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'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.


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?