Taking a leap...or a baby step

I did something crazy today.  Well crazy for me anyway.  You see I am not all that crazy about change…or new things…or anything really that is going to cause me that nervous, stomach going to explode feeling. 
I like routine. I like consistency. I like things to stay pretty much the same most of the time.  

I realize this is extremely boring for some of you. But my Type A personality just doesn’t thrive too well under new…under different.
Especially if that “new” means I am going to have to talk to people that I don’t know, at a place that I don’t know, under circumstances that make me want to cry.  Not usually my thing.

But today I for a plethora of reasons I did that very thing. 

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I joined Curves. 

Yes you read that right.  I joined that “old ladies gym” as my girls lovingly called it.  That gym run my women and made for women.  

I almost puked in the car before I actually went inside, though.  It was not some climatic, cue the beautiful music, kind of moment.  I was sick over it.  I didn’t want to do it. I was mad that I even was doing it, but something inside of me propelled me to get out of my car and walk inside the building.  

Deep down (and excuse my honesty here but I just gotta say it like it is)…deep down I was hoping to find a whole bunch of middle-aged, seriously overweight women.  Somehow I felt like if the gym was filled with them, then I would feel better about myself and be the young, athletic one.   
[This is painful for me to be this honest but I think it is important to purge all this so I can get to the good stuff.]

Unfortunately, no matter how cute my little workout outfit was (because yes I did try to look cute to go workout…don’t judge, you know you have done it too), I was still the fat girl there today.  I saw lots of ladies coming and going as I was being weighed and measured and being talked to about my health goals and most of those ladies really didn’t look like they needed to be there.  For the most part, they were all pretty fit and healthy.  Oh and they weren’t all middle-aged…there were lots of young ones in there too.  Of course in the middle of this realization, I am also being told how much I weigh…which let’s just say was like almost 15 lbs more than what I thought I weighed. 
I felt pretty devastated guys.  I was the fat girl in the middle of the supposed “old ladies gym.” Awesome. 

It felt like a slap in the face in the midst of all this trying to find myself beautiful saga.  I was taking like 20 steps backward when I had already worked so hard just to take a few baby steps forward.  

But I am not a quitter so even though I actually did cry when my new trainer told me how much I weighed and how many inches I needed to lose to get to my goal, I stayed.  I knew that even though I felt ridiculous and even though everything inside of me told me to just run and get out there, to go back to what I already know and have been doing, I stayed.  I signed the contract and even signed up for the nutrition part of it (good thing I ate my homemade Red Velvet cake for breakfast both Saturday and Sunday because that is all over now folks!).  

I didn’t want to be there.  I didn’t want to be doing that.  But I HAD to.  I knew that deep down this struggle with my weight and really my overall health is seeping into other areas of my life. 

Yesterday I read this verse in proverbs: “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” –Proverbs 17:3

Now why in the world would the Lord put the word crucible (meaning a vessel used for melting materials at high temperatures) and the word furnace (one definition of this word is just a very hot place) in the same sentence as “the Lord tests hearts” if these concepts weren’t somehow related?  I don’t think He would have.  They are related.  Because many times when the Lord tests our hearts, it feels like walking through a fire.

God has been stretching me in huge ways lately.  He has been testing the way I think, the way I see things, the way I understand the world and even the very foundation of my faith in big ways.  It’s almost like everything I thought I knew, I don’t know anymore.  If that even makes sense.  He is asking me to trust…even though I don’t know why or what for.  

I don’t really understand what is going on. I don’t understand what He is doing.  But, I do feel like He is preparing me and the rest of my family too for something big. 

I want to be ready. 

And for the first time in my life, I really understand why Paul used so many times in his letters the comparison of our physical bodies being prepared and disciplined to our spiritual bodies being that way.  You either are a disciplined person or you aren’t.  There really isn’t a middle ground. 

For so many years I have just teeter-tottered between the two.  I try to be disciplined but inevitably fail.  I make resolutions or goals but eventually get bored.  I try and work out and eat right but end up eating Red Velvet cake for breakfast and skipping my workout. I start the bible study but don’t finish it.  I am going to read the Bible in a year but stop half way through.  In every area of my life, I can see all my good intentions but no real, clear cut results.  

I don’t really want to live like that anymore. 

I don’t want to walk the fine line between two things.  I am either all in or all out.  I want to experience something in its fullness not just taste a bite of it. 

Life in abundance.  It means abounding…overflowing…not just a drip.

I want to be all in.

So today I took a baby step.  I am going in. No more teeter-tottering.  No more half way or half done.  Not this time.

It’s a little scary. 

But when I look around the world, I can see clearly that it is filled with half-wayers.  Folks filled with a ton of great intentions and great ideas but no real follow through. 

Change doesn’t happen that way friends.  We must do. We must act.  No more waiting.  No more next times.  No more.

