You are treasured. You are sacred. You are His. You’re beautiful. In His eyes. – MercyMe
Tis the season for lots of spring dances; 8th grade farewell, prom, graduation, and celebrations around every corner. The planning, anticipation and arrangements that make for such a memorable event gives plenty of time to paint that perfecto picture and ruminate on how we think it should all go down. In working with middle school girls, I get to see first hand the anticipation, expectation and excitement busting through the doors. Chomping at the bit to share the details of the whole ensemble…the venue, the before and after parties, the shoes, nails, hair and of course who can forget the dress. Where they found it, how they knew right away when they first put it on, how it fit just so; the color, the accents and the all the fixings. Hopes galore, waiting with bated breath for the day to arrive. And unfortunately for some, disappointments come creeping around the corner as the day approaches. I remember in the movie Stella when no one comes to Jenny’s sweet 16 birthday party and her mom goes above and beyond to try and make her feel special and okay. Or in Pretty in Pink when she spends all that creative energy making that dress only to have her greatest fear realized. Both have these unforgettable scenes where it touches that place of “nope, not you, you don’t really matter and you don’t have what it takes.” Nobody showed. You don’t fit in. Empty and alone.
When I lived in Dallas, one New Year’s I was invited to a party at church. I guess you could call this a “mega” church. There was a great perk of Starbucks in the lobby. For some reason I had this picture of a low key kinda, game room event, maybe some good ole board games, pool table or ping pong sorta function with a few folding chairs gathered around. Who doesn’t love a good game and some competitive movement. Sounds like fun to me, sign me up! I wore black pants and a non descript shirt and comfortable shoes, just in case I had to get fierce with the paddle. When I walked up the winding staircase, which appeared to be like something out of a Governors ball, decorated with lots flowers, lights and bows; I sheepishly stepped foot into the open arena. It was beyond prom. We’re talking easy thousand dollar dresses and tons of people. A band. A DJ. An entertainer engaging the crowd. The whole nine. I wanted to shrivel up in the corner. Out of place is quite the understatement. But these were church people right…shouldn’t they be nice and accepting and not judge? Ummm…we all know the answer to that one :-)! I think I stayed at tops an hour and ended up ringing in New Years crying in my car on my way back to my apartment hitting up some drive thru. Feeling very much like the outcast. Alone. Empty. I’m sure most of us can reminisce about some dances and celebrations, as cherished places with smiles and sweetness, yet there still could be those few tender spots where we were greeted by the other side of the coin. We can describe in detail like it was yesterday. A no show. A not returned call. The wall flower. The passed over. The black pants in a sea of formal gowns. A comment heard or neglected. A look that left you questioning. The party that didn’t have your name on it. The guy who dumped you the week before. The friends who went on without you. The let down of hopes, expectations and visions that were swooning in your head and heart. Even if everything was just as it should be on the outside, maybe there were still a few missing pieces on the inside. And time and time again we feel like we are not even close to flipping the pages of a princess story, but rather recounting those moments of dread, disappointment and shattered dreams. It begs the question…where does my hope come from? Who or what am I putting my stake in? What am I grasping onto for dear life…if only this…then I’d be okay?
