Saturday, September 26, 2015

Beauty full

Yesterday I bought the cutest waterfall vanity set for my bedroom. I typically get ready in the only bathroom in our little home, but since we have more people getting out the door in the morning these days, I needed to find another space to pluck the rogue chin hairs that keep cropping up since I turned 30. Errr, I mean... do my makeup.

I was excited about this vanity. I love old stuff. I love the nicks and bruises and imperfections, and I love to think about the stories they tell. I can imagine another woman sitting in front of the mirror and setting her pin curls or dabbing the insides of her wrists with the Chanel her husband gifted her for their 15th anniversary. Old stuff has history, and it makes me smile to welcome it into my home.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I sat down at my sweet vanity this morning, and was immediately and utterly disgusted. The bench seat is low, and the mirror is huge-- so it forces my body into the most unflattering position imaginable. AND IT’S ALL REFLECTED. Over my jeans, my muffin top puffed out past my saggy boobs. My thighs spread out like softened butter on a slice of toast and filled the bench and the mirror with their sheer girth.

Come, Lord Jesus.

I was immediately filled with a sense of shame and regret. How have I let myself go so much? Why am I so fat? I am only 32; why do I have wrinkles? Um, hello. Rogue chin hairs.

Let me just be honest here. Usually when I start to have these thoughts, it’s a giant rabbit hole. Pretty soon, I am convinced that not only am I fat and wrinkly, I am also a horrible, impatient mom... a nagging, unsupportive wife, a bad homemaker, a wretched Christian, a self-absorbed, narcisscistic friend. Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, let me go eat some worms.

But something stopped me from falling down that rabbit hole today. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit. Maybe it was the sweet grace of confidence that maturity brings. Maybe it was the coffee in the cute cup on my cute vanity. I don’t really know. But I was immediately convicted of the lies I was entertaining in my morning-haired head.

As women, as moms, we always feel the need to perform, to be beautiful, to be ENOUGH.

But hear me--what if we don’t have to BE enough, what if we just ARE enough?

I’ve decided all the women in the kindergarten drop off lines are actually supermodels. As in, they drop off their kids (Titan, Jeweleona, or Pandora-- these are actual real live kids in the kindergarten class), and then immediately go and strip down to a metallic bikini and pose for Victoria’s Secret. They are tan, toned, trim, and their highlights are impeccable. As if I didn’t already feel fragile about depositing the fruit of my loins into the gaping, ravenous mouth of public education, now I have to stare at your perfect body while I am doing it. Thanks for that.

I also follow this amazingly talented designer on social media. She’s creative, cute, Christian-- the whole package of adorableness. But then she started doing Crossfit. Oh, Crossfit. How quickly you make me hate myself! You guys, this girl is BUFF. She goes to all these Crossfit competitions and can contort her body into odd shapes and do walking handstands across the length of 16 football fields.

Or, you know, something like that.

And I see these images, and I am quickly convinced that I am doing life all wrong. I need to join Crossfit. I need to look like that. I need to do a walking handstand (ha) and compete in Crossfit games (ha ha) and have a six pack like this girl (HA HA HA HA HA!!!).

But what if that’s not the point? What if God makes us all uniquely ON PURPOSE and we aren’t all supposed to do the same things and look the same way and have the same abilities? Who gets to decide that their beauty or their abilities are superior to mine? Who decides what’s valuable in a woman? Society? Well hey, listen. Society is about to elect Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. It’s made shrines to Kim Kardashian’s ass, and it’s murdered 60 million babies in the last 30 years. It once spent like four weeks dedicating media time to a deflated football. It’s not a reputable source. Society is full of shit.

I am reading the book “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker with my book club. Ok fine, it’s not really a book club. I mean, we bring our books with us. But mostly we just eat ice cream and bitch about our children. We’re working on it. Progressive sanctification, y’all.

One of the things I am taking away from this book is this sweet, glorious freedom to JUST BE WHO GOD MADE ME. “God created an entire package. It all counts. There are no throwaway qualities. You are good at something for a reason. God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn’t fake or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you’ve been given, so use them.”

