Saturday, May 11, 2013

God Loves Ugly and thoughts on Beauty

So I mentioned in my birthday post that I got a book for my birthday called
"God Loves Ugly {and love makes beautiful}"
by Christa Black
and I am already finished with it.
You know that quote that says something about why we read, and how its because we don't feel alone. This was one of those books for me. It wasn't my exact story, but things were closely related enough to everything that I am going through that I know God steered me towards it, for sure.
So, I recommend it, but it may just be where I am at and all that, but I still think it's fabulous!
I write quotes down in my journals that I have underlined in books I have read. I have done that for a long time, and I think it is because it's almost like a review of what I have learned, re-enforcing what I have already learned. I have at least 7-9 pages of quotes from this book. I considered even re-writing them on my blog, but it would just take too here are just a few....
{one from every page in my journal.}
  • "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." {Luke 6:45} A person's words will always reveal the true nature of his or her heart.
  • Fear of inadequacy was one of my first fears in life. I hated letting people down, I hated disappointing anyone, and I definitely hated being less than perfect. I'm a work in progress, just like we all are, and I am constantly looking at my actions and tracing them back to their roots, which were usually formed in childhood. But my anger wasn't simply anger-it was rooted in and brought out by my fear of inadequacy.
  • I can always trace those behaviors back to a wounded root. Always. It might have been as minor as being chosen last for kickball. It might have been as seemingly insignificant as going shopping and not being able to find a pair of jeans that fit right. It might have been as silly as being the only girl not asked to dance at a school function. It an event happened that produced emotional pain of any kind that didn't have a chance to heal correctly, then more likely, the root is still there and has had a part in shaping who I am today
  • I would have told you that they worst problem in my life was an eating disorder or low self-esteem, addictions or depression. But I am able to see now that those were all just symptoms of a love deficiency. I had no idea how to love my self. I wanted others to love me, to accept me, to esteem me, but I didn't love, accept or esteem myself. In fact, I absolutely hated myself.
  • Somehow my performance mentality had convinced my brain that it was up to me to get my act together. I thought that in order to show God I loved Him and prove my love and devotion, I needed to fix myself. I believed that somehow the capability o clean house was in my wounded hands.
  • If I couldn't be the best , I'd just quit, or my body would follow my emotions and physically shut down. The core of my belief system was wired around the fact that my self-worth came solely from my performance, so if my performance resulted in anything but the best, I'd throw in the towel and swing for the opposite extreme, purposely sabotaging everything.
  • For years, I gave he majority of my thought time over to food, working out, my body, and my appearance. But because the bulk of those thoughts were coming from a place of self hatred and shame, my thoughts never empowered me to move toward healing or permanent change. You give power to what you focus your mind on.
  • The more I allowed anger, bitterness, and an unforgiving hear to fester inside, the more my worst nightmare became true. When you allow judgment to consume you, one of two things tends to happen: Either you become the polar opposite o what you hate, or you become what you hate...The more I focused my negative magnifying glass on what I saw as her shortcomings, the more I became the exact thing I was focusing on.
  • I started battling my thinking, which changed my beliefs, which altered my feelings, which began producing entirely different actions. In the process I was pulling out old painful roots, being loved and learning how to be forgiven, how to forgive myself, and then how to forgive others.
  • Believing Him was the first part, experiencing Him was the second, and receiving grace for the journey (the mess ups, the highs and lows, and the constant failures) was the third. I always thought grace was this weak little word. I thought it meant that I was pardoned and forgiven, but its infinitely bigger than that. The grace of God is His literal power to change and transform. I couldn't change myself. I wasn't strong enough.
  • Every time you feel the need or urge to run back to old patterns of destructive behavior, throw your hands in the air and give up, again and again and again as many times as it takes. God never tires as you offer your precious sacrifice of surrender. In fact, He lives to rescue you.