It’s now.  The time is now.


After I bared it all...

I have struggled with writing this follow up post for awhile.  I have written it, rewritten it, erased it, and started over.  One reason is because I still feel like I am walking through this journey, so it felt a little premature to be offering advice as to how to conquer it.  Secondly, I had such an AMAZING response to the last post, I sort of felt like there was no way I could live up to that again so I might as well stop the whole blogging thing with a bang, right?! :)

Lastly, though, I have struggled with writing this because in light of the current events around the globe, this topic seems so superficial all of a sudden…like what does feeling beautiful have to do with anything in the long run. 

However, I have been reading pretty much every article I can get my hands on these days in regards to the events in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and even in Ferguson, MO. There is some serious and heartbreaking stuff going on.  I have literally stayed up in the night thinking about it and praying about it.  Yet, despite all of that, I still have this thorn in my side so to speak.  It haunts me and taunts me and at times even debilitates me.  It begs to steel my joy, my confidence, my peace, and even at times my faith.  

And unfortunately after reading so many of your messages and emails, I know this is true for more people than just me. 

So even though my plight of feeling beautiful is NOTHING compared to what women are facing RIGHT THIS MOMENT in the aforementioned places, I know that I can be of no help if the enemy continues to press me down with the lie that I am not beautiful.  I want to be strong. I want to be active. I want to fight.  I want to live life and life to ABUNDANCE! I want to be a part of bringing beauty back into this broken and fallen world.  I can’t do that with my face in the dirt.  

You can’t either.

Therefore, for whatever it is worth to you here is what I am learning about feeling beautiful.  And guys (big shout out to you because I seriously thought only girls read my blog…so boys for the win!)…guys these things go for you too.  Many of you struggle with insecurities based on your looks.  So this is for you too!

1. For starters, we need to stop critiquing and/or criticizing the people around us.  I really don’t care if that person is your next door neighbor, your sister, your ex-boyfriend, or someone famous on TV.  The more we liberally (and loudly) criticize each other, the more convinced we become that we are being criticized too.  We assume every person we come in contact with is judging all of our flaws.  Also, by continually judging and criticizing even strangers in front of our kids, we are proving to them that society is right…how you look does matter.  We continue to perpetuate the lie.

           2. We need to participate in things we are passionate about.  Play a sport.  Sing in a choir.  Go for a hike.  Draw. Paint. Cook. Write. Read. Fiddle around in a workshop. Volunteer with an organization you love. Help out at an animal shelter.  Whatever it is you are passionate about, find as many opportunities as possible to do it!

The other day I had a chance to share with our staff of about 60 people at our retreat.  I was super nervous about it.  Speaking in public doesn’t really bother me too much (I find making small chit chat to a small group of strangers much more intimidating).  So it wasn’t that so much as having to speak in Spanish and about a topic that I felt super passionate about it, but totally inadequate to be the one actually sharing about it.  A couple of days later, though, my husband and I were just sharing a quiet moment together when he told me how beautiful he found me while I was speaking.  He said he was so totally captivated by me and just found me absolutely breathtaking.  

Now maybe for some of you, your spouses say that kind of mushy gushy stuff all of the time.  But mine doesn’t it.  He is more of a show your love kind of guy rather than say it with words. So this was pretty out of the ordinary.
But, then it all seemed to make sense to me.  I was radiating beauty to my husband not because of what I wore or how I fixed my hair or anything like that.  I radiated beauty in that moment because I was passionate and alive.  I was speaking about something that I love dearly, and it showed on every part of my being.

Hello people!  

Beauty is so much more than something physical and tangible! Beauty is an essence.  It is a feeling. It isn’t momentary. It is at times indescribable.  It captivates you.  It makes you feel alive.  It begs you to come back for more.

Beauty is so much more than a pretty face and a great body.

           3. Our ultimate example of beauty is Christ and His sacrificial love for us. His torn, broken, and lifeless body on the cross is the ultimate and best example of beauty.  Not because his body was beautiful but because He IS BEAUTIFUL. His love for us beautiful. 

If I want to feel more beautiful, I need to know Christ more.  The more I know Him, the more I love Him. The more I love Him, the more I will be like Him…and the more people all around me are going to see His beauty.  I am His vessel.  He is my potter. I am His clay. 
The more I make it about me. The less beautiful I am going to feel.  I am going to see my flaws, my imperfections, and my lack.  But, the more I see Him…the more I love me. 

I am beautiful because the Christ that lives in me is beautiful.  I am enough because He says I am enough.

May these truths become alive in you today.  May they penetrate every part of your being. 

Get your face out of the dirt.  Stand tall.  This world needs beauty.  This world needs life.  I want to be a messenger of both. 

You are beautiful.


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and over...so please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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