Saturday, November 8, 2014

Every Time I Turn Around

Everyone has a different way of reacting to the world and to authority.

I am, by nature, a person who makes my own rules. I battle pride and I think I am smart enough to figure out my own way that works for me. It takes a long time for me to trust someone enough to submit to them and to listen when they tell me something.  This is especially hard when I have to change my attitude or my behavior! I first attempt to justify why I don’t need to change. And then I punk out by saying I can’t do it.

I even do this with God.

I know a lot of really great, strong Christians.  My “brothers” favorite phrases are “no days off,” “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,” and “die daily.”  And they are diligent, excellent living testimonies to these phrases. 

But sometimes I get so caught up in that high expectation that I beat myself up because I “can’t” meet the standard.  But God reminded me that we are called to live a life of repentance – turning, changing.  Why? Because He knows that we will sometimes mess up.  And if we get into the habit of turning around, we can spend less time battling guilt and more time thanking God for His grace that meets us where we are. 

I could do penance from here to eternity for all the ways I’ve failed.  Or I could skip that and simply say, “I messed up again.  I am sorry again.  I am turning from that bad behavior and turning toward You.”  Even if I have to say that 20 times a day, it’s better than staying in my sin because I’m too afraid of the cycle. 

Repentance is holiness. 

And maybe the reason my brothers stay ready, the reason they are on Team Die Daily is because they have mastered the turning minute by minute.  I just have to speed up.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

You Don't Have to Try So Hard

As a follow-up to my last post, I have not been trying so hard.

Aside from the wedding I went to, I have not worn any makeup other than eye liner and mascara in three weeks.

If I'm being honest, I miss the compliments.

But I like the time I spend thinking more about God or about school in the mornings.

I won't say this is because I haven't been wearing makeup, but doors have been opening up for me. I know at least one of those doors opened because I was discussing my return to my natural state with someone.

I've spent more time writing, more time working out, more time journaling.

This photo was taken today while I was working on a project with a friend. Before I left my house (15 minutes late), I thought about putting on a whole face of makeup, but decided it was unnecessary.  I guess I knew in my gut that we would take photos.  When my friend starting taking candids of me while I was writing, I said, "If I'd known you wanted to take pics, I'd have been cuter." He said "You don't have to be cute to make history."  I'd have preferred he say, "You're cute enough already." But, what he did say is true.  I also know I will look back in twenty years and either think "I should have fixed my hair and worn makeup" or think "That was when I stopped caring so much about my outward appearance. I cared more about what I was doing than how I looked doing it."

For this perspective and for a huge spiritual step in the right direction, I thank my friend Maria Atkinson who beautifully walks around Haiti wearing no makeup, hair sometimes in dreadlocks or cornrows, and sometimes in a pixie cut, loving people to life. You are beautiful.  If people begin to be able to look at me and see anything like what I see when I look at you then I will consider myself a success.

My conclusion is that Colbie was right: you don't have to try so hard. You definitely don't have to give it all away.
She was also wrong, because there are some things you should try at, some things you should let break you.  I've decided to try and walk a few miles a few times a week, and do yoga on the off days if not every day.  I've decided to try and eat only food that will nourish me.  In fact, my mom and I are doing a 5-Day Reset with Shaklee starting tomorrow. Then extreme clean eating until Thanksgiving when I'll assess my progress.

I think what I really learned is that you have to try at the right things. And the real message is that you don't have to fit into someone else's mold.  I don't have to be a glamor girl.  I genuinely like pretty and pink and sparkles and fashion, but I like them better when I'm healthier.  Until I'm healthy, it's like dressing up a garbage can. That doesn't make much sense.
Thank you for the burst of inspiration today from Carlie, @RegularGirlFitness (on Instagram), also.

And I need to remain focused on the spiritual, the eternal, also. If I was there, and we talked, and we prayed, and we felt God together, does it matter how I looked?  I think, not really.

"Do you like you?"