And above all else,
guard your heart,
for it is the
wellspring of life.
I’ve been a part of a Bible study this summer at my church that is going through the book Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. Initially I joined the study simply because I needed some more women in my life and I would have been content to sit around and talk about anything, from laundry to how to boil water. Nobody has ever labeled me as “wild”, so I was uncertain how relevant the actual book study would be to me.
Now that the study is over, I can see how necessary it was for me to read the book and evaluate certain areas of my life. While I am certainly still not “wild” and am a devoted follower of Jesus, the Lord showed me several areas where I wasn’t keeping up my guard and had set my self on a slippery slope to merge more into cultural beliefs if I’m not careful and diligent.
The number one area of my life that I have been convicted about is the media and entertainment that I allow myself to come into contact with. It’s kind of funny, I have pared it down enormously over the past several years (we have no cable, I hardly ever watch rated R movies unless I have perused reviews ahead of time, I have almost completely cut out my reading of secular women’s magazines, etc). However, the cultural influences that are still in my life are still impacting my thought life and belief systems. I try to stay up to date with what is going on in our culture so as to be relevant, but I’m coming to believe that sometimes the desire to be relevant is walking a fine line. Trying to keep up with headlines and what is important to the world to be able to engage with them very often veers sharply away from Paul’s encouragement:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Proverbs 4:8
In my attempts to stay on top of everything and be relevant, I have put my heart in jeopardy, and I can see little ways that I’m being influenced negatively that are showing themselves in my actions and thoughts.
God seems to do a lot of his “pestering” of me in my dreams. I mean that in a good way. He often uses my dreams to really give me wake up calls and observe patterns in my life that are harmful, or areas that need to be focused on. For example, God often uses my dreams to show me relationships that I have with people where I need to have conversations with them, release anger and bitterness, or talk to him about ways that I am tied to these people spiritually and emotionally in unhealthy ways.
I’m learning that he does the same to show me areas in my life that are being influenced too much by the secular world, usually through very similar repeated dreams. The content of these dreams, which usually shocks and horrifies me, reveal to me that I’m letting subtle things from TV, media, and books sneak into my mind and worm their way into my thought patterns, while I only think I”m being harmlessly entertained.
So, I’m completely reevaluating what I’m allowing to come into my house, my car, the places where my children are, etc. It’s not always convenient to censor to carefully, but it is crucial. My relationship with Jesus depends on it, the salvation and relationships of my children can be greatly influenced by my decisions, and my impact among those who don’t know Jesus can be severely hindered if I don’t take great care with how I live my life.
I encourage all women to check this book out, and see what ways God show them how to wise up a bit and not simply be carried along with the flow of our culture.
Seeking to fully live,