Here@niNe. Expectations for Back-to-School

School is back in session. That means school supplies, waking up at 7 am and new clothes! I always remember wearing my most fashionable outfit for my first day back to school, because it was a requirement to show off. There was always someone to impress: your crush, last years Homecoming queen or your best friend. But, halfway into the first semester, I would roll out of bed, throw on a dirty pair of jeans, a t-shirt and pull my hair back in a ponytail, without even taking a shower. Why did I have such a change in perception every year? Over time I learned that making positive impressions was about establishing my character, not just about the way I looked.

So, now niNe. magazine has had it’s first impression phase, and we’re currently into the middle of the semester phase. No, we’re not going to just throw on whatever is nearby, but rather we desire to show you our consistent characteristics.

Plenty of magazines pride on gossip, sex and materialism, but few publications are willing to look at the deeper issues of character, personality and esteem. niNe. magazine’s content and title are based on the following nine characteristics: love, faithfulness, patience and peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and joy found in Galatians 5:22-23. We’re especially passionate about these characteristics because our wish is for you to pursue these characteristics and live your fullest lives.

The capital “N” in the middle of our title is meant to direct your attention to the inner aspect of the word, symbolic of our hope to promote inner beauty and faith in one’s self. We’re passionate about influencing the lives of teenage girls, and will go to great lengths to do so, not because we have to, but because we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We refuse to be seen as “just another magazine.” We hope our pages will penetrate deep into the heart of every one of you. Join us in our journey as we fill a void by providing a fresh new magazine with an innovative focus and a poignant voice.

Seek to Connect

Pulling Ourselves Closer to God

According to Philip Yancey, in his book Rumors of Another World, there are two ways of looking at the world, “One takes the world apart, while the other seeks to connect and put it together.” He says, “We live in an age that excels at the first and falters at the second.”

The media endlessly works at making us feel like we need to fit a mold, ripping us apart if we live, look or act outside this box. Girls spend much of their day tearing one another apart in order to build themselves up. They try to minimize others, so they can feel better, more important and prettier. They pull down everyone around them so they can walk all over others, not caring about the damage being done.

This is how people approach God too. They take Him apart, trying to make Him manageable, convenient and comfortable. Some people make God small by picking at Him until He’s tiny enough to squash. While pulling Him apart, they strive to boost their own self by convincing themselves that they’re in control, intelligent or capable.

NMI_2010_FashionYear_00671AThe world has enough people pulling things apart, we don’t need to join the ranks. Instead, let’s put things back together. Let’s see a person for who he or she really is, and honor, admire and respect that person. Let’s mend broken relationships and repair hurt feelings. Let’s see everything as beautiful (in it’s original form), as God intended it to be – especially ourselves.

Rather than taking God apart, seek to connect everything together. Connect the stars in the sky to the atoms in which we’re made. Connect the cycle of the sun, the seasons and our sleep patterns to the order of everything. Connect science and math to art and beauty. Connect the living to the dead. Connect stillness to the wind. Connect a flame to the ocean. Connect the Bible to Justin Beiber – burdens to busyness – the maker to a baby. Connect breath with light – joy with curiosity – the unknown with what is certain. Connect community with silence. Connect building one another up with being rooted in the Lord. Connect majesty to the overcoming of evil, darkness and despair.

By connecting the most obvious things together through the grace of God, we’ll become more confident in God, ourselves and our faith in Him. By connecting opposites, we’ll see God more clearly in our everyday life, helping us to grow by strengthening our understanding of Him. We’ll see Him for who He is and begin to see our place in His master plan.

When we question God’s existence or what He is doing in our lives, we must try to connect the pieces together. Connect the big things to the little things. Connect current circumstances to resolutions from the past. Connect things that we do not know to things that are explicitly clear. Making these connections will help remind us that God is in control, and He has a great plan for our lives.

NMI_2010_FashionYear_00676AWhen we’re faced with others who don’t see how God connects with everything in their life, we don’t have to prove to them that He exists. Doing so may not trigger anything substantial, and we may actually feel very discouraged by their intellectual jargon. Instead, pray for them. But, we must also show them the connections we’ve made in our own lives. Sharing our journey isn’t about converting another soul to Christianity, instead it’s about speaking the truth of God. The truth of God is greater than uncertainty and can penetrate through the thickest of shadows.