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How to Avoid the Bible Journaling Mentality

Anastasis Faith
“Let’s open with prayer,” I said.
My sister looked up with a mocking expression. “Oh, this is, like, official? Weird.”
I felt the color seep into my face as I looked from her skeptical face to my friend who was just smiling. “Um, well… kinda.”
I had decided I was going to write a Bible study on Ruth for teen girls. My sister and a friend met with me and we started going through the book of Ruth and tried to draw from it principles about how we should live our lives as Christian girls.
We only met once.
I thought it wouldn’t be very difficult, especially considering that I had once been part of a girls’ Bible study through Ruth a couple years before. But when I started trying to write it, my sister said, “Do you really think you can say that from the passage?”
I didn’t like being challenged, and eventually, the project dropped.

Looking back, I am so glad I never finished that study and never tried to teach girls with it. While I’m sure there was no heresy, I now see some major flaws in how I was approaching the Bible.
I recently read a book by Jen Wilkin titled “Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Minds.” It is an incredible book that I recommend to every woman and girl, regardless of age or experience with the Bible. It is reviewed on my blog here. In it, she exposed some very common but misled approaches to God’s Word. I was convicted and have since been praying that the Lord would change how I see, read, and honor His Word.
In the Instagram Bible culture—a place where I see Bibles full of hand lettering, Sharpies, washi tape, and watercolor—there is a common theme of a lack of understanding of how to approach the Bible.
I wrote a blog post for Phylicia Masonheimer that addresses three major pitfalls in how we view and read our Bibles as well as simple ways to remedy them.
I honestly believe that you can have a completely different way of approaching Scripture simply from reading and applying what is in this article. 

What are some erroneous ways that you have approached Scripture or seen others approach it?

How to Use Your Summer Break Intentionally

Anastasis Faith
-By Abigail Borland

School is out for most of us, and ending for the rest of us.

I feel like summer comes with endless promises of finishing those nagging projects, getting to hang out with friends all the time, pursuing hobbies, spending more time in God’s Word, etc. Yet it always seems to dredge by slowly in front of Netflix or speed by without a chance to stop, rest, and enjoy the things we missed during school.

This summer, I want to use summer break 2018 wisely, intentionally, and for God’s glory. Instead of wasting these precious two months, I want to make goals, break them into achievable steps, and conquer those goals, growing in my faith and allowing Christ to draw me nearer to Himself along the way.

Below I will share some guidelines for making goals this summer, and then I will give you some ideas for things you can pour yourself into this summer.

How to Use Your Summer Intentionally

Making Your Goals

 1. Brainstorming and prayer.
I suggest taking an hour or two to prayerfully think through some activities God might be calling you to participate in or initiate this summer. Perhaps He wants you to lead a Bible study, write your grandparents every week, memorize a book of the Bible, mentor a younger girl, spend two hours a day in prayer, or all of the above! Write down any ideas that pop into your head and pray over them, asking God to show you how to best spend your time.

2. Break your ideas into achievable goals.
This is like what Anna described in her post about new year’s resolutions. Don’t just write on your goals list, “Conduct a Bible Study;” select a specific Bible study, contact a group of people and ask them if they would like to participate, and set aside time to prepare for the study. When all these steps are in place, you will be much more likely to follow through with your commitment. This way, you will have a plan to keep you on track.

3. Commit.
This truly is the key to accomplishing anything this summer. If you don’t commit to the things you feel God is calling you to this summer, you simply won’t get them done. Perhaps write out a list of things you want to commit to and summarize them, along with the steps to accomplish them, in a few sentences. Then, share your plans with your friends and family and ask them to help you stay on track.

Ideas for Goals and Summer Activities

1. Summer reading list!
This is so essential. If you are like me and you love to read, making a summer reading list allows you to see visible process in what you have read over the summer. The key here is to be intentional. Single out books that are Christ-honoring and clean. Try to select good fiction books, but also make sure that you pick out books that will teach you more about Christ. I suggest Christian biographies and solid Christian books. Just remember, be intentional about what you read so that you are rested and challenged in your faith by the end of the summer.  

      2. Mentor a younger girl.
While this is both exciting and scary, mentoring a younger girl not only stores treasure in heaven, but also helps you pass the summer and bring a younger Christian closer to Christ. Talk about reaping eternal rewards! Once you find someone to mentor, begin meeting with her once a week and challenging her spiritually, setting goals for her and helping her attain those goals.

3. Rest intentionally.
After a hard school year, the summer is a time of switching up the schedule, doing new things, and getting long-dreamt-of-but-still-unaccomplished projects finished; however, we also need rest to refuel our body and mind for the coming school year. This might take the form of extra sleep, but I encourage you not to sleep through the first half of the summer. Waking up an hour later than normal during the summer is fine, but consistently sleeping in until lunch is not the best idea.
I also challenge you to rest in Christ. Pray for longer each day, memorize more Scripture, prayer journal about the year and what you hope to accomplish, and really search your soul to see what you need to surrender to Christ and ask Him to take over. By resting intentionally during the summer, you will greet the upcoming school year with greater spiritual maturity.

4. Work on prayer and Bible memorization.
These are always areas we need to work on. But we must remember to break these things up into attainable goals. For prayer, perhaps set a goal of reaching one or two hours of prayer a day. You could break this up into half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, pray for an hour the moment you wake up, or try other ideas. Ask God what amount of time He wants you to commit to and do just that–commit.
With extra time in the summer, work harder on things that you don’t have as much time for during the year. For Bible memorization, pick an epistle and begin memorizing a couple verses each day, perhaps half a chapter each week. Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back over your summer in a couple months and realize that you memorized the entire book of Colossians, Philippians, or James?  

