Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wag More, Bark Less

My senior year of high school, our school president decided it would be a good idea for all high school students to spend a portion of their senior year doing service hours for the community. Many students volunteered to help out with paperwork in the front office or clean up trash around the campus but I got permission to volunteer at the nearby retirement home.

At first I really enjoyed the work because I started out in the assisted living division delivering packages, magazines, and mail but after some time my supervisor moved me to the nursing home division so that I could be a wing 'companion'. At first I just made door-to-door visits replenishing water cups and ice chips but as I became a more 'permanent' face on the floor the residents began to trust me and even confide in me thus moving me into the 'companion' role. Most of the time I really enjoyed making my rounds and spent many an hour laughing, singing, listening, playing chicken foot, and just being a much needed friend to some very lonely people, but more often that not I left the nursing home emotionally and physically exhausted because of the negativity I channeled by being a listening ear. Don't get me wrong, I love the opportunity to learn from other's experiences but those opportunities were actually pretty rare because most of the listening involved complaints about the staff or accommodations, venting about family members, or just really detailed accounts regarding health problems or the aging process. There was, however, one woman in particular that made every day spent in the nursing home a complete joy. Eunice was an 84-year-old diabetic woman who had recently had both of her legs removed and was by far the most energetic, optimistic person I have ever encountered who, despite great personal set backs from her health and age, never let the obstacles influence her attitude. She was a joy in my life and a dear friend who was fond of saying, "Wag more, bark less." I'll never forget the day I came to visit on my day off and found her room empty. I sought out the floor nurse to inquire about my friend and the look on the nurse's face made my heart sank as I realized the news she was trying to break to me. I cried the whole way home and resolved never to return thinking I couldn't handle the heartache of developing friendships only to lose them unexpectedly. As I thought about Eunice's life and the credo that she lived by every day I realized by not returning I would miss the opportunity to develop the kind of relationship I had with Eunice.

I've been doing a lot of complaining for the past few weeks because of stress, health, finances, and every other thing that has stolen my joy. As I sat at the family Thanksgiving table this weekend I was struck by the blessing of having all of my family sitting at one table together, relatively healthy, and in good spirits. In that moment I was reminded of Eunice and the way that she found the good in every situation and I realized how much I've been 'barking' and how little I've been 'wagging'. Thank you, Eunice, for your words of wisdom and the much needed reminder to rejoice in all circumstances.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nodding And Bobbing

Most people around me know that I don't get much sleep. It isn't that I don't require it, I do; it is just that when I am stressed or depressed, sleep is the first thing to go. For the past few weeks I've been running on about 3 - 4 hours of sleep a night, tops. The Saturday before last however I managed a full 9 hours of sleep in a row; not even the baby woke me from my sound sleep. The funny thing is that I got so much sleep that night that my body didn't want to stop sleeping when the alarm went off early Sunday morning. I was literally dragging myself around all morning and when I finally sat down for worship on the second row, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. I am pretty sure my inability to stay awake had little to do with the worship service or the content of the sermon but I was fighting my eyelids the entire hour and a half and that was with a squirmy baby in my lap.

I am sure my nodding off looked comical (although I doubt our preacher thought so) but the really funny thing is that when you are nodding off like that, you don't realize how obvious it is. In many ways, nodding off feels like you are just groggy but still awake, when in actuality you are so groggy that you don't even notice your own nodding and bobbing because as your body is slowly falling asleep so are your sensors.

I've really felt like I've been holding things together for the past few weeks but just the other day, when my best friend was visiting, she sought out my antidepressants and begged me to start taking them again. In that moment I realized I didn't have things together like I thought and that I was nodding and bobbing but not noticing it because my sensors were dulled.

Our spiritual lives can be like that too sometimes, can't they? We can be so mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted that we don't even realize ourselves drifting away? How do you stay alert?

