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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Skin Deep |

One of the biggest problems with humanity is the fact that we are naturally programmed to instantaneously judge someone off of their appearance. We are taught early on that first impressions are wildly important. We learn quickly that being “pretty” automatically makes you a much “cooler” person on the ladder of popularity. Why is that though? Why is it that we naturally make assessments of people solely based on what they look like?

Recently, I had a conversation with a great friend of mine, who happens to be a very attractive individual. This person said something to me in conversation that really resonated with me. They said, “They only like me for what I look like. It’s like what kind of person I am doesn’t matter to them”. This whole conversation was so thought provoking to me, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this issue, this immense disservice to humankind, is universal.

Studies show startling statistics about attractiveness and how it relates to your career, your social life and people’s overall perception of who you are as an individual. In fact, I recently read an article in preparation for this blog post that stated that attractive people earn 10-15% more than the average looking person. That. Is. Insane. That actually kind of blew my mind. Why is it that humans are obsessed with beauty?

Why is it that we often ignore a wildly beautiful, passionate, intoxicating soul for a shell?

After reading the above statement, I assume that your mind immediately travels to those “less fortunate” who are granted less than perfect features. Yet, this, my friends, can go both ways.

While there are obvious perks to being physically attractive there are downsides as well. In the case of my friend, people constantly referred to them as attractive and simply stopped there. They fail to look within this person’s soul and really discover who they are at their very core. Because, the startling, haunting truth is that the vast majority of people only look Skin Deep. Perhaps, you have even experienced this injustice to some degree. Perhaps you have not been taken seriously because of what your outward appearance. There may even be those who have written you off because they haven’t taken the time to examine the soul and the vivid, wonderful personality beneath the skin. And in all honesty, what a travesty. We often fail to realize the worth and depth of a human being because we only look at their exterior: their shell. The Bible confirms this in 1 Samuel 16:7, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NIV).

For whatever reason, I feel burdened to tell you that you are so much more than what you look like. Do not let your beautiful, incredible, brilliant soul be defined by your shell. Your exterior is not a reflection of your interior. Do not let your calling be stifled by the world’s definition of you. Being beautiful is not your only gift or sole contribution to the world, or more importantly, to the Kingdom. You are so much more than “pretty”. You have been called to do so much more than be beautiful and be a trophy on someone’s arm. To settle for being a “trophy wife or trophy husband” would be a disservice to the person that you truly are inside. God’s purpose for you exceeds any label that the world could brand you with, because beneath the skin, you have a heart that beats for a specific, God given purpose. You are capable of more than you could ever imagine. And that, my friends, is something worthy of attention.

If today you are feeling that somehow you don’t measure up, and maybe you don’t find yourself particularly beautiful, let me tell you this: “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” – Song of Solomon 4:7 (NIV). You were created for a very unique purpose that will be greater than something as fleeting beauty.

Never allow someone to limit who you are because of your appearance. Do not settle for someone who limits the person that you know you are inside.

Look deeper than the skin. What you find within the corridors of your soul may astound you.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

This is Living Now |

Your whole life you hear about God bringing people out but you will never truly understand the power of Jesus Christ until you are brought to a low point in your life, when you feel like you are completely alone and have no one to turn to and no one to comfort you. Suddenly, your relationship with God moves from claiming to be a Christian to living like you’ve been redeemed.

About a week ago I realized that I haven’t shared my personal testimony on the blog, and to continue with the vulnerability thread of my last post, I decided that I should share it unabashedly, because God has been entirely too good for me not share it. I’ve never had any desire to share this particular, very personal chapter of my life, however, I feel that now enough time has passed for me to really reflect, open up and hopefully encourage someone in the process.

At the close of a certain chapter in my life, I found myself ecstatic. Life was moving along just as I had hoped it would. Everything that I planned for my life had come to pass in the best way possible. I was driven. I was focused. I was excited about the many possibilities and opportunities. I had so many plans for my life, so many dreams, so many goals that I wanted to accomplish.

Seemingly out of nowhere, several serious situations arose in my life. I can honestly say that I have never felt more hopeless and disoriented in my entire life. All of my plans and goals seemed to crumble in an instant. My life took an incredibly unexpected turn. I remember feeling so purposeless, so completely void of understanding. I can still remember staying up night after night crying out to God for some semblance of direction. I was emotionally wounded and trying desperately to make sense of the turn my life had taken. Yet, I can truly say that I am thankful that God took me through that particular season of my life. I have realized that sometimes we must endure seasons of breaking. I have found that when you find yourself broken, confused and purposeless that God will pour into you in an unprecedented way that will leave you in awe.

Sometimes you spend your whole life hearing about the power of Jesus without truly understanding it. Sometimes God allows you to go through things for the sole purpose of building your trust and personal relationship with Him. I can tell you that from experience I know that God is undoubtedly the Prince of Peace because I have felt peace in the midst of confusion and pain. I know that God is the mender of broken hearts because He made me whole again. I know that God is the lover of my soul because He wrapped his arms around me when I felt worthless. I know that God is the sole answer for any circumstance because He has proved it to me time and time again.

Jesus is the greatest thing that can ever happen to you. I promise you this: If you allow yourself to trust God without hesitation He will take your relationship with Him to a level that you never dreamed was possible. In spite of challenging situations, God was with me. He has never left me. He gave me new life again and that, my friends, is something that I hope I will never stop celebrating.

I decided last week to share this intimate story with you because I want you to know that God is so real and that He is, as the Bible so eloquently puts it, “ever present in times of trouble”. My life currently reflects that of an individual who has been redeemed. Not just a Pastor’s daughter who has witnessed God move in the lives of others, but instead one who has experienced His love to an insane, almost unreal degree. God is so good. We say this often. It has become a cliché of sorts. But, God truly has been so good to me.

You will never fully understand the love of Jesus Christ until you’ve reached a point of desperation. The phrase, “God is love” has no meaning until he has given you renewed purpose and passion.

Choose Jesus.

“All is new in the Savior I am found. This is living now.”