Indeed, everything I do or do not do has an expressed reason. Ask me about my convictions. I would like to write them all here, but that would take some time. So I will add them one at a time, little by little. :)
"Darn, those euphemisms!" (convictions about words i say)
Nov 6, 2001
Have you ever wondered why cussing is a bad idea? When I first became a Christian, I thought about all the Christian do's and don'ts. I wanted to know why these certain guidelines were set so that I would have a conviction about why I was abstaining from whatever practices. Cussing was one of the things I pondered over.
What is the purpose of cussing? Some people just say it because they lack vocabulary, some picked it up because everyone else did it, some just have the habit. But where did all that originate? Well, we could even say that some cuss because of a sort of defiance to authority, a defiance to propriety. But why would authority and propriety think that cussing is wrong in the first place? Digging a little deeper, I realized why cussing is another name for cursing. People cuss in order to curse. When people cuss, they are exclaiming exasperation, anger, frustration, etc. Well, in Eph. 4:29, it says that we ought not say anything that does not build up. Cursing certainly doesn't build up. Anger and frustration shouldn't be something we should even indulge in as believers. So with that and a host of other verses, God convicted me as to why we ought not curse. (There were other verses that convicted me also -- a huge chunk in James 3 - especially v. 9-11, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" Also, Col 3:8 and Luke 6:45. There are some more verses too, but I can't think of them right now.)
So the question is, does it matter what word you use? Isn't it the principle that we are really concerned about here? That we have a desire to say only that which builds up, which is loving, pleasing, edifying? So if that is true, then the so-called euphemisms that people use in place of cuss words are also not a good idea because they are used for the same purpose, the same purpose of expressing anger, impatience, unkindness. (The euphemisms consist of heck, darnit, shoot, oh-gosh!, etc.)
Anyway, so after I formed this conviction, it took me about a year to uproot euphemisms out of my vocabulary -- as well as cuss words. It was probably one of the hardest habits to kick. But it was worth it in my eyes. I noticed that after I stopped using the euphemisms, I started being less impatient and had less feelings of frustration and agitation. (I used to have a short temper.)
But as a disclaimer, I don't at all look down on anyone who uses euphemisms. This is my personal conviction that God gave me (He was the one that brought it up over and over again. I actually didn't want to think about this and especially not to go through the arduous process of giving up words & expressions that I had used all my life. In fact, I tried once, it worked for awhile and then I slipped back into it... and so God brought it up again, convicted me and I tried again and finally gave it up for good.) So... I don't really expect anyone else to do these things too unless God tells you to.
"the pleasure principle" (convictions about spending money)
Sept 3, 2002
a few years ago, i decided to stop living by the pleasure principle.
i've observed that people revolve their whole lives around the pursuit of fun (i.e. "the pleasure principle"). they will sacrifice and save money in order to go on exotic vacations, drop a few hundred dollars for adventures & thrills, and toss out a lot of money weekly for starbucks, jamba juice, snacks, clothes, shoes, etc. none of these pleasures last for more than a moment, i realized. so why waste my money on it? why be like everyone else and throw my money away on momentary pleasures? i don't want it. i refuse to conform to the pattern of this world. i refuse to do something just because it seems interesting or fun or different - or yummy. i refuse to... -- unless there is some eternal purpose. unless i am going skydiving because it would be good bonding time with my coworker, unless having the boba would promote kinship with a college student, unless watching a movie (ugh) means an opportunity to testify about the Lord afterwards. because living by the pleasure principle will surely mean emptiness. living for Jesus and investing in lives means full joy...
realizing all these things a few years ago made me decide that i want my every action to be motivated by some purpose that would glorify God, rather than myself. before opening my wallet (or saying yes to an invite) - on every occasion - i ask myself: 1. is this necessary? (things that are necessary are food, gas, contact solution, etc.) If the answer is no, then I would ask 2. will it somehow glorify God or further His Kingdom? If yes, then I could purchase it or participate in it. If not, forget it.
through the years, i have found that the more i denied myself of purchases for my indulgence, the more money i possessed to lavish on others. it has been so much fun. to always buy the cheapest for myself and the best for others. i love abstaining from unnecessary indulgences not pertaining to His glory and avoiding brand-name-everythings, just so that I could spend money freely for His glory on others. i love it. absolutely love it.
so i do not live by the pleasure principle. i never do anything just for fun, just for myself. and you want to say to me, "mary ann, don't you ever have any fun? you're so strict on yourself, you must have a dull life." and i will smile because i have found the secret to life that you know not of. the secret that knows where to find true "fun" and enjoyment which is not dependent on activity, circumstance or indulging my flesh. it is the secret which permits me to have fun every minute and every moment of the day. how? because i live for Jesus, not for myself. i have died to myself. i live only for Him. i am at the center of God's will. i am fulfilling my destiny. it is a dream within a dream...
"sex" (convictions about staying pure before marriage)
June 18, 2003
Let's talk about sex. The world talks far too much about it, and Christians talk too little about it. As a result, we all believe the subtle (and not so subtle) lies that are fed us by the world.
Recently, I watched "Keeping the Faith." This movie basically says, "Having casual sex is fun!" The way they portrayed it was so appealing, by the time I was done watching, I wanted to have sex!
But there's a problem. What the movies don't tell us are the casualties that come as a result of all that fornication and adultery. Having sex outside of marriage is always detrimental, destructive, deteriorating, disappointing.
After reading several books (the last one being "Gift-Wrapped by God") and talking to many people, I've come to the conclusion that the wonderful, fantastic sex that we all dream of having can only be experienced in the context of marriage. Outside of it, it's not that wonderful. Inside it, it is more fantastic than we can imagine.
It's like how ranch dressing only tastes good when it goes with something (salad, fries, etc). But we would NEVER drink it straight from the bottle. Sex without the context of marriage can cause much more tumult than the resulting tummy ache from downing ranch dressing.
Fire in the fireplace is warm, lovely and wonderful. But outside of it (in the middle of your living room, in the forest, in your car), it's absolutely destructive. Sex outside of marriage is just like that fire outside of the fireplace.
I don't want to have sex outside of marriage not simply cuz it's the "right" prescribed thing to do. That's not enough conviction to keep me pure. Instead, I don't want it because it is just not what the media trumpet blasts what the wonders of it are. God sets down this guideline for us to follow because He designed it that way: sex is for marriage. The more of our intimate selves that we save for our future spouses, the easier it is and the more wonderful it is to give the best of ourselves to them on our wedding night (and beyond!). I'm excited that the sex I'm going to experience is going to be so good. I know it because I am keeping myself pure!