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Becoming a God-Defined Girl in a Culture-Defined World

By: Kristen Clark

I once knew a girl who said she loved God. She called herself a Christian and even went to church every Sunday. But the rest of her week was full of activities, school, sports, friends, and just plain busyness.

She occasionally read her Bible…but mostly because it was the “right” thing to do. She attended a church youth program once a week, but cared more about hanging out with her friends than growing spiritually.

Sadly, this girl began struggling on the inside. She wanted to be a strong Christian, but did very little to help herself get there.

I wish this girl was someone else, but she’s not. This girl is actually me.

Sadly, this story accurately portrays me during some of my early high school years. Deep in my heart I wanted to do the right thing and honor God, but I had a problem. A major problem. A problem that most Christian girls face at some point.

The problem goes something like this. See if you can relate.

I called myself a Christian and I always went to church. I tried to read my Bible on a fairly regular basis. I had amazing Christian parents too! I thought I was on the road to becoming a God-Defined girl, but when I searched a little deeper, I realized something wasn’t right.

Although I looked like a “good” Christian girl on the outside, my heart wasn’t grounded in God’s truth. The Bible wasn’t always the starting point for everything I believed. Going to church once a week and occasionally reading my Bible was good, but it wasn’t enough to turn me into a God-defined girl.

The rest of my time was spent filling my mind with the world’s ideas.

I was listening to the world’s music, watching the world’s movies, talking about pointless stuff with my friends, pursuing my own pleasures, and satisfying my own desires. I spent way (and I mean way) more time loading my heart and mind with the culture’s ideas than I did God’s.

Without even realizing it, I was slowly becoming the opposite of what I wanted. I was becoming a culture-defined girl. The secular culture was telling me how I should dress, act, what I should watch, listen to and read. And I was slowly giving in.

Little by little my actions and choices were being shaped by what the world said was “cool” and “popular.”

My biggest problem wasn’t that I didn’t desire to become a God-defined girl…it was that I did very little to actually become one.

Can you relate to me on this?

As I entered the middle of my high school years I decided things needed to change. God was convicting my heart. I knew if I stayed on that path, I would move further away from His truth.

So I took action.

Instead of allowing the culture to “tell” me how I should do things, I began using the Bible as my starting place. God has things to say about everything in life and I wanted Him to be the source for what I believed. Whether it was romance, movies, fashion, friends, time, or relationships, God’s Word speaks to it. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly through principles and wisdom.

Here’s how it worked.

When the culture said, “having sex before marriage is awesome!” I stopped and looked to see what God had to say, then I built my beliefs on His truth. When the culture said, “Dressing in sexy clothes is hip and cool!” I stopped and looked to see what God had to say about clothing, then built my beliefs on His truth. When the culture said, “This movie is a must-see!” I stopped and looked up a movie review, then checked out what God had to say about that type of content.

I also began removing the negative cultural influences in my life and started filling my mind with helpful truth. I started reading solid Christian books to help me grow spiritually (visit our resources page to find some). I cut out most of my secular music and only listed to Christian songs. I stopped watching as many movies and became pickier about what went into my mind.

I took serious measures because I knew becoming a God-defined girl took hard work and intentionality.

Little by little the Bible became my starting place for truth. Instead of allowing the culture to inform my worldview, I was informing my worldview based on God’s truth.

Even now, in my late twenties I still strive for this. I’m not perfect and I don’t always make the best choices, but my heart’s desire is to honor God. Becoming a God-defined girl in a culture-defined world isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

As humans, we were created to find purpose, fulfillment, and security in our relationship with Christ.

When we obey God and do things His way, life becomes much less confusing.

I have some questions for you. Who or what is informing your worldview? Is it the Bible or the culture?

If the average Christian girl spends hours and hours a day filling her mind with culture-defined information and she only spends one hour at church on Sunday mornings, which worldview do you think she is most likely to live out?

If you want to become a girl defined by God’s Word and His standards, you have to seriously invest time into it. Dig into the Bible. Study it. Learn it for yourself. Strive to understand how God wants you to honor Him in every area of your life.

Don’t allow the culture to define you.

Let’s continue this conversation in the comment section below!

Have you been guilty, like me, of filling your life with more of the culture’s ideas than God’s? Comment and let me know what you’re going to do to become a girl defined by God!

 Photo Credit: www.flickr.com | ThuyD

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  • Annie Edwards

    This touched my heart. I felt like this was me writing at first, you described exactly how I have been feeling! Like you mentioned, I truly desire to become a God-defined girl, but I’m not walking the walk 24/7. For me, it’s become about outward appearances, not heart-stiring motivation to serve for the Lord, and I want that to change!! I’ve done some soul searching and come to find out that I have not been pleasing to the Lord. Making changes in my life is exciting, but challenging, and I pray that I will keep it up in the days to come.

