Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Somebody that You used to Be

     Nothing is sadder to me than when someone says they "used to be pretty". I actually cringe every time I hear it. Used to, before what? Before you turned thirty and decided you were old? Before you gained weight? Before lack of sleep or depression or stress took their toll on you?
     Have I ever mentioned Proverbs 31? I think the description of the wife in this chapter is really powerful. "The heart of her husband trusts her," it says. She "works with willing hands", "rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household". She "dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong", and she "opens her door to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue".
     Nowhere in the verses does it say that she's pretty. She isn't described as hot or young or sexy.

Because this isn't the point.

     Verse 30 says that "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
     So why is it that we have this idea of "used to be pretty"? I think it comes from our own weariness. We're tired of trying to be this and that to fit different images of what we feel like we should be. I've felt it. That feeling of failure when we look at another girl and think that we'll never be that pretty. What we're really saying is "I used to be pretty before I broke my own heart trying too hard".
     Outward appearances are deceiving. If you're feeling this way, chances are you've been pursuing the wrong things. Remember what we are called to pursue: "righteousness, faith, love, and peace" (2 Tim. 2:22). God has created you to be beautiful; He loves you before you try to be anything, and He will bring you exactly where you need to be in life. The only "used to" that we need to describe ourselves is that "I once was blind but now I see".

As always, let me know how I can pray for you. You can reach me via email or Facebook. I hope you all have a truly beautiful day.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Opening up to the New Year

         I’m not always very good at being honest. I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true. Being honest with other people, and being honest with myself, especially when I’m struggling with something. You all know someone like me—the press on, keep going, “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show” kind of people. I have to break down and cry before I admit it’s been a bad day or a rough week. I know every excuse in the world to keep people from asking how I really am. It’s a habit, something I’ve spent years developing. And it’s unhealthy.
         I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Studies show that only 8% of Americans are actually able to keep the resolutions they make. Almost 40% fail in the first month. But I’ve been thinking and praying a lot as I’ve looked ahead into this year, and I think I’ve decided something. Call it a resolution if you want. I want to learn to open my heart. To be honest with myself, with others, and with God. After all, the first step to solving any problem is recognising there is one, and I’m never going to be able to overcome the things I face if I can’t even admit to myself that I’m struggling. I also need to be more honest with other people. Not that I plan on simply announcing to the world exactly what I’m feeling all of the time, but when you can’t even tell your best friend what’s on your mind, something is wrong. Most of all, I want to let God teach me to open myself up to His healing, because He is the only one who can truly overcome everything I face.
          As the old year passes and the new one comes in, it’s okay to remember where we’ve been; what we’ve come through, what we’ve done, who has been beside us. But it’s also important for us all to let God usher us into a new year. His mercies are new every morning. Let the New Year be the beginning of something new, something God-led. Something beautiful.