March Challenge Finish!

DeathtoStock_SWEAT-7

We made it to the end of another month – how did you do??  Were you encouraged?  Did you have at least one moment where you saw your true beauty and value?  I hope so!

I love to listen to people’s autobiographies/memoirs, particularly when the author read it themselves.  In this month, I listened to both Megyn Kelly’s and Padma Lakshmi’s memoirs.  What struck me about both of these women’s stories is that both of them talked about feeling unattractive.  And these women are GORGEOUS.  It reminded me again that our FEELINGS of unattractiveness and unworthiness are completely not based on reality.  They are based on what is in our heads and hearts.

If that is the case, then the only thing that will change our negative feelings about ourselves is not running after some tangible, outward change – if I lose weight, if I volunteer, if I make all As, if I get that promotion – but working on our inner beliefs.  Don’t get me wrong – I love goal-setting and meeting goals can definitely improve your self-confidence.  But they are not going to get you to long-lasting change.  You need to confront that inner belief.

Stop listening to your own internal monologue that tells you that you’re not good enough and start listening to what God says.  HE says that you’re beautiful.  HE says that you’re chosen.  HE says that you’re worth everything, even the death of His son.

The challenge for this month was to do something that would help you know that you’re worth it – worth love, worth value, worth being the apple of God’s eye.  What did you do?

For me, this challenge manifested in an unexpected way.  I started a new job at the beginning of February.  Academics and then work have always been idols for me and my latest job has a big salary and a lot of pressure – in other words, the type of job I would normally expect myself to completely stress out about as I worked hard to prove myself to everyone else.

But as this post is going live, I am actually in Ireland with my husband.  We scheduled this vacation months ago and had been looking forward to it, but having just started a new job, it was the last time I would want to take a week off.  Moreover, it happened to fall on the same week as the annual national organization conference.  I felt the pressure to cancel the trip.  But I didn’t.  I chose me.  I chose my husband.  I chose not running after an idol, and instead having the confidence to put myself first.  I am worth this vacation.  I am worth people’s respect in the workplace even if I don’t drop everything for the job.

What about you? Respond below and be entered to win a free book!

Your Worth is Not in Dating

online dating

A few years ago, having a very demanding job that required me to live where I worked (with one day off per week), I didn’t have many opportunities to expand my social circles. I was also feeling more pulled to live the vocation of marriage. So, I foraged into online dating. This allowed me to meet many more men and to see who was out there. I gained friends along the way, and even a boyfriend that I dated for a year. In my time of dating online, I learned many lessons on the journey, including about my own worth and where it originated.

Dating, online or not, can bring questions of your worth. Why are no guys showing interest? Why is this guy who seems like a perfect match viewing my profile but not reaching out? Or, why do only guys who don’t share my values seem to show interest? Why did that guy treat me so low?

If you keep logging in and not finding any messages, maybe you feel unworthy of love. Maybe the only messages you’re receiving are from weird guys, or men who don’t share your values. (It happens, even on Christian dating sites.) Or when the great guy you’ve been messaging and sharing a great conversation with suddenly disappears, you may wonder if something is wrong with you. What about when the guy you’ve been conversing with seems like a different person when you meet face to face, and even discloses a big piece of information that should have been disclosed right away? (Yes, that happened.)  So many situations arise in our dating lives that can make us feel unworthy.

Living a life of prolonged singleness, it’s easy to question your worth. The attitudes of the world about singleness make it even easier to question, especially when people constantly question why you are single. That question can linger and make you wonder, is something wrong with me? Your terrible dating experiences, online or face to face, can also trick you into believing this lie. It’s easy to forget that your worth isn’t determined by the number of messages or views you’re getting.

