True Beauty

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

For many of us, we see things that we don’t want to see. Acne. Weight. Hair that’s too curly/straight/some weird combo of the two. A nose that’s that’s too big or small. etc. etc. etc. Odds are, if you look closely enough, you can find something that you don’t like. And in the world that we live in, we’re told that’s the norm. We’re told everyone hates the way they look. In fact, we’re told that unless we look like an (airbrushed) model on the cover of a magazine, we should hate the way that we look—and do everything in our power to change it.

But God’s word says something different. 

Psalms 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

In our world, we have a very narrow definition of beauty. To the world, beauty means being a size two with perfect hair and a flawless complex. To God, beauty means being you—because every single person that He created is beautiful in His eyes. Every perceived imperfection that you have is beautiful, because it is part of what makes you you—and when when the God of the universe looks down on you, He doesn’t see anything less than someone who is beautiful, worthy, and loved!

Furthermore, despite what our society tells us, beauty is so much more than skin deep. 

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” And 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

This does not mean that it’s wrong to care about your appearance – it is perfectly OK to enjoy dressing nice or wearing makeup and jewelry! But our self worth should never come from these things, and we should never use these things as measuring sticks for our beauty as human beings! Ultimately, the most important thing about us is our heart; and God values the state of our hearts far above our appearance or outward beauty! When a person is truly kindhearted, compassionate, and caring, it makes them a billion times more attractive than someone who just has their looks! 

This week, as you go throughout your days, I want to challenge you to see yourself as God sees you. To wake up each morning that you are loved, beautiful, and cherished by your Creator! To see your self-worth and be able to praise God, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made! And to ultimately, focus on your inner beauty—choosing every day to be the kind of person that you would want to have for a friend!

In the words of the old song by Johnny Diaz,

There could never be a more beautiful you. Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through. You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do. So there could never be a more beautiful you.

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How about you? Have you ever struggled with the way you looked? If so, what helped you to see your worth? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below! 

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Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Thirty

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Last Day: My Goals For The Next Thirty Days 

We made it y’all! Today is the last day of the challenge! Admittedly, I didn’t exactly go in order, and I sort of turbo blogged over the last couple of days (Due to two special edition Valentines Day posts on the horizon!) but I hope you enjoyed reading through this challenge as much as I enjoyed writing it! I believe it was a good way to kick off 2017 and I may do another one of these someday in the future.

Nonetheless, today I’m going to share some of my goals for the next thirty days—particularly related to blogging. 

1. Get on a schedule – As I mentioned in my New Years Resolutions post, I’d like to get on a consistent schedule for 2017. In the past, I’ve always posted rather sporadically, due to the fact that I often didn’t know when I’d get a chance to blog with my school schedule. But, as I’m entering into the new stage of life with college, I have more flexibility, which means that I’ll be able to blog on a scheduled basis. Thus, my new days are going to be Thursdays and Sundays. The rest of the week, I’ll spend my blogging-time preparing for those posts.

2. Be more active in my blogging community – For a while, I used to be pretty good about checking in on fellow bloggers and commenting, but lately, I’ve been sort of terrible about that. This is something I’d like to change over the course of the next thirty days.

3. Work more on my novel – This one isn’t about blogging per say, but it’s still writing, and I’d love for you all to read it someday—something that can’t happen unless I continue to actively work on it.  

How about you guys? Do you have any goals for the near future? If so, feel free to share in the comments section! 

Also, be sure to check out Emily’s blog from Fearfully Wonderfully Me! She just posted an awesome Valentine’s Day post that I’d highly recommend! 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twenty-Eight

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Day Twenty-Eight: Where You’d Like To Be In Ten Years 

Life goes by way too quickly y’all. Calculating this, I’ll be almost thirty in ten years, which I literally cannot. Even. Imagine. Nonetheless, if the next ten years go as quickly as the last ten, it will likely be here before I know it. Thus, here are my goals for the next ten years!

1. Have my series published – As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on a particular series since I was fourteen. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it’s basically a Christian series for teens with a strong emphasis on faith and friendship. This series is very close to my heart and it’s evolved so much since it’s conception. I’ll be sure to update you guys if anything changes with it!

2. Have a couple of songs published

From my early days of high school, I’ve been writing songs that I hope to someday see come to life. I can play instruments a little, but my goal is to become a lyricist—as the words are really my passion. I have been inspired by the lyrics to songs by artists like Britt Nicole and Francesca Battistelli and I want my words to be that inspiration for someone else. And, like with my novel writing, I’m willing to work hard to see this dream become a reality.

