Breaking Cookie Cutters

Contributing Guest Host Miss Ruth has some thoughts to share on modesty and a culture that accepts everything… except high standards.

 

Spend five minutes with me and you’ll figure out quickly I hold myself to a fairly high set of standards, at least compared to general culture and society. Shoot, glance at me from across a room and you can see I adhere to a level of modesty that prevents my breasts from busting out randomly in public and my clothes aren’t stretched across my body so tight it looks like the threads of the fabric are yawning into an abyss, about to break. I maintain standards for every aspect of my life just like the majority of humanity. I don’t expect everyone else to hold themselves to my specific standards, but – call me crazy – I do presume to expect those who claim to care/love/respect me to not ridicule or degrade me for having set a high bar by which I live my life. It is MY life after all. Every day I remind myself I have to be – I WANT to be – right in God’s eyes. Not because I fear a vengeful, angry, wrathful God, but because I seek to commune with a holy, righteous, just Savior who has my best interests before Him.

I’ve put up with a great deal of disparagement from others over how I dress (skirts, modest necklines, no makeup or jewelry) because it’s really not worth it to fight with someone over their preconceived ideas of how people who dress like me should act, think, speak, or what we should know. Apparently the next worse thing for a person to find out is I don’t drink. Cue the, “How do you even have fun??” and “Wow, you must be so boring,” and “You can have just one drink, right? You MUST have at least one drink with me.” And LAWD help us when the trifecta is completed and they realize I don’t use profanity.

I’m 33 years old and, at this stage in life, it’s no longer shocking (but still hurtful) when the negative criticism comes from those whom I love. For the most part, my response toward all this is: if someone pulls out a disparaging remark against my modesty or standards, they automatically lose their footing in the discussion, have lost my respect on the topic, and they chip away at the overall respect and trust between us. What the person is telling me when they call me a “prude” or “too picky” or “wound too tight” or “you need to get laid” or whatever-it-is, is that they don’t like an integral part of what makes me, me. Now, not everyone I’ve met or spent/spend time with has/does this, but it’s been enough of an issue to cause an internal struggle of who I am and if I’m “good enough”. And that’s a problem; a very big problem.

What these individuals are doing is drawing a deep line across who I am and telling me everything before the line is SUPER GREAT, but everything after it is bad and a flaw and makes me less than feminine or empowered or good enough. What they’re saying to me by their words and through their actions is, because I choose to live up to a higher or different standard, I’m less than they are. And frankly, I’m sick of being pushed down bit by bit, because someone else who claims to love/care about me wants to pick apart my chosen standards. If it’s such a problem, why stick around?

Yes, I’m a nerd. Yes, I own approximately 30 fandom shirts (and counting) and look forward to Fandom Friday every week. Yes, I appreciate and use correct grammar. Yes, I’m loud. Yes, I’m passionate. Yes, I own more pairs of flip flops than actual shoes. Heavens yes, I’m expressive. And a roaming spirit. And weird. And I dress modestly. No, I don’t use profanity. Yes, I think it’s cool to read my Bible every night before I go to sleep and I pray every day. No, I don’t have it all together. Yes, I love singing in the choir. Yes, I’m klutzy. No, I’m not perfect. Yes, I enjoy going to church. Yes, I really enjoy my coffee. No, I don’t sleep or date around. Yes, I believe God has the right man out there for me and I don’t need to lower myself to get him.

I’ve kept quiet for so long because I didn’t want to hurt or upset those who criticize my choices, but something had to give at some point. If it’s okay for others to boast and brag about getting drunk and all their skeezy hook-ups or relationships, then it’s ok for me to be content not to do all that mess. It’s exhausting trying to fit myself into everyone else’s cookie cutters. Trying to fit into someone else’s cookie cutter is cutting up who I am and who God made me to be…and that simply doesn’t fit with me.

-Ruth

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”
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Choose Your Poison

Choice.

