Sunday, September 12, 2010

What is beauty?

I think most of us can admit that we like people-watching. I always have, but I never really thought about it that much until a couple nights ago. I especially like to watch how other girls interact with each other; how they carry themselves; how they act. It's interesting to me because I often find myself wondering if they know that they are loved by an amazing Father, and that they are beautiful.

Last night I was at the K-State football game, which is a pretty good people-watching opportunity if you ask me. The girl behind me along with the girl in front of me, was yelling all kinds of hateful and demeaning words at the other team and at the refs. I turned to my left and watched a guy pull a beer out of his pocket that he had snuck in, and pour the younger girl behind him a big glass of Bud Light, and then I watched as this guy finished off the beer and then fell off the bench while the girls around him caught him.

I watched as two girls walked past me with their shirts rolled all the way up under their chests, baring their entire stomachs.

I am not writing this judgmentally, but rather with a broken heart, because I'm the same way. Why is it that especially as women we are so uncomfortable with ourselves? Why is it that women usually have no respect for themselves? What possesses us to walk down the street half-naked wearing so much makeup that you can't even see pores?

The other night, I was watching Mean Girls (yes, I like that movie!) and there's a scene where the "Plastics" each look in the mirror and say things they hate about themselves, like "At least you guys can wear halters, I have man shoulders," or "My hairline is so weird" or, "My hips are huge!" It seems ridiculous, but it is so true.

I can stand in the mirror and pick out a lot of things I would change about myself. The mirror is a scary thing for me. Like the fact that I still break out like I'm 14 and my face is scarred despite the hundreds of dollars my parents poured into trying to fix my skin. I cannot tell you how many dermatologists I've seen, how many medications I've taken, how many tears I've cried over this, and how many creams and soaps I've put on my face. But, like most girls, I feel like that flaw is all that people see.

Someone told me this summer (and I hope you are reading this) that my identity is not found in how I look or what I wear. It is in Christ. But for some reason I still cling to these things that I hate about myself. The things that make me say, "How can anyone love you?!" I haven't found the answer to that. Maybe it's because perfection (so-called) has been instilled in us since we were babies. It's in magazines, movies, ads, on billboards, on the internet, and in books.

Or maybe we long for perfection because that's how we were created to be. We weren't created for sickness, for self-hatred, or to be insecure. We were created in the image of God.

"I want to be beautiful,
Make you stand in awe,
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed.
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough.
Just want to be worthy of love,
and beautiful" - bethany dillon

We have let beauty become something that is created by computer programs, when God has told us that as His daughters our beauty should come from within, not from jewelry, not from clothing, and not from "fancy hairstyles" and definitely not from Photoshop.

So, the next time you look in the mirror and start to ridicule yourself, STOP. Open your Bible. Read 1 Peter 3:3-4. This might sound funny, but I believe God made women mysterious for a reason. Stop freely giving that mystery away.

Two things: Respect yourself. You are beautiful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coming Home

I've been wanting to write a new post for a while now, but wasn't really sure what to write. And I'm not sure this one will have a point or make sense...but here it goes.

I flew back into Wichita on August 14th, and my family was waiting for me there. I started crying before I even got to them. I cried that morning when I left El Paso, too. The first time I had cried all summer. I cried off and on for the next couple days.

Coming home, although I love my family and friends, has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I can remember the morning of May 15th, I knocked on my mom's bathroom door as she was getting ready and said, "I can't do this. I can't go."

When they dropped me off at the airport in May, I was terrified. My pastor hugged me and said, "Trust God" and that rang in my ears all the way to El Paso and throughout this summer.

Now it's September, and I'm really struggling. I don't want to be here, but I know I can't just drop everything and go back to Mexico. I have these moments where I think I am going insane, moments that make me wonder if this summer really happened. I find myself zoned out in class replaying memories in my head. I have no motivation whatsoever to do my homework or study. I found myself sitting at my desk today saying, "I can't do this. I cannot finish school."

And then it hit me. I said that this summer too. I remember climbing into Bo (the truck) and sitting next to Shane at 5:45 in the morning, leaning my head back, and saying, "I'm SO exhausted. I don't know how much longer I can do this." (I have to tell you I have never been that exhausted in my life.)

You probably wonder how I can love doing something that takes every ounce of energy. I have no clue, either. I'll just say it's a God thing.

That was over a month ago. And here I am, almost wishing my life away until the next time I get to be in Mexico.

So this semester I've decided that I want to pour into others just like I was constantly poured into this summer. I joined a new Bible study, which I love so far, and am trying to constantly remind people that I am praying for them, and then ACTUALLY PRAY for them.

Someone told me that this summer was going to have the potential to turn my life upside down...she was right.

Someone before this summer also told me that we choose to be positive about the harder times of our lives or we can be negative and make them stink even more than they do already. I choose to make this part great, despite the fact that my heart is going a little crazy.

Acts 20:24 - "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."