3. Work at a journalism company 

This will be, as some say, my ideal job to support my writing habit. I love writing and reading articles by companies such as Christianity Today and RELEVANT magazine, and hope to someday get the chance to write articles similar to the ones they regularly publish. In addition to writing, social issues fascinate me and I would like the chance to write about them in a way that is unifying rather than divisive, and that brings hope and healing to the people most affected.

4. Volunteer teaching at a youth group

In the midst of my middle school years, I was heavily involved in a youth group that I remember fondly to this day. During this time, I learned, grew, and connected with fellow students in a way that rarely happens in the world today. Because of this, I would like the chance to someday work at a youth group as a pastor or leader and create an atmosphere that would help other young people learn and grow in faith and fellowship.

5. Become stronger in my faith 

I think this is the goal of every Christian, right? Faith is a journey and as much as we grow, there’s always more we can learn. Whether it be through independent study of the Bible, reading commentaries by reputable Christian authors, or discussion with other believers, we can always take the steps necessary to grow in our faith.

6. Own a house and a car 

Though I’m in my first year out of high school, I still don’t have a car of my own. Nonetheless, I expect that within the next ten years, I’ll probably own a car, in addition to my own house. Someday, when I’m a little older, I’d like to room with a friend, so I can see myself in that type of living situation ten years from now.

7. Have most of my bucket list completed 

Like many people, I have a pretty substantial list of things that I’d like to do, and hopefully, ten years from now, I’ll have a couple more items checked off. Some of the things on that list include visiting New York City, attending a Passion Conference, seeing snow, and riding a roller coaster. I believe it’s safe to say that most of those items can be checked off within the next ten years.

8. Have my own website 

This one was actually inspired by a fellow friend and blogger, who also plans to start a website someday. I believe a website would give me more opportunities to share my faith and get my name out there as a writer—giving me a change to grow in my writing and voice through the process. Thus, I hope to have a real website to my name in a couple of years.

9. Have a BA in journalism and a Masters in Theology 

In an ever-changing world, education is becoming more important than ever, and I’d like to assure that I have a degree that would give me options for my career and opportunities down the road. I’m planning to start at Liberty University this summer, which will be the first step to achieving this goal.

10. Become more involved in my church 

I have been attending my church for about three years now, and have really grown to love it. I pray that I can grow and serve more there over the course of the next ten years.

How about you? What are your goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section! 

What Are You Chasing?

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – Mark 8:36 

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What are you chasing? The answer to this question is different for everyone. For some, it may be a better job, or any job at all. For others, it may a relationship—either romantic or platonic. Still for others, it may be a dream or goal you have yet to achieve.

What are you chasing? 

The truth is, we’re all chasing something. The thing that we’re chasing is often the thing that we tend to obsess the most over—the thing that takes up our thought space in our free moments. It is often accompanied by thoughts such as “I’ll be happy when…” or “This will be my moment…No one is immune to this chase, because deep down inside, something tells us that we were born for it—we were born to pursue. We weren’t meant to stay stagnant. 

This pursuit is not a bad thing, but it can become a bad thing when focus more on the things of this world than the things of God. It can be such an easy trap to fall into that most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. Truth be told, I struggle with this on a nearly daily basis. I’ve written in previous posts that I struggle in a big way with OCD and perfectionism and often those tend to be the driving forces in my chase.

I’ll analyze something that I’ve completed over and over again to the point of insanity. I’ll make a long and detailed bucket list that I absolutely must complete before I die. I’ll set up grand, exciting goals for myself and worry whether they’ll ever actually happen at all.

Again, I’ll clarify, having dreams is not a bad thing. Desiring to be in a relationship or have a family is not bad. Hoping to get a good position at a job is not bad. They only become bad when they take the place that only Jesus should have and become an idol. God wants to give you the desires of your heart, but first He wants to become the desire of your heart. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We are called to seek God before we seek anything else we desire.

Here are some points to remember as we go throughout our week and strive to put God first.

  1. It’s not about you – Recently, God has convicted me that I have unintentionally made my aspirations about me. The ironic part about all of this is, many of my goals pertain to ministry—things that are supposed to further His kingdom and reach people for Christ.  Nonetheless, I’ve somehow managed to turn these callings into what ‘I’m’ going to do.’ I’m’ going to change the world. ‘I’m’ was going to leave my mark. I’ve made God’s callings about me rather than God, and I repent of that. Sometimes, we can make ministry and outreach the focus, rather than an outpouring of the One who should be our focus.
  2. Everything but Christ will someday fade – Moments don’t last forever. Someday, that goal that you’re working so hard for will only be a past memory. Someday, that wedding day celebration that you’re planning on Pinterest will only be a photo in an album. Someday, that glamorous job will loose some of that excitement it once had. The only thing we can chase that will never fade away is Christ, Who is outside of space and time. 
  3. Let Go And Let God – I know, this saying is beyond cliche—but it’s true. In the words of a recent Jason Gray song “You can’t add a single day by worrying…You can’t change a single thing by freaking out, It’s just gonna close you in, Oh don’t let the trouble win.God is going to do things in His timing, which is often different than our timing. There have been many times in my own life where I’ve wanted something to happen right. this. instant. Usually, in those situations, God tells me to wait. I’ve found that when I listen, and wait on His timing, it’s always for the best.

