All about the bass or don’t change for love.

Disclaimer: I believe that everyone is on a journey in life. For some it’s mental health, some spiritual, some physical, some emotional. Basically we are all in progress. While we are in the process we need to remember that we are enough, the way we are. Also, there are some parts of us we cannot change, where we are from, what happened in the past, or our ancestry. Please read the following with that in mind.

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Last weekend I competed in a booty challenge. Okay, so let’s clarify this and please keep reading. My amazing, gorgeous friend of African decent challenged me to basically shake my butt. In Public. In front of boys.

I did.

Did I think it through? Did I philosophise over it? No, but I did pause briefly and think whether I should be doing it and I went for it! It was fun. We laughed, we shook our tushes and we just had a good time. It showed a piece of the slightly crazy girl I can be…

Being an ex-pat I am constantly aware of how different I am. As much as we do not want to admit it, we consistently make judgements and assumptions based on everything from nationality, to accent, to physical appearance. I have experienced it all. It never makes it any easier. Whether we like it or not it it is how society functions. In order to keep things simple we ask questions like, where are you from or what do you do? These things shape “who we are” to others.

I’m writing this blog because my heart is breaking. In the not-so-distant past I have had too many conversations from too many people (both men and women) who are in some way not happy about who they are.

The reason?

Someone has said no to dating them or equally so, they have not been out on many, if any dates recently. Some of these have been explicitly because this person had something “different” about them to what the other person felt was okay for them. Some reasons truly shallow and others, well, each of us have the right to date who we like, this is not the issue I am addressing. I am not going to spend the remainder of this blog post on the dating scene, particularly the Christian dating scene, that’s not my purpose here. I am addressing the fact that these circumstances have seemingly lessened who a person is, to themselves.

My purpose is to remind you of this: 

You are enough.

My very wise pastor Gary Clarke once said, the person you are meant to marry will likely be the person to whom you look over one day, (as you run with and toward your purpose and goals), who is running beside you. So just keep focused on those (and Jesus), and maybe look over once in awhile. You might be surprised.

There’s a great song out currently called “All about the bass” by Meghan Trainor. Some of the lyrics go like this:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Trainor’s lyrics specifically talk about body image and I love the line which goes “I see the magazine working’ that Photoshop, We know that shit ain’t real, C’mon now, make it stop”.

We need to stop the photoshopping of who we are.

Remember, maybe the girls will only remember, that movie Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts? That girl didn’t know how she liked her eggs because she always said she liked the kind of eggs that the man she was dating liked.

By the end of the movie she sat with 30 plates of eggs in front of her, trying to figure out what SHE loved.

The truth is that we were created very uniquely, we all like our eggs differently, or not at all.

Psalm 139:13-16 states,

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

You are created to be who you are. God knew your body shape, he created your personality, he knew the struggles you would have, the talents, the dreams. He knew that you would move across countries or stay in your home town. He knew that maybe you need a little help with getting motivated or that the person who would one day hold your hand in marriage would need to be just as driven as you were.

So then why do we always look at ourselves, criticise our lives when we have not yet found “the one”? It needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

If someone doesn’t like that you come from a particularly country, forget them. If someone calls you intimidating (yep, seriously), then forget it. If someone doesn’t like that you have a fabulous booty, forget it!

When I have a moment, frustrated waiting for the love of my life I think about a couple things…

First, I find it unattractive if a person is not pursuing life with passion and drive, we have one life, why waste any of it?

Second, why would I waste energy being someone I am not.

Third, a very dear friend of mine once said to me “M, I hope that one day a man recognises the woman you are and who you will be, and doesn’t let you go”. I could trust this man to have my best interest at heart, and so I treasure those words.

In someways the third piece of advice is what I want you to remember the most…

There will be someone who loves you not despite your booty, your drive and your love of sushi. Okay, a bit specific but you get it. Right? Being in a relationship is difficult. It is work. I am sure that marriage is 100 times more difficult (at least that’s what my friends who are married say). Why would we want to sleep by someone who doesn’t love ALL of you? Really. LIKE SERIOUSLY!?

stop, breathe and go out and be fabulous. It’s the single most attractive thing out there: Someone living their life passionately, fully and with purpose.

Update: I also want to add that until you love yourself, no relationship, even between friends is really going to work…but that’s the next post…

 

Break the Walls Down

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And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home
And you’re trying so hard to win
You keep trying its embarrassing
And how you don’t even know
But you know you’re off the tracks
And how did you get in here
Thinking how did I get in here

I’ll help you break the walls down
I’ll help you break the walls down
And bust you out and take you home
Believe in me you are not alone
I’ll help you break the walls down

-The Rocket Summer, Walls

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

With each broken promise, with every dream never realised, with each empty word falling flat, the walls were built.

With each slanderous word, with each whisper of gossip, with each backstabbing thought, the walls were built.

With each painful glance at the mirror, with each damaging thought, with each murmur of self-doubt, the walls were built.

With each break up, with each broken friendship, with each moment of abuse, the walls were built.

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

The walls went up. and up. and up.

-mp. 2013

Your walls look different than mine. Mine may be brick, with graffiti and big windows. Yours may be concrete, scratched by years of pain or maybe wood, damaged by the rain of tears.

Walls are dangerous. While healthy boundaries force you to look up and keep you protected, walls keep you hidden, closed off and unable to grow.

A lot of the time our walls are invisible to us. The walls we have built are for protection against more pain (in whatever form). They keep the abuser at bay, they keep the potential of heartbreak from existing, they hold the world away.

These walls are usually not visible to others, in fact, often over compensation leads those around you to believe you are just fine. We act out in order to preserve our dignity; over compensate to hide the pain.