Could part of this choosing life and believing better actually involve living into the truth that we were made beautiful, for His glory and delight, just as we are. You who knit me together doesn’t say you are tolerable. On a scale of 1-10 you’re about a 4. You have a lot of other special gifts and talents but beauty isn’t one of them, but be grateful you have a good sense of humor. Or maybe if you fit a certain mold or type then you’d be okay. Nope. None of those. It goes a little something like this…Beautiful One…Come with me and see. Can we really receive that…with no strings attached. Is that even legal? I have known for awhile that Beauty Bash would be my first post on this living full blog space. I’ve had it written down for months. My fear and insecurity kept me from stepping out into taking this next step. Not writing so much about the weight loss journey anymore, as I’ve been holding steady since November. Writing more about living full in Him. In the light of His radiant love. Afraid that I’ll be standing once again in a sea of formal gowns and there I’ll be with my black pants on and comfortable shoes; sticking out like a sore thumb with no value or significance. There goes that pit thinking again. As I’ve been mulling this over for weeks, I was grateful for a few Sundays ago when during one of his sermons Pastor Aaron said…”Did you know, God looks at you and says…You have always been beautiful to me.” Long before the world, the lies, the chipping away at your core began…we were made beautiful. I had to let that permeate. Maybe it’s easier to believe we are worthless, forgotten, no good, failures, rather than beautiful, lovely, made specifically with a unique design, purpose, value, dignity and immeasurable worth. Wouldn’t that have to change how I treat myself and others if that’s the case? Wouldn’t that have to affect my choosing? It got my wheels turning and that same way week I saw this…
“No matter what the people say…it’s gonna be okay…you’re beautiful to me.” P.O.D
Learning how to live in His radiant love means loving all the way around the bend and broken places. Maybe we’ve let the lies, the world, and the misuse and mishaps shape our view for too long. Maybe we chose for so long out of that shattered place, it’s hard to recognize truth. Never believing better and staying stuck. Maybe we’ve been looking to the wrong sources to fill us and make us feel okay. Maybe that thing, that person, that position, that whatever on the outside were chasing down will never be enough. Maybe we all cuddle up to our pseudo saviors thinking and holding out hope “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Then when someone or something doesn’t come through for us…it’s easy to point the finger and blame. It’s their fault. We can hold them in contempt for not being enough…or hold ourselves in contempt for not being perfect. But it was really never anyone else’s job to fill us. I was grateful to hear in my devotional by Beth Moore about Delighting in the Lord…that delight deters disappointment. Such a reminder that people, places, things, accolades, performance will never quite cut the mustard…try as we may. Delighting has nothing to do with my circumstances and everything to do with Him. I have also been going through Dream Devotional by Renee Fisher. If you have a chance check it out, it’s well worth it. It has been so eye opening and awe inspiring to dream big with Jesus again, and see where He’s leading. On one of the days she posed the question…”what would you do if you were well?” It took me right to John 5:6…when Jesus asked the man who had been waiting for healing for 38 years by the pool with lots of excuses. He posed the question…”Do you want to get well?” He has everything we need to walk forward in faith, in wellness, in living full, but the question remains…do you want to? I hate that there is this natural bent to default back to what I’m not…instead of who He is. What He died for me to have. Life to the full. A living hope. A new song. A better way. Do you want to get well? To partake in the one Beauty Bash with a Dance Party that never ends? I do, I do! Choice by choice. Note by note. Cadence by cadence. Let’s sing and dance!
Grateful for an invitation to the dance of a lifetime, grateful to accept with open arms.
A dance with a venue already picked out. “I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11
With sparkling new shoes. “You direct my steps…” Proverbs 16:9
An updo with a crown. “To receive a crown of eternal blessedness that cannot wither…” 1 Corinthians 9:25
An outward smile that replaces inward shame. “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
And the perfect size, fit and color dress… “A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3
That lasts forever. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3
Thank you Jesus. This dance and living full journey will always be about You.
“All I am and have and ever hope to be.” Robin Mark
Fully alive…embracing every moment that you have called me from death to life. From ashes to beauty. Thank you Lord that you don’t leave us in our broken and helpless state. You call us to rise up and sing again. Living full and well and enjoying the music. Following your lead. Show me the most excellent way. To my choosing life and believing better friends, I’ve missed you. Grateful to be writing and sharing again. I’ve been thinking of each of you. I hope that as you feel led you’d share a part of how you’ve been choosing life and believing better with a picture and send it under “contact.” I hope to feature someone else’s journey once a week in how you are moving forward in faith. Whether it’s a struggle, habit, choice, something you’re picking up again or putting down, a better thought or perspective; something that could offer hope and encouragement to us fellow sojourners. I am inspired daily by your courage. I look forward to the possibility of hearing from you. And even if you don’t believe just the way I do in terms of faith, that’s cool too. You’re welcome here. We all matter. This week I was reminded working with three stroke patients all under the age of 50…to make the most of the time we’ve been given. Grateful to be learning how. I hope wherever you are this week, you hear Love calling you into the light. With those sweet and healing words to the soul…
My beautiful one. Come with me and see. I choose you. Let’s dance with delight. And our song will never end.
“You’re beautiful…it’s true.” -James Blunt