Yes, I have a serious side.. Consider yourself warned :)

Before you read this I want you to know I am not trying to come across as judgmental.  I am not trying to put people down or make them feel less than. I am simply sharing my heart and my passions and I am truly sorry if it comes across as condemning. I say this out of a heart of love for my generation and a longing to see us all live a life worthy of our calling..

Now, with that in mind something interesting happened tonight that I can't seem get out of my mind... I tweeted something the other day that I didn't think would be all that controversial. But what can I say, I was born to rock the boat :) The tweet addressed the fact that a lot of the magazines in the "male interest" section has a picture of a half naked or pretty much totally naked woman on it.. And the way I was raised I really don't think that should ever be an "interest" of men.. And then I said that the women who pose for those kinds of magazines and dress (or not dress at all) that way is because their dads (and moms) never had the courage to stop their daughters from going out of the house when they were in skanky outfits and never spoke identity into their life.. Now of course so many thanked me for saying that but then there were a few comments that we've heard quite a few times from different people and weren't as supportive. I know people think us girls are too legalistic and we need to "live life" a little bit.  And every time it is said to us, it saddens me. I don't think we should be deemed legalistic cause we think that women shouldn't be portrayed or portray themselves as a sex object. It breaks my heart that girls in the "spotlight" these days think they need to show everything to sell their product or to get on the cover of a magazine. And that is all we have to look up to or look at. And then little girls start to want to dress like the famous girls they see on tv and little boys think its ok to see those things. And its a vicious cycle and if we don't have the courage to put a stop to it, I don't know if it will ever end. 

We grew up in a great household. It wasn't all perfect but I can honestly say we always tried to keep God the focus. And yes, I will admit it, when I was a kid I thought it was a bit extreme all the rules that were made and we had to follow. But you know what's so awesome?! Our parents knew what was good for us. And they knew the kind of women that my sisters and I could be and I believe we rose to that standard and it was only because they set the bar high. We were never allowed to wear immodest clothing. No bellies, cleavage, butts, short shorts or skirts, bikinis or extremely tight clothing were allowed in the house. If we bought it and brought it home it was taken back to the store or thrown out. Did I want to kill my parents at times?! Uhhh, duh. I was a teenager once too ya know :) But if I was gonna live in our house I had to obey the rules. Another rule that made me want to run away from home and be adopted by "cool parents" was the "no teen magazines" or magazines with anything inappropriate in it, nothing about sex or immodest women or anything like that was allowed. Oh here was another rule I just adored.. The "no rated R" movies rule... Or any movies for that matter with excessive swearing, bad jokes, sex scenes (even if nothing is shown) or nudity. And I must admit it, as much as I despised it then, now I am 25 years old and I can make my own decisions I still uphold those standards. And its cause I was taught that I can live my life by a higher standard. I didn't have to do what everyone else was doing.  Now did I mess up? Of course I did. I snuck and watched movies I wasn't supposed to but of course my mother would find out cause mom's stinking know everything! But in my heart, even though I was found out and got in big trouble, I knew it was wrong and knew I couldn't watch those things. Us girls grew up being told all the time that everyone was called to change the world. But we can never change a world that we look and act just like. So still, to uphold our commitment to purity in our movie selection, before we see ANY movie we still check www.pluggedin.com and that tells us if the movie is appropriate or not and if a magazine has anything about sex or sexual talk in it we refuse to buy it. Oh,  and you couldn't pay us a billion dollars to wear a bikini. My simple question to this generation is, where have our standards gone? It makes me so sad that we think its ok for a woman to be half naked or literally totally naked on the cover of magazines and we don't bat an eye. And even more, those magazines get bought. And when did it become OK to watch movies where people are naked or having sex? And Dads and Moms, why do you think you have no right to speak into you child's life about morals and values ?! You're the parent! They may say they hate you to your face but if you do it right they will thank you in the long run. You're not here to be their best friend.  You're here to train your child in the way they should go and show them what a godly man and woman is supposed to look like. Thats what my parents did for my sisters and I and if they didn't I would not uphold the standards I currently do. And what's amazing is now we are best friends. 

Yes, I know that pornography is a struggle for a lot men out there and with this blog I'm not trying to belittle you or shame you at all.. It's not your fault that America's marketing slogan is "sex sells", its not your fault that women pose for those awful magazines or walk around wearing less clothes then my dog wears. You don't have any control over that first glance and I believe God does not judge you for accidentally seeing those things. But its what happens after that. Men, you are stronger than what you think. And maybe when you start not getting those magazines or hitting on scantily clad women we will be forced to rethink what we are subjecting you to. And ladies, you are worth more than that. You are a precious beautiful daughter of God. Respect yourself. You are a treasure. Ask God what he thinks about you. And when He tells you, you wont have to go to boys to see what they think cause when you are rooted in Him nothing can sway you and you will always feel loved and valued.    

So yes,I know I'm extreme, but I'm sure everyone thought Jesus was extreme when he flipped the tables over in the temple and yelled at everyone there. But they were defiling His temple. And our lack of morals and justifying the impurity in our lives even in the smallest form is defiling Gods temple. WE are Gods temple. And the sooner we realize that I think we will see that purity just isn't for the extremists and for "those weirdo Barlowgirls and their fans" its for everyone. God is trying to raise up a generation dedicated to purity..  It's time we stop trying to get as close to the line as we can. We need to challenge ourselves and not just get by doing what everyone else is doing. God's standards should be our standards. Not stupid hollywood standards. You were created for so much more then to just fit in. And yes, it feels good to fit in and be popular. Its hard doing what is right. But us girls have been made fun of our entire lives (yes even still today) for the stands we have taken in this life, but I do not regret one day taking these stands. I'm not saying we have done it 100% right. I have seen things I wish I never had, read things I regret, laughed at jokes I never should have, watched movies that were beneath who I was. But that doesn't mean it was over for me. God is a God of second chances, and third chances and millionth chances, When you pursue the heart of God and He becomes your focus and love you aren't gonna want the things of this world because you know they don't please his heart. Live your life to please the heart of the Father. Don't live a life that is below your calling. 
I know this was a hard word. But the impurity in this world, in the Christian scene and non christian scene, breaks my heart and something needs to be done about it. I know one blog won't change the world but maybe it will challenge people. And you are the ones who can change the standard. Do you realize how powerful you are because of the God that we serve?

Robert Frost says so beautifully in my favorite poem, "I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

Guys, take the road less traveled. Because in your life its going to make all the difference..

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be the "funny barlow girl" but as you have seen in this blog, I can be serious. Don't worry I still got the jokes :)
Thanks for listening. 

Lauren