Thank You To My Christian Friends For Reminding Me What’s Really Important

Thank You To My Christian Friends For Reminding Me What’s Really Important

You love me not just as a dear friend, but also as a sister in Christ.
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Humans are social creatures that need intimacy and relationships in order to thrive. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you know that we all have a desire for friendship. It’s how we are all created to function.

Even though I’ve experienced periods of loneliness in my life (hello, middle school), I have generally had a wide array of friends from different areas I’m involved in. Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate and befriend all kinds of people, and I love having a diverse set of different groups to spend time with.

But there’s just something different about Christian friends.

Don’t get me wrong; all of my pals have the capacity to encourage me and make me feel better when I’m down. But as a Christian whose life is defined by my relationship with Jesus Christ, there’s just something unique about being surrounded by a community of fellow believers who can love you not just as a dear friend, but also as a brother or sister in Christ.

We are not necessarily drawn together by our similarities. My circle of Christian friends includes people with different backgrounds, different ages, different majors, different interests, different political philosophies, different personalities.

Some of us may never have become friends except that we somehow ended up in a Bible study together. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What draws us together, above any surface-level enjoyment of each other’s company or even a deeper social connection, is our common love for Jesus. People whose lives have been changed by the Gospel are able to experience a brotherhood that goes beyond normal close friendship, because regardless of our similarities or differences, our lives are centered on the truth of Christ's love, which enables us also to "love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

We are not just friends, but parts of one "Body of Christ" united in a common purpose of displaying His love in the world.

This reality has become clear in some of the most challenging times in my life. When tragedy strikes, your family and friends are there for you to help you recover in any way they can. But when I struggle, my Christian friends don't just provide for physical and relational needs as they come up. These brothers and sisters also speak to my deeper spiritual needs by pointing me back to the Gospel — the "good news" that God loves me, that Jesus died and rose again for me, and that through faith in that merciful reality I have the hope of God's presence in this life and the next.

Even though I already believe this to be true, it can be so easy to lose sight of this hope in the midst of life's struggles. That is why I am so incredibly blessed by my friends who are not only able to share their time and love in immediate ways, but are also willing to pray for me and help me refocus on Jesus rather than my circumstances.

These friends have no special power to miraculously fix my problems, but their Biblical encouragement and reminders to trust in God's "good, pleasing, and perfect will" (Romans 12:2) consistently change my perspective.

So, thank you for helping me to "turn my eyes upon Jesus," because that is the only thing that makes "the things of earth" begin to seem "strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace."

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Corso

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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

Yeah, I said She.

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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.

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