The mind and heart and hands and voice I’VE been given. Not someone else. Trying to fit into someone else’s “entire package” is exhausting, depressing, and completely pointless. There are the crafty, Pinteresty moms, the dedicated PTO moms, the badass working moms, the Crossfit moms, and yes...the hot moms at kindergarten dropoff. None of us is all of these, and none is intrinsically more valuable than the other. We are all cast in different roles in this messy story of redemption, but nobody can follow the plot when we are all stepping over each other's lines. Someone else’s beauty or accomplishments or intelligence does not mitigate my own. We all have a place at the table.

But just so we're clear, I'm gonna eat more at that table than the Crossfit mom. Because OBVIOUSLY.

Can I encourage you today to pursue truth? In general, but specifically in how it applies to how you feel about your body and your worth? Cause here’s the thing, friend. You wouldn’t be really pretty only if you lost 20 pounds. You are really pretty now. You are not worthy because of what you have accomplished, because of how much you weigh, or how you look in a bikini. When your muffin top squeezes past your saggy boobs, when your thighs spread out like butter, and your chin hairs need to be WEED WHACKED, you are beautiful.

You can spend your life comparing, and wishing you had the body/job/husband/abilities of some hipster woman you follow on Instagram, but just so you know-- it’s all filtered. As for me, I will celebrate what other women accomplish and admire their hot bods and be their biggest cheerleaders. But I am not going to waste my life anymore trying to be them. I am making a decision to love MY body/MY job/MY husband/MY abilities.

We are worthy because we are human beings, fearfully and wonderfully made, and TREASURED by our Creator. There is no thigh dimple or fat roll that can make us less worthy. None. These are our nicks and bruises and imperfections that make us interesting stories to read; I will smile as I welcome them into my home. We are not arbitrary. Our abilities are legitimate, and we are valuable. We are full of beauty, of grace, of wonder.

Really. We are.


nanajobx said...

Love the gift God has given you to express yourself. Now about that book...

ctf said...

Yes,yes YES!! ❤️ stoosh

Connie G said...

Yes. This.

Amy said...

I so needed this today. Thank you.

H/T: Gretchen and Gwen who posted this on facebook.

Annabanana said...

Thank you so much for this reminder. I am so struggling with this lately - the self judgement over HOW I LOOK! Intellectually I understand the fallacy, but I'm still working on my heart.

crystal steimling said...

Beautifully written! I'd buy your book :) love you.

Julie Garner said...

"Cause here’s the thing, friend. You wouldn’t be really pretty only if you lost 20 pounds. You are really pretty now. You are not worthy because of what you have accomplished, because of how much you weigh, or how you look in a bikini. When your muffin top squeezes past your saggy boobs, when your thighs spread out like butter, and your chin hairs need to be WEED WHACKED, you are beautiful."

That is so true, girlfriend. Even after my marathon weight loss a few years ago, I struggled with myself...actually, I struggled MORE with myself. And since I've gained all the weight back, I'm forced to find peace in my inmost being. Have to. Because thin or fat, long hair or short hair, chin hairs or...well, there's no other choice but chin hairs! I'm still ME. And I can either walk in the confidence of my true identity (Jesus) or I can lay in bed all day and eat bonbons and binge watch Revenge. I waiver. (Hence the weight gain) But I'm about out of Revenge episodes, so I think I'm resigning myself to the Truth. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I'm still sayin'...if you want to feel like a supermodel, just come hang out with me! YOU WILL FEEL MUCH BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF. I'm here for you! Ha ha! I love you--every imperfect, beautiful part of you!

Barbara Gibbs said...

I feel, as women, we all have these feelings of self dissatisfaction. However, I have learned over the last 58 years (yeah I'm that old) that it doesn't matter what other people think of you but what you think about yourself. It took me till about 50 years old to not really care what other people think of me, my over flowing muffin top, my chin hairs (yeah I got those, too!), my graying hair, my weight gain, etc. What really matters is me and if I am truly happy with me. I am happy with me now because all those other things do not matter. I am to the point where I just shrug my shoulders and say, "I'm sorry you feel that way" and, as my friend would say, "" I do not worry about it anymore but do the best I can to be happy with the cards in life that I have either been dealt or chosen. I finally like myself just the way I am. I am more at peace with me now than I have ever been in my life.

Denise said...

You are made in His image. What is not to love?

Denise said...

You are made in His image. What is not to love?

tammalammadingdong said...

I love this. Thank. you.