I apologize for my lateness! I figured this would happen, but we went on a wonderful week long vacation to Pine Cove family camp, and it was my intention to sit and write a blog post, but the Lord had other plans for me and worked on me instead! I am sure you understand and I appreciate it! My goal is to give you TWO posts this week! #goals

Recapping our first barrier to living our dreams: the belief that you can have it all. Once you let the notion go that you can be everything to everyone all day every day, you will be a little more set free. Naturally, this is a process of the most mental sort, but it will also require you to say “No” on occasion and practice the art of doing the best you can at secondary things of importance and living a primary, gospel-centered way of life. Got it? You can go back and read it here.

Today though, I want to dig in a little deeper. I want to dig into something and I want you to hear it with fresh ears, and read it with new eyes. So, take a minute and say a prayer to breath this in afresh.

Lie #2: Your Worth is Tied To Your Physical Beauty.

Oh my friends. This one is hard for me to write. I want to write it to a broad audience. I hope some teenagers are reading this, and I also want to appeal to women at all ages. When I first got the idea to write this series, I had a few points that were loud and clear in my mind and at the center of my heart. But I knew there was more to write about. So, I prayed for the Lord to reveal to me some things that I struggle with and this lie was on the forefront. Basically, I hear something to do with outward appearance on average of 20 times a day if I am out in public. “You look so cute” , “I love that outfit”, “Didn’t you just have a baby?”, “I wish I could eat as much as you and look that good”, “She has really lost weight and looks so much better”, “I am so frustrated with this last 10 pounds”,  and the list goes on and on. It’s so much a part of our vernacular as women, we see it as totally normal. And let me tell you, I am no exception. I do it innocently all the time. However, I think it just proves that we place so much value on our looks that we don’t even see how harmful it actually is. I’d like to combat this lie with a few truths for you to settle into. imageYou ARE beautiful. Hear this with fresh ears. God created you in His image. Genesis 1:27. God doesn’t take your creation lightly. His creation is a projection of Him. And creation is beautiful. Everything about you is unique to you. Outward is intertwined with inward and it makes a fascinating beauty that is YOU. Why is that so difficult to accept? It’s difficult to accept because the world has told us otherwise. There is a standard that we have to meet. To be skinny, tan, perfect nose, bigger chest, smaller booty, perfect hair, perfect teeth. It is completely exhausting to be perfect. Do we not know? Perfection, in the physical beauty sense like all areas of our life, is unattainable! Yet, we waste so much time striving for it. It is all tied back to the lie that we can have it all!

Taking Care Of Your Body Versus Consuming Your Mind

When I was a kid, I always had 7+ cavities when I went to the dentist. I had braces for what seemed like 10 years longer than everyone else, and to top it all off, I have teensy, little teeth. Teeth are not in my favor. A few months ago, I found myself in my dentist’s office {who happens to be a friend of mine}. I was showing him the gap I have in my 3rd and 4th top teeth. The gap that bugs the crud out of me in every single picture I take. The gap in my teeth that I have been analyzing for years. Wishing I would have listened and worn that retainer after my braces were taken off. This gap in my teeth was consuming me. I thought about it more than I want to admit throughout the day and anytime I would meet someone with a beautiful, toothy, white smile, I would get a self conscious. So, there I sat. Telling my dentist, my friend, my sob story about my teeth. I was certain I needed a full mouth of veneers. He listened very professionally and heard me out. He sort of smiled and to paraphrase him, he said, “Your smile looks fine to me. You don’t need veneers. But if you want them, the cost is $XX,XXX.” I immediately felt my face flush with redness. Was I really going to justify my little gap costing my family that amount of money? I rushed home, really feeling quite embarrassed, and honestly haven’t given it much of a thought since. It’s not the veneers that are bad, honestly, some people really do need them. It’s the WAY in which it was CONSUMING my thoughts about the way I looked that made it so wrong.

