Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hi

Hello :) I want you to know that I haven't forgotten about you. I really haven't. There are a hundred things that have been simmering quietly in my little crockpot of ideas and thoughts recently. But the truth is, for my own wellbeing, some of those things are best left to simmer for a bit. I have given a lot of myself to things such as this blog, Facebook, and even a hundred small conversations with friends; those little pieces of self that you carelessly toss to whomever wants to listen. But here and now I am discovering a certain beauty in privacy, and in having thoughts that I don't need to be inclined to share, at least not yet. I am coming to relearn the beauty in sitting down with my journal and sharing in it ideas that no one necessarily needs to hear me speak of, because they are my own and that is me.

I hope you can appreciate this for a bit. I surely intend to continue to share with you all, just perhaps not for a little bit. My foundation is building beneath me while these thoughts simmer, and there is a definite strength of character growing and maturing. I am becoming a surer and more centered me, a process I am only too glad to say is taking place! But it needs time, even if only a little time. Thanks for your patience :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dark am I...

"Dark am I, yet lovely."
-the beloved (Song of Songs 1:5a)

(The context of this quote is that in the homogenous Hebrew culture of the time, being dark was a symbol of working in the fields under the sun, of being lower class. This is a woman who says this is who I am, and she is beautiful. She goes on to tell the listener not to stare, that her circumstances have made her this way; that she has been forced to neglect herself from the cards life has dealt her, but regardless, she is both loved and lovely.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eat, Drink, and Be Glad!

Sometimes I think we as people become so focused on the so-called events of life that we forget to enjoy the here and now. It occurred to me that the single most important moment in any of our lives is the very one we are living at this moment. We can't change the past any more than Tomorrow can begin before Today has finished. When you think about all the things you have to do in the upcoming future, or let yourself be bogged down with what is in store for you, it just becomes overwhelming! But now, right now, is all you have to worry about. Don't stress yourself out! Ahhh :)

"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
-Matthew 6:34

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun."
-Ecclesiates 8:15

"Joy is the best makeup"
-Anne Lamott

Enjoy your day today, and enjoy your life! Don't forget that the little moments are what make the bigger ones worthwhile.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunrise

Oh I have neglected you! This crazy semester is wrapping up now, though. Sigh. I want to tell you something: you or I or any of us don't have to be anything for anybody. I mean that. Think of all the times you have tried, intentionally or unintentionally, to change for someone. Don't! If you change, change for you. If there is something out of line in your life, then that deserves looking at. But as to you, who you are, never give that up. Sometimes we want to make someone happy, whether they be a person at the grocery store or our significant other, and so we alter ourselves ever so slightly. But hear me say, you don't have to do this. How will the world ever be affected by you if you hide yourself away? The same actor cannot play the whole play. You will only confuse your heart. Be who you are, and for that matter, know who you are. Hear me in this. The strongest people you will meet are not strong because they are like everyone else, they are strong because they know who they are, what their strengths are, and how to be that person effectively. They are not afraid of themselves, or better yet of what other people who are afraid of themselves think of them. Maybe it's cheesy, but stand out. I mean it. Feel the freedom in that!

I want to say also that I am doing better. Perhaps you never knew I wasn't, and that's probably best. These past few months have taken more out of me than I knew I had to lose, but I have been steadily rebuilt by merciful Hands, and can say to you today that I am beginning to feel like myself again. But I see now that strength, particularly my own strength, is not a matter of how I feel, but a matter of who I am. And I am most certainly not weak. Neither do you have to be. Know that. Know your heart.

I wish you the best, today.
Yours,
Christy

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful for Family

I hope this blog is following a great Thanksgiving for everyone! I think I decided that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There's just something beautiful about family. I really like the idea of a group of people in different stages of life who maybe annoy each other, work out conflict together, and yet love each other fiercely, fight for each other, are real with one another, are stuck in this melting pot of life and make the best of it together...messy but beautiful. I decided this weekend that I want to have a big family. I was sitting around the dinner table the night before Thanksgiving when it occurred to me. I was with my mom, my stepdad, my brother and his wife. We were enjoying a meal together, a glass of wine, and dabbling in the art of conversation. Really, we were enjoying one another, and dinner was a convenient medium. What a blessing! Surely, God has given me more than I ever thought He might. Right now I'm sitting at my parent's home, on the couch, with my cat Charlie curled up in a blissful ball of fur and resting his head on my hand. My mom and brother are on the couch with me watching the game, the sky through the window is pleasantly overcast, and I have a wonderful evening to look forward to with my family...what could be better?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stupid Mis-belief

Good morning!

