the “narrow mindedness” of Christianity. Truth is often “narrow minded”. There is a wrong way, and there is a right way to most things. There are absolutes.

For example: I have one biological father and will always, only have one, and there is no other way to have more than one. This may come across as narrow minded if you believed there was the possibility to many biological fathers, but it is actually an absolute truth. I know and believe I can only have one biological father. I am not narrow minded in believing this; I am believing in truth.

I also know I can only have one God, and one heavenly Father. I know Him personally and love Him. To deny this would be like denying the truth that I have one biological father, whom I personally know and love. I would never accept anyone claiming to be my biological father who wasn’t. They would be false father. Just as I would never want to give allegiance to anyone that claimed to be my god, who was not. They would be a false god. By following yoga principles I could indirectly give credence to a false god.

Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14

I-Rest also encourages you to find your inner resource. I do believe that we ignore our God-given tools to recognize illness, to accept both the “negative” and “positive”, and to understand what our health options are. But we are not sufficient of ourselves.(2 Corinthians 3:5) We are all born with a need of God.

At least once in our lives we have done something to be ashamed of. We have lied, we have stolen, we have looked on someone in lust… the list goes on. Inherently we know we are wrong. God gives us a list of commandments (His law) to show us we have at least broken one of these. Even breaking one makes us a law breaker. God tells us in the Bible that there is eternal consequences for the immoral law breaker. It’s called Hell, a place of everlasting fire and torment. One of those absolutes. But God is not willing that any should perish. We have broken God’s law but Jesus paid the fine. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We have a need, and He met it.

We have to be careful with the idea that we are complete without Him. That we can find every solution to life outside of Him. Nothing can replace Him, not even I-Rest.

I-Rest follows many biblical principles and therefore does help people. But for the unbeliever in Jesus it could become a mimic alternative to God. God has called us to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15). No other peace is as complete as His peace.

My conclusion

Though I am convinced I-Rest is helpful and a legitimate benefit and even involves many biblical principles, it also stems from a religion and mind-set that I do not fully agree with, as a Christian. I am thankful for the things I have learned from I-Rest and even intend to continue practicing these principles. But I-Rest in and of itself is something I cannot completely stand behind.

Many Christians refuse to learn from things around them if they are not directly affiliated with their church, or their denomination. This is true narrow-mindedness and needs to be considered since it is a stereotype that we encourage by this behavior.

We Christians also need to realize that God is not a “fix-all” to our life. Life includes the good times and the hard circumstances. We are promised “fiery trials” (1 Peter 1:7). But God also tells us that these trials are the fire that purges us and makes our faith as precious gold. God did not promise us a life of ease as Christians. He is not our jinni that we go to when we are faced with dire circumstances. Prosperity has nothing to do with Christianity. Instead in Jesus’ life we see compassion, which leads to service, we see unconditional love, which leads to vulnerability, we see obedience, which led to death. If we follow Him long enough we too will experience these things. Christian, just as I-Rest teaches, and also the Bible, you will have burdens. You will have struggles. You will have hardships.

The question is: Will you face it? Will you accept them? And will you give them to Someone far more capable of carrying them?

Resources:

Integrative Restoration Institute’s website.

King James Bible

Bushels and Blessings

I’ve mentioned before, in previous posts, that I worked at a place called “Bushels”. (A small local Mennonite store with a deli/bakery.) In this post, I’d like to give you just a little bit of back story as to how I actually ended up there and where the Lord took me in it.

I’ve grown up a very conservative Christian girl, to which I have never once regretted. That being said, my dad has never really been supportive of “women in the workforce”. As young women, our focus should be at home. Being “keepers at home” is one of the things listed to teach young women in Titus 2:4 and 5. It is important. But it also isn’t a sin for women to work outside the home either. My dad has always been very protective of his girls, as any good father should be, and I knew as a young girl growing up, that if I would ever work outside my home someday, it would have to be a very special job that met certain requirements. A safe environment being one of them. And somewhat conservative surroundings another. Because my heart was to both obey and respect my dad’s wishes, and I assumed therefore, that I would probably never have a “real job” anytime soon (other than our local housecleaning business). With a desire to please my dad, I asked the Lord one thing- that if He ever wanted me to get a job outside my normal home environment, that He would open the door in a way that my dad would be more excited about the idea than I even would be. With that being said, I was pretty sure I’d be jobless. 🙂 But those were my requirements and I held to them.

