Confessions of Someone Who’ll Never Be a Beauty Queen

I know that I’m not a conventional beauty. No one is ever going to beg me for a photo shoot or probably even for a date. My teeth are too crowded and I love coffee too much for them to stay pearly white. My tummy refuses to be flat, because  I like potato chips more than I’m willing to commit to ab workouts. I have no chest, and my voice sounds like the hound on The Fox and the Hound or a congested kid. And don’t get me started on hair products and makeup, because they just completely confound me.

Even if I had “the looks,” I’m just kind of an awkward human being.

I also keep somehow living in these places that are known for beautiful people, like Ukraine and Los Angeles. It can be a real self-esteem crusher.

I have cute toes. That has to count for something, right?

Toes in the Sand

Hold On A Sec..

You may think this is too harsh, or maybe you’re like, “I can’t believe she just said that.”  But those are some of the nasty little thoughts that confront me on a pretty consistent basis, like most every time I look in the mirror.

They are annoying and thought consuming and, frankly, I’m sick and tired of them.

While there are a million things going on in the world that are horrible and in need of attention, I also know that I’m not the only one that struggles with the mirror on the wall.

Some days I can brush it off, say “Shut up!” and go about the day. Other days it’s crushing, and the heavy cloud it brings darkens the atmosphere around me.

I can give you the good Christian girl answer…

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV

I mean that’s pretty clear cut even for the New King James Version.

Or this one…

“What matters is not your outer appearance — the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes — but your inner disposition..” – 1 Peter 3:3 MSG

Again, pretty straightforward, which I appreciate; the inner is more important than the outer.

I get it, and I’m sure you’ve heard it, too.

We can all think of people that are drop dead gorgeous in appearance and are really not beautiful at all because of the atrocious way they treat others. And I’m sure we’ve all met more than one person that the world wouldn’t give a second glance at in the outward beauty category, but they radiate nonetheless.

It clearly isn’t all about physical  attributes.

So why is this such a struggle for so many of us?

Because comparison is such a nagging, little demon that just needs to be splatted against the nearest wall.

When I find myself struggling with my lack of conventional beauty, I’m not looking at what God says. I’m looking at the cultural norms I see around me. Which, when I think about how messed up the world is, it honestly seems pretty ridiculous to even want to be what culture says I should be. Culture and the world isn’t all bad, but clearly there are some bad priorities happening.

But what I know is true and what I think and feel just don’t always sync up.

Until it does sync up I have to keep choosing to believe and trusting what God says and asking for a perspective change. Some  days it’s an easy decision, and other times it’s a whole lot harder.

All I know today is that part of me would still like to be a conventional beauty, but when have I ever done anything the conventional way. Good thing I have such a winning personality…

But It Can’t Be Over

The darkened theatre was filled with movie goers of all ages. Next to me sat a little girl with her grandfather. She talked and laughed and questioned throughout the movie, but there was one moment that I just couldn’t handle.

It was the movie scene where it appeared all hope was lost. There was nothing left to suggest this could ever have a happy ending. Under her breath I heard her whisper, “It’s all over.”

Pause.

“It’s all over.”

Pause.

“But it can’t be over.”

And tears trickled down my cheeks at the child who could look at the totally hopeless situation and know it simply couldn’t be the end of the story.

Sure, it’s Hollywood and we’re suckers for a happy ending, but I think we all long for good to triumph because it is how we are created. We see and hear the hopeless, the unjust, the evil splashed across headlines and social media every day and the storytellers among us remind us of what could be and what is, but gets lost in the money pit of bad news and myriad of unthinkable atrocities.

Somewhere deep inside we know that good is supposed to win, justice should be served, and that there may be a price to pay, but it will be worth it because hope and love and life are important.

When it looks like evil is winning, when it looks like there is no solution, no hope, under our breath we say, “But it can’t be over.”

I woke up this morning to what has become an all too familiar occurrence. I got online to check messages to find a new set of news updates and social media hashtags related to injustices happening in our own backyard.

I sat outside and cried for so many that still cannot see past the color of a person’s skin or their position in society or the uniform they wear or the lifestyle they live that we may not agree with. I prayed for those on all sides who are mourning the loss of loved ones and felt for those who are fearful to leave their home each day.  I contemplated the circus that feels like our media and politics and the desperate need for accountability, honor, courage and truth to prevail.

Love seems like such a cliche answer to it all, like trying to fix a gaping wound with a small butterfly closure, but if that’s our reaction then we don’t really understand what love means.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG)

That’s the kind of love we are called to walk out. That’s the love that brings hope and opens communication for reconciliation. And it’s not cliche. It’s really really simple and it can be really really hard.

Our headlines are dark, the solutions seem lacking, but it can’t be over.

 We can choose to walk in love when the world resorts to hate and fear. We can choose to have conversations that are difficult, because there are decisions that need to be made that are difficult. We can choose to care and listen before speaking. We can choose to extend grace and mercy when everything seems to scream the opposite.

It can’t be over because you and I are still here, and no matter how bleak it looks we can make a difference. We can choose to love.

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