You Are Beautiful

I heard about Dove’s most recent Beauty Campaign video, and had to check it out. A forensic artist sketches women as they describe themselves and each other. The results are different than they expect. See it here:  Real Beauty Sketches – Dove 

I can identify with the women in Dove’s video. I used to think I was worthless. Almost every woman I know struggles with how they view themselves. Society attacks women daily, with what they should or should not look like. Most messages are unrealistic. It can really crush a woman’s perception of herself. So please, please tell the women in your life–mother, daughter, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, friend–that they are beautiful! Because they are.

Men may not typically be called beautiful, but the concept is still the same:  They can view themselves differently than they really are. So be sure to let the men in your life know how much they are valued!

Most importantly, remember how much the one who created you values you! How beautiful you are to him! How could you be any more beautiful?

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Do You REALLY Know What’s Going On??

Ever talk like you know what’s going on in another person’s head?

The other day my husband and I were driving home from an event. We started talking about why this one person probably chose to do what they did. After a bit of postulating, I said, “You know, we really don’t know what’s going on in his head, so we could be completely wrong.” My husband agreed. Then we started talking about how easy it is to assume the reasons behind people’s words and actions. A long time ago I started working on getting out of that habit, when people choose to do something seemingly surprising, make a mistake, etc. But it’s so easy to make assumptions on the smaller things. The things that “don’t matter” as much.

But when people make wrong assumptions about me, it matters to me. It bothers me.

So what do we do? We can’t control what another person assumes about us. It may tear us up, or make us worry. However we choose to handle it, there is one thing we can always do. Don’t be that person. Make it a point to not assume the reasons behind another person’s words or actions. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Ask questions. Find out the reasons, if appropriate. People will start feeling heard, understood, cared for, valued. And you will reap great rewards from interactions and relationships.

Proverbs 17:27

Proverbs 17:27

Do you find yourself thinking you know “what’s really going on”, when you don’t know a person’s background, personality, life?

Don’t Do It.

What are you thinking on?

What are you thinking on?

Have you ever gone through trials, and thought if only you had someone else’s life?

Don’t do it.

It’s easy enough see the good things in another person’s life…. But remember, you can’t see all the bad. You can’t see the heartache. You can’t see the trials. You can’t see the broken relationships. You can’t see the disease. You can’t see the addictions. You can’t see what’s lacking. You can’t see the stress. You can’t see the tears. You can’t see the pain inflicted. You can’t see the pain received. You may see some. But not all.

The other night a friend compared it to “the Facebook picture”. On Facebook many people have happy pictures, and comment about the amazing things going on in their lives. But most people don’t share everything. Our friend said someone she knows has a profile that makes it look like they have the perfect life:  A loving spouse, children, fun and exciting trips and activities. But if you could see behind the scenes, you would see the anxiety, depression, tears, and strained and broken relationships.

Everyone has trials. The trials we bear may cause us, or those we love, to suffer so much. But so far, we have survived. Is it possible that if we did experience someone else’s life…. experienced someone else’s trials…. we would not be able to stand up under what they’re going through? Would we not survive? People may try to weigh the severity of trials in different ways, but we are all different people. What one person may be able to handle, another would crumble under.

Trials would be truly devastating if nothing good could come from them. But I believe in a God who loves us, and takes the worst of times and uses it toward good. Even if you don’t believe in God, good can come out of trials. We can learn appreciation for things or others. Relationships can be healed or made stronger. Connections may develop or opportunities presented. We can become better people:  more patient, kind, loving, understanding, forgiving, smarter, empathetic, etc.

I’m not saying trials are easy, or that we should be thrilled to have them. Seeing people suffer, I just don’t want them to lose out on what can come from trials. Wishing for another person’s life can easily distract us from the good that comes in our own. There is always something to hold on to.

A Tribe. A Family. A Dream?

I am blessed. By a group of people who are supporters, confidants, mentors, prayer warriors, cheerleaders, encouragers, think tanks, truth tellers, ideas people, accountability partners, driven, goal-setters, dream-pursuers, and….like family. Also known as a tribe.

Why do people think pursuing a dream has to be an “alone” journey? It doesn’t matter how unique your dream is or how much of an introvert you are, it’s possible to find people to make key connections with. And it’s good for you.

Becoming a tribe member introduced me to others with similar passions. Being part of that tribe has helped me grow as a person and leader, tremendously. It has helped me see the world in broader and deeper terms. It has exposed me to sheer joy. It is one of the things in life that has helped me develop in the direction I was created to go. And I will always treasure those relationships. Even though they may always remain cyber.

So. Whether or not it’s on the internet–through blogs or other forms of social media, or talking face to face–go find people to connect with. A group that’s just as passionate about specific things as you are. You just may find exactly where you were meant to be. And someday find yourself in the middle of your dream.

Who are your people?

Who are your people?

Do you have a group of people like that? On the internet, family, work, school, church?

Is Your’s a Wonderful Life?

This Christmas we started a new tradition–watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. A classic.

I cried throughout. Despite the positive title, it revolves around situations, people, and events that keep George Bailey from the life he’s always dreamed of. And to top it off, a seemingly impossible crisis finds George a very desperate man.

Many people have been there, or will be some day. What makes life worth living? And how can we follow our dreams?

Here are two key factors:  God and being intentional.

I believe God makes life worth living because he gives me unconditional love, forgiveness, true freedom, purpose, and a hope for the future. And in turn, I can share those with others. Do we really have those things without God?

We can’t always plan how our lives are going to go. Look at George Bailey:  Nothing seemed to be turning out the way he wished, but he was a happy man in the end. At the same time, the dreams we have for our lives won’t happen unless we are intentional with how we live. For example, say you want to be a famous painter, but you spend every spare minute watching TV. A few years later, those hours watching TV haven’t brought you a single step closer to being that famous painter. (You might be able to tell I’ve been reading Quitter, by Jon Acuff)

So. New Year’s Day, I will be working my way through Michael Hyatt‘s Creating Your Personal Life Plan. That is my first step toward being intentional with my life.

What’s your plan for New Year’s Day….or your life?