So, does that mean you shouldn’t care at all the way you look? That’s not really what I am saying here. I love to get my facials, I love cute clothes and looking nice. I have a little more pep in my step when do a little grooming! It’s more a matter of mindset. Working out to be healthy is good. Working out to be skinny is bad. Getting your hair cut and highlighted to feel pretty and fun is good. Obsessing about how terrible your hair always looks is bad. Feeling like you have to constantly strive to look or be a certain way to fit in with others, or worse yet, feel good about your self….that’s beauty consuming your life, and that’s bad.

Listen, do you think God was mistaken when he gave your face an extra dose of freckles? Or he made your hair a little curlier than your peers? Or your tummy a little rounder than you would like it to be? No. There are some things about our outward appearance that we need to take care of because it is a gift, but there are some things that we are not going to change because it was the way we were created to be. And the fact that we obsess over our looks turns our hearts into hardened little things that can only operate in selfishness, self-loathing and negativity. Too consumed with our own selves to see others around us. It seems dramatic, but you guys, I see it all the time.

Removing Things That Cause You To Obsess

I’ve shared before how almost 10 years ago I quit ready “beauty” magazines. There wasn’t anything wrong with them for the most part, but something in me was triggered to be made incredibly insecure when I read them. I would casually read them on the weekends and remember just feeling so irritable. One day, it just hit me. I was comparing myself to all the beautiful, photoshopped women in the magazines. My newly married self felt like I must not be attractive to my husband if all of these kind of people are out in the world. Why on earth did he pick me? He will surely not love me as he watches me age. Ya’ll. Do you even see the absurdity in those thoughts? I can now. But man, they were so real to me back then. I had to cut the dumb things out of my life. Haven’t missed them since.

This past week I spent the week at a Christian Family Camp called Pine Cove. It’s settled in the piney woods of east Texas. It’s beautiful. And it’s HOT. They don’t have TV in any of the rooms and the internet is a little spotty. Adults are being poured into by amazing speakers and kids are doing a million crazy activities. We all come together at night and do a family themed game or activity. I am saying all this because I do not put on makeup, not once did I dry my hair and I wear athletic clothes 90% of the time. And I feel so beautiful that entire week. It’s only when I return home that I start being concerned with the silly, outward worries and insecurities. I think it’s simply because I am encouraged to only do things that really matter when I am at Pine Cove. I am playing and listening to my kids without interruptions. I am spending time in the Word. I am focused on being a servant. Who cares about anything else? My mind is totally unconsumed with myself and shifted to things that matter.

So, maybe it’s time to remove things from your life that cause you to compare. Cause you to hurt. Is it safe to say scrolling through Instagram all day long may take a toll on you? People’s best photos and moments all run through a filter. How real can that actually be? I know I am thankful for a little Valencia every now and again, but do not compare yourself to people on the internet! Take time to think about something that may be making you insecure or obsess over your outward appearance. Is it time to make a move in the other direction? webnicki28

Know Your Worth

How do we combat the thought that our worth is tied to our physical beauty? I think we learn to age gracefully and know our worth. “Beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive, but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Not gonna lie. This year has been an eye-opener for me in the age department. I have REALLY felt 35. My left knee has been nagging me with every intense class I take. My eyes are the worst they have ever been. My hair is fried. My three children-birthed belly skin is looser than I hoped for despite my valiant efforts to change it. And ya’ll the wrinkles are coming. The wrinkles are HERE.  And I hate to admit it, but it has been a little hard to swallow. The Lord has really shown me the pridefulness. I have had to die a little to my hopes of staying young and beautiful. I don’t think I have ever been known as a typically “beautiful person”, but I think my looks have worked favorable for me from time to time. I see with clearer eyes now that those days will eventually cease all together.

BUT on the opposite end of that, this year has been an AMAZING year for me of awakening to a part of me that I never knew existed. I have felt creative, motivated, humbled and focused. THAT is the road I want to wander down. Not one of conformity to the world, but one of finding how my talents are going to be used to glorify. To know how to really be an intentional friend. To be a steadfast and consistent mother. To love my husband with the same reckless abandon that I dream of. I just want to get better. Not more beautiful.

So, what about you? Is your physical appearance consuming your heart and preventing you from moving into something more than what society tells women we should be. We are meant for so much more than our physicality, my beauties, So much more. Let’s move on.