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
Mark 14:36-38

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Traditions and Legacies

"God has delivered us, He has parted waters for us, He has made water gush forth from rocks and sent us our own manna from heaven. He has brought us into our own Promised Land. Will I miss the opportunity to tell the story to our children?"
~ Ann Voskamp, Holy Experience ~

As the holidays approach, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about legacies and traditions. My husband and I are at a really fun stage of holiday planning because our son is young enough that he doesn’t have any expectations and because we haven’t been married long enough or lived in one place long enough to have established a holiday routine. I see nothing but opportunity before me; the opportunity to create what will become our beloved family traditions, the opportunity to intentionally shape the experiences that will ultimately shape my son, and the opportunity to infuse God in every part of our plans. While I know that my son’s spiritual development will most likely not be shaped by the one or two religious holidays in a year, I love the chance to be proactive in my planning instead of reactive and am grateful for the chance to intentionally plan these important landmarks. What holiday traditions most influenced who you are today and how did your family infuse God into your traditions?

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Growing up, my sister and I were very fortunate to live in a neighborhood brimming with other children our age. Among the many, there were two sisters we loved to play with more than all the others, not only because they lived just down the street from us, but because we were all very close in age (6, 5, 4, and 3). I remember many a Sunday when the four of us would run to our mothers and beg for them to allow us to ‘swap’ sisters for the day, each pair of girls going to a different house.

As the younger of the two in our swap, I was often instructed as to what role I would play in our pretend sessions and I was very often given the role of dad or husband, neither of which I wanted to play. We would almost always argue, I would pout in protest, and then she would threaten to go home if I didn’t do it her way. Eventually one of two things would happen; I would succumb to the threat and play the role I abhorred so that I wouldn’t have to spend the afternoon alone or my mom would intervene and distract us with a game or challenge.

In just the few short years I’ve been in ministry I’ve had the misfortune of seeing many individuals, couples, and families “pack up their dollies and go home” because they didn’t agree with something being done in the church. The really sad part is that most of the time the issues at hand aren’t based on anything theological but based solely on preferences, tradition, or even really petty things like carpet color or bulletin design. I heard a song this afternoon that made me think back to some of these instances I’ve witnessed and at first it made me laugh but as I listened to it the second and third time, it really made me sad.

It was there in the bulletin
We're leaving soon
After the bake sale to raise funds for fuel
The rocket is ready and we're going to
Take our church to the moon

There'll be no one there to tell us we're odd
No one to change our opinions of God
Just lots of rocks and this dusty sod
Here at our church on the moon

We know our liberties we know our rights
We know how to fight a very good fight
Just get that last bag there and turn out the light
We're taking our church to the moon
We're taking our church to the moon
We'll be leaving soon

To the Moon
by Sara Groves

The church I currently attend is 151 years old and holds the distinction of being the oldest church in the city of Dallas. As the neighborhood surrounding our church has continued to grow and change in the last several years, many of our sister churches have made the decision to move in favor of a more desirable or popular location or to close their doors all together. In the wake of our most recent anniversary the leadership of our church took a moment to step back and take a hard look at the effectiveness of our current location verses the potential effectiveness of a new location and made the brave decision to stay in our current location but to make a conscious effort to grow in such a way that will help us become relevant and effective in our immediate community.

Many churches today faced with a dilemma similar to the one our fellowship is facing often have trouble deciding whether or not to pack up and move to a new location or stay in their current location and change the way they do ministry. While many thrive from the challenge, many others become irrelevant in the new situation and therefore slowly ‘die’ off until there is no one left. The decision our leadership made was by no means an easy decision and there will undoubtedly be significant growing pains as we try to become more Christ-like and make the changes necessary to be effective and relevant in a neighborhood full of faces that look nothing like the faces on the inside our auditorium but I think the decision is the right decision. Please keep our fellowship in your prayers as we venture to allow God to use us for his work.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:3

