How Pandora Radio Taught Me About the Subtlety of Compromise // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

I have a supreme enjoyment of three specific, earthly things: good coffee, good music and good dessert. 

Pandora Radio is my music app of choice and I’m always listening to a variety of stations with my top three being JJ Heller, Mannheim Steamroller Holiday, and Pride + Prejudice Film Score. Of course, the nature of Pandora is that you’ll get all sorts of artists crooning their notes through your speakers and, with the flick of an up or down thumb, you build your playlist.

All was fine until I heard a song crooning from my JJ Heller station. My ears pricked at the sound — it was an old, emotion-filled love song which was popular during my Freshman year of high school (back when I was into rap and all sorts of mainstream vocals). It wasn’t a terrible song but it was definitely something I have chosen not to listen to any more.

I was shocked. How could something so long-forgotten and bypassed suddenly appear in my folksy, Christian artist station? And it wasn’t the only one. Throughout the day I was bombarded by songs not befitting my tastes or beliefs. Somehow, through a long-time of liking different songs, I had given Pandora the impression of the type of music I wanted to hear.

My station had been compromised.

And suddenly, I saw a lesson I’ve been needing to learn for a long time.

Sin, in any form, removes us from God. But we often don’t see it that way. We see little sins as minor issues; we don’t thumbs-down the small, minuscule character flaws, emotions or thoughts we deal with every day. It isn’t sin … it’s just not the best, we think. We trick ourselves into believing that the comprise doesn’t matter or that we’re mature enough Christians to handle it.

It happens to us all the time. We compromise on the little things forgetting that compromise grows up into full blown, reprobate patterns of sin. We don’t see that we’ve allowed compromise and justified little sins until we reap the fruit of bad character and rebellious hearts.

Sin does not advance by leaps; it advances by creeps—one tiny compromise at a time. – Mary Kassian from “Don’t Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak.”

Sin creeps in just like artists we don’t want on our Pandora Radio. We hesitate on clicking the thumbs-down button. “Oh, I like this song … it won’t hurt anyone” turns into a secular takeover of your Christian station in a matter of days. It’s a lot like “I’m mature enough to watch this movie” or “My boyfriend and I are committed to purity so we know how far we can push the boundaries and where the line is.” 

Mary Kassian's Quote

The good news is that God is big enough and present enough to turn to. Some of us know we have compromise in our lives but are afraid of coming forward — I’ll fix it, Lord, and then I can turn to you … you don’t want me as I am right now. (This is my biggest lie I buy.) Other’s are letting a lack of faith keep them from repentance — God, I’m unfixable. I’m broken beyond repair. If You only saw my mind and the filth filling it You wouldn’t want me.

Friends, turn to Jesus. Turn in your brokenness and pain and smallness. You can’t change unless you let Him do a change in you first. Let Him shine light on the compromises in your life and weed out the roots of sin. He loves you and you are worth every effort of His. 

Have you let compromise sneak into your life? Are you experiencing the result of hesitation on clicking the thumbs-down button in your life? Do you need prayer or a listening ear? We’re here to encourage and lift each other up — this is a safe place, friend. We’re here to point you to the One Who is big enough to cleanse the years of compromise you’ve allowed. Just ask. 

With love, blessings and a whole lotta coffee,

Frannie

The Beautiful Heartbeat of Modesty and Why Modern Christians Should Pursue It // Armor V. Chains Series

Armor V. Chains // An Authentic Virtue Series

Armor V. Chains // An Authentic Virtue Series

Modesty is one of the most beautiful subjects of our day but like so many lovely, good things it’s been distorted, mocked and robbed of its heart. I’m so excited to share my journey and my heart for this beautiful, biblical principal and all it can mean.

I haven’t always been a pursuer of modesty. Back when choker necklaces and butterfly hairclips were the rage I struggled with an intense desire to be seen and wanted. To get the affection and attention I thought I wanted I chose outfits that were as low cut and tightfitted as a Baptist teenage girl could get away with without being rejected by her Christian circles.

But this article isn’t about me.

It’s about the Creator God Who made our bodies to reflect His glory, handiwork and care. Our Abba Daddy has made our bodies worthy of covering, not out of shame, but out of beauty.

When God turned my heart towards Him and began His redemptive work in my life He set me on the path of pursuing modesty and everything it meant. Instead of attracting attention and lust I discovered that I was to dress in a way that pointed to Christ.

So, what is modesty and how can we apply the beautiful principal to our modern lives?

First, modesty is biblical. We live in a time where many in the Church say that their Christianity gives them the freedom to live according to their own opinions, standards and desires — of course, they may not say those words but their forsaking the biblical command of modesty is their choice to live unblessed, disobedient lives. When we refuse to be modestly dressed we refuse to love and obey our King. Armor V. Chains // Authentic Virtue Blog Series

Because modesty is biblical it is not a dresscode. The heart of modesty does not argue about whether leggings are appropriate or double-coverings required; instead, the very heartbeat of modesty is, “Am I presenting (or adorning) myself in a way that pleases my flesh and/or pleases others or am I presenting myself as a living sacrifice willing to give up that which is fleshly for that which is holy?”

Do you see the difference there? Instead of focusing on the texture, color and style of an outfit we simply need to ask ourselves if we are living a life where we “present our bodies to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable …” ?

(Honesty time: As a woman I know when I’m putting something on to look sexy. I can feel the excitement of wearing something that will turn others on and, to be honest, that feeling feels good. This is my flesh and this, I believe, is the enticement for sin. Over time I’ve discovered the huge difference between dressing to get attention/excite others  or dressing because I enjoy the outfit and find it pretty. There’s a time and a place to be sexy and that’s for your husband’s enjoyment alone.

