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6 Misconceptions about Purity

Anastasis Faith
Something as simple as scrolling through social media can confuse our perception of purity and its importance. Our culture has a lot of misconceptions about purity. As a result, many Christian girls growing up today in America are being trained to believe lies about purity. It’s so hard not to believe these lies because they’re so subtle—and they’re all around us.

Misconception 1: Purity is less fun
First of all, just because you say no to flirting, dating around, kissing, etc, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your single years. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your guy friends. It just means that you can enjoy your guy friends in a more God-glorifying way.
Secondly, the “fun” that the world defines is a messy, dirty attempt to satisfy yourself by using other people. The results have many messy, dirty consequences. On the outside, a flirty girl who always has a guy with her seems like she’s having fun as she laughs at every joke—funny or otherwise—that escapes his mouth. On the inside, however, she may be trying to piece together her broken heart that has been shattered by so many worthless relationships. The girl who finds herself pregnant in high school isn’t going to live a “fun” rest of her life dealing with the consequences of her decision to “have fun."
Purity isn’t less fun. It’s more responsibility, but all of your friendships—with guys and girls—will be truer, deeper, and based on a platform of respect instead of desire for attention.

Misconception 2: Purity is just more rules/regulations.
Purity doesn’t mean there are more rules for you to follow. Purity isn’t a set of rules. It’s the condition of your heart. Do you desire to pursue Jesus with your whole heart? Do you desire to honor your future husband by keeping yourself pure for him? Do you protect the guys around you as your brothers in Christ?
If you do, it will be reflected in your behavior. You won’t have to worry about being a flirt because your intentions are pure. Your behavior is fruit of your heart.

Misconception 3: Purity is a burden.
This kind of goes along with the last point. Because purity isn’t more rules, and because it’s the condition of your heart, purity isn’t a burden. Pure actions flow out of a pure heart. It is a breath of fresh air to those around you. Purity should never, ever be a burden. If it is, then you are believing a lie from Satan that if you lower your standards a little bit, you will have more fun. You’re believing Satan when you say that purity is cumbersome. You’re believing Satan when you decide to let it all go.
Purity isn’t a burden. It’s a delight—a reward. If you don’t believe that, then you are believing lies.

Misconception 4: Purity isn’t only outward behavior.
Again, purity is about the heart. It is your outlook on life. The thoughts on your mind. The words on your tongue. The desires of your heart. Purity is about your whole being. A girl with impure intentions will not come across as pure even if she tries to behave well. However, a girl with a pure heart before God who loves the people around her will be able to enjoy her friends in a harmless way that will reflect her pure heart.

Misconception 5: Purity is something you will regret.
I promise you—you will never, ever, ever regret the choice to be pure before God and people. Honoring God and honoring people is something that will come back to reward you. God will bless you mightily if you choose to obey His call to purity.
You will look around and see those girls who decided to “have fun” and threw purity out the window. There may be days when it is hard to continue with your convictions. However, Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Purity is something you will never regret.

Misconception 6: Purity is easy
This is probably the least common of all the above misconceptions, but it still is present. Purity is hard. Purity is about controlling your entire body—even your thoughts—and striving to honor God with every ounce of your being. That is hard. But God will not leave you alone to do it. God will be right there beside you, giving you the grace and the strength to do it.
Purity isn’t easy, but purity is so worth it.

What are some of the misconceptions you have had about purity? What are some of the lies you have believed? What course of action do you plan to take now? Share in the comments!

How Waking Up at Early Helps Me Fight for Purity

Anastasis Faith
I attended a conference one year where a speaker challenged everyone to wake up at 5am every morning. I was like, “HA! Oh sure. Try getting me to do that! Maybe I’ll try to wake up twenty minutes earlier. Not two hours earlier. LOL.”

What time did I wake up this morning? 5am. What about yesterday? The day before? The week before? The year before? My routine is to wake up at 5am on weekday mornings at the least, though often I will do at least 6am on Saturdays and Sundays, depending upon how late I was up the night before.

How Waking Up Early Helps Me Fight for Purity

I initiated this pattern because I needed to get more accomplished. However, when I did, I had no idea of the benefits I would reap. In fact, my fight for purity took a whole different turn when I started waking up at 5am. I was winning the battles in my mind far more easily. I was seeking the Lord more. I saw more clearly how His way is better than my way. In fact, the days and weeks where I gave in to my desire to get more sleep, the more ground I lost my battle for purity of mind.

How in the world could waking up at 5am help me fight for purity?

1. I start the day off with self-discipline

The alarm clock blares, and I have two choices: 1) follow my flesh and go back to sleep, or 2) crucify my flesh and get out of bed. This suddenly isn’t a simple question of how early I wake up. This question is now a question of whether I will indulge my flesh.