Worth isn’t even determined by how a man treats your heart—worth is not a product of how others view or treat you. In fact, your worth isn’t determined by men at all! If you’re at a point where you’re feeling low due to a dating drought or terrible dating experiences, maybe it’s time to take a step back from dating while you search for where your real worth can be found. Where is this worth found, you ask? Worth is found in your identity as a child of the Heavenly Father, who created you, delights in you, and even rejoices over you! Meditate on that beautiful truth. “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”-Zephaniah 3:17

 Sister, no matter your terrible dating experiences (or lack of dating experiences thereof), there is nothing wrong with you. You are not lacking in worth. Remember Who gave His life for you. He offers you a perfect love every day, no matter if nobody is romantically interested or if you are happily married. Your past, present, and even what you see of your future prospects doesn’t change anything about your worth in His eyes. Finding His love doesn’t require purchasing a subscription or making an on-point profile. Your Heavenly Father, the God of the universe, created you, and delights in you! What greater worth is there than that?

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lianna-headshot Lianna

Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 27 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a case manager for refugee mothers. My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.

Finding Your Worth

LOREAL

“Because I’m Worth It” is not just any slogan. Introduced by L’Oréal in 1971 as the Parisian beauty brand prepared to launch its hair-colour business in the United States, these words came to represent a movement and remains as a catchy slogan amongst women until today (www.theglobeandmail.com). But if the reason for purchasing a particular cosmetic product to make one feel more valued, then truly the individual’s self-worth is worthy of evaluation.

Society paints the picture that a woman’s worth is measured by her attractiveness to men. If you are worthy, you ought to be either dating someone or already married. Movies tell us so, conversations over dinner table leads to that topic as well as during reunions, family gatherings, and in the Church community too. Women are expected to be at a certain stage (in life) at a certain age, which causes pressure to meet that expectation.

Genesis 3 depicts the fall and the consequence, i.e. the ‘curse’ so to speak on Eve is that her desire shall be for her husband (Adam)’ (verse 16). As women, we desire to be desired. Although it is not wrong to desire approval but it is how we feed that desire that is crucial.

We have the tendency to crave for approval by feeding on things that brings detriment to our wellbeing as women. Many women are inclined to compromise:

  • their self-worth aesthetically (because we allow Paris Fashion week to determines what’s hot and what’s not),
  • our sexuality (abusive relationship is alright because he still wants you, hello Mr. Christian Grey of 50 shades of Grey),
  • settling with ‘friends with benefits’ status quo (so, you don’t need him to ‘put a ring on it’?).

That said, I do not blame society entirely nor do I blame men because we ultimately still hold the power to decide which path to take.

Understanding one’s self-worth is a journey of discovery and the journey is not always an easy one because we have to ask ourselves some tough questions and face our demons (fears, insecurities). My hope is that we realize how much we are worth fighting for and to be passionately loved by people who appreciate the person that we are.

L’Oréal tells us to buy their products because we are worth it.  But we are worth it because we are the precious daughters of God.

What about you?  Do you look to people or things to feed your self-worth?

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timmie-liew Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

 

Un

girl

I contracted the un disease when I was about 8 years old.

Accompanied by her mother, my best friend Keisha and I went to see a movie on a cold January afternoon. The movie was, in my very urbane and elementary school aged opinion, totally stupid and I remember not really wanting to see it. But it was Keisha’s birthday. So what the birthday girl wants, the best friend does to make her happy.

Afterwards, while leaving the movie, someone approached Keisha’s mother, gushing over how gorgeous Keisha was.

I could have easily been her daughter, too. But the praise didn’t go to me. It went to her.

The encounter was brief but I remember watching them interact while I thought to myself, “Why didn’t he say I was pretty, too?” The slight made me crawl within myself and feel less.

That was the day that I met un and carried it home in my lap. Un buried itself in my skin and spread like a virus.

Unpretty.

Unimportant.

Unworthy.

Every trait I had, every compliment I heard was immediately contaminated. But one (of many things) that I love about Jesus is He is unafraid of the diseased. He heals us with the truth.

What others see as nonexistent, He knows and celebrates it as wonderful. What man thinks is meaningless, He knows and declares it as powerful. And who the world sees as worthless, He knows and deems priceless.

You are unbeautiful. You are unimportant. You are unworthy. God handpicks those of us infected with un and takes it away.

“My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important.”

-1 Corinthians 1:27-28 (CEV)

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 32 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-). In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

You are Worth Being Single

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Everyone I know on earth: “So.  How’s it going?  Are you dating anyone?”