In the spring of 2013, I found my life changing unexpectedly, and began to pray about new things. Getting a job was one of them. I mentioned it to my dad and just continued to pray about it. I remember when “Bushels” was first brought to my mind. I thought to myself, “Aw, it is perfect. Conservative and safe.” I remember conniving at one point, to maybe get my dad to have the Mennonite family (who ran the store) over for dinner. Besides we were already somewhat acquainted, and had been meaning to have them over sometime anyways. It would be the perfect way in! But, the Lord never gave me peace to push for it. In fact, He told me to leave it alone and wait for His will and timing, whether that was Bushels or not. So I waited. About 3 months.

Unannounced to me, my dad went into the store early that May and while ordering deli meats & cheeses, had a conversation with the man who would later become my boss. Apparently, the fact that he (Mr. Jeremy) needed extra work here and there came into the conversation, and my dad mentioned that his daughter (which would be me) might be interested. My dad never told me and about a week later, I got a call. “If you are still interested in working part-time, let me know in the next few days.” What? I was never so surprised. So I quickly began to pray about it and consulted my dad. Honestly, at first I was a little nervous about the idea, but my dad had full confidence. And believe it or not, my dad was more excited about it than I was!

 When the Lord told me to wait, I waited, and He dropped the perfect job into my lap.

I asked the Lord that my dad would be supportive and excited about a job that met certain specific requirements, and He answered that request.

The Lord gave me Matthew 14:27– “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” And there was peace.

So began my almost 2 year career at Bushels. And I learned so much. And more than just simple things like, how to slice the perfect thickness of a piece of Havarti cheese without it crumbling apart, or getting your pound of sliced meat down to the exact ounce on a deli scale, or how to make the perfect deli sandwich in less than 30 seconds, or how to make food labels and package cinnamon rolls efficiently. There were so many life lessons. Like, learning to be more confident in who I am as an individual person. I’ve always struggled with that. But I was no longer introduced or perceived by others as just “the youngest Bickish girl” – but instead, as “Lynea”. I could no longer hide behind my family. I didn’t have my outgoing and bold older sister leading the way! No, instead, I had to step out of my comfort zone. And while learning to be an individual outside your family circle seems a small thing, it actually made a big difference in how I carried myself as a person.

The Lord also gave me many different opportunities to witness and talk with people. It challenged what I believed and why I believed it; to be able to “give an answer for the hope that lieth within [me]” and to defend my faith for myself. I built relationships with many different people and learned how to reach out to them. It was a blessing and a joy. Although there were hard and lonely lessons too. Such as, realizing and learning to be okay with the fact that you are different than “the average Christian” or professing Mennonite and therefore rejected as the “outcast” of the group. Which, isn’t always fun. 🙂 But certainly worth it. (Please consider reading my previous post Outside the Camp.)

In the fall of 2014, the Lord began to close the door to the Bushels store. His timing, again, was perfect. I was tired and busy beyond belief, and my family was getting ready to move. It was time. And by December I gave my notice. Some things in life are only for a season, and Bushels was one of those. But it certainly was a blessing in many ways and I am thankful for everything the Lord taught me during that time and how He used it in my life.
The truth is, waiting on the Lord is a wonderful place to be. As young Christian women, let’s not settle for what the world tells us is normal! Let’s not settle for what even most “Christians” will criticize or shove down our throats! Who says you have to get a job in “the real world” by the time you are 18? Or go to a Christian or secular college? It’s okay to be different than the majority. It’s okay to stand alone, if need be. To stand against the strong tide of society. When He sets a standard for us, no matter how impossible it might seem at the time, we can trust Him to provide through it. Is it wrong to get a job as a single young girl? No. Is it wrong to go to college? No, it certainly isn’t. But when Christ sets a standard for us, it is wrong to endanger that standard by compromise. We don’t have to compromise! So many young girls I know are choosing to settle. Don’t! Whether that is a job opportunity you just can’t get peace about, or maybe a standard that has been somehow crossed in some way, or a decision that goes against your convictions, or maybe a young man that just isn’t His perfect will for your life and you know it; it isn’t worth settling for.Recently, I was asked to help fill in at Bushels again for several days during the month of April. Due to certain circumstances, they needed extra help. I was a little hesitant, and the long drive and long days certainly didn’t seem that worth it to me. But the Lord not only opened the door, but actually had to end up pushing me through it. I think He knew that He’d have to, because I wouldn’t have walked through it again willingly of my own accord. 🙂 And again, He proved faithful in regards to this little work place. He gave me one of the neatest opportunities to talk to one of the young Mennonite girls there that I used to work with. Just being able to share more of my faith with her, and actually watch her listen and consider what I had to say. It thrilled my soul and I came home smiling to myself, because I knew why He had wanted me to go back.

Psalms 27:14 says- “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” 

We can wait, because He abides faithful. We can stand against the normality of our modern culture, because He gives us the courage to. We can go on in His perfect will for our lives, because He is our strength.

This is me (on the far right) with some of the other girls there.