Friday, September 23, 2011

Listen with your heart, you will understand. -Pocahontas.


"I didn't make any mistakes on you."

That's what He told me during the Diesel Black Gold fashion show in New York City last week. 

Surrounded by mostly naked models- helping my precious Canadian girl get her long thin legs into the metallic pants and strappy heals- cameras flashing, stylists stressing, hairstylists spraying her fly-aways while I quickly tuck in the sparkly tank top, working incredibly hard to make it appear effortless... 

This was the first show that I really felt it. I started to look at their faces. I marveled at the perfection of their features. Their noses were petite, their skin was clear, blemish free. Their legs were long, thighs thin, stomachs flat. Most of them were basically shapeless, small breasts, little bottoms, and no cellulite. 

This wasn't my first show. I had been with gorgeous models all week and had not yet struggled with feeling inadequate. Today was the first day. 

This was my first show that involved male models though. That was intriguing and terrifying. Actually it only became scary when I was assigned to dress one of them. I couldn't fathom helping a man put on his clothes. Actually I am laughing as I type this because of how funny it still is to me. Silently I was looking around the room praying that one of the other male models would take off their clothes before mine did, just so I could get over the initial shock of seeing a strange attractive man in boxers. But God was awesome, he protected me and last minute a male dresser showed up so they switched me over to dressing a female model. Maybe next year I'll be ready for that. This year I'm not. 

So back to my feelings. As I am looking at these beautiful young women I was remembering my eating disorder. My thoughts immediately turned hopeless. Even when I was starving myself, even when I was forcing myself to vomit after I ate, I still didn't look like these girls. My nose is bigger, my thighs are thicker, my skin is not as smooth... I am just not enough like them to do what they do. 

But just as the hopelessness of inadequacy started to settle into my mind, like the kind of mean fog that causes car accidents, my Savior intervened. 


My smile was so large, I mean huge, like it went all the way up to my forehead. God didn't make any mistakes on me! The way I look is perfect, it is exactly how I am supposed to look, and it is everything I need it to be in order to walk out the plans God has for me. I wanted to run around and tell people but I wasn't standing by any Christians and I am very aware of how strange it sounds to start a story by saying, "Guess what God just told me in my mind!?!" 

So instead I stopped looking at the other girls with envy and began again to look upon them with love. I prayed for them. I wandered around encouraging them. I treated the male models like normal guys. I do not want to be reduced to just being my outward appearance and so I made a point to treat them like they were more than just pretty faces. 

Amazing. Actually yesterday while I was cleaning I had a weak moment while I was remembering my models from last week, and I momentarily thought of my shortcomings again, but don't worry, it didn't last long...within one second of my yucky thoughts I accidentally smashed my head into a cabinet. It was painful and kind of hilarious because I couldn't keep thinking badly about myself, I realized how silly I was being and again prayed for my girls. 

The thing with our appearance is that there are lots of opinions. There are lots of voices that will tell us who we are and whether or not we are good enough, or small enough, or valuable enough. But only one of those opinions is true. If we do not grab ahold of the truth and align our thoughts with it, we will be stuck in negativity and miss out on the marvelous freedom we were designed for. 

I was taking a walk this morning as the sun was coming up. The sky was pink. That is the magnificent work of our beautiful Creator. I spend most weekends near the ocean. It is big, and blue, and green, and lovely. That is the magnificent work of our beautiful Creator. I am from Colorado. The mountains are perfect, the snow sparkles, autumn smells sweet, and the forests are breathtaking. That is the magnificent work of our beautiful Creator. 

You are one of a kind. You are unique, gorgeous, brilliant in appearance, intelligent beyond what you even know about yourself, fun, gifted, precious, love-able, valuable, strong. You are the magnificent work of our Beautiful Creator. He didn't make any mistakes on you. You are exactly enough for what He has called you to. 

"All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you." Song of Songs 4:7 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I am reading a book by Donald Miller called "Through Painted Desserts". Reading it is like being on a road trip, perhaps because it is about him going on a road trip. But I mean it in the sense that I desire to rush through it and learn all the things I can possibly learn, like driving quickly to see the important sites, but in actuality the beauty is in the journey, and it is the journey that will teach me the most.

Here is a part that spoke to my heart, it reminds me of what I am experiencing here in New York City. He is talking about Houston, but for me Houston is LA, and New York, and Colorado Springs. He also mentions Paul, his hippie friend, and my role model today.

"And it hit me that amid the screaming noise, amid the messages that said buy this or buy that and I will be complete, I could hardly know the life that was meant to be. Houston makes you feel that life is about panic, and nothing more. Nobody stops to question whether they need the house or car or better job. And because of this there doesn't seem to be any peace, any serenity. We can't see stars in Houston anymore, we can't go to the beach without stepping on a coke bottle, we can't hike in the woods because there aren't any woods. We can only panic about the clothes we wear, panic about the car we drive, sit stuck in traffic and panic about whether or not the guy who cut us off respects us. We want to kill him, for crying out loud and all the while we feel a need for new furniture, a new t.v. and a bigger house in the right neighborhood. We drive around in a trance, salivating for Starbucks while that great heaven sits above us, and that beautiful sunrise is happening in the desert, and all those mountains out west are collecting snow on the limbs of their pines, and all those leaves are changing color out east. God it is so beautiful, it is so quiet, it is so perfect. It makes you feel, perhaps for a second, that Paul gets it and we don't- that if you live in a van & cook your own food on a fire & stop caring about whether or not people do or do not like you, that you have broken through, that you have shut your ear to the bombardment of lies that never, ever stop whispering in your ear. And maybe this is why he seems so different to me, because he has become a human who no longer believes the commercials are true, which perhaps is what a human is designed to be."

