You’re Beautiful

People react to being called beautiful.

My message today may seem a bit redundant, but because I’ve witnessed the positive change it encourages, I believe it to be worthy of endless reiteration.

A compliment.

It truly can make all the difference in someone’s life. We live in a world that interminably preaches the importance of self love: pick yourself up if no one else will. Be your own hero. Love yourself. That all sounds wonderful and empowering, only it’s not that simple. The same society promoting the indulgence of self love is the exact one telling us we need to change everything about ourselves in order to be accepted.

Love, it’s definition, and who it belongs to has become a convoluted misunderstanding.

As a big a mess as we’ve made, we can still turn it around. And remarkably, it starts by taking baby steps. Progress as small as paying someone a compliment.

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Despite what popular culture may try to make us believe, we do need one another. If we didn’t, we would’ve each been given our own world to live in, void of any other human contact. But we live in this world together and therefore are here to uplift, encourage, support, and love one another. That doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything, it just means developing the ability to love past our differences.

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Song of the Week, “Just the Way You are” by Bruno Mars

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Listen here!

This song comes on my guilty pleasure Pandora station all the time and each time I belt it out like it isn’t my one hundredth time hearing it.

I think the lyrics are the sweetest ever. I love how they recognize the most insignificant characteristics about this woman and make them the focal point of why she is lovable.

Her laugh her laugh, she hates but I think it’s so sexy

It’s not necessarily the romantic aspect of this song that strikes me (Although, who wouldn’t want to be the woman of the man who wrote this song? Wait, does that mean I have a crush on Bruno Mars?) it’s more so the gift of someone being able to love another exactly for who they are. When we allow ourselves to love beyond the mess and stress that is in each individual, we also grant access for others to love us beyond who we are not. It’s a relief knowing that we can be loved for all of our annoying habits, weird laughs, bad hair days, muffin tops, over bites, indecisiveness, and the never ending list of idiosyncrasies that make us all unique.

It’s important that we gain confidence in our ability to make life easier for someone else just by being ourselves. I know it’s hard because we’re always trying to frame one another into expectations that were never meant for us.

Expose the part of yourself that is most uncomfortable. That’s the part of you that was created to be loved by your fellow humans.

Pull the Plug

Like a ferocious lion startling the dawn, the engines roared to life. For once, I wasn’t irritated by the fact that I was awake before the sun. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is breathtaking. Stunning beyond words. Who knew thirteen hours in this rustic town was all it took to fall in love. As we taxied toward the runway, I bid the Teton Mountains farewell on a prayer that we’d meet again.

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As I readied myself for takeoff, my longing to stay was interrupted by an announcement from the Captain: The plane had a mechanical failure and we had to return to the gate. He had no idea how long it would take a mechanic to arrive and assess the defect, but passenger complaints were few. Time moves differently in places like Jackson Hole. It feels slower, yet intentional. Every second is full, bursting like a woman ready to give birth. It delivers the calm to a world in constant haste.

Back at the gate, things moved more expeditiously than expected. The Captain returned promptly to the PA to inform us that they would be performing a reset on whatever system had malfunctioned:

“The plane will be turned off and everything will go dark for a moment, but don’t be alarmed.”

And so it did. The power was pulled and the plane lost all illumination. The stillness was almost uncomfortable. Voices previously muffled beneath the power of the engines were stripped of their privacy. Although conversation mostly ceased, the words that lingered were like the crisp Wyoming air: refreshing and clear. The fact that I could hear what people were saying at all made me realize how little we actually listen.

Chicago was our next destination. Then back to Newark. And as we flew from the protection of the mountains, I wondered what the world might sound like cut off from its power.

We’d be so lost.

Afraid.

Disconnected.

Blind.

Powerless.

But that’s where our redemption lies. It’s in the knowledge that our connection to things cannot save us. Our bond to one another is key. Learning to love and care for one another is to begin to understand the love of God. And if we can figure out how to live our lives through his love, we can be okay.