Your thoughts?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Cold

Texas is known for many, many things including unpredictable weather. It is November and yet the past week our highs have been in the upper 70’s low 80’s, definitely not characteristic of mid-November weather. This morning however I woke to the sound of hard, violent rain and gusting winds and when I checked my trusty thermostat I was surprised at how cold it was outside. It wasn’t until after dark that I ventured outside for the first time so that I could gas up my car and avoid the morning rush. As I stood at the pump, the first gust of wind began to blow and I shivered at the harshness of it but thought to myself that it was tolerable and hunkered down in my sweatshirt. As I stood there waiting I noticed that the wind was blowing harder and harder and as the chill searched for my bones I began to beg the pump to go faster. I topped off my tank, tore off my receipt, rushed back to the warmth of my car and slammed the door shut on the cold. It took about 5 seconds for the chill to wear off and then I began to notice that my entire body was bracing against the cold, even though the cold was no longer there. I took a deep breath as each muscle slowly relaxed and my posture began to straighten. It didn’t happen all at once, in fact, I was still very much hunched into the self-protecting ball my body had made as I drove away but even without the winds blowing my body was still wary of the pain.

Things have been pretty uncomfortable in my life for the past week and a half and as I approach day 8 of being a ‘single mom’, not being able to see my husband because of his treatment and week two of some pretty tough work stuff I am finding myself ‘bracing from the cold’. Today was a work from home day, something I typically really enjoy because my work is peppered with giggles, smiles and snuggles from my little boy but I have to confess that stress kept me from enjoying the day or my time with my son. As I reflect back on my day I am struck less by the stress that I felt and more by the fact that I allowed it to affect me the way that it did, that I allowed it to diminish the blessings of the day even after the work day was finished. I allowed my pain to become something else, something worse, something outside of me that affected someone else’s day…my son’s.

I think too often we allow our own circumstances to both dictate and excuse bad behavior. If I am really called to live a Christ-like life I have to live that life in whatever circumstances I am placed.

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:1-2

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Culture Of Dump

I don't remember how old I was the first time I went to the city dump; I just know I've probably been back hundreds of times in my short 27 years. When I was a child, my dad was a roofer and a trip to the dump was a daily occurrence if not more often. Despite the questionable smell that emanated from the dump, I always enjoyed our trips there because I got to ride in my dad's big red dump truck and because he would let me pull the lever that would make the bed rise and dump all of the shingles into the massive pile of waste. As a teenager it was even more fun because he let me drive that enormous truck and we would get a big kick out of all the strange looks received from fellow drivers.

I would imagine most people don't ever give pause to think about the dump until they do a remodel or are involved in tree trimming. I would also venture to guess that most people, unless they live right by one, have no idea where their nearest dump is located. If you think about it, it really isn't that surprising because we live in a 'dump culture'. A dump culture, if you will, is one in which no thought is given to the waste we dispose of every day. I'm not just talking about physical waste but emotional waste as well. One of the most common forms of emotional dumping I have ever seen is the anxiety dump.

A few months ago, a well-known man in the church approached me just before service started and began questioning my methodology for something I was doing. The more he spoke, the more abrasive he became, until finally I felt like he was just asking me questions to test my knowledge and somehow try to trick me. It was annoying and embarrassing because he did all of this in front of an audience of three people. After he left I was in such a foul mood that when my husband returned from changing my son's diaper he asked me what was wrong and I launched into the story in great detail and dramatics and was cut short by the beginning of our service. Just telling my husband about what happened made me feel worlds better and by the time service was over I was completely over the moment and had moved on but little did I know that my 'anxiety dump' was brewing something fierce in my husband. It wasn't until after church that I looked up to see my husband beelining across the room in true 'man on a mission' fashion that I turned to my mom and said, "What is Travis doing?" I followed the site line for his path and realized he was headed straight for the man who had spoken to me before church. I immediately rushed over to my husband and said, "What do you think you are doing?" he replied, "I am gonna give him a piece of my mind! No one talks to my wife like that and I am going to make sure he never does it again!" I grabbed the hand of my shaking husband and pulled him aside; thanking him for wanting to come to my rescue but explaining to him that what I had done to him (anxiety dump) was unfair and uncalled for.

