“6 Questions with…” is an opportunity for women and girls everywhere to share something about their passions and lives. (It’s also a fantastic excuse for me to be really nosey and learn from of the some amazing women I’ve met.)
This week I’m putting Jackie Giles in the hot seat. I met Jackie via a FB group and since then have been blown away by her willingness to share what she has learnt as a teenager and 20-something. Here she shares something of her life as a Christian blogger. I’ll let her introduce herself in her own words…
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you come from. Paint a picture of yourself.
Hey y’all. My name is Jackie. I’m from Meridian, Mississippi but currently live in Birmingham, Alabama.
I homeschooled 1st-8th grade and it’s a big part of my identity. Through homeschooling, I got the chance to read a lot of historical fiction books, interact with people of different ages and go on cool trips when everyone else is in school. Eventually, I’d like to homeschool my own kids, assuming that’s cool with my future husband. I stopped homeschooling because my mom had cancer, and my parents wanted to make sure my education was taken care of in case she passed away. She’s in great health now but it’s still a big part of who I am.
Another big part of my identity is that I fell in love at 18 and got my heartbroken at 19. It taught me a lot about life and growing up but more importantly, it was the catalyst that pushed me towards becoming a writer.
I like to think of myself as delightfully quirky which is my way of saying I’m weird but have decided to own it. I’m sarcastic 90% of the time except for when I’m being extremely goofy. The best way to get me to like you is to laugh at my jokes. I love old hats and old things in general. I’ve been told my apartment looks like a grandma’s.
I give weird compliments to friends and strangers; sometimes it’s awkward but I think it’s important to be uplifting.
So that’s me in a nutshell. I’m sure I left out something important and included something mundane. I’m an open book though so you can ask about anything else you’re interested about.
In Britain, the Church in the southern states has a crazy reputation. What is it really like being a Christian in the USA at the moment?
So to be fair, I need to point out that I’ve only ever been a Christian in the “deep south” of Alabama and Mississippi. My viewpoint is very limited.
In the Bible belt, there are a lot of “cultural Christians.” People who go to church when they feel like it and live very different lives in between. It’s a challenge sometimes because you want to love everyone and be a witness. Except that people think they’re covered because they prayed a prayer once as a 7-year-old at Vacation Bible School. So you just have to love on and pray for people. Because at the end of the day, I can’t save anyone; only Christ can do that.
But I think we’re at or near a crossroads. For the past two centuries, we’ve been a dominantly christian nation. Little by little that’s changing. Soon it’s going to be the time when people need to practice what they preach. I have so many thoughts of this. But to sum it up, I’m glad that it’s becoming less “popular” to be a Christian. Now’s the time to really live what we believe.
You use your blog to share what you’ve learnt as a Christian, from your failures as well as your successes. What inspired you to share your failures in such a public way?
There are multiple answers to this for me. First, I’m really bad at being fake. I see so much insincerity on the internet and it exhausts me. I realized a long time ago, I was never going to make my life look as pretty and perfect as other people. I decided I didn’t care. I was going to do the opposite. I was going to be honest when everyone cultivated perfection.
Second, I remember a few years back, a friend who a bad habit of being unnecessarily critical made a comment about how all I ever wrote about was struggling with being single. It hurt. It stung and made me feel stupid. But I realized that my place on the internet (and in life) wasn’t to share my highlight reel; it was to be real but encouraging. So I shared a post that talked about acknowledged that while I do talk about my struggles, I do it because the world needs more honesty and how I have flaws because I am a work in progress.
Lastly, more than it being a personal feeling, it’s a calling from God. That’s why I don’t expect anyone else to do the same. It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone. That’s okay. God has called me to share my failings and until I feel like no one can benefit from it, I’m going to keep making myself vulnerable and being faithful. Sometimes it’s really scary but the payoff is worth it. When someone identifies with my story and gets healing from it, it is beyond worth it.
On your blog you admit to being in love with storytelling. What is it about storytelling that has caused you to have fallen in love so much?
So many things! I love seeing myself in other characters who are in vastly different circumstances. I love seeing new perspectives that add to my worldview. One of my dominant personality traits is that I’m curious. I ask questions. I investigate. I wonder about things. Stories, and by this I mean books, tv shows, movies and hearing from other people, teach me things I might not ever learn. It’s amazing and beautiful.
Bloggers are often creatives and dreamers before they’re anything else. How do you turn your dreams and creativity into real life?
Gosh. This is a hard question. I think I’m still figuring out how to do that. But I think the biggest way I do that is doing things before I’m ready. It’s learning to be ok with the process and ok with not being the best at everything I do.
My favourite posts from your blog are about the lessons you’ve shared from being a teenager. What advice would you give teenage girls nowadays?
It’s cliche but true: It gets better. Keep going. Also, try and find something that makes you feel confident and yourself and just spend time with that. When I was a senior in high school, I got involved with a theater group where I was allowed to be weird and be me. It gave me confidence and helped me in other parts of my life as well so I think hobbies are very important. But regardless of that, just keep going. One day you will be older and things will be different and better and harder and it’ll be great.
You can check out more of Jackie’s musings over on her blog, According to Jackie.