Monday, May 7, 2012

My tattoo fallout...

After much thought and consideration.. I got my first tattoo.  

So to answer the first round of questions I have gotten: 

1.  Yes, I know this is a FOREVER deal.  I kinda took that into consideration when doing my research. 

2.  I am quite certain that the satisfactory health rating on the wall of the shop I was in made it obvious that I was probably NOT going to get infected with a disease.  Oh, and the dude wore gloves.  

3.  Yes, It hurt like someone was cutting my skin with a knife.  Over and over.  The wrist: a very sensitive place. 

4.  No, I could not think of a more BOLD location than the one I chose.  Because the head and neck were out of the question.  (although I did tell my brother-in-law that my next tattoo's were either going to be "MS13" on my back or teardrops under my eye). 

5.  No, I am not concerned if my children decide they are going to get a tattoo one day. In fact, my biggest fear as a parent isn't that my child will get a tattoo or have a child out of wedlock. My biggest fear is that they will reject Christ.  That they will decide that the God we love has been portrayed in a way that makes them unsure of His affections for them and His sacrifice to bring them to Himself.  If they do get a tattoo I hope they don't get it while drunk on spring break (not that I hope they have that scenario either).  Other than that, I will probably take a picture.

I was very aware the negative hatred opinions out there about getting tattoo's.  I was prepping myself for the conversations I would have, because lets face it.. I live in the Bible belt.  And unfortunately The Church (Universal) hasn't always done a good job of making it more about what Christ has done for us than making sure everyone lives a certain way. Especially, in the South.  We are much more image conscious here.  We have a zeal, that's for sure, but it can be pretty burdening to others who really want to know if God loves them for them.  Not based on what they have done or will do.

Here is a snippet of something I wrote to a family member about this: 
"Well I will tell you the other side to getting my tattoo. I am a "recovering legalist." I have, for years, lived in such a way that I thought I could EARN favor with God by how I acted. And I would let everyone else know how they should act too. Thankfully, about 18 months ago God really shook up my world and brought me to a true understanding about what the Gospel is really about. It's about the fact that Christ EARNED not only my righteousness (as if I'd never sinned) but also EARNED God's favor toward me. My standing with God is secure. That doesn't mean that I don't choose to obey.. but I realize that there is no amount of "good behavior" that makes God love me more. And that includes making everything black and white. Christians tend to prohibit what God allows and non Christians tend to allow what God prohibits. Both are equally dangerous. (quoting my pastor, Bob Flayhart). 

Two years ago a tattoo was taboo. But not out of a mean heart.. but just not understanding that things that aren't strictly prohibited in the Bible mean it's a matter of choice/freedom to the individual. Instead, of it being about MY OPINION on the matter and everyone should just do that instead.

So getting the tattoo "Steadfast Love" is based on the bible verse: Lamentations 3:23 "The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever. His mercies are new every morning" Steadfast love: constant, unending, persistent. That's the love of the Father. I don't have to perform to get that love. But having felt that love I do want to please him. But I know now that because of Christ, His affections for me are secure. There is nothing I can do (good) to make God love me more. And nothing I can do (bad) to make God love me less. 

Long story. But the truth is,  I've been a Christian for 14 years and I am just now understanding a tad bit more of God's love for me. I am thankful for Christ and the freedom I have to get a tattoo (which Paul in the Bible warned us not to use our freedoms to sin.. ie. being harsh to those who don't feel the same freedom or taking part in what he strictly prohibits)."

So, if you are against tattoo's because you just don't like them, fine.  But please understand that Leviticus 19:28 is not a mandate against tattoo's.  It's a mandate against the worship of Baal.  Big difference.  I am fine with anyone not liking my tattoo for the tattoo's sake.  But it is not a sin to get a tattoo.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Do you have a tattoo?  Have you gotten heat from it?


Erin McCoy said...

no tattoos for me!!! BUT, it's only because i have a scar condition that would make a tattoo a hhhuuuugggeeee mistake (and a huge scar, hence the huge mistake) haha

but anyway, love this post!

and leviticus 19:28.. do the people that say that look at the verse or two before it? hope they all have beards to the ground. context people, context!

Marie said...

Rachel, I don't have a tatoo and with my fear of needles and dislike of standing out (lol, I do, without need of a tatoo) I am not likely to get one anytime soon but I LOVE your reasons for your tatoo. I love your testimony here. I love your bravery and your willingness to tell all of us that God is at work here. And amen to what you have said about the worries over our children. I want for my child to willingly receive and know the love and acceptance of Christ and for that to impact his actions more than anything else. Thank you for this post!

Ole Miss Mom said...

I've actually seen a big tattoo "revival" of sorts at our church. Especially young HS kids - kids of awesome godly parents that serve in the church. I guess my only thing I hear people say is that didn't the bible say not write on your body (something like that???)...But I think that was old testament. Don't know enough to say anymore.

I personally don't plan on getting one. My dad is a surgeon and asks EVERY person he operates on if they still like their tattoo and/or regret it. 9/10 wished they hadn't gotten it. And these are usually middle age +

Ole Miss Mom said...

Yes, bottom's not a sin to get a tattoo.... :) I agree with that !

Rachel Garcia, CD(DONA) said...

well.. I got mine at middle I may be 1/10 that is fine with it. LOL.

-C said...

I like it. It fits you. Most folks I know who have tattoos have significant personal meaning behind them. It's the cool, hip thing to do ... inside and outside the church. I love your explanation of "recovering legalist". Our spiritual transformations have been similar. May we continue to grow in grace and love as we deepen our understanding of His for us ... even in your convos about your tattoo. ;)

Amy V. said...

Love it. I have always wanted a tattoo (ok, I have 4 picked out). My husband and I are getting our first ones this year to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We are getting wedding ring tattoos with Gen. 2:24 written on our ring finger. Hey, I go to church with you, Ole Miss Mom! :)

Ole Miss Mom said...

I remember you Amy! I think we've been in a small group together!! :)

Amy Q said...

Wish I didn't have mine, not because I think it's a sin, but it's a part of my old life. Plus the body changes and some tattoos don't age well. Thankfully mine is now hidden under a love handle so I rarely see it! Ha!!

Anonymous said...

its lovely. i have a list that id like to tattoo on myself. fear not. surrender. nothing is impossible with God. give thanks. so i just used my pen and wrote on my hand for today, hahha, while thinking of you. thank you for your testimony. the tattoo is beautiful. i hope you have many a special opportunity to share because of it. <3Mandii

Sandy said...

I love your tattoo and really love your eloquent explanation and your willingness to engage, even with those who have been somewhat hateful and judgmental towards you because of it. I don't have one yet, but really want one (and I want mine on my wrist, too!)

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Anonymous said...

tattoos are for crazy people and criminals. what were you thinking??

;) he he.