Monday, April 16, 2012

My Achilles' heel

My biggest fear: snapping my achilles' tendon. I know that sounds silly but it truly is. You know if it does snap it retracts back into your calf???

Alright, enough anatomy, I don't like thinking about it anyway. The reason I brought it up was the fact that I have NO idea where my super human strength/speed comes from when my friends play on my irrational fear. I swear, whenever one of my friends tries to grab my heel or walks too close behind me because they know it gives me anxiety that they might 'accidentally' step on my heel, I have such a strong reaction/reflex that I, myself, am surprised.

Why bring this up? Because I have found this is the perfect metaphor for 2 Corinthians 12:10- "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

This verse used to confuse me, I heard it but I never looked into the Bible for the context. Now that I have, it makes so much sense! We have hardships and persecution in our life. The good news is, we also have God. And God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) Perfect. His power is perfect. God places hardships in our life as a test, to see if we can let His light shine through the darkness. Like I have said in past posts, God doesn't promise an easy life because we have to proactively choose God. We couldn't just have perfection handed to us.

So back to Achilles. My ultimate weakness. Just as my strength is shown when my weakness is tested by my friends, God's strength shines through when the world tests me. I get this superhuman strength when I least expect it in both situations. When I think the world is against me or when I think it might be ending something happens to keep me going. I have to give it all to God in order to reap the benefits. At times that seems impossible, but in situations where there's no time to think, just react, I hope I can react in a way that points me to God.

He keeps my soul safe, I keep my heels safe. We're even right?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

37 days and counting...(not including Sundays!)

Update on the no make up for 40 days:

As Easter approaches, I am realizing more and more how much I relied on make-up to feel, well...pretty. I have such a great support system with my mother telling me all the time how beautiful I am, my grandma telling me she loves my fair skin and friends telling me that I can pull the whole "no make up thing" off when we go out. But I gotta tell you, I still relied too much on make-up to look presentable.
During the week days I think it was much easier to deal with. I normally just roll out of bed, with only enough time to make a cup of coffee before I have to leave for class so I never really missed having to take 5 extra minutes to apply foundation and mascara. (Those 5 extra minutes were spent in bed by the way!) What has really gotten to me is preparing to go out on the weekends.
The first weekend of Lent, I could have cried. I know it's ridiculous to think that but truly, I think any girl knows that the thought of going out into the world with out a drop of make up when EVERY other girl around you has beautiful make up on is a terrifying thing. Even if it is just foundation, with out it, all of your imperfections are exposed. I spent extra time with my hair and what I was going to wear out but I just hated that I couldn't put some mascara on to brighten up my eyes.
After that weekend I kinda realized it just didn't even matter. I wasn't looked at strange for not having make up on, people didn't ask me about it, they still acted the same with me. Why did I think that it would be different?? I'm not the kind of girl that can't be seen with out make up on but I still had similar thoughts on the matter.
Our society tells us that we NEED bright eyes. That having a perfectly even skin tone is necessary. It tells us that our lips need to be shiny and our eyebrows perfectly shaped. But why? God made me the way HE wanted me to look. He provided me with the tools to feel beautiful and with make-up I try so hard to change those. No matter how much I try and convince myself that I'm just "enhancing" my beauty, I'm changing it.
I can't say that I won't ever wear make up again, because I will. What I am saying is I have much more of an appreciation for my 'natural beauty'. I have worked up the confidence to be ok with out make up. Heck, if someone has a problem with me not wearing mascara, I'm sorry but I don't really want to talk to them! I learned just what I set out to when Lent started. I have found beauty in myself the way I didn't think I could.

All you girls out there, I urge you to go a week without make up. It's really eye opening.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finding comfort in the uncomfortable

"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."-The Savage

Who knew I would actually enjoy one of the readings I had for my ethics class?? Last night at work I was doing my homework at my desk...usual...and I came across this quote. For anyone who hasn't read the novel "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, don't worry, I haven't either. Just an excerpt from it it entitled, "The Utilitarian Social Engineer and the Savage" It is a story about a man, the Savage, who challenges this 'big brother' type of government that challenges the idea of needing any sort of religion because it creates discontent and eliminates the possibility for a sort of Utopia.

So maybe I'm bad at explaining the reading, I'll get back to you once I get the summary from my professor tomorrow! The idea that religion creates controversy is all around us. But is that so bad? The Bible tells us that life won't be easy(John 16:33) and that is just what this quote is saying. The Savage rejects the opportunity to live a perfectly happy life in order to have religion in his life.

But what makes it ok that sin exists, that fear and discomfort exist, is the fact that God has forgiven us for our sins. And the idea that God allows certain things to happen so we can learn from them. Some of life's greatest moments come from it's hardest ones.

My life hasn't been easy. Far from it. But not one point in my life would I trade for a perfect moment if that meant I had to give up my faith. What I learn from death, rejection, divorce, fights with friends, any hardship I have had or will have, is what makes life worth living. Like the Savage said, I want freedom, I want real danger because that is when I learn the most. I'm not saying I want to jump off a cliff and see what happens, but putting myself in new, uncomfortable situations might be just what I need. I can develop my faith through the unknown.

I don't have any specific Bible verse at this point to give you, I don't think I would even know what "genre" of a verse I would give you because this comes from my heart(cheesy I know). But truly, as a woman of faith, I know that situations where I risk messing up, I risk sin or discomfort, are what will bring me closer to my God who loves me despite my sins.

I'm not sure if this was how I was supposed to analyze my Ethics homework...especially since the reading was about 15 pages and this was just one sentence towards the end of the passage. I urge whoever is reading this though, to try and live through the discomfort, through the danger and freedom to a better life. A Christ-like life. It'd be hard to say no to a "perfectly happy" life if someone offered it to me like what happened to the Savage(fictional story let me remind you) but I would have to politely reject it. There is no satisfaction in having happiness handed to you. It's your experiences that create know the saying "happiness isn't a destination, it's a journey" applies here. That journey has its trials as well, but no doubt guarantees happiness as well.

If you get a chance, this is the excerpt I read from my Ethics book. It's chapter's 15-17, a little bit of a long read but if you find yourself absolutely confused by my description go ahead and give it a read. It will be worth it.