    Time management is the key for me. Limiting my time on social media, in novels, and shaving off the minutes devoted to pleasure has helped me come to find what I can accomplish in just one day for the Lord!! Not only is my schoolwork getting done faster, I am constantly being encouraged by giving to others in my spare minutes, instead of selfishly spending them on myself. As I grow closer to God, I grow closer to my family, my Christian brethren, and closer to Heaven! Instead of a brain saturated with popular music, what I’m “supposed to” look like, and the expectations of others, my mind is beginning to fill with God’s truth because I’ve been reading HIS book, singing songs about and to HIM, and speaking (and thinking) words that glorify HIM.

    This article was such an encouragement to me, to find out that others have gone through this process and are having success becoming a true daughter of the King. It give me hope for a future, because God is with all of us, desiring us to become defined my His truth. Culture is more dangerous than we realize, a tool that Satan twists so it looks harmless, but in such a secular world, we, more than EVER, need to focus on living God’s word to the world around us

    • Hey Annie! I am so glad this blog resonated with you! It’s definitely something we all face at times. Thanks for sharing what you do to stay plugged into Christ and His Word. Sounds like you’re on a great road. Keep it up girl! And thanks again for sharing!

  • Elizabeth Williams

    What you said about going to God’s Word to see what He says, that’s something I have definitely benefited from! If there’s something that culture or the media have been saying a lot lately, I will go to the Bible and think “Okay, so I know what everyone else says, but what does God say about this?” And I don’t do it to doubt what I believe in, but to solidify it.

    • So true Elizabeth…we always (always!) have to go back to God’s word to see what He says about everything. And when we do that, it reminds of how we should be thinking. Thanks for sharing!

  • Quite Distinguished

    I needed this today! Your post today brings to mind Romans 7:15 when Paul states: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
    This post combined with Bethany’s post about “Getting God off the Back Burner” have provided some pretty powerful conviction, and describe my heart and struggles in recent months. I appreciate your openness and honesty in sharing your struggles and successes–God is using you two ladies to minister to the hearts of other young women around. I think what I find most encouraging about your blog posts is that you are a picture of God’s grace poured out on broken vessels….and that gives me hope. As I told my sister the other day when we were discussing challenges to spiritual growth: “I know God is in control, and He can work through seemingly impossible circumstances…..but a little bit of circumstantial hope can help a lot!” Seeing God’s grace poured out on others who have walked (or are walking) through the same spiritual “growing pains” that I am is a HUGE blessing. I’m so thankful for the body of Christ. :)

    • I agree… It’s always SO nice to know that other Christian women are in the fight with you! When we are honest about our failures and successes, we will be much more beneficial to the body of Christ than if we pretend like everything is always “perfect.” Great thoughts!

  • Azi

    It’s easy to get wrapped up in our heads, I think, as much as culture. I think that we’re so often worried about what life will do to us that we desire to find a place of comfort in culture that it cannot truly bring us. I don’t think culture is bad to be part of, and in fact to neglect it entirely won’t always change us. But to use culture to neglect what gifts God has given us and shield ourselves away from what truly matters is something that brings apathy to our lives. It’s a miserable existence.

    I think your post is fitting because many people are currently giving up things for Lent, which is related to this discipline of remembering that God is at the center of our lives. Thanks Kristen for posting. :)

  • Anna Joy

    So true…and so hard to live out!! One of my favorite songs has a line that says, “Open my ears that I may hear, voices of truth Thou sendest clear, and while the Scriptures fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.” I had been feeling really guilty about all the stuff I already had in my head…but that was super encouraging. I started turning on the audio on Bible gateway and having it read aloud to me while I was doing the dishes or my laundry or getting ready for bed – just whenever I was doing something that didn’t require all my mental faculties – and that really helped. Its been amazing to see what just listening to chapter after chapter of Scripture every day does to put your mind at rest. I may not have hours to sit down and read it, but I have a whole lot more time than I would have expected to listen to it.

  • Dannae

    I desire to be a God-defined girl but that only started in the middle of last year. Last year God changed me dramatically and I’m so glad He did. But seriously I was totally changed by the end of last year from how I was at the beginning. It may not have been an instant change but I felt God’s love and grace pour over me and that changed me in many big ways. And my desire changed from wanting to dress sexy, watch bad things, have a boyfriend fulfill me to wanting to cover up, only watch what is pure and praiseworthy, and have God fulfill me. Then I found your blog and I love it because I can have some Godly insight on topics that the world is so far off on. Just wanted to share that. :)

  • Bethany

    I can relate, Kristen! I’m exactly the same, and even though I want to become a God-defined girl, I’ve been having a hard time doing so. The culture is so convincing and tempting! If it’s not too much trouble, pray that I’ll make the right decisions in my quest to honor and follow God in everything?

  • Ann Garcia

    Relate much! :)

  • Ann Garcia

    Its just so hard to really push this. But i will. I will do my best to be the girl He wants me to be.

  • Anne Thomas Smith

    Very relatable..