Today is a good day - I can feel it! I hope the horizons are as bright on your day as they appear to be on mine. I hope that as you look about, you begin to feel it in your bones. The sun rises on the day, the trees are green again, the sky is blue again, and the color has returned to your eyes. The joy has returned to your laughter, and the warmth to your smile. This is my hope for you, Reader.

I was studying at Paradise Cafe the other day. When I study, I can't help but people-watch at least a little. Across the way was a family: mom, dad, a little girl and a little boy. (At one point the little boy, maybe four or five, walked by saying 'wazzup, b?' Haha!) But once when I looked up from my papers I caught the little girl staring at me. I'd seen that look before. I'd given that look before when I was a little girl. In a flash moment, I recognized that she was perceiving me to be something she looked up to: a "big girl", not the less a college girl (when you're that young, people in college seem so much more grown up). It caught me off guard, and as I said, only lasted a minute. But it was a paradigm shift. Coming from her eyes, I was this big person that seemed so far beyond her. But coming from my point of view, I was half dressed, didn't give a rat's rear how I looked that day, and was thinking of other things, namely why I hadn't studied for O-chem earlier. How easily we take ourselves for granted! I wonder if the gaze of a child is truer than the lenses we look through concerning ourselves. Because there are a lot of things that I tell myself that aren't true, or ways that I choose to see myself that even I know aren't accurate. I cover myself in all this complexity, when perhaps the barest is the best. Simplicity. Simply: we are beautiful and there is a certain inherent power in that. The end?

Another thing I found myself wondering that day (which didn't help O-chem get any more cemented in my brain) was what we would be if we didn't believe all those untrue things about ourselves. Seriously, it amazes me how much is bogging us down. At any given moment, I am capable of unconsciously (and the key is unconsciously) assuming all kinds of things about myself that wouldn't be true if I didn't believe them to be true. I think them, and therefore I craft them into existence in my life. I make assumptions about myself in my friendships with people and therefore take actions of their's to confirm those things and find myself hurt over nothing. Meaningless! Or when I speak, sometimes I don't think what I say matters, so the way I say it almost asks the listener to think that. At such a time, I speak quietly, and trail off as if to say, 'you weren't really listening anyway'. But what good does this do anyone? Because what if what I have to say is important? By denying that, not only am I hurt by confirming to myself something that isn't even true, but the listener too has failed to hear what I intended for their good.

In talking with some friends recently, I feel that I see this pattern emerge where we each have a unique fingerprint of the lies we believe and how it affects the way we read others actions. And so it becomes this circus where no one has intended harm but miraculously, in each of our inidivual ways, we walk away wounded somehow. It's like a well-oiled machine, a system that works well for the worst purposes. (Why honesty is so important!) But I repeat my question: what would we be if we were not bound by this? What if we could simply deflect the blows of these lies by seeing through them? Because I will repeat to my deathbed that they are, in fact, lies, and therefore meaningless. What nothings control us! It angers me as I see the damage that this has done to so many incredible people. Mocking bondage!

Please, consider the untruths you believe about yourself, and release them from your heart. If you have believed you are not good enough, know that you are. If you have believed that you are insignificant, know that you are incredibly significant by design. (God is an artist. He doesn't make trash.) If you have believed that you don't have what it takes, search within yourself and find it, because it is there. If you have believed you are ugly, or average, or any politically correct way to say less than beautiful, stop it! For you are stunning. Let your incredible beauty shine from your eyes. I repeat that God is an artist, and it is a very poor artist who makes the same thing over and over again. You look the way you do because God wanted it that way. If you have believed that your personality is not good enough, or that you are somehow unacceptable, please, for my heart's sake, stop believing this about yourself. You are very intentionally not the same as those around you. And for that matter, it's important to really know the person that you are so that you may live in your strengths - as they are unique to you - and contend with your weaknesses, as we all have them. The world needs your strengths, because no one else is in the same exact position you are, rubbing shoulders with the same people you are, in the same vocation as you are, in the same location that you are, with your precise strengths. Use them, friend, and see the good that is harvested from that.

Reader, please know that you are so loved today. Please rest in that. Please, please hear me in this. Understand the weight of bondage, and the glory of freedom. I am endeavoring to do the same.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

=)

So, I think today is absolutely beautiful. It's cool and windy, there's hope and laughter in the breeze. And the best part is that today is a new day! Don't forget to smile today :D

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Words

I want to talk about what we say, and why it matters. I find that women in general say a lot of things that put themselves down. It's almost cultural sometimes. I mean, you've heard it, and chances are 99 to 100 you've said stuff like this too. I was trying on this dress at Target the other day with a friend who, as it happened, has the same dress. I laughed as I was trying it on, and said, "This dress looks better on you!" Right there: comparison. She even called me out on it, asking me if I read my own blog. Good for her! The truth is we both look great in that dress and the greater truth is that it doesn't matter. We say this kind of thing all the time, though, even in efforts to be polite or funny. "Have you seen my hair today? Agh!" We say it as a kind of conversation carrier, as if it is to be laughed at that we hold these views of ourselves. But who's laughing? Satan?

