Monday, December 15, 2014

Go Ahead, Call Me Ugly

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Proverbs 31:25 

If it were up to me, I'd only wear makeup on special occasions. But it's not up to me. I'm in a business where being "put together" is part of my job. And I like my job, so I'll wear makeup every day. There's nothing wrong at all with wearing makeup, and there's nothing wrong with getting dressed up and feeling like a million bucks. But underneath all that - YOU are worth more than all the money in the world- more than all the gold, diamonds, and rubies. 

That doesn't mean that I feel any less pretty when I'm in makeup-less, sweat pants-donned state. Am I pretty? I don't know. That's completely subjective and based on other's opinions.  And frankly, I don't care what those opinions are. That's none of my business. 

But I feel pretty. And you should too. Not because of my hair, or my makeup, or my clothes- but I feel pretty because I was created by God, in his image, and I feel special because, just like every other human on this earth, I'm unique. That's something I wish every woman and every girl felt. I feel pretty because I try to be kind to others. I feel pretty when I make others feel special. I feel pretty when I set out to accomplish something that feels a little out of my comfort zone. I feel beautiful when I'm in nature, staring at a flowing waterfall or on top of a mountain. And I feel beautiful when I'm smack dab in the middle of helping others. 

But recently I've had hateful words spewed at me. I'm not alone in this. I can only imagine that every other girl and woman in America have, at one point or another, been subjected to cruel judgements based on an unnecessarily large focus on outward beauty. Recently I've been told my hair is "ugly, unfixed, out of style, out timey, outdated." I've been told my clothes are suited for someone older than me. I can only imagine the pain and hurt that comes from the same place inside the woman who said these comments to me. 

And that's not all. Last night, a friend of mine told me in my pictures where I am serving in Haiti, I look "haggard, tired." These are moments when I feel most beautiful, most alive. 

There comments don't cut me very deep.  But they are troublesome because I know there are other girls out there who haven't come to the realization yet that true beauty comes from within, that even the most beautiful person in the world will have detractors, that beauty fades, but character doesn't. 

And I think these comments also reflect a part of society that is very dark. A part that only sees value in women's looks, not in their heart. 

I don't want other women to face these comments. I don't want my sister, my mother or grandmothers, my cousins, my niece, my aunts, my friends to be subjected to this - let's call it like it is it - this bull crap. So it you read this post and are at all in agreement, maybe give a kind word to a friend. Compliment them on something that's within. Some beauty inside a person that doesn't fade with age. 

Last year I interviewed Jennifer Pharr Davis, who set the record for the fastest thru hike of the Appalachian Trail and these words have stuck with me ever since: 

"The trail made me feel very beautiful - and the reality was, I was very, very dirty. But I felt like I was a part of God's Creation and Creation was beautiful, and my interactions with other people - if I was kind, that made me feel pretty. Once you hike over 2,000 miles, your self worth is based on what you can do as opposed to how you look." 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Going Through the Motions

I feel like I've been just "going through the motions" lately in my life- and I don't like it. But let's face it- we all feel this way at some point or another, right?  

But that's not the point of life. We get one chance- one shot at life. And when you look at a lifespan of a human, it's really not that long. It goes by in a blink, in a flash. So why not thrive? 

So many times I feel like we're not thriving, we're simply struggling to survive. I'm guilty. Sometimes we take the easy way out, just do what it takes to "slide by" in work, in relationships, in activities and projects. Sometimes we're overwhelmed. We are overcome by grief, by guilt, by changing circumstances that cripple our very souls. As we learn to adapt to new realities, we stumble blindly in the darkness, grasping for any familiarity, anything that resembles joy. 

But it doesn't have to be that way. We don't have to compromise and settle for insignificant portions of comfort in exchange for overwhelming joy. We may go through tough seasons of growth, or of grief or pain, but we can't stay stagnant in these times. We learn, we grow, we realize that the dark times and thorns make us able to truly appreciate the times when happiness and blessings grow wild. 

What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? Hang onto that. What's on your bucket list? What's stopping you from marking something off it? What's a stumbling block- or what's something you need help with? Why not ask a friend for help? 

There is someone out there who believes in you, and who sees the potential for you to thrive. Why not believe in yourself?  Do what makes you happy. Make a positive change in the world. Shrug off things that upset you... After all, we only get one chance at this crazy life. 

"The ghosts that we knew will flicker from view and we'll live a long life."