Monday, September 17, 2012

Dress to Impress

". . . Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
Romans 14:13b

Setting: Weekend outing
Action: Girl walks down in to the living room. Dad says she isn't wearing that. Girl whines. Dad puts foot down. Girl changes.
This is a universal movie scene that almost every girl in America is familiar with.

My favorite scene comes from one of the great classic movies, Clueless. Cher walks down stairs in a tiny white dress and her dad says, "What the heck is that?" She responds by saying, "A dress!" Cher's dad fires back with, "Says who??" Cher confidently tells him, "Calvin Klein." Cher ends up keeping the dress on. I usually wasn't as fortunate. 

I remember even back in my early teens going shopping with my mom and getting so upset with her when I couldn't get the cute outfit from Limited Too because it "looked to old for me." Duh, mom. That's the whole point. Look like an 18 year old at 12. Get with the program.

It didn't stop there it continued on to my high school career and, I'm embarrassed to say, even college. The saying she says has evolved some, though. Instead of "that's too old for you" it's now more along the lines of "that's too short" or "that's too low." At that point I proceed to defend myself and explain it's really not that bad because it could be much worse.

Then about a year or so ago she told me something with so much pure love that I was so humbled I couldn't even be mad or upset with her nagging. I'm probably not quoting this verbatim, but I can get pretty close. "Jackie, I know you try really hard to reflect Christ in your life and lead others in how to live for Him but sometimes that is not evident in the way you dress."

Geez. It still stings. 

After that I tried to focus more on my clothing choice, but I have to admit all I really did was focus on who I would be seeing me in those clothes. If I was going to be around adults I knew personally I would make an effort to dress more conservatively. However, if I knew I would most be around people my age I wouldn't be as concerned with whether or not my shorts were close to to my fingers. 

Recently, though,  God has really been working on my heart. 

Before you read any farther I want to make one thing clear. This is not secretly directed to anyone I know personally. So if you are feeling that way - don't. These are my convictions and something that I want to get better at. 

So let's get to scripture. We've all heard the story (and laughed uncomfortably in kid's church) about when God first created Adam and Eve they didn't have to wear clothes. They walked around naked. (ha!) But I want to focus on two verses that come after the fall of man.

Genesis 3:7 "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."

Upon noticing that they were naked they didn't just go about their day. This realization was a big enough deal that it spurred action. They made something to cover their nakedness.

Genesis 3:10 "He (Adam) answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

So now we see a little bit of what Adam and Eve's thought process was. Once they realized they were naked, it scared them. They were so afraid that they hid. I'm sure we can all agree our society has a little bit of a different view of nakedness then the first man and woman did.

Flipping over a few books to Proverbs let's look at a verse dealing with men looking at women. Proverbs chapter 6 verse 25 says,

"Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes." 

OK, I know what you are thinking. That verse is talking about guys looking lustfully at women so what does that do with me? A lot. 

In his song "Praying For You" Lecrae says, "can't even hit up the mall cuz every lady's half-dressed temptin' him to lust and fall." . . . Get it now? Later on in the song we find out that Lecrae is really praying for himself. 

Now am I saying that we should take all the credit for men lusting and they shouldn't shoulder              any of the responsibility? Not. At. All. What I am saying is that we have done a pretty poor job  of helping them out.

Romans 14:13b ". . . Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." 

This can look like a lot of different things, but in this instance it means stop dressing with the intent of making them stumble!! And remember I am talking to myself most of all! 

I am not saying to wear long sleeves and sweat pants every day. I am saying we have to have a mentality shift. Instead of dressing to impress guys and look sexy (consider the root of that word. . .) dress to impress your Creator. 

God made us beautiful! Each of us! Know the difference. 

I need to start considering who I have in mind when I dress to impress.

Love y'all! Really!

Jackie J

Thursday, September 6, 2012


"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."
Philippians 2:3

Football is finally here!! Praise the Lord! Hogs won. Hillbillies won. Cowboys won. My football season is off to a great start! Those of you that don't know me that well may be a little confused by the middle team. I am from Ozark, Arkansas and our mascot is a Hillbilly. 

When I moved to Ozark in the second grade I literally thought I would die of embarrassment. Who cares about the fact everything I had known since birth was going to be uprooted and turned upside down and the fact that my precious grandparents would now be one hour away instead of one minute. I was about to be a Hillbilly.

I mean, seriously. I had BIG dreams. At this point my life goal was to be a high school cheerleader. Now I was going to have to say "Go Hillbillies!" Like.... what? 

Luckily, upon moving to Ozark my view changed. I realized that being a Hillbilly was actually pretty cool. And even though I now get some strange looks when I play the "Name, Major, and High School Mascot" game on the first day of classes, I wouldn't change my mascot for anything. Instead of being devastating, cheering for the Hillbillies throughout jr. high and high school became my favorite thing to do. In fact one of my favorite chants to call was "HPRD."

That's it. HPRD. Just chant that over and over again and you can get a small town real pumped up! It stands for Hillbilly Pride Runs Deep. So that's where the title of this message comes from - with a slight altercation. Mine version SHOULD stand for Jesus Pride Runs Deep, right? I mean that would be ideal. 

Unfortunately, recently in my life it has stood for Jackie's Pride Runs Deep. In fact, I probably should have put an extra 'R' in there for REALLY Deep. And let me tell you, nothing is more humbling then realizing just how prideful you are. 

My first red flag should have been when my pastor stood up at church this past Sunday and said we were talking about Pride. I was so prideful that I wasn't even immediately convicted. I thought, "Oh, I need to take good notes so I can help others struggling with pride!" ...... Like really? Bless my heart.

God was quick to set me straight, though. Point after point kept hitting home. By 'hitting home' I don't mean "yeah, I struggle with that." By 'hitting home' I mean "I SUCK." I actually at one point during the sermon leaned over and wrote that on my boyfriends notes. Every single point described me.

1)Pride says my agenda is more important than unity (check)
2)Pride tells me I am more important than I really am (check)
3)Pride is all about me (check)
4)Pride tells me I must continually compare myself to others (double check)

FYI the (check)'s above mean they apply to me. Not good. Especially number 4. 

Philippians 2:4 says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Translation: Help others. Don't compare yourself to others in any way to try to make yourself look better. Ouch. I know. Stings a little. 

Verse 5 says "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus," then goes on to list what exactly that looks like in the following verses.

So to apply this to my life and your life.... Am I saying that wanting to look good, be in shape, eat healthy, do well in school, grow in your walk with Christ are all bad things? NO. Am I saying if you should reevaluate stuff if you are only concerned with how YOU can achieve all of these things and are only interested in being better than others as opposed to helping others? YES. Join the crowd. 

I'm praying that you and I both can make an effort to live out JPRD with the J standing for the One and Only Savior of this fallen world.

Love you all!
Jackie J