Quick disclaimer: I’m not saying that you are in sin every time you sleep in. We need rest and during some seasons of life, getting up that early just may not be possible. I’m also not saying that you must wake up at 5am. You know your schedule and your body and you need to make your own decision with regard to your sleep patterns. Neither am I saying that if you wake up early, your struggle with impure thoughts or actions will be over. I’m using specifics in my life in hopes that you will glean patterns and principles to apply to your own life in accordance with God’s Word. For me, if I’ve gotten eight hours of sleep and my alarm clock is going off, I would be indulging my flesh to hit the snooze button.
When you start your day off with self-discipline in this area it makes many other areas a lot easier to conquer. If I get out of bed at 5am, I am more likely to win against my flesh and go running. If I go running, I find that often it increases my ability to control my thought life. You see, I am training my body to fight indulgence and pursue discipline instead. Waking up early is fighting indulgence in my life in the area of sleep. This one decision to wake up early every weekday morning has made me realize that patterns of discipline lead to holiness whereas patterns of indulgence lead to sin.

If you are struggling in your fight for purity, ask yourself if there are any other ways that you are indulging your flesh. Is your room messy? What are your eating habits like? What are your sleeping habits? How is your schoolwork? Are you reading your Bible every day? See if there are some things you can start working on to discipline yourself and fight those patterns.

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10 Tips for Beating a Crush: Material for Sacrifice

Anastasis Faith

Today is the very last day of 10 Tips for Beating a Crush series! Before we leave this subject, I have a few final things to say.
I wanted to share this story from a sixteen-year-old girl that talks about many of the things we’ve discussed thus far here on Morning Glory.

One time I had a crush on a guy, but then was thrown into a situation where I wouldn't be able to see him anymore.  It was a temptation to feel sorry for myself, and to start asking God too many questions, such as "Why me? Is this Your will? Why did You let this happen to me?"
That's when it really hit me: having a crush on a guy is more of a choice than it seems. I could have kept my focus on him, nurturing my crush on him and letting myself daydream.  I have could continued to allow myself to give my heart away, or I could, as I saw him less and less, slowly take back my heart.
And for a while, I didn't guard my heart. And the more gave my heart to this guy I wouldn't see anymore, the more it hurt.
That's when I started to open my eyes to my friends. True, I wouldn't be able to see this guy friend anymore, (and I had been trying to work on seeing him for what he is; a friend and a brother) but God graciously allowed me to spend time with my other friends. I can't even begin to explain how much of a blessing it was, and still is, to have godly friends that I know have my back. I'd encourage anyone to nurture and focus on friendships with godly girls and guys. Don't spend so much time nurturing a crush! Nurture your relationship with God, and look for ways to help others.
Now that I look back and see the crush I had on him, I realize now that so much of my daydreaming was pointless. Giving my heart away in ways I shouldn't have was pointless, and it hurt so bad.
Please, don't give your heart away too soon. Don't focus on him; focus on God and other people. It's safer to open up your heart to God and to your friends, not to a crush! Now I realize that all the time I was wanting his company, I could have been doing other things; better things, like serving harder in ministry, giving more time to my friends and family, working more diligently in school...etc. Don't waste your time focusing too much on guy, because, like with me, it might end up being a pointless endeavor! I'd encourage anyone who spends any good amount of time focusing on their crush to turn their gaze to other things, because you never know how the future will work out. Of course, this doesn't mean that having a crush on someone is sinful; but it can be dangerous if you give your heart away too quickly and spend too much of your God-given time wishing he was around.

This young lady’s story demonstrates all these points we’ve been making in this series. Crushes are not sinful in of themselves, but they can waste our time, energy, thought life, and give our hearts away too soon. Having a crush is a choice, despite what people may tell you. It’s your choice to daydream. It’s your choice to view him as there to satisfy you. It’s your choice to have a crush.
Yes, it doesn’t feel like a choice. It feels like we’re involuntarily falling in love and out of control. But unless it’s the God-planned romance we’re all waiting for, you can choose to save your heart. You can choose to fight.
However, don’t expect to win every battle. You may, through God’s strength, win the war. But the battles will be slow, painful, and exhausting. Let me tell you that you will feel like quitting. Trust me, I know the feeling of wanting to quit and give in. Yet, I want to tell you that no matter how many times you fail—no matter how many battles you lose—remember that God is still Lord and He will always be faithful. He will get you through this and He will never leave you alone.
I love these lyrics by Matt Redman in his song, Never Once.

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God
You are faithful.

Sometimes, when we have a crush, the tempting response can be, “God, why won’t You take this away? I can do so much for You if I didn’t have this crush!”
But recently, someone said something that struck me hard. She told me about the concept of “material for sacrifice.” This is the idea that God gives us something, like a crush, so that we can have something to give back to Him. God asks us to trust Him in everything. Our love for Him is evident in how much we are willing to trust Him.
Are you brave enough to trust God with everything? Even your crush?

Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 

Our sacrifices to God are when we choose to obey Him with our everything—even our emotions. We are called to obey God; we are called to sacrifice our desires to Him. God doesn’t want us to offer up literal sacrifices because Jesus already was the sacrifice. But He wants us to sacrifice ourselves to Him through obedience.
Before we leave the subject of crushes, I have two more things I would like to share.

First of all, I said in an earlier post but I’m going to say it again: crushes are not a sin. However, it is an opportunity to sin. That is why we spent thirteen posts talking about beating a crush. My very wise mother told me something very important the other day. Even though it may sound like a contradiction to what has been posted thus far, it is not. But it is the flip side of the coin. She says this:

While we should not look to a guy to satisfy us and we should always find our satisfaction in the Lord, He also created us to not feel complete alone. He says it is not good for man to be alone. So while He is all we need, He also did create a longing for a spouse that is good, natural and right. It is unnatural to not long for true, lasting love.
Some people are given a special gift of singleness, but for most of us, we have been created to feel incomplete without a spouse (when we are old enough for that to apply). In one sense, giving someone a loving relationship with a spouse is one way the Lord does fulfill us and satisfy us. Marital love is a gift from Him. (That is why having crushes is completely natural.)

This is a very important concept to grasp. God created us with a desire for a boyfriend and, eventually, husband. There is nothing wrong with this desire. However, for many of us who are in junior high and high school, we cannot do anything about this desire except take it to the Lord. Right now, we need to be preparing ourselves for a future relationship by building our character and deepening our relationship with God. As someone once told me, “Developing characteristics of a godly wife doesn’t begin once I’m a wife—it begins now!”
Finally, the last thing I have is an important piece of advice from Bethany.

As Christian girls we need to make Jesus our God, not ourselves, not a guy, not the opinions of others, and certainly not how many guys "like" us. Whenever we're tempted to idolize someone, let's remember the three things involved: feelings, you, and the guy. Take care of your feelings. Take care of yourself. And, if you really do like someone, take care of him. Be respectful. This may be an easy feat for some and yet very difficult for others. But we can do all things through Jesus Christ! He gives us strength!

Remember, always give God first place. Put others before yourself. And then run after Jesus with your whole heart.

What final thoughts about crushes do you have? Any tips that you have discovered for beating a crush that wasn’t listed? Stories? Share in the comments!

10 Tips for Beating a Crush: Your Need for Christ

Anastasis Faith
The subject of crushes is so extensive and it’s impossible to cover in one blog series about all the different situations that could arise. These are a few suggestions and tips that I have found helpful—and I’m sure there are many more things you could do to beat a crush than these ten tips that I have listed!
Of course, there are times and places for crushes. I absolutely hope that you have a crush on your future husband! But for teen girls in a world that is assaulting us with the notion that we need a guy to be happy—we’ve got to remember that we don’t need crushes. We don’t need guys. We need God. As soon as we realize that, we can make a huge impact on the culture around us. 
One thing that I’ve learned is that, even if your crush is super godly, your relationship with Jesus must ALWAYS come first. Your relationship with Jesus doesn’t go on hold while you run after this guy and then resume once you’re dating, or married.
Right now, for many of us, we’re in a season of waiting. Waiting to meet someone, waiting to fall in love, waiting for him to fall in love with you, waiting for him to ask…etc. And I know that waiting is hard. But just because something is good and you want it doesn’t mean it’s God’s time for it yet in your life right now—or ever. We must rest in the fact that God desires to do us good and that He desires to give us what we want. However, we must first delight ourselves in the Lord and then we can enjoy His gifts to their fullest extent.
Our natural desire is to one day be married and raise a family of our own. But sometimes it can feel like God doesn’t want us to have the biggest desire of our heart. However, that is a lie that Satan will try to make you believe. God loves to do good to you.
Here are a couple verses that prove this point:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
Psalm 37:4-7
(emphasis added)

“What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.”
Proverbs 10:24

"The Lord God is a sun and a shield; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in You."
Psalm 84:11-12
(emphasis added)

 “ But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13
(emphasis added)

What stood out to me in Jeremiah 29:11-13 was the last promise:
"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."
Sometimes it can seem like pursuing Jesus is like running after your family's car when they've left you somewhere and don't notice. It can feel impossible.
But here is a promise from the lips of God Himself—that He will be found. He's not going to hide Himself from us if we truly desire to see Him. If we seek Him with our whole hearts He promises to be found.
Tell me, sisters, is this not a beautiful promise? It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and it can feel like God is so far away. But something about this promise that God would make Himself known to me if I ran after Him has given me so much strength so many times.

