The first post for Unfading. It has to be stellar, brilliant, the perfect way to describe my feelings on a day when God’s allowing a dream that’s been in my heart for nearly two years to step toward reality. And what if it isn’t perfect? Will this wonderful place for girls and young women stumble before it begins? Will my dream die? Will our other fantastic writers glare at me, or turn away in shame when they see me next?
I’m hoping that this sounds as absurd to you as it looks to me. And that you’re not friends with this thought pattern.
Unfortunately, I am.
I’ve tried tracing it back. I think it starts somewhere in middle school, around the time my parents heard God’s call to move us to Africa. I was so excited for the adventure, but terrified of failing my warm, supportive parents, or worse, failing God at the ministry thing. The pressure grew from there. If we got a school assignment, I instantly had plans for an “A+.” If I didn’t get it … failure (even if it was a “B.”) If I planned to read the Bible through in a year, I was going to finish it early and write an expositional paper on the End Times. When I fizzled over the book of Leviticus … failure.
This made rough going in the friends and guys department too. My awkward, nerdy personality made it too likely that I’d fail at making friends who were obviously better than me (in my mind). There have been many days since then that I finished feeling worn, raveled, dirty, faded, like an old pair of jeans that’s no good for anything but to be tossed out.
But a few people fought their way through those feelings, some, mentors who patiently taught God’s opinion of me, others, friends who modeled it. Let’s just say it’s a 180 from the worn-out-jeans theory.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes,” Ephesians 1:4. “… For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession … he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light,” I Peter 2:9. “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine,’” Isaiah 43:1. “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God,” 1 Peter 3:3-4.
Let’s see … endless guilt over my numerous imperfections, both real and imagined, or … belonging as the personal friend, daughter and ambassador of a King who thinks all that about me. Hmmm… So why don’t we pick the second? Why have I spent a couple of weeks preparing software, plug-ins, taking pictures and editing other people’s fabulous posts, which will be coming to you over the next few days, and putting off writing this post, scared it would flop?
I have a theory. We’re bombarded all day long with words and images that cut down our identities. Some we can’t control, like bullies or well-meaning but rude authority figures. Others we can, such as watching TV shows and commercials filled with women who are defined by one or both of two things: the sex appeal of their bodies and their bold assurance they can do anything. Both are standards most of us can’t achieve, and they’re not what God wants for us anyways.
So we need a place where we can be bombarded with something else, right? With God’s opinions of us. With the truth. That’s my prayer for Unfading. We will try to live a lifestyle of identity grounded in Christ’s opinion of us. We’ll do it through fiction, devotions, videos, music, pictures, crafty projects, articles and whatever else we can think of. And we’ll mess up! But we’re going to keep going, because it doesn’t define us. You’re not going to see fluffy, whole looking Christians here, but broken, beautiful people like yourself, trying to take hold of Christ’s wonderful opinion of them and live it out.
So if you’re hungering for beauty and worth that’s going to last longer than a worn out pair of jeans, please join us. We’d enjoy having you with us on this journey.