Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: Donna Lee Schillinger, Author of On My Own Now

On My Own Now is about strengthening young women’s faith and preventing the screw-ups that can brand us for life. Schillinger uses gender-reversed Proverbs with real-life applications to wave the red flag of caution for young women, warning against the pitfalls of a post-modern, sexually casual, consumer-is-king society that is indelibly scarring youth with cynicism, sexually transmitted diseases and bad credit. This compact collection of quirky vignettes is great for daily devotions, affirmations, confessions, benedictions and many other religious “tions,” all with the goal of keeping you on the yellow brick road. After all, you’re not in Kansas anymore – you’re on your own now.

How Young Women Can Use Proverbs as a Guide by Donna Lee Schillinger

Before I jump into a few proverbs that can be beneficial for guiding young women, I have to explain that my process in On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free was to take verses from the proverbs and reverse the gender in them. I made “he” into “she,” “him” into “her,” and so on. Just this simple change opened up a lot of verses to modern applications to young women that I had never considered before. These verses help to illustrate this point:

Proverbs 26:27 “If a woman digs a pit, she will fall into it; if a woman rolls a stone, it will roll back on her.”

A lot of the mistakes we make as women have in their basis ignoring simple facts of physics – if I roll this stone up the hill and stand in its place, it will roll back on me. Duh, right? And yet, how readily would a young bride of 18 who has known her fiancĂ© for three months agree that she is setting herself up to be rolled over by entering into a major decision too quickly, with someone she doesn’t know well enough, at an age to which our society is hostile against marriage? Just try to convince this woman in love that she’s making a mistake. We need to stay engaged with rational thinking and understand that we are not immune to probable outcomes and natural consequences, just because we have high hopes.

Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives vent to her anger, but a wise woman keeps herself under control.”

Probably since the advent of soap operas, we’ve been wearing away at the distinction between what works in the movies and what works in real life. Now with reality TV and dramatic talk shows (of the Jerry Springer ilk), those lines are becoming even more blurred. We see high drama on television and in the movies all the time, but in real life, big acting does not win awards. One of the quickest ways to find this out is to throw a fit on the job. So I lost my temper, so what? People should get over it in one episode, like they do on TV, right? Nope. In real life, we can expect a counseling statement from our supervisor or maybe even a police escort off the property. Even when we have just cause to be angry, if we abandon rational behavior to prove our point, no one will defend us.

Proverbs 19:27 “Stop listening to instruction, my daughter, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

If I could get just one truth across in On My Own Now, this would be it. When we cease to have a regularly scheduled quiet time with our Heavenly Father, we will stray. It’s what happened to me. When I was a teenager, I used to read Proverbs religiously (no pun intended). Then I stopped. Life got in the way. College totally disrupted my former routine and instead of reading Proverbs before I fell asleep, I was studying biology, partying or late-night chatting with friends. There was a residual effect of all that wisdom I had soaked up in my teen years, but when it finally wore off, do you know what was left? A fool. Turns out the only thing keeping me out of trouble was that daily connection to the Wisdom of the ages. Though being a fool seemed like fun at the time, I don’t have much to brag about now. I would be embarrassed to admit to many of my antics and I wouldn’t want my daughter to know about them, for sure! I may have turned from those memories, but they have not disappeared. I left a trail of witnesses so thick I could never run for public office!

Be deliberate about your relationship with God. Make a commitment to stay in contact at least once a day. Begin to think about chatting with God as being as essential as changing your underwear each day!

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