We are all guilty of the anxiety dump at one time or another because we care not what happens to the person on the receiving end and are more concerned with alleviating our own fears or uncomfortable moments. I get a lot of anxiety dumped on me in this business and it used to really eat away at my happiness, still does sometimes, but I am fortunate to be in the presence of several great men who have mastered the art of the anxiety 'block' and who point the anxiety back its rightful owner instead of taking it on their own shoulders. It is not to say that a person can't be compassionate or listen to the problems of someone dealing with a great deal of anxiety, it just means that the person on the receiving end must learn not to take ownership of misplaced anxiety. May it be so in my life.

An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.
Proverbs 12:25

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 13, 2006

One Step At A Time

I am, by nature, a pretty fast-paced person. I walk fast, I talk fast, I make quick decisions and I like to think on my feet. For the most part, being ‘fast’ has served me well but there have been many times when I have paid the price for speaking too quickly, making a rash decision or jumping into something without all of the information. There have only been a handful of times in my life when I’ve had to slow myself down or have been physically slowed down by an illness or other circumstance. Lately however, there is a part of my life that has slowed to a tortoise-like speed…walking. My little guy has been walking for several weeks now and absolutely hates being carried anywhere anymore. I’ve found that I have to allow extra time wherever I go because I have to factor in the amount of time it will take the two of us to walk from place to place. As a fast-paced person, I confess I easily get annoyed at having to wait but what I’ve noticed in the weeks that my son and I have slowed down to walk (or totter) hand in hand have been some of the most enjoyable weeks of my life. It is amazing the things you see when you take life one step at a time; I highly recommend a stroll with a 10-month old if you get the chance, you never know what flower, bug, leaf, stick, piece of paper or ball of lint you might find in your path.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants

you have ordained praise.
Psalm 8:1-2

Your thoughts?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Places I've Been

In case you can't tell, it has been an unusually stressful week for me. Although I haven't been very diligent about writing, I have been reading quite a few of my fellow blogger's writings. Here is a sampling of some of the places I've been this week; I hope these blogs are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

This month's edition of Christian Women Online is up and is fantastic as usual. Be sure to check out the interview on Darlene Zschech.

Christian Women Online is hosting their Sweet Scent Blog Awards and is soliciting help nominating award winning blogs. There are over 650 contributors on the CWO blog ring and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed reading through the ring and nominating writers. Happy reading!

Take a moment to check out my mom's blog Accentuate The Positive for a great 3-part series on potential.

We may not be experiencing fall-like weather but our family is definitely getting ready for some holiday cheer. Check out Diary of a SAHM for some Mr. Linkys on Holiday Traditions and be sure to leave some of your own.

Where have you been? I'll be back on Monday.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Change

For about the past month and a half my husband’s health has been declining. Because the decline has been gradual it hasn’t been nearly as noticeable to me as it has to those around me. Looking back I can’t believe the changes he has undergone because they’ve happened in such small increments. When he announced to me that he had lost almost 30 lbs in the past weeks despite eating enough food for two or three people I was shocked to the point of disbelief. I mean I’ve noticed that his clothes were fitting differently and that his face was looking thinner and his eyes more prominent but it wasn’t until people at church began asking me if everything was ok that I really began to notice how much he had changed.

No worries, nothing too serious, just a thyroid disorder and since the thyroid affects just about everything he has a lot of symptoms. The most amazing part of this experience has been how many people have shown concern for us. Most have assumed that were having troubles at home (Graves disease causes the eyes to bulge and water constantly so my husband always looks like he has been crying) so it has been a really positive experience to know that so many have the courage to step out on our friendship and ask such personal questions about our relationship. Praise God for friends and believers who care more about us as a couple than the awkwardness of confrontation.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.
Proverbs 27:9


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Growth Spurt

My son has never been much of sleeper; sleeping is inconsistent and ineffective at best. Early on we discovered that he would sleep longer if held or if someone slept with him and although we were tempted to let him co-sleep we decided that it was best for him to learn to sleep on his own and save the snuggle time for naps and church. Lately, however, he has been sleeping non-stop, sometimes even falling asleep while sitting up! Yesterday when he took four two-hour naps after having slept 10 hours the night before, I began to get worried. I talked to his pediatrician who assured me that everything was fine, "Babies grow when they are sleeping so if he hasn't had a growth spurt in a while he might just be working on a big one" she assured me.