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Why is knowing Him so important to God? Why does He want us to love Him with ever-increasing devotion? It's because of something called "creative affinity". Creative affinity means you become increasingly more like that which you love most. You take on the characteristics of whom or what you cherish most deeply. Have you ever noticed that when a couple has been married 50 or 60 years they start to look alike? People start to resemble what they love." 
Wayne Cordeiro 

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." 
Matthew 22:37-38

Friday, September 2, 2011

a snow-globe & eternity. What matters in this life?

I feel like a snow-globe. My mind feels like a snow-globe that is being shaken and shaken and you don't really know what the clear picture is going to be because all you see are sparkles and little chunks of things swirling all around. It's not my favorite feeling. I am ready for the chunks and sparkles to settle a bit so I can see what is going on. I'd like to see a clear picture and understand why the heck all this shaking is happening. The swirly sparkles are nice... all sparkles are nice... but its the chunks of things blocking my vision that have really become a bother.

Nothing sustains me. It's hopeless. Not money, nor marriage, not looking great, or laughing, or dressing like a princess, or drinking a lattte. Sex doesn't. Smoking weed didn't. Drinking too much didn't. Shopping doesn't. Reading doesn't. Eating doesn't. Bulimia didn't, dancing doesn't, volleyball didn't. Best friends can't. Sisters can't. Traveling doesn't. Modeling doesn't. Ministry definitely doesn't. California doesn't. Barcelona doesn't. London, Thailand, Korea, Colorado, Mexico, Hawaii, Michigan, India... none of them do. Being thin doesn't. Being tan doesn't. Having white teeth and a great haircut doesn't. Nothing on earth sustains me.

Its terrible, hopeless and completely stressful. Where are we supposed to go to be sustained? When I was a little girl, basically up until I started going to middle school, everyday when I woke up I wouldn't get out of bed until I thought of something to be excited for. At the time I had pretty low standards- so just the fact that recess was coming again and I could play football with the boys was enough of a hope to get out of bed happy. But as I have gotten older I have realized that though there are plenty of things to adore about life on earth, there is really nothing that will sustain me, nothing that I can put my hope in.

So then what do I do? Keep seeking things that will feel nice for a bit to numb the deep longing in me to have hope and feel fully alive? I could, it's what most people do. The problem with that is that it points to the idea that life on earth is all that matters, its all we have.. when we die.. we are just done. Well, I don't believe it. I believe in eternity. I believe that when I take my last breath on this planet, I will then immediately inhale my first perfect breath of the crisp, sweet, wonderful air of heaven. (I'm imagining the gorgeous mountain air of Colorado, and assuming heaven can't get much better than that.) If heaven is for real, and eternity really means forever, then that means the life I live after I leave the earth is going to be so much longer and more important than the one I'm currently living.. its hard to fathom.

It's kind of like high school. When you are in high school it feels all consuming. It feels like all that matters in life is what happens during those 4 years. Like being great at sports, popularity, grades, parties, boyfriends, hot girls, clothes, gossip, and DECA (haha I don't know why I put that in there but I just loved DECA). While being a high school student it is difficult to see beyond graduation, you just kind of live everyday trying to make the most of living in the high school world. I remember feeling annoyed when people older than me would encourage me during those years by saying, "none of this stuff matters, high school will end and all of the stuff you are going through will be nothing".  I hated it, because I really didn't believe that life could mean more than striving to be the best, most beautiful, high school girl that I could be. I mean, I hoped life would mean more than that, but when everything around you points toward one thing, it is difficult to believe something else. But then sure enough I graduated and almost immediately it became a joke to hear someone talk about being Prom Queen. The striving of high school ended and a whole new world began. It was quick and slightly shocking, with very little time to recover before moving into adulthood. But ultimately it was true, even though high school felt all consuming, the reality was that it didn't really matter, and that very little of what felt important then, was actually important in the grand scheme of life. 

Our lives on earth are like that. There are lots of things that consume our minds and feel incredibly important now, but when we arrive at the end of our lives we will look back and realize that most of it really didn't matter in the grand scheme of eternity. So then what does matter now? Wouldn't it be great if we could just ask someone who has experienced eternal life so they could tell us what matters now?

Actually we can. Jesus has experienced eternal life and He shared some of His heavenly insight with us on His sermon on the mount. In listening to Him we get a pretty clear picture of what will matter when we arrive at eternity.

What will matter at the end of our lives? Here are some insights Jesus shared with us during his sermon on the mount. You can read his full message in Matthew chapters 5-7. 

revenge won't matter: If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

having enemies won't matter:  43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 

giving will matter:4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

possessions won't matter: 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth.. 20 Store your treasures in heaven..21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

food & clothes won't matter:  25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

worrying won't matter: 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

praying will matter: 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

trusting what Jesus said will matter: 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

What I gather from all of these insights is that though my mind feels like a shaken up snow-globe of thoughts and emotions, I can find my sustenance in the truth of God's Word. Jesus came to save me from sin, but He also comes daily to save me from myself and lead me into all truth. He is the Savior. He is also the Prince of Peace. In Him we find true joy that sustains and strengthens us. When we are shaken and we can't see clearly, His presence calms the storms in our minds and reminds us to pursue the truth. We are not living for today. We are living for eternity. There is no sense in stressing over the temporary when we can be faithfully preparing for the eternal. Life here on earth is short, life with Christ lasts forever. 

"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here 
 a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14