I have been so blessed by being able to attend two amazing church services here in LA. Both are at Reality LA, a church Chanelle and I are trying out. The pastor's sermons are absolutely amazing, and you can feel the Holy Spirit moving so much during prayer and worship. I really, really like it.
In today's sermon, Tim, the pastor, briefly used James 3:14-15, and oh my gossshhhhh did this hit me HARD.
14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
What really got me so much about this was the end--that when we have bitter jealousy in our hearts and selfish ambition, those things do NOT come from the Lord...they are from Satan. And I know a lot of people start to think a lot of things when Christians start talking about spiritual warfare and the enemy, but I'm gonna talk about it anyway.
The thing is--even just one week in Los Angeles has brought out so many weaknesses in myself that I thought I had gotten over. A lot of people--not just girls--have self-image issues, myself included. It was really bad toward the end of high school, but I thought I had gotten "over it" so to speak. It comes back here and there, but it's not something I would say I seriously struggle with anymore. But this past week has been brutal guys! From the minute I got here one thing was very clear:
THE PEOPLE ARE BEAUTIFUL.
And not just the people, but specifically the girls. And it's not just that they're pretty, it's that they are so...freaking....trendyyy. And are have super nice clothes. And I don't know...I went to NYU, where lots of girls have money and dress nice, but at NYU, in a city so big and diverse it just never really hit me like it did one week into living in California. I don't know what happened, but within two days I was feeling so bad about myself. Suddenly when we were out wherever we were, a list of things to change about myself would flood my mind.
-Must lose weight
-Must wear more makeup
-How does she get her hair to do that?
-I came here to act and I can't look like this and expect to get work
-JDKAFJKS;JF; MY BRAIN IS GOING TO EXPLODE!!!!
Okay, it's really hard for me to write this. I don't want to admit that those thoughts were in my brain because 1. they are so shallow 2. they are ugly thoughts. And it's only been a WEEK!!!!! WHAT?
What's so bizarre is that since I moved home after NYU and this whole sumer, I really felt good about myself. I didn't think about my weight, or what I looked like as much as I usually did. I was finally at peace with truly finding my identity in Christ. And then I come here and POOF!!! Deflated. And it's not like I was just jealous over these women. It's that I felt inadequate. Chanelle and I were actually talking about this to someone this week--about how there is this feeling here that everyone is part of this "cool club" and you don't know what the club is or how to get in it, but you want to soooo bad. And I definitely feel that. I feel so much on the outside, so out of my element.
How crazy is that? That I actually convinced myself in my brain that I am less than others because I don't have as nice of clothes, or I'm not shaped like them, or anything. Why do our brains do this to ourselves? WHY do we have bitter jealousy that lives inside of us? And okay, not EVERYONE here is wealthy and has expensive clothes, but isn't it crazy how quickly we look over everything else but the pretty, shiny stuff? It's like I'm a little bug and my eyes just see the glittery thing and I just say "oooooh shinnyyyyyy"... nah mean?!
Another thing about that verse....the selfish ambition. DANG! It was hard hearing that. Because I have sooo many dreams for success in my life, I really had to re-examine that. What exactly do I want my life to say on this earth? Will, in the end, it matter if I become an actress or people know my name? Or am I truly here on earth to bring glory to the One who saved me?
I'm not writing all this hoping that someone will comment and reaffirm me by saying "Nina, don't be stupid, you're great, pretty blah blah blah." Nooo. I'm writing this because waaay too often we aren't honest with other people, let alone ourselves. And the pastor today was sooo honest and I loved that. It was refreshing.
You know what's weird? Even though I've been struggling a lot this past week with that one area of my life, I feel closer to God than I have in a long time. It's something about just having total dependency on Him. I feel so....SURE of the faithfulness of God.
Sometimes I feel like a broken record in this blog...sometimes I get worried that someone will read it and roll their eyes and think "That girl is crazy and has too many emotions." But then I realize I don't care, and I think in the future when I look back on this blog I'll be glad I wrote down the things of my heart.
I think it's really important to remember that...you know what? Okay, maybe we ARE inadequate. We're humans. But through Jesus Christ we are COURAGEOUS and victorious over the enemy. We cannot forget this!!!!!!
I can't do this on my own. And I don't WANT to do this on my own.
We must remember how truly great God is.