Or sometimes, it's like we say things like this in anticipation of what we are sure everyone else must already be thinking. It's almost an apology to the world for not being good enough. These things seem so innocent, and I think we intend them that way. But they reveal a surface level analysis of the deeper way we see ourselves, and I'm not ok with that. Because the sad truth is that so many of us don't believe that we are good enough. It's not the kind of thing you'd walk around saying, typically, or even thinking. It's one of those subtleties that quietly manifests itself in actions. When we don't believe we are good enough, we behave as if we have something to be sorry about, and when people respond to us, we confirm the lie we believe. We tell ourselves subconsciously (or consciously) that we were right, and we propagate the lie in our lives. What another ugly cycle! Because we are good enough by definition. What is it that we are so afraid we are not good enough for? Why does our self worth dangle so precariously on this one cruel word "enough"? Who lied to us and told us we were not? Who whispers to us that we will never be? And what of this comparison? Why compare apples and oranges? Or roses and lilies? Aren't both beautiful? Sweet? Endearing? ...Precious? And aren't you?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

People

People are beautiful: each on an individual collage of artistic expression. In all our peculiarity, our gruffness, our utter humanness, we are somehow terribly endearing. I think once you understand people as people, and not as likenesses of yourself, they somehow are freed to become this beautiful and yet impossible compilation of complexity intermingled with a blunt reality of being...Each so different and each so much the same. How can you hate humanity when it looks at you so precociously, so unaware of itself? How can you not love its subtleties: those little pieces of itself that it ushers forth and then tries to retract as if not allowed? How cautious and how reckless we are, humans: oblivious of ourselves in all our charming everyday-ness...sigh. I love that we are people, and not the less, that we are human.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Importance of Encouraging Men

I remember as a child observing marriages where the woman did not stand behind her husband, and I remember being consistently stricken by how wrong it seemed, how counterproductive. As I got older, I began to watch the same relationships or other similar ones and began to notice a pattern that emerged: women who didn't support their man, who didn't believe in him were instrumental in making him ineffective, and then they would tear him down more because they perceived that he was less than he could be. What a cycle. I remember marveling at the destruction it causes! I still do, for that matter. I'm so struck lately by this conviction that we as women have this incredible gift and ability to empower the men in our lives to become the men they want to be, to inspire them to chase the horizon, live their dreams, become truer versions of themselves, and what an untapped power it often is! What a high calling, and a beautiful art, because no man can empower another man the way a woman - the way you or I - can. Similarly, no man can so easily disable another man the way we can...what glories and what tragedies can come from the same ability. I for one hope never to forget to appreciate someone I am with.

Life makes that so hard sometimes. And like any of our deep needs that aren't met, I understand that there are men that have abused this desire of their heart. Humans can become ugly people when their souls are neglected. I don't dismiss that. We as women can become equally manipulative and controlling - unbeautiful in our own way - when we do not feel the desires of our heart: being valued, pursued, beautiful, "worth it". Perhaps I too firmly believe that people are a product of their unmet needs. Regardless, though, I want to encourage you today to think about this, and to understand how it fits into your life. Maybe you're married, maybe you're dating, maybe you're single or any number of complicated places in-between. But don't neglect the power you have to uplift the men in your life, nor the transformative power of love on principle. We are transfigured when we are wholly loved.

Think about this. And rejoice in it, because what can be greater than constructive love? Love by nature builds. And love is inherently beautiful. Love - genuine, authentic, not-a-feeling love - is the beautification, and not the less the purification of our souls. And as fervently as I say that, I also clarify it by saying that we cannot love this way unless we have been first Loved this way by the Designer of our hearts. Otherwise, none of it clicks in place, nor quite makes sense to its completion. At least not to our hearts. Love is an effort, but effort does not beget love. And we are much too selfish of creatures not want the same effort in return. More on this later, perhaps.