What a concept. I've always thought of spiritual growth as a time when I am trying new things, stepping out of my comfort zone, or seeking to learn more about God but never as a time of rest. God found rest so vital that he not only took a day to rest himself but implemented a day of rest for the Jews. I wonder how much I would grow if I took the time to rest in God?

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust".
Psalm 91:1-2

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 06, 2006


In the 15 years that I have been a part of the work force I have had a number of different jobs both in and outside of ministry (in no particular order); babysitter, carpool driver, office assistant, 911 dispatcher, waitress, bartender, hostess, telephone operator, companion, check processor, box office agent, campus ministry intern, office manager, house sitter, cook, and last but not least technology minister.

In the three years that I spent working in the food industry I met my fair share of interesting people from all walks of life. As a general rule, restaurants can legally pay waiters and waitresses less than half of minimum wage with the expectation that patrons will make up the difference in the amount of tip they provide their server. For the most part, that concept was fulfilled every day with occasional surprises like the $20, $50 or $100 tip but more often than not there was the penny, stick of gum, or religious tract tip. In my experience, those types of tips usually came from one of two types of people: a group of teens on a Friday night or a group of Christians fresh out of church on a Sunday afternoon. The first time I received the religious tract tip after working a 16-top table for two hours on a Sunday, my only table by the way, I was shocked. But Sunday after Sunday I was increasingly surprised at how demanding many Christians were and then how unwilling they were to compensate me for my service. Even as recently as a few Sundays ago I went out to eat with a group of people from church and overheard a man at my table say to his wife, “Ten percent? No way, she only refilled my drink three times.”

Many times ministry is a lot like the service industry because church members often feel ownership towards the staff members because they “pay their salary”. But the concept is not unique to members; often fellow Christians or even co-workers treat church workers differently than they would a co-worker in the corporate world because 1) they are constantly in the spotlight and likely under a tremendous amount of pressure 2) they can get away with behaving badly because churches don’t operate under the same laws that ensure appropriate behavior in the corporate world and 3) because stakes are eternal and therefore allowances are made for the greater good. The whole thing bothers me tremendously because as Christians I believe we are called to a higher standard of consideration and care, regardless of the pressures or stakes.

I am by no means perfect; I can think of many times when I’ve had to put myself or my attitude in check because of bad behavior. Likewise I have to remind myself that people who fall into the above category most likely do not intend to do harm or cause discord and may even be completely unaware of the way they are behaving. That person is my brother/sister and needs to be loved with the love of Christ just as much as the rest of us.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:9-10

Your thoughts?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Half Dome

Many years ago I was invited to attend a friend’s family reunion in the beautiful valley of Yosemite National Park in northern California. I look back on that trip with fond memories not just because of the beautiful creation I was allowed to enjoy but because of the familial fellowship I witnessed. At one point during the week long camping trip I was invited to hike the 17 mile trail to the top of Half Dome. If you’ve never had the privilege of seeing the magnificent beauty that is Half Dome, then you are missing out. Standing tall at an elevation of 8,842 feet, this magnanimous granite rock is one of the most beautiful and most recognized formations in the world.

The morning of the climb we woke at 4:00 am to begin the day-long hike; it was at that point that I realized I was by no means prepared for what the dome had in store for me. I felt ill as I watched fellow hikers pack the supplies necessary for the grueling hike; water purifying pills, energy bars, socks, mole skin, toilet paper, sunscreen, bug repellant, canteen, flashlights, jackets, etc. An hour into the hike I was already hurting as every muscle burned from the first mile of rock stairs that we climbed without stopping. I was floored when I found out it was the first of 12 hours that we would be hiking during the day and quickly realized that I was going to have to pace myself if I was ever going to make the final mile of cable climbing to the top of the dome. By noon my whole body was shaking and the blisters on my feet were bleeding from the tension but after I refueled my body with much needed food and water I pressed on toward the goal, pushing through the pain. Hours later when we reached the base of the dome and prepared for the most grueling and dangerous part of the climb, the cables, I began to rethink my commitment. But after a quick rest and pep talk I rejoined the group and completed the last mile of the hike to finally arrive at the top of one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

Looking back I know I would have regretted a decision to forgo the last mile and am so glad that I pushed through the pain and fear that resulted in a view and sense of accomplishment that I will never forget.