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Have you ever heard the claim that individuals who are born blind have a stronger sense of hearing than the average person? That’s because they have learned to become reliant on their other senses due to their lack of sight. It’s an advantage through a disadvantage.

For instance:

I could hear something and not know where it came from because I’d be utilizing all of my average working senses to make a determination. However, someone who is blind has honed their hearing so that they can almost pinpoint exactly where a sound comes from.

If we blinded ourselves from the media, news outlets, social media, and television, we would simply hear one another.

No computers. No Facebook. No phones. Just people. Millions of people speaking in the dark, hearing the echo of their own words. Meeting the eyes of strangers and finding that they have just as much hope and as little fear as themselves. Maybe more. Possibly less.

Without power, we would be able to hear. And if we can hear, we can listen. When we listen, we understand. When we understand, we empathize. When we empathize, we care. When we care, we love. And when we love, mountains become moveable.

Repost: “Beware of Destination Addiction!” 

After reading this post from Victoria’s Bubble Blog this morning, I had to share it! It’s an absolute must read for those of us who are on the endless journey of finding happiness. 

For this reason, the answer lies in recognising that happiness never comes from the destination. Happiness is a choice we make. It doesn’t come from material possessions, circumstances or achievements. Rather, it comes from an attitude of gratitude. It comes from paying attention and cherishing the relationships and people we have been blessed with today.”

                           Read more! 

Song of the Week, “I Am Yours” by Lauren Daigle

                         Listen here! 

I’ve heard this song a million times, but lately, the lyrics have stuck out more than usual. They mean more. It’s almost like a war cry. I listen to it and envision myself on a battlefield with the Lord as my commanding officer. 

It makes me feel brave and protected. And when I really stop to think about it, the God of the entire universe is head over my life. Suddenly, everything else seems pale in comparison. Miniscule to worry myself over and whether my needs will be met or my prayers answered. 

I serve the same God who split the Red Sea. An ocean! A wild, unpredictable, endless body of water was split at His command! 

This song makes me want to take on the Devil! It makes me realize that there is absolutely nothing he can do to break me because I am an heiress of my father! 

Even the thunder and the wind obey
At the command of my Father, Father
I set my feet upon Your mighty name
So let the rain fall harder, harder. 

Song of the Week, “Don’t Want to Live for Me,” by Moriah Peters

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Listen here!

If this song were a dress, it’d be a perfect fit! The lyrics are my life’s cry.

Another day come and gone
I do what I hate to do
A little right a little wrong, it’s true
Another choice another fall
I tell myself to stop
But on my own it’s a war and I’ve lost

It’s always comforting to feel understood. Knowing you’re not the only one failing at life can really make the difference. So horrible of me to say, but it’s true. By no means do I wish ill will on others, but it is validating to know that you’re not the only one tripping over that stump.

God knows our weaknesses. But He also knows our strengths. That’s the part we tend to forget. God knows us inside out, through and through. He won’t tempt us with anything past our ability to overcome through our reliance on Him.

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Recalculating

I’ve always viewed school as a necessity. Whether or not I liked it was never a factor, it was just something I knew I had to grit my teeth and do. Naturally inquisitive, the desire to learn and acquire knowledge has never been an issue for me. No, my problem is that I have trouble acclimating to structured learning settings. I remember being two semesters shy of earning my bachelor’s degree when I decided to mentally check out. Between being burnt out and having senioritis, I gave myself permission to stop caring. As a result, I stopped turning in assignments, showing up to class, and lost interest in my grades. Soon after, I was threatened with being placed on academic probation: they gave me one more chance to get my crap together.

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 I recall meeting with my academic advisor:

Her office was a neat little nook tucked away at the edge of the building. It was dark, save for a small lamp on her desk that dimmed the area just enough for me to see the knickknacks and stacks of papers that comfortably cluttered her desk. Despite being afraid of the reprimand I was about to receive, her office seemed to exude warmth. Almost like a refuge: Somewhere you go for safety and refueling, but only for a short while.