No matter what political camp you belong in, we all have one thing in common: we love our autonomy.

The problem with our choice presents when we seek to coerce or force others into the same choice we made for ourselves.

This is no more apparent than in the differences between liberal and conservative thinking: the liberal sees people as a collective, assumes that they need guidance, and wishes to make them operate as one, relying on the “wise” few to make choices for the whole; while the conservative sees the individual, and presents to them the ability to choose for themselves – inasmuch as their choices do not directly negatively impact another. We differ greatly on how involved we want the government to be in protecting our freedom to choose and in protecting us from the choices of others, and there is a lot of cognitive dissonance on the left arising from the desire to be autonomous while simultaneously forcing everyone into a collective, but inherent in the human spirit is the desire for individuality.

The one thing we all agree on is that we want to have power over our own lives. This is why we get so excitable about elections. Elections are the barometer of our willingness to allow others to affect our individual choices, and in which we decide who will make choices in our stead.

This is why many of us become engrossed in politics. We wish to thoroughly vet the people who will be making decisions for us. This is why we don’t take very kindly to being told we have no choice, or that our choice is a de facto concession to something we abhor.

Without even having a Republican nominee, I have already seen many people say that there is only one choice and they will throw in with the collective despite their deepest wish that things could go otherwise. The battle hasn’t even been decided, yet they have given up.

Forgive me if I question the moral fiber of people who are waving the white flag before the battle has even started. However, it is entirely their choice if they lack the tenacity and purpose to strive for something better than “the lesser evil.” I may not admire their choice, but it’s theirs to make. I don’t believe for a second that they are being stuck with something they don’t want, though. They may be acquiescing to the lowest bid they were willing to take for their vote, but they were willing to take it. That explains why they weren’t holding out for something better.

For those of us holding out for something better, we are likely being told there is no choice, or that a choice not to support one presumptive winner is a de facto support of the other presumptive winner. For this reason, I have diligently sought to answer the question of whether I can support the “lesser evil” if it comes to it. What is to be my choice??

Pondering this, I thought of the Christian martyrs. When they were faced with the choice to die or renounce their beliefs and their God, they chose… neither. Seriously, what kind of choice is that? No one who believes their purpose is to evangelize chooses death, else they would commit suicide. They chose neither, rather they chose to praise God despite the circumstances and the threat.

When our founders were faced with ‘liberty or death’ they may have paid with their lives, but it was in pursuit of liberty. They chose liberty. Liberty wasn’t an option given to them (subjugation was), it was an option they gave themselves, based on values they held dearer than life itself.

Do our values matter?? Do they really matter? If I would abandon Constitutional and Christian principles in order to throw in with a man who has praised socialized medicine and that awful butchery Planned Parenthood, why would anyone believe that I actually held those principles of Life and Liberty sacred? Could I even respect myself if I chose to support someone with such antithetical values to my own?

The choice of the lesser evil is still a choice for evil.

When I see or hear someone say that to withhold a vote from Trump is to cast a vote for Hillary, I can’t help but feel there is really no choice at all. To deny God is to die in sin, so the martyrs were told to choose between death and death. They chose life abundantly, often witnessing even as they were executed. They did that because they valued something so greatly that it was worth the loss of life. The founders were told to choose between death and servitude, and they chose Liberty. We aren’t even fighting for our lives (yet, granted), we’re talking about losing an election. One election. And maybe it’s a big one, but is this really the biggest loss to us? Is it worth losing our moral clarity? Our self-respect?? Our freedom?

People want to strap these stones to my feet and tell me if I’m not a liberal I’ll swim, and then they scoff at me as I drown. That’s what this ‘choice’ between Trump and Hillary looks like to me.

That’s why I’m not waving a white flag and calling it a victory flag. That’s why I will cling to hope until this election is over, and even then despite all I will cling to the Hope that will never be taken from me.

I’ve made my choice. I choose Life.

Because some things are more important than winning, and there are millions who were never given the option to fight.