Right now I am dealing with a ‘half dome’ of the home-grown kind. Because I work in technology, the majority of the work that I do doesn’t produce any visible fruit. In fact, most people (co-workers included) don’t even know what I do until something goes wrong. In the recent months my job responsibility has grown and continues to grow exponentially and everyone has a different idea of what is most important and what takes priority and as a result I am really starting to feel the pain of the climb. Unfortunately, in this case, there is no visible end in site and the pressure is really starting to kick me in the teeth. I am keenly aware that I have two choices; I can push through the pain and make the most of the abilities God has given me or I can turn back and head home. My natural inclination is to give up but if I learned anything from my day of hiking Half Dome is that the pain is necessary to reach the next level. Your prayers are coveted as my knees are weak, my feet are covered in blisters, and the air keeps getting thinner.

We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:2-5

Your thoughts?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


The other day my brother sent me this really interesting series of pictures and the accompanying story (don’t stop reading).

In a zoo in California, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth. The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve. After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species but the only "orphans" that could be found quickly, were a litter of wiener pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Would they become cubs or pork chops?

Take a look ...”

Ever the skeptic I immediately went to my trusty to find out the validity of the entire thing and was surprised to find out the pictures were not only real, the story only had minor inaccuracies.

I am drawn to the pictures because they are so unusual and yet conceptually they really shouldn’t be ... isn’t this what we, as Christians, are called to do every single day? To reach out to the motherless, the friendless, the hopeless and draw them into the fold of Christ?

"When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way,
You command the attention of the world"

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Believe It Or Not

I know you’ve heard it before, “Wow, you really look tired today! Is everything ok?” or “Whoa, did the baby keep you up last night? Don’t fall asleep on us now!” or “Are you feeling ok? You don’t look so good.” I remember a morning a few months ago, when a friend and co-worker popped his head in my office to say good morning just moments after I had heard many of the above mentioned comments. He smiled when he saw me and said something the effect of, “I just have to tell you that I think it is so great that you feel comfortable enough to come to work without makeup on, with your hair pulled back au natural. That is so cool that you are comfortable in your skin.” He smiled again as he turned to leave but I frowned. What should have been a taken as a compliment came across as something else because I’d already heard from others how dreadful I was looking despite the fact that I WAS wearing makeup and had gone to great lengths to fix my hair that morning. I’d love to say that I was able to laugh it off and not let it bother me but the truth is that it bothered me for days, so much so that I actually found myself getting up earlier to make sure that no one else accused me of being sleep-deprived or au natural again.

I’d love to say that I don’t feel pressured to look a ‘certain way’ but it would be a lie. I may not always accomplish the look I’m going for but I am definitely concerned about my appearance. As a woman I feel and have always felt the pressures; the pressure to be thin, tall, beautiful, have flawless skin, have a sparkling personality, endless knowledge, dress sharply with perfect accessories all while balancing a ‘career’, keeping an immaculate home and raising a perfect child. It’s funny, no really, it’s funny because deep down inside I actually want to believe it is possible, but if I’m honest with myself I have to realize that not only are those standards ungodly, they are unrealistic and full of the lies society and Satan are trying to deceive me with. Just the other day I saw this video that my good friend sent me via email and this website * that shows before/after photos of retouched photos and was instantly reminded of this article about Jami Lee Curtis and suddenly felt compelled to repent. Why? Because I not only believe the lies that I see every day, I foolishly aspire to live them in my own life.

I’m sure you’ve heard me say before that I am an aspiring Proverbs 31 wife and this week I had to remind myself of that and the standards that God expects me to live up to. May God forgive me for settling for something less. What lies do you believe?

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4

Your thoughts?

*contains some suggestive photos