Still single me: Sigh….”No, I’m not dating anyone at the moment.  Yes, I’m still single.  No, there are not prospects in the foreseeable future or the requisite 15 mile radius.  And, yes, I’m fine.”

Them: -_-

Me: “No, really.  I’m happy and content on most days with being single.  Why?  Do you know someone?”

Them: “Oh, goodness no.  You don’t want to date any of my friends!  They’re so (fill in the blank with some incredibly strange or terrible character flaw)!”

Me thinking inwardly to myself: Why do you have friends like that?

Does this conversation sound familiar?  I know I’m not the only one who feels like I’m constantly defending my singleness on a daily basis.

And often when we look at this time in our lives, especially when you’re over 30 like me, people tend to lean more towards the negative side of the spectrum.  Towards the absence of something.  As if the lack of a spouse is a curse that needs to be reversed before the clock strikes 24 years of age.  Or worse, that God is withholding the blessing of marriage from us because of some unconfessed sin or the assumption our puny faith needs some pumping up.

Unfortunately, we take that stance as well.  That we’re missing something.  Incomplete.  Not yet worthy of the love and affection of another human.  Particularly a human who is male with rippling muscles, always smells like Christmas and ambition, opens doors, lays his jacket down over puddles for us to walk over, and picks up the tab on first dates without that awkward moment after the check arrives.

I’m not asking too much, am I?

Either way, while everyone else is viewing our situation as the glass being half empty, there’s always an alternative.  And from what I’ve experienced, seen, and heard, there are much worse things than being single.

Yes, there are worse things than the solo Netflix and Chill.

You could be dating that guy you met the other day who was hiding behind a smile and false chivalry.  Only to find out 3 months later that he  was actually a jerk who has no intention of ‘waiting’ or holding you in any higher esteem than Dana, Jessica, Tasha, Lauren, or any other breathing female.

You could have wasted 6 months of your life in a ‘text-lationship’ with that guy who sort of likes you but never really made a move to ask you out on a date.  Meanwhile, you’re holding strategy sessions with your friends to decipher his texts of “hi” or “what are u doing” with a winky face to determine what they really mean.  Because everyone knows that emoji was a sign of his undying love for you that he’s just too scared to reveal directly.

You could be with that nice guy who has a check mark next to most things on your list for years.  While inwardly feeling that sinking, gnawing reality of settling because you’re tired of waiting for God’s best.

But, at this moment in your life, you are worth being single.  You are worth resisting the temptation to fall into situation-ships as a result of your fleeting feelings of boredom and loneliness.  And you are worth being hidden by a God who knows your value.  And trust that He intimately knows the man who will see that value without being told or convinced.

So don’t lose hope because there are no prospects in the requisite 15 mile radius. You’re worth the waiting you have to endure to enjoy God’s perfect love and will for your life.  It may be painful in the interim, but the process of growing closer to Him and getting closer to what He has for you is unrivaled in possibility.

And not just the possibility of marriage and being found by someone to share your life with.  But the possibility that He is saving you from the extreme heartache and time wasted trying to do life on your own.

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.” Psalm 32:7

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8

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roz  Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.

Do You Feel Worthy of Love?

mirror

I used to be the worst at accepting compliments.  When one came my way, especially from a guy, I went into deflect mode.  Adrenaline started pumping, I got nervous, and I babbled some sort of nonsense.  “Oh, thank you, but, I’m not that beautiful.”  “Oh, thank you, but I need to lose a couple pounds.”  “Oh, thank you, it must be this outfit.”

It was the same fight-or-flight reaction I would have facing an attack.  Fight – I would deflect the “blow” and try to shift the conversation.  Flight – I would blush and try to hide.

But what attack?  It was just a compliment!  It should be the opposite of an attack!

I realized that it felt like an attack because it was an assault on one of my core beliefs about myself – the belief that I was ugly, the belief that I was not worthy of positive attention from a guy.  I could not accept someone else’s positive view about me because I did not have a positive view of myself.

The same applied when it came to my relationship with God.  I could read the verses that God saw me as beautiful, that He loved me, but I did not believe it in my heart.  I passed quickly over them and straight to the parts about what I should do to win His love.  I struggled to see God as loving me for me because I did not see myself as worthy of His love.