Till then, have a blessed night. My best wishes to you =)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Journal Excerpt from 8-2-09

Oh, Reader, how could I ever tell you of the journey of the soul: that mountainous, perilous, indispensable, meaningless, joy-filled, sorrow-laden climb? Funny how I think you wouldn't understand. But have you not struggled? Have you not seen the giants before you and stepped forward to slay them? Have you not laughed? Have you not cried? Are you not human? Of course you can understand this messy delight we share called life. It gets all over your face but it's worth it. You and I are siblings in humanity and maybe even siblings in Christ. We share in "soulhood", if not the same soul then the commonality of having a soul. We may not be of the same heart, but we both have hearts. We may not be of the same mind, but we share the gift of thought. You and I are connected, Reader.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who We Are

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how I can forget this. You'd think I ought to have that figured out by now (which is one of those satirical statements intended to be wholly true and utterly ridiculous at the same time). There are those times when I know exactly who I am, and I am passionate about being that person, and great things come of it, and rain or shine I'm ready to take on the world. And then there are other times...those times where I feel groundless, like I'm trying to make sense of quicksand, or find gravity in a lava lamp, and it just feels...there. Not empty, not full, but shifting, unstable. Suddenly things that I knew so certainly become foggy, like I have amnesia about what is important to me, about what I really care about, and why it matters. Then I feel almost ashamed, like I ought to know who I am already, like I am behind the times, or in need of getting my ducks in a row to maintain equilibrium.

Speaking of ducks in a row, that's another thing. I think I have had this outlook on life where if something is not ok, something has threatened to stretch beyond the equilibrium I have established within my emotional spectrum, I must hurry to fix it. Fix it! Can't you see the balance is all off?! I get ansty about it, and feel like it's not ok to be not ok. But alas this is not true either. If it weren't ok to be not ok, then life's tendency to happen would really suck. Because that's just it: life happens. And it's ok if you, or I, or any of us need to take some time to deal with it. It's ok for me to say that I'm in the middle of figuring some stuff out and mean it. It's ok to be upset, ok to be sad, ok to cry and be openly emotional about things. Uncomfortable, maybe, but ok.

And for that matter it's ok to swing the to the opposite side of the spectrum and be wildly happy about something, or excited, or giggly, or silly, or any number of other things. I have the tendency to suppress these things - good or bad - in an effort to maintain stability, and honestly distance. It's safe. Who wants to see that anyway, right? But I am becoming more and more convinced that it is not good. It hurts the people that care about me, that want to catch me when I fall, or offer their shoulder to me when I cry that I am too guarded to allow them into these things. More on that later, perhaps.

All this to introduce what I was really thinking about when I began formulating this post: that not only are we beautiful, but there is something at the heart of each individual that uniquely matters. I really believe that. And I believe it because by design, by Providence, by life being life, I have a different story than you, a different personality than you, different ways of interacting with people than you do, different thoughts on life, experiences, hard-learned lessons, different quirky habits, circles of influence, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, plans, and passions. I am convinced that if people are like those thousand-piece puzzles that are supposed to be really hard to put together, then we are each sold with differently cut pieces. We're each put together just differently enough to imprint this world in a novel way. Did you know that even twins do not have the same fingerprints? The fingerprints of our hearts are just as special: no two are the same.

So when I am wishing to be a little more like my friend, I am missing that we have unique purposes in our design, and my place is just as valuable as hers is...it's just, well, different. And I can spend my time growing in that difference, and cultivating it, and making into something that can really shake things up in this world. I can come alongside my friend in our uniqueness and create a powerful sisterhood. Or I can watch my friend and wish I were more like her, which injures both of us in the end.

Reader, I wish you could see how loved you are today. In a rare moment earlier today, I encountered what seemed to me to be the heartbeat of God for His people - passionately in love with them. If only I could see that all the time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thought #1: Beauty

This is so bad for my homework! But I just can't rest with this lying dormant. Anyway, something occurred to me the other day. I had the priveledge of sitting in a little bit of nature one morning up in Prescott. The air was cool and fresh, and I was reflecting as I was watching some tiny fat birds flitter through the trees and play with one another. I think God serenades us through nature. I find it interesting that the most developed nations - the ones that are so well-sheltered from anything naturally living and growing - are the ones with the most atheists. If all I ever knew was a the skyline of human brokenness, I would have a hard time trusting God too. But it got me thinking about beauty, because Creation is so devastatingly beautiful. There is beauty, and then there is Beauty. Creation is Beautiful.

