There are days or weeks or even months when I read the Bible and there are no grand epiphanies.
There are whole seasons of Sundays when I sing praise and feel nothing.
There are times of prayer where the silence kills me.
There are great Christian books and podcasts that I eat up which don’t budge my spiritual life.
There are too many times when I doubt the very existence of God and the sending of His Son. It can all feel like a crazy lie.
I’m probably being too honest — but I’ve found that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
It’s in those times that I ask myself, “Am I out of love with God somehow? Am I losing my faith here? How do I get back to where I used to be?”
But I keep reading my Bible. I keep singing on Sundays. I keep praying. I soak in books and sermons. I serve. I enjoy the company of mature Christians. I enjoy the fellowship of the broken.
And you know what? Sometimes the clouds part and God comes through and His love squeezes my heart and I fall to my knees remembering how good He is. Then I read Scripture and can’t stop weeping and I turn on Christian songs in my car full blast and sing loud enough to scare the traffic. I serve with shaking hands and get convicted by those sermons and soak in God’s goodness all over again.
So I’ve learned over time: I wasn’t really out of love with God. I’m just a fragile human being who changes as much as the weather. I was setting a ridiculous standard for myself that can’t be defined by self-pressuring parameters. I was tricked by the enemy into judging my flesh. My faith is based on His grace and not my feelings. And I think I need to relax.
hey! thanks so much!
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
and therefore; i am stars
i am constellations, my hair falls like galaxies, and
my face is covered in gleaming hope
i am draped in everything the branches of tree’s wear,
from bright red berries to golden leaves,
i am peeling white tree bark, even when my skin fades i am beautiful and resourceful
you cause me to need the light, shining or reflecting
i can not live in darkness, nor would i ever want to
the wind was made for me
it stirs me and matches harmonies with my movement
i watch it pass through my spaces between my build,
i think you have given me eyes like amethyst-
when i discovered the lengths you took to protect it by mountains
i realized that it had to be something worth looking at.
you spin me on an axis
much stronger than gravity or magnetism
it is stronger than passion or conviction
you have built me in your own image,
i am all of your creation, heightened,
i am your mind at fingertips
let me never ask to be closer to you
before i realize this
i just wanted to paint. all i wanted to do was paint.
and i finally heard a small whisper "paint with your words…"
i wanted to create something beautiful.
oh. i’ve written countless times about accepting myself, but this, i hope, you’ll find different. i know all about people telling you to find yourself beautiful or ‘enough’, to acceptance yourself, and they’ll say things like "girl, if YOU dont love yourself then who will?"
that always sounds so harsh, doesnt it? we hear it, and maybe we just tell ourselves it’s okay, that its abrasive, but we need the real truth to knock us around a bit… you know… the way we knock ourselves around… in gyms and yoga classes and bathroom mirrors and retail store fitting rooms….
no, let me tell you something.
yes. yes you need to love yourself, but you dont have to force it down your own throat like a pill.
whether you feel extremely feminine or not, you are a woman, and if that still keeps you cold to what i am about to say, you are human, therefore- you deserve kindness. you deserve to hear “you sure ought to love yourself” in the most gentle way. you do not need another thing to yell at yourself, to correct yourself out of anguishing attempts to ‘better yourself.’
if you try to love yourself the way we often attempt to better ourselves, you will only crash into fields of sorrow like a small, one-pilot jet plane. and there you will find your old destructive habits.
but if you look at yourself in all your moments of solitude and appreciate the way your body is shaped, or the way your skin wraps around your face or how thin your fingers are or what shape your eyes are (alone, and when you are surrounded) something happens. accepting yourself is possible. you will find that loving yourself is a process though, they are not the same thing.
i accept that my eyes are smaller than others. i don’t necessarily like that about them. i am aware that they change colors. i do like that about them. over the weeks when i look in the mirror, i have tried to see myself as lovely, no matter what. my boyfriend likes when i wear black liquid eyeliner, and i like when i wear black liquid eyeliner. but when i realized that after a while the first thing i did every morning was put make up on, i started to hate it. i realized that i wasn’t being kind. i needed to re-accept myself. i am allowed to enhance things about myself, hell, i freakin love make up, but i started using it wrong. could i accept myself the way i was. my answer wasn’t as definite as it was before. i started picking up insecurity every day in the shape of a small black tube, and i felt it.
now, i’m not saying dont wear make up-
but. what i am challenging you to recognize, is
what are the things that you don’t like about yourself. sometimes we can be numb when we take care of certain physical things about ourselves and those are ACTUALLY the things that need the most attention.
loving yourself is about many different things. today, i am simply tapping on the area of physical acceptance because i am a girl, and i know that i am not the only girl in the world that struggles.
and damn these topics are not fun.
and no i am not all gung-ho about posting this.
but i do care about you. and i definitely know that we can share in this push-pull-tug-of-war world we cycle through.
love your body today. something about it. wear your favorite leggings and decide that every time you look down and see your knees, or your ankles or your thighs or your existing/or/non-existing “thigh gap” (like i can not believe thats a thing but you know that we all acknowledge it whether we think it’s stupid or not) - love it. decide to accept and admire it. decide that you are in this body for the long haul and whether it ever changes or it doesn’t- this is your home.
you are freakin aweseome.
today i text Hope and asked her what she read so that i could read with her. we have been along the same journey together for some weeks now, so joining her daily seemed about right.
and it was.
today, Romans 12 reconstructed my thoughts, or, at least, articulated a truth that i have always had the idea of. this is how i read verse 2;
Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, instead of doing those things, let God- ALLOW Him, to transform and change you into a new person B Y changing the way you think!! THEN you will know! and learn to know<3 God’s will for y o u.
and i was like, oh shoot. Because if there is one thing i am desperately craving every day to understand- it is His desire and plan for me. i like to be successful, and i want to be successful… especially for the Lord. What the heck does He want me to do with my life though… you know? Do you ever struggle with that inner debate?
SO a few verses down, there is this wisdom and instruction that just struck me into a straight forward oh-my-gosh-this-is-so-simple-and-applicable revelation. Verses 6-8 follow through with this direction of, “hey because of grace, you have all of these gifts that the Good stinkin Lord gave you! and whatever gift He gave you, use it! use it well!” and if i may add, (like i have been…LOL) use it like a pro and let it flow out of you until there is nothing left.
-which makes me smile too, because, as some of you know… and others of you will hopefully find out (i say ‘hopefully’ because you have to put action to a choice), that when you give out of something that is natural to you… it doesnt burn out. It’s this really cool thing where you find yourself giving more and growing more rather than growing empty [or burnt out].
an example? well, for myself, one of the examples Paul uses is “if your gift is generosity, give generously…” and another was “…and if you have the gift of showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
huh. well, well, well. Paul, those words are so simple yet entirely profound. i am always reaching to give, and give creatively, but i never thought that what was naturally in me to give- was my actual gift.
so i thought i’d invite my friends, and anyone else that wanted to, to join me in what i decided to explore today.
1. i wrote down the verses in Romans 12 that stuck out to me. i wrote down why they stuck out to me, too.
2. i wrote out three questions and gave myself space to jot down and sketch some answers.
1.What are the things ‘of the world’ that i am attracted to? (Lets be real, here.)
2. What are ways that i can allow God the opportunity to change my thinking?
3. What gifts do i feel like i have? (What things come naturally to me that i do when i interact with others?) and how can i give more of myself in a way that is natural to me? Can i?
3. Thank God for some things today.
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:) xo - natt