  • Thanks for sharing your experience here. It’s not easy to be honest about these kind of struggles, and I am no exception. It feels encouraging to know that I am not alone in this and that God’s working in us 24/7… and all we have to do is let Him mold us and do our part in knowing Him and pursuing Him more.

    • Allyson Veilleux

      So many times I think I am alone with my struggles and that is just not the case!

  • Allyson Veilleux

    Thank you for sharing your real life story! This is so awesome to read and I am getting encouragement from it! I have a Netflix account and I know for a while that God is wanting me to cut back on watching it. I would watch it for hours and only spend a couple minutes with Him. Right now, I think I am going to put that account on hold and just listen to instrumental music and sirens time with Him or be intentional with friends.

  • Amy

    I want to say thank you. I have three daughters and this will help them all.

  • Thaisjuan

    Amazing what God has done in your life! I’m from Brazil, in an wonderfull way I found your blog. Your words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, has helped me so much! It’s ispiring, motivating. I’m sure many other lifes has been touched by your blog as mine has.. Praised the Lord for that! You are an exemple on this generation! Congrats

  • Maria Wilson

    Ill be honest with you. I struggle with this problem every day.

  • Christi

    It seems too hard. Radical Christians can’t just blend into the crowd, they will stick out. You really have to believe in what you’re doing to make that stand, and there are so many confusing issues I can’t get around! But I do want to focus my eyes on Jesus and not other people or the world so please help me God to follow you with my whole heart!

  • Maria Wilson

    I still struggle with this problem. It’s a constant spiritual battle everyday. The pressures and the cares of this world weigh on me greatly.

  • thehappygirl

    Ouch! That was me during college. I went to church every service and was a “good person,” but I was not grounded in His truth! I didn’t dig into God’s Word or pray faithfully. Since then, I’ve turned my life and future over to God. I try to ask myself this question when I’m faced with a decision (like what outfit I’m wearing or how I’m styling my hair or my actions or choice of words): “Is this glorifying God or myself? Will this bring shame to Him? Will I be showing the love of Christ or the love of myself?” It works y’all! I’ve noticed *major* changes in my overall attitude and actions. Excellent post! Challenging as always :)

  • Gabrielle

    “I took serious measures because I knew becoming a God-defined girl took hard work and intentionality.” ~ This really stood out to me, because I too, want to become a strong Christian girl, but sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to the place where God really wants me. I know the big problem is me. I’m in the way of what He wants to do. If only I could just get myself completely out the way, and obey Him when he speaks. I’m working on it. I know it’s totally possible. Hmm….

    Anyway, thanks for posting!

  • Emily

    That was AMAZING! can’t tell you how much that helps me! I spend so many hours away on my phone, and one hour reading my Bible, and it’s hard not to believe the lies about myself, being so grounded in the desires of the flesh. I am ready to lay my sin at Jesus’ feet, because His blood shed for me. i was suffocated in the lies that were saying “You need to be THAT skinny” or “You should be embarrassed of your faith”, etc. I am so ready to meditate on His word and travel the planned footsteps as His daughter, and I am so happy!
    Thank you!❤️

  • Elizabeth

    WOW! Thanks for writing this out! It is a big help for me!

  • Mimi

    Great post Kristen. I had this problem until Justin pointed it out to me. He explained that its like Robert Frost’s The Road not Taken poem. There is a road that seems easier and appears to have more in it. Then there is the one that we take to follow God. And sometimes we subconsciously take the road taken, and messes us up.

  • Michelle

    I find myself struggling with this everyday. Just recently, Inwould say that I made the personal decision to devote my life to Christ and his teachings and I want to do everything I can to keep my faith as strong as possible. However, sometimes it can be extremely hard, even at a small, Catholic university to remain motivated to do this with no one around you to motivate you. I wish i knew of someone to mentor me or to guide me in the right direction. So far it has just been a self guided path I have been trying to do uphold.

  • OrangeGirl

    “Becoming a God-Defined Girl in a Culture-Defined World” is a very interesting title to use. Because when it comes down to it, the way we as Christians exercise and practice our faith is completely cultural. Around the world there are Christians who practice faith differently than we do; whether it be combining their original culture with Christianity or the emphasis on different legalistic aspects of the religion depending on where you go.

    The way Christianity is practiced today is different than it was 25 years ago. And it will be different 25 years from now.

    I guess my point is that while the tenants of Christianity will not change, the religion itself is a culture. And like a culture, it evolves and changes over time.

  • Britt

    I think I’ll do some word-play! Culture has a few words in it that says what it is and what we should do with it. First it can be a ”cult”, a religion to follow culture. Then remove the l and we can ”cut” it out of our lives. Then kick out e at the end, and replace it with an n, and we can ”turn” back to Jesus. :)

  • Adjeley

    That’s me now, I wish I could stop but its so hard

  • Anonymous

    Very relatable Kristen. Thanks!


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