Neon Stains

Neon Stains

We constantly allow ourselves to fall deeper and deeper into sins that seem to permanently stain our souls and spirits, resulting in shame because of our utter messiness. Sometimes it can get to the point where it seems like there is absolutely no return, but please know that redemption is possible.
5
views

Contrary to popular belief, a color war is more than just fun mixed with brightly colored powder.

For those of you who don't know, participating in a color war not only guarantees immense amounts of enjoyment but also a rainbow-tinted coating of somewhat stubborn colored powder (corn starch and flour dyed with food coloring). My high school had a color war yesterday, and it did not disappoint, though my feet were still slightly blue today as I walked into church, and I did not particularly want to lead worship with blue feet and one pink ear. I talked to others who had attended the event as well, and they seemed to have a similar problem ridding their skin and clothing of the stuff.

The saga continues today, as I'm still finding powder in my ears, in my bathroom, and on articles of clothing taken to the wash. I even struggled to carry my Chacos out to my porch because they were so caked with powder that any slight movement would trigger an avalanche of neon messiness, and I have yet to unpack the bag containing my t-shirt and shorts.

Our secret (and oftentimes public) sins are pretty difficult to remove on our own accord, especially when they're piled on top of each other and left to stain our souls ever-darker. Walking into church sometimes feels futile because we are so broken, and it seems like the impressions left on us by our inevitable sins are immovable, so we are ashamed, even reluctant, to walk into so sacred a building as church. We are ashamed to stand before the heavenly throne of God as the messy, ugly, and dirty human beings that we are.

Often, this results in neglect of our sins. We become so ashamed of the dirt and grime that cakes our souls that we try to hide it. We just leave it to ruminate and become more pressing while we attempt to ignore it because we think that will be the final solution to our problem of sin. We think that hiding the sin will reduce the shame of the sin, and that is simply not true. In the book The Picture of Dorian Gray, the main character Dorian Gray owns a once-beautiful self-portrait painted for him by a friend, but his outward sins have transferred into deformities and imperfections on the painting. Eventually, the painting becomes so ugly and undesirable that Gray stores it away in his attic and simply goes on about his life full of sin and deception, even resorting to drugs at one point. In the end, he sees the finished work of the despicable painting, and it disturbs him to his very core. He stabs the painting with a knife, resulting in his own death.

Sin, and later the ignorance of sin, led to Dorian Gray's death, and this is characteristic of sins in the non-fiction world as well.

Not only does the shame brought on those (even those who have been assured of their cleansing by the blood of Christ) who are broken (hint: that's every single person who has ever existed except Christ) often cause them to neglect confronting that sin, but it also causes a desire for and an ease of surrender to more sin.

At the beginning of the color wars, I was tasked with filling bags with colored powder of each color in preparation for various events. I began with orange, and naturally my palms looked as if I had just gotten a bad spray tan. My shirt was slightly tinted, but the powder dusted right off. Then, as I moved to yellow and then blue, I noticed the hue of my skin was darkening and darkening. By the time the games were ready to begin, my hands were almost blackened, and my shirt had a plethora of colors already on it, removing the original purity of the crisp white tee. The beauty was gone once the colors had all been tested, and it took a lot of scrubbing to rid my palms of the black mixture of colors.

Sin almost completely loses its appeal once it begins to pile up on us, but we feel as if we must continue in it in order to hide it. We feel like, if we keep on sinning to cover up past sins, eventually everything will just disappear. Even if we know that all sins, big and small, remain with us without the cleaning power of Jesus's redeeming blood, it is incredibly easy to fall into the snares that are constantly thrown at us.

"Just come to the party! Your parents will never know."

"One drink isn't going to hurt you!"

"Come on! Don't you love me? It doesn't matter if you go a little further."

"It's only a couple dollars, just take it."

"Drugs make you feel amazing. Just try it! You can always stop if you don't like it."

"You've already gotten this far. If you quit now you'll just be a loser!"

Those snares entice us until we give in, and then we have the option of opting out (the right option) or continuing. Most commonly, sins are used to try and cover other sins, and that is ultimately going to be unfruitful and just hurt you even more.

My ultimate objective in this color war, as I told one of my friends, was not even for our senior class to win any competitions. My goal was to get as colorful as possible. I ran right into the action and got a small burst of excitement each time I saw my once-white shirt stained with yet another bright hue. But I knew I could go right home and wash it all clean. I knew that, come Sunday, I'd be clean and prepped for church, like nothing ever happened.

The point of the grace of God is not to make it your ultimate goal to sin as much as possible now because you know that God will save you from it when you ask Him. It is true that the blood of Christ washes you clean from your sins, but there has to be a heart change as well. True Christians feel something after they sin. They know they'll be sinners until the day they die, but they also know that it is not right, and they are focused on putting off sins that they notice themselves committing, not just sitting in them. Don't get covered in sin because you know that once the fun is over you can wash it all away and restart the cycle.

This post is in no way supposed to make color wars sound sinful (I realized about halfway through that this post is not very generous to the event used as a metaphor. I promise they are worth the mess!). The point of this post is not to criminalize color wars in themselves. The point is to stress how broken we are and how much we need to realize our sins and ask God to rid us of them. However, becoming more like Christ (a process called sanctification) is not only a God thing. Sanctification is a cooperation between God and man, so in order to become more like Christ, we must make an effort to eradicate acts that displease God from our lives.

So, next time you walk into church (or decide to skip it), ashamed by the sins you feel are so obvious to everyone around you, know that you are loved. God knows that we are imperfect, and He meets us in our brokenness and messiness, willing and ready to carry us back to a relationship with Him. You just have to be willing to yield yourself to Him and trust that He has your best interest in mind. He is not judgmental of those things of which you are ashamed as long as you knowingly admit that those things are things that are, in fact, shameful. He loves, plain and simple.


Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
876731
views

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.

4936
views

An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

Related Content

Facebook Comments