Category Archives: Culture

Anything But Ordinary

Standard

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When I launched my new website in 2013, I lingered on the amount of visitors and the number of “likes” that I received on Facebook. I felt vulnerable doing this, but I yearned to know that my new project mattered. Yet, if I was really being honest with myself, I know that I wanted to alleviate my feelings of inadequacy and fears of being seen as simply “ordinary.”
Why do I have such reservations of seeming ordinary? It is because in my teens and early twenties, I was discipled by my church and pastors to live life boldly and impact the world for Christ. This is why I served children in the inter-city of Chicago, traveled to the border of North Korea, and gave away shoes and clothes to those who needed it. I even worked as the Children’s Minister for three-years and eventually went to seminary school. Now, my days are spent in the suburbs, driving a mini-van, and raising two kids whose lives are on a set schedule. For me, the monotonous lifestyle is challenging because it requires me to go deep inside and be mindful about how to be kind to my children, husband, and even people at the grocery store. During my training to be a radical Christian, I was never told about living an ordinary lifestyle or how it should be done.

Christian women are always being told about their place in society and in the home. I love my young children and being married, but I often have days of feeling underappreciated or that I am not doing enough with my life. On those days, I have been known to numb the pain with chocolate even though it only pacifies the feelings for a temporary amount of time. When I was feeling that my ordinary life was not good enough or that I was not doing enough, I had to force myself to be aware of those hurtful lies and change my thinking about my season in life. I realized there was nothing wrong with being known as ordinary or doing ordinary things. According to Luther, “ordinary works, done in faith and from faith, are more precious than heaven and earth.” Ordinary does not equate to “not being good enough.” In the Bible, God chose the ordinary and imperfect people to do amazing things for Him. Moses lacked the confidence to speak when he had to confront Pharaoh and deliver the people from slavery. David was just an ordinary shepherd boy who was chosen to be the future king. Despite flaws or seeming common, God can see the high worth of individuals. The number of Facebook or Twitter followers should not measure what a person can do or their value. God says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

I miss the days of being radical for Christ, but my priorities altered because I have young children in the home. Though I do not always enjoy the mundane work of laundry or cooking, my eyes have been opened by my wonderful church community, and by the women in Redbud Writers Guild, whose lives have been dedicated to serving others through prayer, mentoring, and encouragement. Their faithfulness has made a difference in my life and has also taught me the real meaning of koinonia.

As Helen Lee reminds me in The Missional Mom, “I can be a purposeful mother, one who not only loves her kids but who wants to make a difference in the world.” I know this is my season of being a mother to young children, so I embrace it and all the challenges that come with raising a family. Though I feel it is ordinary at times, I want to look back at this period and know that I tried my best to make it a well-lived Christian life. I have made mistakes with my words or reacted when I should have comforted, but in the midst of my flaws as a mom, my children know they are my priority and I love them. I still hope that someday, there will be a time when I can ignite the fire or be part of a revolution, but for now I will bask in the comfort of my middle-class mini-van and enjoy the weekly play dates. Yes, my life is a bit ordinary, but I serve an extraordinary God and He makes living good.

Trying to be a Living Doll

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barbie

Anime Barbie

Have you heard about the beauty trend to look like a doll? It is so fast-growing among girls and young women that it has been given the name “Barbie Flu.” To take part in this popular trend, a girl needs to use big contact lens and thick make-up to enlarge the eyes, have eyelash extensions, and some plastic surgery to transform into a “living doll” with the body dimensions of 34-18-34. If you need a tutorial on how to do this, you can go to YouTube and get mini-lessons from Dakota Rose or Venus Palermo.

A real-life Barbie? Teenager Dakota Rose, who styles herself as a living doll, has become an internet hit for her online demonstrations on how to recreate her look

A real-life Barbie? Teenager Dakota Rose, who styles herself as a living doll, has become an internet hit for her online demonstrations on how to recreate her look

Asia was the first to take part in this trend since many girls wanted to look like anime cartoons. Yet, is it okay for girls aspire to look like plastic dolls that have tiny waistlines and big breasts? This world obsession to be more Barbie-like by dramatically altering one’s appearance is harmful because it is another beauty standard that females cannot and should not have to attain.

What is really unsettling is that Barbie and dolls are unreal objects, but girls everywhere are trying to become these things and become more artificial. How is something unreal, coming into our society and becoming the new standard of beauty? I think that instead of sending the message that girls need to change and look more perfect, the internet, parents, and society needs to work harder to encourage real body images and lifestyles that are healthy. Being Barbie may seem fantastic, but it is plastic.