Heya! I'm Kaeleen, from Carrying an Umbrella During a Drought, feel free to call me Kae :] When Sierra told me she was going to be doing a Purity week, I immediately thought of this post (which has been percolating in my post list for months now). The subject of this post is mental purity, a rather different take on 'purity' at that - this is about more than just waiting for your Prince to come, it's putting your heart and mind in order to please our Heavenly Prince!
I had discovered a particular artist, and thought, "wow, I love the vocal range and creativity!" but after listening to a few more songs, I was disappointed. The lyrics were worldly, dark, rather creepy and full of a message of hopelessness. As a Christian, hopelessness is something I do not believe in.
So there I sat in front of my computer, terribly exasperated, trying to figure out what to do - keep listening, or turn it off?
Our culture says that what we read in books, watch in movies, and hear in music doesn't affect us at all. Indeed, the sadness or frustration we vent through this media is actually good for us - apparently, a girl can't get through heartbreak without writing many 'I-miss-you-and-want-to-burn-all-your-belongings-and-memories' songs. Being spiteful, excruciatingly bitter, loving the guy until your dying day or refusing to ever forgive him are all acceptable responses.
The world views we come to accept through media (such as how we should deal with our relationships with guys) are usually the most dangerous because they're the easiest to accept. These dangerous attitudes are like the swamp of the doldrums [remember that scene from the old 'The Phantom Tollbooth' movie?]. If you had me listen to one deeply emotional song about heartbreak and regret, there is a 75% chance I'd cry.
That is the reason why I don't listen to most artists - I don't want to find myself causally picking up world views, picking up their vocabulary, or thinking in terms of my feelings my emotions my hurt me, me, I, I, I.
Girls [and guys] - I know from personal experience that focusing on yourself and how hurt you are and how mean the person was to you and how much you miss them gets you nowhere, if anything, it just makes you feel worse. Yes, we can feel unhappy - it's only natural... but we must move on. Shall we compare how many relationships have been mended through forgiveness vs. relationships mended due to spite? Somehow our culture thinks a girl can wallow in heartbreak and spend all her time writing songs about it. I've written some pretty cutting poems - it doesn't help really.
Loud music puts me on edge, but that's not the music that is dangerous to me. That music doesn't sound good to me.... but there are plenty of artists (I'm finding) that really appeal to me - and they are the "dangerous" ones. The casual swearing is my biggest problem. There are many songs which I would love if not for those words snuck in between blankets of artistic vocals and gentle banjo strumming.
No, not at all. Here's where the mental purity part comes in. Are you feeding the fire of your feelings through the music you listen to? Sisters, are you feeling more pain than you need to because of what you're allowing the media to fill you up with? There is an internet and cultural thing about swearing going on now. I didn't see it a few months ago, but I'm suddenly noticing this casual approach to self-control. The Bible commands us to be self-controlled.
Each of us have some form of struggle with self-control. Mine goes hand and hand with pride, so I must control my mouth and not be as sharp tongued as I'd like. If I was as sharp tongued as I'd sometimes like to be, I can promise that I'd have very few friends. How often I'd love to correct or tear down people. But self-control and conviction have kept me from doing that.
During my greatest times of heartbreak, almost no one has known about it. I know for a fact that only one of my peers knows what is going on now. Why? Because of Romans 14:13 - 23. In this part of Romans, Paul is reminding his readers to not cause others to stumble. Our attitudes have a ripple-effect. You may think it's not harming you, but there are Kaeleens out there who are trying to control their tongue and their anger and their hurt. We don't know what's going on in others' lives. I've seen people post things which were, as they say, the straw that broke the camel's back.
Mental purity is a really big deal. How can you keep your defense up against an opposing army when your wall supports are weak and your ramparts are teetering? As hard as it is, we need to double-check what media we're allowing to influence our emotions and how we deal with others, especially guys. We can't only expect respect from guys, we have to respect them as well... as hard as that can sometimes be. Mental purity means self-control. Self-control means having to ask the Prince to help us clean up our act, to learn to put others first.
By guarding it according to your word."
(Psalm 119:9 ESV)