This failure to believe hurt my relationships with both men and God.  It was impossible for me to have a positive relationship with either when I did not believe or trust that they truly valued me.

So how did I break the pattern?

First, I had to retrain myself to accept the compliment without instantly negating it.  With men, I trained myself to simply say, “Thank you” and nothing more.  With God, I didn’t just read over the verse, I forced myself to stop and actually dwell on the verse and meditate on it in my heart.  I had to learn to trust both men and God that they were telling me the truth.  I may not have believed it about myself, but I had to accept that they honestly saw me as beautiful.

Second, I had to work on my own beliefs about myself.  I had to learn to value myself and to see the beauty in myself.  I have always been confident when it comes to academics and work, but I struggled when it came to a personal relationship.  So I had to focus on seeing my beauty and value not just professionally, but as a woman.

What about you?  Do you know your value?  Do you know that you’re worthy of love just as you are?  Do you believe people when they compliment you?  Do you believe the verses about God’s love for you?

I will post some verses below and I encourage you to not just read them, but really place them in your heart.  Write them on your mirror so you see them in the morning.  Place post-it notes around your car or office or home.  Save the verses as your screen saver so you see it every time you use your computer.  Surround yourself with the truth of God’s love and really work on believing it.  Because you’re worth it!

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:13-16

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. – Isaiah 43:4

I am that prostitute

alley

I have nothing in common with a prostitute. 

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve had this thought many times in your life.  Or maybe you’ve never even thought about it all.  Which is ok because It’s likely not a common comparison.  But I can tell you with absolute certainty that you, yes you, have many things in common with the ladies of the night.

And I just couldn’t believe that I was so wrong about this.  Because I tend to be right about many things in life.  Which is also a lie.

But let me tell you a story of how I came face to face with my inaccurate thought processes:  

There I was.  With all my holy haughtiness.  Sitting in the back of a van with a few other ladies and one gentleman.  Riding around an area in Atlanta known for its high rate of trafficking and prostitution.  I was excited, scared, anxious, and relaxed all at the same time.  

I was sure that I was going to venture out into the darkness to bring the light.  That I would touch the souls of men and women who felt trapped in lives where their bodies encompassed their worth.

And that’s exactly what was going through my mind as we approached the first lady to give her a rose and extend a hand out of that way of life.  But as soon as I stepped out of the van to dramatically save her soul, I was smacked by a sudden realization.  

Yes, Jesus slaps people.  Right in the face.  And it’s not a gentle nudge.  It involves all five fingers and has the weight of the Holy Spirit behind it.  And also behind that slap was an epiphany that this girl, these women, were all me.  

I am broken.  I am a mother trying to make ends meet to raise my daughter in the best way I know how.  I feel overwhelmed by circumstances.  I struggle with keeping my worth in line with my God-given value.  I believe the lie that one decision won’t change my destiny.  I have allowed tiny decisions to add up until the damage was evident to myself and others.  And that damage led me to surrender in the arms of my Creator.  

But one more decision could have brought me to those same corners where I came offering roses and hope.  One more decision could have landed me on dark stages stripping off pieces of myself to gain hurt in return.  One more decision could have seen me depending on the cheap approval of men to feel loved.

But that’s the funny thing about doing things for the Kingdom.  You walk in all high and mighty ready to change lives, only to realize that you were the one who needed changing.

And trust me, you’d much rather learn humility through service and putting on the suffering of others than have God knock you down to size.  I mean, have you read the Bible?  He’s been known to rain fire, instant death, and turn folks into a pillar of salt.  No thanks.  I don’t want to be the seasoning on anyone’s meal.

So next time you step out to share life, remember to see yourself in every single person that crosses your path and leave your piety at home. Vulnerability is more powerful than holiness.  And service is much more effective when others can see where you’ve been compared to where you are.  That is dealing hope that their lives can be better, can be different, rather than sending them the message that they could never be you.

PS – If after reading this, you are still of the mind that you couldn’t possibly be that person you’re serving, just remember three things.  One, Jesus slaps people.  Two, God can rain fire. FIRE.  And three, you are not that important (Galatians 6:3).

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.