Welcome to my blog! To get an idea of what this blog is about you might want to read the "About Me and My Family" page as a starting point. You can browse through the archives or head over to the "Articles" page to read on specific topics I've written on over the years. Keep checking back because I'll be posting new articals from time to time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peer Pressure

On a summer day in 2001 my first issue of Hope Chest Magazine came to my house. I didn’t subscribe right away which means that I’ve only had the pleasure of reading 7 issues, but those many articles helped shaped me into who I am today: a Christian writer and home maker in training. A few years later I became a fan of the Young Ladies Christian Fellowship and soaked up everything that came across my computer screen. I must say, there is no doubt in my mind that mama influenced my life (and still is) more than any magazine or blog I ever read, but there were times in my life, just like every other young person, when I would have much rather listened to someone my age then my mother. After all, they knew what I was going through better then my mom, right?

Although I never wrote any articles for either one of these popular Christian sources, I’ve always considered myself “one of them.” I am a firm believer in courtship, I believe women should look and act feminine, I strive to keep myself pure physically and emotionally, and I believe that to do these things well God must be at the forefront of my thoughts every day.

In a sense, this tight knit group of girls I looked up to had formed a peer pressure. When I stopped and considered what peer pressure is I realized there are many types of this social persuasion. Peer pressure is when some one or some group has a strong influence on those around them. There are good peer pressures, but the one more commonly talked about is bad peer pressures. But what about theses "good" influences? And are they good after all?

Preachers are #1

If you've been in church a long time you've probably seen it too. The preachers and deacons form a tight group of friendship not just with preachers from other churches, but sometimes within their own church if there are several. They always go out to eat together after church and sometimes hang out on the weekends. I've seen men be as close as brothers all because of their common love for Christ.

Strong friendships can be very good and pure. In fact the Bible teaches us how to be a friend and says to "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." (Romans 12:10) But just like in almost every aspect of our life, we tend to take things to far or in different way then God intended. Sometimes these groups start out as good Godly fellowship but can easily become the popular "click" in the church and perhaps set on a high pedestal. Sadly, I've found myself wondering if certain preachers were called by God . . . or their peers.

Courtship Committed, Feminine Fassionist, Bible Believing Girl

Now lets go back to our first topic: us. Is it wrong to talk about and encourage other girls to believe in courtship and wear only dresses? Is it wrong to be friends with those who have the same convictions?

I hope and pray that God will allow me to court in a Godly setting under the protection of my parents because I believe that is the best thing for me. I realize that I will be tempted to sin but hopefully will be able to be spared from making that mistake because of my parents guidance. Yet at the same time I kind of understand what Miss Deb is talking about in her article, "Committed to . . . Whom?" Am I committed to courtship, or am I committed to letting God have his way in my life? Yes, it's good to court instead of date if you are able, but are you doing it because God wants you to, your parents are making you . . . or because it's the popular Christian thing to do? The same questions can be applied to how you dress and why you have a hope chest in your room.

Then I think of the other side of the matter. What if my family was lost and on their way to hell? Would they feel concerned enough about me to be compelled to make me court under their supervision? Most likely not! Girls, there are young women out their like this. These women may have a desire to meet a Christian man and start a relation ship God's way, but find it difficult because their parents wont support them. How do these girls feel when they are around us? Do they feel like they aren't good enough for us? Do they feel condemned for something they have no control over?

I'm afraid we put to much emphasis on courtship and wearing dresses. When you dig real deep into the matter you will find that the desire to pursue a relationship God's way and to dress to please God all stems from the heart. If our heart is right with God and we are continually seeking His will, He will show us what he wants us to do! My mother never read a single article or book on how to dress when God convicted her of wearing pants. He simply told her to dress for Him . . . and she did because she wanted to please God. We need to put more emphasis on keeping our hearts right with our Savior.

My point is this: Don't follow the Christian trends. Don't follow your church's ideas. Don't follow what you read on this blog. Follow CHRIST, and know why you are following Him and his commands!


Stephanie N. Macomber said...

Jennifer I think this is one of your best posts yet! I loved it, especially the end. Sadly, and I don't like to point out people's faults, but I see a lot of young ladies that form certain convictions because it's "expected" of them, rather than they feel God is leading them to that conviction. When those girls get away from the pressure, they forget about their standards/convictions (whatever word you prefer, I've heard people use both words) and it's sad because those convictions weren't grounded in Truth, in God. Very good article. :)

Under Southern Skies said...

This is such a thought provoking article, Jennifer...Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

What a great post - very insightful!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I stumbled across your blog today. I enjoyed reading this post...very thought provoking. I agree that genuine conviction comes from a life that is close to the Lord and a heart that is right. Yet it's not always a bad thing for a new-born to have "borrowed" convictions (if the conviction is Biblical). For instance, shortly after I became a Christian, I had dinner with a couple who does not patronize restaurants that sell alcohol...I thought that made sense, so I decided I wouldn't either. Eventually, I began to read in the Bible of how wine is a mocker, and that we shouldn't look upon it when it "moveth itself aright", and many other scriptures that the Lord showed me. I came to avoid these establishments (where I have a choice in the matter) because the Lord convicted me via His Word.

On the other hand, we, as Christians, should realize that a new-born babe in Christ is a babe...they haven't walked with the Lord as long as others who might have been saved for 40 years or more (and we can't expect them to either). You are right! We should avoid putting pressure on other Christians, and let the Holy Spirit do the work!

Lori said...

Jennifer, I found your blog through your Mom's. :) This is a very good post! Your last paragraph said it best...it all boils down to being a matter of the heart.
Newborn babes in Christ are just that...babes...and can't be expected to have as much Biblical insight as someone who is older in the Lord. But I don't believe it's ever wrong to set the example for the younger believer and "encourage" (not press) them on the right path...not just by your words, but by your actions.
Great article. :)

Jennifer said...

Thank you all for your comments! I can honestly say that all the praise and glory goes to God because this is one of the easiest articals for me to write because God guided me word by word! It is because of HIM that I was able to write this article.

I hope no one thinks I am trying to encourage everyone from not sharing their convictions. I can understand what Chris and Mrs. Lori are saying and I agree with them! I suppose my article was written more towards those of us who are older in Christ. But Mrs. Lori said it well, we should encourage others . . . but don't pressure them. There is nothing wrong with telling others of your convictions as long as it is done in moderation.

"Let all things be done decently and in order." 1 Corinthians 14:10