She asked me what was going on and why my grades had fallen. I of course, tried to make my lousy excuse sound as justifiable as possible. She listened quietly as she busied herself with paperwork. When I’d run out of words to fuel my explanation, she turned to me, sighed and said matter of factly, “Okay. You’ve checked out.”

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It was like she was a doctor diagnosing me with a common cold. She knew exactly where I was mentally and she understood how I had gotten there. She gave me no sympathy but there wasn’t a strong sense of reprimand either.

Her final words to me during that meeting were, “You need to find a way to check back in.”

I left the campus feeling much more fueled than I did going into the meeting. Our discussion had given me just enough charge to find my way back to my why. 

Two semesters later, I graduated.

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I find myself at a similar impasse. I checked out about a month ago. I knowingly and intentionally submerged myself into the mindset of a defeatist. I was beginning to feel like everything in life was just too hard, so I figured I’m done trying. I knew that it was a momentary phase, but I didn’t put up much of a fight against it. I became more frivolous with money than usual and I didn’t beat myself up about it. My spiritual upkeep was slacking. I missed almost two weeks of talking to you guys. Deep down, I knew better, but on the surface, I refused to allow myself to care. I just wanted to be. I wanted to do whatever I felt like doing without feeling bad or rehashing fifty times over, every move I made and every thought that even considered crossing my mind. Just for a second, I wanted to be completely human and not feel bad about it.

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Things are still a bit hazy but I’m on the back end of that phase. I think my final salute was my purchase at Victoria’s Secret today at the Las Vegas airport. And in my defense, their semi-annual sale is going on so it could be argued that it was a logical and reasonable purchase.

That liberation I was looking for is returning to its former glory of frustration. I’m back to beating myself up. I’ve made the same mistakes so many times I’m dizzy. I want new mistakes! I want to be able to reflect and say, I used to be that way, but it feels impossible. Like it’s some sort of cruel joke to even think we can actually overcome our problems or become better.

In this time of reflection, I’m trying to figure out my why, because I really don’t want to go down this dead end road a millionth time.

I remember exactly when the downward spiral began. It was the first time I’d missed a post since recommitting myself to the blog back in February. It was a big deal to me and in my mind, it proved that I could not be committed or driven enough to accomplish anything. It shouted and reverberated throughout my entire being that no matter my efforts, I will always circle right back around to who I’ve always been. And that’s when I said

Forget it then, I’ll just stop trying.

One mistake sucked me into a black hole of psychological abuse toward myself. It should not have been that catastrophic, but because it was, that tells me that there’s more. I don’t think I actually believe I can be different. I didn’t realize that truth until just now. Looking at the words staring back at me on the screen, I can’t deny it. Whenever I’m doing well: praying, reading my Bible, keeping up with my blog, making smart money choices,  I am proving to myself that I can change. And it feels good. until I mess up. Then it feels really bad.

I think maybe my mistake is that I don’t ask for God’s help often enough. For a long time, I went through this battle of understanding that I don’t have to prove myself to God. I could never make myself worthy of Him through deeds. Instead, it’s grace through His sacrifice that I fall on time and time again. I know that with absolute certainty and I live my life through that belief. But now I find myself trying to prove me to myself. As if life isn’t complicated enough. I only ask God to bless the outcomes of my goals, not the entire process. Like with my blog, I ask:

Dear God, I want to be dedicated to my blog, please help me.

There are smaller steps I need to be praying to God about concerning my dedication to the blog. For instance, if I know I have a busy week coming up and I’m not sure how I’m going to have time for the blog, I could pray and ask God to help me create time, give me the words to write and let them come effortlessly. That way, I’m being specific and I’m showing a constant need for God to help me in my endeavor. As opposed to praying for this colossal idea one time and expecting no hiccups.

Life is life and there will always be mistakes. But doing the wrong thing or making a mistake provides us with an opportunity to improve.


Reevaluate then Recalibrate.

Assess then Address.

I’m pretty much back on track, but I know I’ll eventually make another mistake. But the next time, I’m looking forward to it being an opportunity to improve and recalculate, not a self-bashing session.

I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and it stuck out to me. It’s a perfect ending to this piece.