How about you? What are some things you’ve been chasing? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments section! 

 

 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 15

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I can’t believe it…I’m already at the halfway mark! After today I’ll have fifteen posts down and fifteen to go! I can see the finish line in the distance! That being said, it’s time to dive into today’s topic! 

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The future is a funny thing. As much as we try to plan it, life has a way of taking unexpected twists and turns, a fact that can either be exciting or frustrating, depending on how we look at it. Looking back five years ago, I never would have been able to predict half of the stuff that has happened in my life.

That said, everything in this post is merely a guess; how I hope my life will look five years from now.

    • I’ll be twenty three-years old (a fact that is freaky in itself), nearing the end of my time in college. I plan to get a masters degree in journalism/communications. Hopefully, I’ll already be dabbling in my career path, job shadowing others in that line of work.
    • I plan to have a steady part time job. I’d like to get a job working at a store; maybe Hallmark? I should have some of my own expenses at that point, such as a car which brings me to my next point…
    • I should finally have my license by then. For those of you who are calculating my age, yes, I’m late. Driving freaked me out for a long time and I was honestly pretty unmotivated to get my permit. But, the older I get, the more OK with driving I seem to feel (I still don’t love it). Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my license some time before the end of summer, or at least, sometime this school year.
    • I hope to be on my way to publishing my first fiction book. I’ve been working on it since freshman year and I’m starting to feel really happy with the way it’s sounding. I still have a lot of logistics to figure out publishing-wise, but college should give me some time to explore my options.
    • I’d like to work with a youth group sometime during college. My old youth pastor was in his early 20s when he taught youth group and I’d like to do the same during college. I think it would be a really good experience and I believe I would enjoy working at a youth group and helping to share the Word of God with others.
    • I should still be running this blog. I’ve really begun to immerse myself into the blogging world this year and I hope to continue writing through college. I don’t know all of the details about how this blog will evolve during college, but I hope you guys will stick around to see what happens. I know God has a lot of life lessons lined up for me in college and I plan to write about what He’s teaching me in this new chapter of life.

As usual, I’m going to ask for your awesome feedback. How did you picture your life turning out five years ago? What were you right about and what surprised you? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 8

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Hey everyone, I hope y’all are having a good morning! Today is day-number-eight of the blogging challenge (Still going strong!) and the topic this morning is ‘Five current goals.’ I’ve been thinking about this one for a couple of days now, and I’ve finally managed to come up with some!

  1. Get back into the Word-Sadly, I’ve been horrible about reading my Bible this summer. Though I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, I haven’t necessarily used it wisely. I’ve ended up spending my time scrolling through my Twitter feed and completely forgetting to read the Bible. I plan to get back to faithfully reading it today. Perhaps committing to this in writing will serve as a good reminder to myself.
  2. Continue to work towards my goal of making it as a writer-Aside from the writing that I do on this blog, I have a fiction series that I’ve been working on since Freshman year. Obviously my writing has evolved a good deal since I was fourteen, so there have been plenty of revisions over the years. Currently, I’m revising book #1 and I’m almost finished. My goal is to finish it before summer ends.
  3. Have a successful first semester of college-This is going to be my first year of college, which also means my first step into adulthood and my first time in a secular school. I don’t quite know what to expect, but I know that God has a plan for this chapter and I’m going to trust that He’ll lead and guide me through this step. I plan to stay on top of schoolwork and work hard towards my degree.
  4. Enjoy the last remnants of summer-Admittedly, I’ve kind of been facing summer boredom lately, but I want to enjoy this break before it ends. I’m not going to have this kind of free time much longer, and I need to use this break as a sabbatical and rest before the crazy kicks in (Yes, I got that line from Francesca Battistelli). Before I know it, it’s going to be term papers and tests, so I need to make the most of summer while I have it!
  5. Trust God with the future-I’m honestly not sure what the future holds, but I know that God does. As much as I tend to want to know what I’m doing and when, I kind of need to accept that I don’t know the future. Unfortunately, I can’t travel twenty years into the future like Michael J. Fox did in Back To The Future. But, I can trust the one who holds my future. He has all of it figured out, even when I don’t.

For all of you still following me on this challenge, here’s a slice of cake! 🍰

Thanks for sticking with me! You guys are awesome!