Because we’re all in different stages of our Christian walk this looks different for everyone of us. Thankfully, we have a faithful Guide, the Holy Spirit, Who will send a nudge our way whenever we are tempted to pursue our flesh and the excitement it brings.)

The reason for modesty is that it is biblical and the joy of modesty is that it isn’t a dresscode. However, I would argue that God has set very clear guidelines of what His Body, the Church, should and should not look like:

Armor V. Chains // Authentic Virtue Blog Series

A third, awesome aspect of modesty is that it reveals the beauty of our assigned roles. Men and women are gloriously different from one another; our values are unarguably equal but our roles radiantly differ. And it’s perfectly, wonderfully designed to be that way. Likewise, our attire should define us from each other — this is important to God.

Instead of diving into the divisive and peace-breaking discussion on whether pants are too masculine for women I simply want to ask two questions: Does the way you dress proclaim that you are gloriously different from the opposite sex? Are you obeying Christ?

I’ve heard so many arguments against women wearing pants because pants are masculine in nature. I feel like this is an irrelevant point for 2015; women have regularly wore pants for nearly a century and pants no longer represent what they once did. Instead of laying down a dresscode let’s ask ourselves if we are dressing in a way that let’s the world know that we are rejoicing in the sex God designed us each to individually be?

A fourth aspect of modesty is that it doesn’t have to be frumpy; in fact, modesty is more about our hearts than our attire. In this world sex-appeal, fashion sense and being “on-point” matters — to God adorning ourselves with a meek and quiet spirit and good works  is worth His attention. Being a woman with a trusting, gentle, meek heart pursuing good works is of more value to our Lord than all the jewels Tiffany’s could put on us.

Imagine, the God of the whole universe, the Owner of all the pearls, gold and silver, says that our character-filled, noble spirits are of great price.  I feel like this is something worth chasing!

Armor V. Chains // Authentic Virtue Blog Series

That’s the crazy, wild, life-giving heartbeat of modesty. It’s radically different from the world, it requires us to die to our flesh and sensual desires and it asks us to put on good works and nobility of character.

Do you see how modesty transcends fabric, texture, fitting, color and style?  Can you catch the vision God has for His people?

My final point is the why. Why is it important to practice biblical modesty? Why should I alter my wardrobe and die to myself?

Modesty is all about protection; it’s your armor. In a world that sees modesty as chains it’s important that we as Christians see the great gift that it is. Modesty let’s us focus on what really matters: dying to self and living for Christ in holiness. It sets us apart from the world making us salt and light to a dark and tasteless society. Personal experience has taught me that more people respect and notice you when your attire matches your message; I cannot count the people who have used my headcovering and dress as a means for asking questions about the things in life that really matter.

Most of all, modesty is our armor because God always blesses obedience. The prosperity gospel isn’t real but rewarded obedience is. And when we choose to say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll go where you lead me in this modesty journey” we will begin to enjoy the great, life-giving freedom and joy obedience brings.

So, what do you think? Where are you on the modesty-train? Do you feel like God is leading you deeper in your modesty journey? Have you embraced this opportunity or are you afraid and holding back? Wherever you are I’d love to hear –we’re all about community, grace and growth so feel welcome to share your heart. ♥

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Armor V. Chains: The Discussion of Modesty, Christian Living and Money

Armor V Chains // Authentic Virtue Blog Series

At the Duncan home we discuss a lot of practical theology. Talking about spiritual matters feeds my interests (i.e. theological nerd), gives us a chance to catch up on each other’s viewpoints and forces us to think about life’s matters from the other’s perspective.

Along the way we’ve discovered that what we consider to be opportunities for God to bless, protect and enrich our lives many see as chains and bondage. Instead of seeing the importance of biblical obedience and submission to the Word of God and its principals many are grieved and weighed down, giving excuses and living limp.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:3,4

Confession #1: There have been days when keeping God’s commandments have been grievous for me #tbh. Walking in obedience can be hard and heavy. Looking back, I see that those days were the ones where I lacked faith. Faith that God’s ways were life and givers of joy.

If you relate then I’m writing for you; to remind you of the beauty, joy and privilege we as Christians have in following God.  I have found joy in living a life of holiness, not rules, and I want to share that joy with you. We want to show you that God’s ways are not chains but armor meant to protect you, His child.

Confession #2: I live differently then most folk but this series will not be a how-to-be-like-Frannie course. I’ve fallen into the trap of legalism before and I don’t want to  place someone in that direction. There will be no rules, no dress-codes. I only hope you’ll find encouragement and thought-provoking words.

I’m a simple, practical woman. I like facts, life examples and first-hand experience. If you’re looking for a someone to write lengthy discourses diving deep into the principals of Augustine and Luther then you may find my thoughts a little too sweet and simple for your taste.

We’ll tackle three practical, life-relevant topics: modesty, Christian living and money. (These are my favorite.) 🙂  I imagine you have to dress, exchange money and exist at some point throughout the year (if not, you are one amazing hermit; can I write your memoirs?)

Confession #3: Over my six years of blogging I have rarely written about my beliefs on these topics; I tend to focus on the beauty of daily life and lessons learnt. I’m both excited and intimidated by sharing my heart on such touchy, practical bits of life. But we live in a time were the beauty of following God is being forgotten and the least I can do is share my heart.

Looking forward to growing, loving and rejoicing in the beauty of walking with God,

Frannie