But also, I began to think about the fact that Creation does not strive to be Beautiful, it just is. I don't think true Beauty strives. It rests. For that matter, there is something about true Beauty that invites you to rest in it. That applies to people, too, not just the trees. False beauty leaves you feeling inadequate, or as if you don't match up; you know, the comparing game. But I get the feeling that true Beauty leaves you feeling wholer. If I really ponder it, it seems to me that true Beauty has this whole other dimension to it. If false beauty were 2D, then true Beauty would be 3D, but the perameters of those dimensions don't quite apply. I guess if I were to sum it up, false beauty - contrived, striven for, look-at-me beauty can be seen, yes, but true Beauty can be felt in the marrow, in the soul, and at the depths of the heart, and it can stir something there. We all possess true Beauty, if we would only stop trying so hard to capture Her step-sister, the fake. Beauty is something to be rested in and enjoyed, not something to be attained, or reached. I think when we can finally realize that we don't have to try for this thing called Beauty because we already have it, something within will come alive and shine. It's something beyond the face. The entire aura of a person is changed when they come to this realization, and everyone can see it, even if they can't define it.

Sometimes, or, I should say, oftentimes rest must be learned, though. We have thought patterns, and ways we are used to seeing ourselves. We're used to presenting ourselves a certain way because it functions more or less. We're used to speaking a certain way. I, for one, max out the 'sorry' quota on the daily. We have baggage. Stuff like that doesn't suddenly change in a day. But as you soak in this truth, allow yourself to really rest in it, little by little those things will change because they will lose their necessity. Nothing is more transformative than knowing in the depth of your being that you are Loved. And you are.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Words

I am so cheating. You see, these are not my first words. Not really. In fact, these are my words several years after my real first words (a terrible trick to play, I know). The reason? I began this blog in 2009 in a very tumultuous season for my own personal growth and discovery. I originally wanted to help women discover their inherent worth. I was perhaps a fresh and tender soul trying to tell the world about things I honestly had little idea of. There is value in that, yes. But as I have grown and shed layers, so has this blog. As a result, several early blog posts have been deleted, and others edited slightly.

So what is this blog really? Well, as of May 2012, it is a journey. Here I will share my reflections, my thoughts, and pieces of my story as they are appropriate. I once wanted it to be a place to share raw realities; now I want it to be a place simply to share. Here I share my thoughts, my ideas, my reflections, occasionally a story. If my sharing encourages, and I hope it does, then all the better.

It may change again, and in fact it will probably continue to change as I continue to journey. Thanks for taking the time to read and think about life with me. I appreciate anyone who is willing to hear another's ideas so openly. Thank you.

Best,
Christy

Okay, below are my actual first words. Fine. :)

---


Hi. So, this whole writing online to other people thing is new to me, and honestly a little strange. I feel like I'm standing on a soap box, or shouting into the wind. Perhaps the internet is something like that...the wind. Anyway, I don't want to bore you with preamble any more than I have to. Basically, this blog is for both of us. I want to help all of us - especially my fellow gals out there - discover that we are intrinsically valuable and uniquely stunning. We each have something different and beautiful to offer, and that we have purpose. We are precious, loved, and worthwhile. And how little we believe that about ourselves! How is that all women carry these wounds, some of them pinpricks and others open gashes, that gnaw at their self worth? What a hurting state we are in. And I, for one, am not ok with that.

Certainly, you should know that I am not qualified to write this, which is perhaps precisely why I am. You see, I have recently come to look at my self-worth in a new light, and to comprehend more clearly the ways I cut myself down. I would not categorize myself as insecure. For that matter, I would say I am generally confident, and have a fairly healthy self-concept. But it's the little things: the stray thoughts about being "average", the way I carry myself sometimes, the way I feel compelled to wear makeup some days, the way I apologize for myself when I speak...these things do not speak to confidence. For that matter, they speak to a much deeper, much more buried fear of not being good enough, of not matching up, of somehow missing the mark. But what mark? I'm not alone, that much I know. Never have I gotten such a tremendous response to a Facebook note than when I wrote to tell women that they are beautiful. So many wrote saying this was a struggle for them, that they didn't believe it about themselves, that they wished they could...that's just it, isn't it? We wish we could believe in our own beauty. But something gets in the way. And that's why I'm writing this.

This blog involves me and my story, but it's not about me. I want to share with you my struggles with this as I uncover the beauty beneath all of it, but the purpose of doing so is to encourage you as you face your own hang-ups. I hope to walk side by side as I journey to discover what it means to be beautiful, what it means to have intrinsic value and more importantly to live that way. I'm the first to say I absolutely don't have this figured out! For that matter, I've recently discovered I have a lot less figured out than I thought only weeks ago. I fully intend to be raw, and real, and I perhaps even harbor a hope that one day people might discuss these things more openly as a result. This blog is for women. Men read at your own risk, although it is certainly not discouraged.

Other than that...shall we journey together?