Passion Magazine editor Ariel Oliver for her dish on her ministry, modesty, beauty, God, and her message for teen girls today.
GFG: Why did you start Passion Magazine?
ARIEL:Writing has always been a passion of mine, and it was my dad who kept pushing me to create some sort of magazine as an outlet for that talent. I thought starting a webmag would be a good idea. That was one reason for starting it; another was for teen girls to have a place to go to read things encouraging to their faith and walk with God that's also good-quality and interesting, because there's not a lot of those, and I felt we didn't have enough good resources as teen followers of Christ.
GFG: If there was one thing you could tell teen girls today, what would it be?
ARIEL: Surrender to and seek God. Surrender to (count the cost and take up the cross) and seek (genuinely pursue) God (the Creator of the universe, not some distant idea we sing about in church). From there all the other issues will come together that teen girls need to hear about, like purity, cultivating good relationships, etc.
GFG: Why is it important to value modesty?
ARIEL: Mostly because Jesus says so, but that aside, I think a few of the biggest reasons that modesty is important is...
(1) To help our brothers in Christ, the good guys, who are honestly trying to stay pure and avoid lusting. You can say, "Oh, that's their responsibility, and it's their fault if they lust after me" but is that really a loving attitude, at all? It's part our responsibility too. When you dress immodestly, you frankly are asking for guys to lust after you.
(2) To guard and honor our own bodies. I firmly believe it's degrading to dress revealingly. You're sending a message when you wear low-cut shirts or miniskirts: essentially, you're seeking male attention, and that's not what Christ has called us to. I personally want the only guy who knows what I really look like to be my future husband. Of course that doesn't mean I have to wear bags as clothes; I just have to be careful.
GFG: Why is inner beauty important?
ARIEL: External beauty is very temporary and alterable. Our bodies and faces will start to sag and fall apart as we age, but inner beauty--the one that comes from the Holy Spirit--will last forever. People who seek friendships and even romantic relationships with us aren't going to make sure we have the perfect bodies and good skin, but they want to pursue the friendship of someone who is loving, joyful, and kind. This stuff comes from the Holy Spirit and we'll only find true fulfillment if our spirits are beautiful, not our bodies! In the end, it was all that had mattered anyway.
GFG: What has God been teaching you lately?
ARIEL: I think one of the things God's been drilling into my stone heart is to go back to the basics: a love relationship with God. Just following Him out of love, day-by-day. And to keep faith. Sometimes it's so easy to lose sight of the very foundations of our faith as we "grow" in it. We get caught up in all the dumb details and think we're basically holy enough, so we start to shift away from everything that really matters--worship and enjoy Jesus. So I believe God is pulling me into a deeper, truer, purer love relationship with Christ.