We can pray for God to take away the feelings, but sometimes the answer to that is no. However, there is another prayer we can pray, that if God won't take away the feelings, He will take away the distractions.
Even though my heart wanders so much from God, I can truly say that I want nothing more than to pursue Jesus with my whole heart. Through His grace, He always draws me back. He patiently teaches me again and again that He is all I need.
It's hard, when you have a crush, to believe that God is all you need. But He really is, and sometimes, I just had to trust that God is enough. I've just had to believe that He is the only thing that will fulfill me and act on that knowledge against what I felt.
Remember, even though we wander and even though we run, God will always still be there with open arms. He is faithful, steadfast, unchanging. These are promises that I cling to every day.

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful— for He cannot deny himself."
2 Timothy 2:13

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

"And all the people said to Samuel, 'Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.' And Samuel said to the people, 'Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."
1 Samuel 12:19-25
(emphasis added)

What thoughts or stories do you have? Share in the comments!

10 Tips for Beating a Crush: Tip 10

Anastasis Faith
Here we are! The last tip of our 10 Tips for Beating a Crush series! There will still be two more posts, however, wrapping up the series. 

10. Don't Over-Analyze It

This was a big struggle for me! I would take something someone said to mean something else. Then I had to step back and say, “Girl! What are you doing?” Especially for Christian guys, you really just have to take them at face value. Just because a guy comes and sits next to you doesn’t mean he wants to marry you. It may be a silly illustration, but I’m serious. You may find life is far less complicated if you are not spending it analyzing and over analyzing something he said.
Reading into things can have several consequences. First, you’re always searching for the answer to the question, “Does he like me?” Which can cause you to ride an emotional rollercoaster. You watch him exchange a playful banter with another girl or sit next to another girl, or whatever. Then you launch yourself into self-pity and drown your sorrows in ice cream. And then the next time you see him, he’s making extra effort to be in your conversation. You skyrocket. 
Listen, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. It’s not fun. This hearkens back to Tip 3: Don’t Build Your Life on a Guy. When we get into the habit of constantly trying to “decipher” what each little comment or action means, we will find ourselves very emotionally dependent on an unstable foundation.
Second, you jump to conclusions about him. By reading into things, you can assume that he either likes you or hates you based off hardly anything. You don’t give him the benefit of the doubt but are constantly analyzing his actions.
Third, you place expectations on him to be perfectly dedicated to you. You can’t stand to see him talking to another girl. And when you do, you get angry and bitter at both of them—the guy for “cheating” on you, and the girl for liking his attention. Until he’s your boyfriend, you don’t have any sort of “claim” on him, and he should always be free to talk to other girls.
It’s not fair to our brothers in Christ for us to be constantly reading into things. It’s not loving them in a selfless, Christ-like way. It’s desiring them in a selfish, give-me-what-I-want way.
As I have more guy-friends and as I get to know them better, I’ve been discovering more and more that you just have to take them at face value. What they say is what you get. It’s not worth it to over-analyze things. Chances are, if they want to date you, they will make that very clear. 
It's good to be discerning, but discernment includes knowing when not to read into something someone said.

As one fourteen-year-old young lady writes this.
"I wanted to share a story about reading into what a guy will say/write/do and having things turn out upside-down! So I was wondering if this guy liked me and so of course I watched him. But earlier in the year, he made it clear he did not like me. So here I was, still stuck on this dude, knowing in my heart he didn’t like me but still hoping – yeah, sounds great, huh?
Well, I lived my life watching every glance, every move, every. Thing. He. Did. (talk about stalker) And reading into all of it. But at the end of the day, I would come home and cry myself to sleep because it felt empty and fake to pretend all day that he liked me. Not only did it torment me, it made me think of him more, which is never good. I would daydream about him (don’t daydream, its bad!) and I created this fantasy character who was madly in love with me. But it was all a lie, and I knew the sooner I came to terms with that, the better. But all the reading into his actions made that very, very difficult. I would say things like “He keeps looking at me!! He MUST like me!” When all the while, I had been staring at him and he just kept looking to see if I was still looking. (We’ve all been there right?) Stuff like that is dangerous, more so then you may think."

Practical Tips:
            -Look for specific areas in your life where you read into what guys say/do/write.  
        Did he compliment you recently? How many times have you replayed that scene over in your head? How many times did you try to analyze the hidden meanings behind it? Find out what ways you specifically are reading into guys.
            -Develop springboards for this. 
        Whenever you find yourself reading into a guy, move your thoughts elsewhere. Read the article, “The Springboard Approach” by Liza Grace for more on this topic.
            -Get accountability. 
         Ask someone to not let you take the conversation down, “Well, he did/said this to me. Do you think…?” Asking for accountability is humbling and when times comes for correction, not fun. However, it’s good to have someone else keeping you in line.

Do you read into guys a lot? Has this been a struggle for you? What are some things you want to change? 

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