Friday, August 22, 2014

Obsessed with Celebrities

The internet is filled with articles about celebrities. Everyday the news stations talk about the famous. Our society loves to hear about them.

I can't deny that I do as well. I am fascinated by people in general, famous or no.

Before we begin, let me just say that there is nothing wrong with having admiration for someone. There are plenty of celebrities who I feel are good role models. I believe many of us even admire people in the bible, such as Queen Esther or Paul. When admiration becomes worship, it is a problem.

There is a young woman who has spent a lot of money just to look like Kim Kardashian. There are teen and tween girls who argue back and forth about whether One Direction or Taylor Swift is better. There are girls, even within the church who can tell you the most popular song on the radio, but can't even quote one scripture.

People have a tendency to put celebrities on a pedestal. Others talk about them as if they are the scum of the earth. The truth is both are wrong.

I have seen many Christians forget that celebrities are made in God's image, just as we are. They are not meant to be worshipped. They also have as much right to come to the Gospel as we do. 

When I see the horrible, hateful things said about these people, it breaks my heart. Whenever a celebrity dies, I have often heard some Christians say, "Oh boo hoo, they were super sinful horrible people. Not worth our mourning!"

First of all, we are also "super horrible sinful people" too-but God found us and saved us (1Corinthians 6:11)! Why shouldn't we mourn? If someone has lost their soul, that is tragic!

Jesus came to die for every person. Those in the spotlight are no exception. How could we forget these beautiful words:
"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life." (John 3:16)

"And He said to them: 'Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but He who does not believe shall be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16)

We should make it a habit to pray for celebrities and politicians (1 Tim.2:1-2). It doesn't matter who you are or where you are from- God wants you and loves you. Also, there are some who are members of the Lord's body. Pray for them to stay strong in the difficult world of Hollywood.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Obsessed with Beauty

I attended beauty school last year. I have always had an interest in that area. It appeals to my artistic side. I still have an appreciation for the industry and I believe it does have its place in society.

Women have been beautifying themselves for thousands of years. We even read of many examples in the Bible. It is something that we will continue to do.

The problem is that women are prone to obsession with appearance. In doing so, they can end up destroying their self-esteem. This leads to them forgetting what matters--their heart. Even with the makeup and hair dye, many still hate what they see in the mirror.

In the modeling industry, I have heard it said that many thin models hate plus-size models. Likewise, many plus size girls criticize thinner models saying, "REAL women have curves."

Guess what? Somebody somewhere is going to complain about our appearance no matter how we look. No amount of makeup, surgery, or amazing clothes is going to change that.

God tells us that a woman's beauty should come from within and from her actions (1st Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9-10). He tells us to keep our dress in moderation and to focus more on being a woman of God.

Modesty is about helping us keep our focus on what is most important. It is about projecting our priorities to the world.

When we dress or put on makeup are we displaying pride or meekness? Is our outfit tasteful, feminine, and humble? God doesn't want us to be obsessed over our appearance. When we become obsessed with something, we take our eyes off of Christ.

I'm by no means perfect in this area. I've made some poor choices in my appearance. I've also compared myself to others in the past.

But I got tired of it.

We must stop shaming ourselves. Stop the fat shaming. Stop the skinny shaming. It is petty and un-Christlike. God loves us and created us (Psalm 139:13-16). We are made in his image (Gen. 1:26) and are therefore beautiful.

That's it. We need no other confirmation of our worth or attempts to measure up. God has spoken and that is enough.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Obsessed With Social Media

Recently, I was watching Girl Meets World. The main character Riley receives an assignment from her teacher (her Dad). The group she was in had to do the assignment without a cellphone, and without the internet. That left only one option: The Library. (Dun dun dun!)

So Riley and her crush were finally able to have a real conversation. Before that, they had only talked through text. By the end of the episode, her group found that real interaction was better. Riley even found herself liking the guy even more.

While cute and funny, this episode shows a big problem in our society. You can’t walk out into public without seeing multitudes of heads looking down at their phones. As a society, we have decided that we will die if we don’t check that Facebook status or tweet.

I admit I’m one of the worst offenders. Lately I've realized just how much I use my phone. I find myself getting irritated at how much I use it. I could get a lot more done by switching off my phone sometimes.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the problems of constant phone use. Sara Thomee at the Gothenburg University of Sweden conducted such a study. She was a student who wanted to study the effect of constant cell phone and computer use on the minds of college students.

Her test subjects were computer science majors and medical students. She noted, “…intensive computer use…was a prospective risk for sleep disturbances in the men, and stress, sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in women.” (Thomee, 65)

Also, “frequent mobile phone use was a prospective risk factor for reporting sleep disturbances in men, and sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in women.” (Thomee, 65)

For a few days recently, I turned off my phone after breakfast. I didn't turn it back on until late at night. I noticed that it was easier to fall asleep and to focus.

I’m not saying that computers and phones are bad. Many people have received the Gospel because of them.The problem lies in the obsession of it all.

 Lately I have left my phone at home when I go to worship or bible study. It is because I have often browsed before and after church, missing out on fellowship. When we are looking at our phones, we miss those opportunities to encourage one another.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

If our heart is not in the fellowship, we might as well be saying that we are “neglecting to meet together”. If our focus is on the phone in our hands, how can we grow and encourage each other as God commands?

I'm saddened when people use Facebook and text during worship and study.

You are there to worship and learn from our almighty Creator. If God were sitting in the worship assembly, would you be browsing on your phone? What if Jesus were to return in that moment? As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

I think we all, myself included, should consider how much we use our phones. When we are online, do we use most of that time to encourage others? When we aren’t, do we take enough time for fellowship and good works? (Ephesians 5:15-16)

There’s so much life to live. Why waste so much of it staring mindlessly at a screen?  (James 4:14)