  • I learned His kindness and mercy, His gentleness and faithfulness, and His power and strength in the process of extreme pain. He could have kissed my boo-boo and made it all better instantly, instead He led me gently into the past, into the dark places of wounding and began to heal the trauma-one terrible memory at a time. I got be a part of the healing and I changed along the journey.
Whew, so hard not to write more. They were all so meaningful to me.
And so God is using this book along with all other streams that seem to be flowing into my life.
Even this morning someone had downloaded a new Beth Moore onto YouTube that I hadn't yet heard, and so many similar things. About letting the Lord till the ground in you that has become hard and pulling out roots that we are unaware are even there, yet define us every day.
I have been aware for a while, even if I hadn't known what to do with it, that I am really afraid of judgment. Perhaps I grew up around really judgmental people, or my church, or family, or friends. Or perhaps I am very judgmental myself and have judged those around me as ignorant, simple, etc for not seeing what the rest of the world could clearly see about them.
Regardless of how it got instilled in me, it's a beacon that definitely guides me on a regular basis. I have noticed that I will imagine the harshest thing someone could say to me, or about me, and then say this or something much worse to myself in order to make sure I am "living in reality" about myself. I have constantly demeaned or degraded myself, especially when it comes to my appearance, because I wouldn't want others to think I was delusional about what they were looking at.
But who are "these people" and what kind of friends are they to me if I have to fear their judgment of me at every turn. Sure the world judges easily the outward appearance of women, as if they need to put them in and keep them in their place of the pecking order of beauty.
Last year I wrote THIS post about Jessica Simpson and how rude and hurtful people were being about her weight in pregnancy. This year its Kim Kardashian. {I wonder if Jessica sighs with relief that for once the eye of hatred turns elsewhere}
I want to cry for them, because here are the most outwardly beautiful women in the world being called fat whales who's day has come and gone while the rest of us every day folks wonder what category that leaves us in.
And it's left me with this question about beauty, about my beauty and what I want it to mean and where I want it to come from. No matter what I look like on the outside.
{and still part of me has a hard time saying this and actually wondering if it's real at all}
When I think of the Lord and the way He has been with me at times in my life, including this one...
His beauty captivates me. Of course I don't see anything. But what radiates from Him is this love and peace, the kind that makes you take a deep sigh and know that it is all ok, you are safe.
That I want my beauty to come from Him defining me, and telling me I am loved. Not by scratching and clawing and fighting for someone to tell me.
Last night Ashton came into our room and was whimpering in his sleep. Daniel finally moved him back to his bed, but that was me. WIDE AWAKE!
I had heart burn and other pregnancy woes and just sat up.
I started realizing what a long process of believing this all is.
I just started crying, because even though I want to change my thoughts about myself, and I know I need to, I have been thinking hateful and broken things so long it's hard for me.
I think the simplicity of the lie that I have been believing for so long is that I don't deserve to be loved because I am ugly and overweight.
So when Daniel or anyone tells me I am beautiful, I can not accept it. I have already told myself millions of times that no one can really be truly beautiful if they are fat. And Daniel started tickling my back as he noticed I was awake and I just heard from the Lord
"accept it".
Not because he pities this ugly woman who he is now stuck with for life, but because he really loves me.
Accept it.
 Accept that the God of the universe who made all things, died on a cross and gave me the same power that raised Christ from the dead calls me acceptable, loveable, beautiful...
Accept it.
Because the truth is, like C.S. Lewis said, we are not a body, we are a soul that has a body. And someday I will not be this body, but I will still be me. And what makes me, me. And what makes someone who might be average to look at, your favorite person, because of that "it" factor, or peace or love that can only come from God.
There are roots that God is showing me and will show me, the ones that hurt and the ones we have to dig up, and the ones He wants to heal.
Things I have been unwilling to look at, acknowledge, be really broken over.
I am willing now.
I want to accept my part, forgive others, and let God bring fertile ground to the places that have become hardened through hurt. To bring fruit and life to.


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