November 18, 2016

Surrender

"You probably know what you have been afraid to entrust to God. When we surrender our fear, we are offering it to Jesus. We are saying, 'This fear is too much fear for me to bear. I give it to you because I believe you are good and worthy of my trust.' When we actively, by faith, lay down our fears at the feet of Jesus, we pick up his love in return. It is an uneven trade, a heavenly exchange...

Laying down what we want to protect or are afraid of losing or are terrified we will never have is not the same thing as losing those things. It is surrendering them. It is opening up our clenched hand around them and allowing God access to them and to us. It is actually saying yes to God for them. Yes to his plan. Yes to his way. It is believing that just as his ways are higher than the heavens are above the earth, so his way for the things we fear for is higher. This God of ours is a God of life, of goodness. He is the God of the Resurrection. We lay down our fear. We pick up Jesus. He is the only way we can live beyond fear. He is the Way."

- Stasi Eldredge, Becoming Myself

November 17, 2016

Overt or Covert Body Shaming - Same Result {An Open Letter}

Why do we feel like we have to put others down in order to build ourselves up? Why can't we realize that we are all different, that that's a good thing, and actually live by it too?

No, we won't all look the same. But body shaming people you perceive as being prettier or more ideally shaped than you, or as having easier hair (which is rarely the case) than you, when that may not be how they see it- or you- isn't going to help. That only spreads negativity. And it's not helpful to anyone, including and especially the person out of whose mouth such words come. Personally, I think most people have some aspect of physical beauty about them, just as much as they have flaws.

Mostly, I perceive their beauty or lack thereof as being due to their attitude and character.

I know I'm not perfect. I have good days and bad days, just like anyone else. I know that I am learning to love myself, truly and fully for who I am, including or in spite of my imperfections. I'm not angry at you for evidencing your bitterness. Honestly, my biggest reaction is to feel sorry for you. Because you are too busy comparing yourself to others, instead of appreciating and valuing and loving yourself, and therefore being able to truly outpour love to those around you.

I've been there, and I know what that feels like. It's tough. But I also know you can't stay there to get better. And that it also takes work to get up. And a lot of people are fine being miserable and hateful and wallowing in their own self pity, because they don't really want to make the effort to work from the inside out. They'd really rather someone else do it for them. And that's not going to happen.

I sincerely hope that you find it in you to love yourself the way you are. And can spread that love to others, instead of criticizing your perception that may or may not be reality. 

November 15, 2016

God's Perspective on Art

Art is the act of capturing and preserving the beauty that God has placed around us, the moments brought to memory by that depiction, or the emotions evoked by what one sees, hears, feels, or otherwise senses.

Beauty is healing. The viewing, creation, or mimicking of beauty is healing, in a way unlike any other.

Art is second nature to us as humans, made in the image and likeness of our creator. Of course we want to produce and preserve beauty. It's instinctual. He made us that way. He loves art. He specifically included it in the formation of the tabernacle, the priests' garments, even the design of how the camp of Israel was laid out.

It is an innate part of the biblical parables or comparisons given to a potter, musician, metalworker, or other skilled craftsman. Yes, the end product can potentially be functional. But the skill of the workman is judged also by how well the work looks when he's done.

 Exodus 31 says that God put the work in the hearts of those skilled craftsmen and women who contributed to the tremendous art piece that was the Tabernacle. Skill that they had developed over years of working to become the experts that they were.

In Song of Solomon 7, the beauty of the bride is compared to the work of the artist.

In 1 Kings 6, there were specifically "artistic frames" made for the Temple of Solomon, besides all of the other incredible design work employed.

In Revelation 18:22, it is an insult from God that there will no longer be found anyone creating anything beautiful or productive in Babylon.

There are over a dozen words in the Bible that I have found, in just a short time of searching, which have to do with the production or viewing of beauty; some for functional purposes, and others for ornament alone.

It's not about whether we have pictures, or carvings, sculptures, or any other form of art around us. It's what we do with it that matters most. Just about anything can be considered art, including how words are put on a page...

Art is an idea, a perception or translation of the world around us; not something that can be simply labeled, "stuff."

Just as Idolatry is the perversion of said idea, and also cannot be simply labeled as, "stuff."

People worship themselves, money, ideas, things that can't be narrowed down to being specifically good or bad in and of themselves, beyond the seemingly more obvious "stuff."

Art is a tool that we can use, for good or evil. How we use it is up to us.

she loved the sea

"She loved the sea. She liked the sharp salty smell of the air, and the vastness of the horizons, bound only by a vault of azure sky above. It made her feel small, but free as well."
- George R.R. Martin

November 3, 2016

The Heart of a Woman

The mystery of the feminine heart was meant to be a good thing. A source of joy. Yet it has become a source of shame- women almost universally feel that they are 'too much' or 'not what they should be .' ...and so we have missed the treasure that is the heart of a woman, missed the richness femininity was meant to bring to our lives, missed the way it speaks to us of the heart of God. ...Femininity cannot be prescribed in a formula...and yet, there is an essence that God has given to every woman. We share something deep and true, down in our hearts...God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating.

~ John &I Stasi Eldridge, introduction to Captivating