5. Miscellaneous
Some other fun ideas you might try during the summer include: host a Bible study, write your grandparents once a week, play a game with your siblings every day, begin a prayer journal, learn a new skill, help with your church’s VBS, reach out to a neighbor, and just serve other people. The key to using your summer break well truly is to serve others. Deny yourself by helping other people, allowing Christ to reach into others’ lives through you. This will bring you, as well as those around you, joy.

I hope that God uses this to challenge you to brainstorm about using your summer break intentionally. Grab a pen and paper, and go start right now! Have a great summer break, and remember–do everything to the glory of God! 

Abigail Borland is entering her sophomore year of high school this fall. She enjoys encouraging others through non-fiction writing that points them to Christ, the Author and Perfecter of her faith. On any given day, she can be found reading a good book, working on schoolwork, listening to a podcast or music, or practicing hymns on the piano.  

What are your summer goals? Share in the comments below!

Book Review: Girl Defined by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird

Anastasis Faith

We had been driving for several hours before we pulled up at the church. My friend and I hopped out of the car. I was actually nervous. After years of following GirlDefined, I was actually here at their conference Radical Purity, and I hoped I would get to meet Kristen and Bethany. 
We were early—I had timed it that way. Walking in, everything was decorated with pink balloons, calligraphy, and white painted pallets. A lady wearing a hot pink ruffle top and white capris came over to greet us with a sweet smile. 

Turns out, we were so early they hadn’t even locked the doors yet to keep people from coming in until 5. “I’m so sorry,” the lady in the hot pink told us, “I think there’s a Starbucks around the corner that y’all can hang out at until check-in starts.”

Both of us were feeling more like pancakes, so we headed to a run-down Denny’s to chat and pass the time before the conference started.

The Lord knew I needed to go to that conference. The Lord knew I needed that weekend away from the craziness of life. We were hosted by the sweetest, godliest couple who really poured into us (not just gave us a place to stay), and the conference was amazing.

And by the way, I did get to meet Kristen and Bethany and they are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.
There has not been anything I’ve read or watched from them that hasn’t uplifted or encouraged me in some way or another. 

Their book, Girl Defined, was no exception.
I gave it to my eleven-year-old sister for Christmas and by March, she had read it twice and loaned it to a friend, who had read it thrice. Both say it’s their favorite book.

Girl Defined Morning Glory Review

From the back of the book:
In a culture where airbrushed models and career-driven women define beauty and success, it's no wonder we have a distorted view of femininity. Our impossible standards place an incredible burden of stress on the backs of women and girls of all ages, resulting in anxiety, eating disorders, and depression. One question we often forget to ask is this: What is God's design for womanhood?

In Girl Defined, sisters and popular bloggers Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird offer women a countercultural view of beauty, femininity, and self-worth. Based firmly in God's design for their lives, this book helps women rethink what true success and beauty look like. It invites them on a liberating journey toward a radically better vision for femininity that ends with the discovery of the kind of hope, purpose, and fulfillment they've been yearning for.

About the Authors

Kristen Clark is married to her high school sweetheart, Zack and is the co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries. She is passionate about promoting the message of biblical womanhood through blogging, speaking around the country, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she's just a fun-lovin Texas girl who loves all things outdoors and eats dark chocolate whenever possible.

Bethany Baird is a Texas born and raised girl doing life with her parents and seven siblings. She is the co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries and is passionate about spreading the truth of biblical womanhood through blogging, speaking and mentoring young women. To her family and close friends, she is simply a tall blonde girl who loves any form of competition, drinks way too much coffee, and can't get enough of her little fluffy dog.

Overall Rating: 5 stars

Writing Style
Something very different about this book is that it is written in very simple language. Like I mentioned above, my eleven-year-old sister had no problem reading it. For me, I do prefer a higher level of reading, but I love that I can give this book to young girls and have them understand everything.

Kristen and Bethany are very funny and have some hilarious personal stories, which spice up the reading. It makes it hard to put down—knowing that there might be another funny story on the next page!

The content was excellent. I have a strong appreciation for their approach toward Scripture, their love for the Lord, and how theologically sound their work is. I can tell how much this book was bathed in prayer. It makes a difference.

I loved the Three Pillars of Biblical Womanhood they discuss in the book: She helps others, she nurtures relationships, and she produces life. I love how these are not only applicable for women who are married with children, because Biblical womanhood is much more than children and marriage.

Maybe this is just me, but I love stories and I love when books are full of examples and stories that are applicable to the topic. Kristen and Bethany provide loads of stories. Stories about themselves, about a pink-haired girl named Chloe, about Marilyn Monroe. 

This book gets into the very deep topic of Biblical womanhood and breaks in down into something that almost anyone can read, appreciate, and understand. 

Mature Content
There is nothing explicit in this book that parents should be concerned about. Yes, it talks about serious topics like God’s design for sexuality. There are many stories of dysfunctional lives, including at least one dealing with abuse. But these serve a purpose and there is no explicit content.

Final Thoughts
Girl Defined is an excellent book for any girl wanting to know more about God’s design for women, femininity, and beauty. I have no hesitations about recommending this book. Also, check out their blog, their newest book Love Defined, and their upcoming conference (which I will be attending, Lord willing!).

Have you read Girl Defined? If so, what are your thoughts?

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