Admittedly I have built walls more than once in my life. Self-preservation yielded the need to hide, to run away, to close off so that as not to allow someone else to tell me that I wasn’t good enough…

I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped being me because “me” wasn’t good enough.

Most recently I built up walls around my heart. My mom told me I am stand offish. I’m not even sure that’s a real word but apparently whenever she sees someone show interest I turn into stone.

What I thought was healed was merely mended. Although no longer in pain the next step, the one that would allow me to move on was to break down the walls.

For the former, breaking down the walls meant getting up in front of a whole lot of my friends who had never heard me sing and just belt it out at a friend’s wedding in France. It was there that I found the courage to break the walls down and believe that I was enough.

Now, for me, it’s vulnerability of the heart. In this case, when it comes to my heart, it means letting someone in again. It means even simply allowing myself to be myself with another person, to let him see me, to know me, to consider the possibility of more. It’s often a prayer, a cry out to God, going…protect me Lord, because I’m trying here…

The thing with walls is, that even if they were built because of something done to us, we choose to be victims and build the walls. Walls are built because we do not feel that we are enough. We may not feel that we can overcome the pain, the abuse, the heartache…whatever the case may be (and to varying degrees these things are not easy and may require, in some cases, professional assistance*), but they do take a first step of believing that we are good enough for a complete and fulfilled and whole life.

Understanding your value and knowing you are completely worthy of being whole is not easy. It requires acceptance of flaws, understanding that no one is perfect, and most importantly, I believe, the knowledge that you were created with a plan in mind. Intricately, fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Knowing that the King of Kings loves you and planned your very existence can help break those walls down.

He wants you to be whole, to live a full life, in relationship with Him and in healthy relationship with others.

go on, let Him break your walls down.


side note: if you or someone you know needs professional help please contact your local church or medical professional, or talk to a friend. We’re not in this life alone. x

It’s Back to the Basics

I went to a party last night and since it’s customary to take your shoes off when you go into a home here in Sweden I did…and my immediate reaction was “I’m so sorry my feet look terrible and unkept” (sorry mom…)

It’s not that I am a princess who must get manicures and pedicures all the time but quite honestly there are a few things in life that I enjoy doing to make my somewhat hectic life more centred. Admittedly some of these things are very first-world and I could get some flack for calling them basics. So here is your warning: these may not all be basics for everyone but hear my heart and know that life is definitely not “all about me”…

You know those moments where you just want to go crawl into bed and hide for days? Or maybe it is the days that nothing you put on fits right or feels good? Maybe yesterday every time someone even tried to say hello you got overly frustrated and irritated? Maybe just because your boyfriend didn’t call, you cried? Or when the baby just would not fall asleep at 3am, for  2 hours and you felt like you don’t even know why you decided to become a mother or a father. Maybe you feel like your wife hasn’t stopped nagging you for days? Or has your roommate NEVER cleaned up?

These are just a few of what I feel like are evidence of a mind and body that is not taking care of itself. Let’s face it, most of the time when things are not going right around us it’s because of what is happening IN us. I have an amazing friend who often gets my rants when any of the applicable above have happened to me. She is one of the people I have allowed to speak completely freely into my life…and knows everything about me. My favourite reminder from her is always her first question after I have finished my rant, “Chelles, so are you keeping up the basics?”

And…after a momentary pause and a quick evaluation the answer is usually a quite, soft “no”.

When we think of the basics we usually think food and water. Yes, these are the very basics but everyone has their own basics which need to be sorted in order to live a full and healthy life. I have figured out what mine are…some of them are must-must basics and others are every few weeks rather than weekly (like manicures/pedicures) or even hourly but these things in my life mean that I can be the best I can be and fulfil the purpose I have here for others.

So here are mine…and in no particularly order of importance…all have their own place

  • read my bible, listen to worship music, pray: connect to God constantly
  • exercise regularly
  • get a lot of fresh air
  • coffee
  • drink lots and lots of water
  • limit the amount of sugar I ingest (which is almost zero now)
  • eat regularly and unprocessed
  • get my nails and hair done
  • keep warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot (this affects me)
  • get enough, proper sleep (so it doesn’t just mean time but I always make sure my bed is clean, with lots of pillows and blankets. It’s my oasis)
  • talk to my friends regularly
  • connect with my family regularly

These are my basics…you’ll have your own (although a lot of these will overlap). We’re all different and I encourage you to find out your strengths and weaknesses (for example; I’m an extrovert, so I get energy from being around people, HOWEVER, I am also an only child and very much know my limitations when it comes to how much alone time I need (it’s more than most think))

Take some time and remember that you need to be the best you can be so it’s okay to understand how you tick. You’ll be better off to your friends, roommates, husbands, wives, kids, boss…we want to live strong and excellent lives so please, invest in the basics.

And if you need a few suggestions for a busy season I found this blog which will give you 55 ways to maintain your sanity…

xxM

 

Live the life you imagined





Note: a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about taking the next four months and not planning. Turns out I really suck at not planning. And this isn’t even an exaggeration. I think I lasted all of two hours…what I have come to realise since then is that it’s not really about the planning but about setting your heart to something, it’s a heart attitude. I am still determined to make no life-changing decisions until July; however I am beginning to understand what God has been working on with this whole “no planning” thing…
I have made a decision, or rather re-determined to be me…
God has made YOU uniquely and wonderfully made. He hasseen every moment of your life, since the beginning of time. He has put desiresin your heart and given you talents that are particular to you, in your verybeing.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  
Psalm 139:13-16

A few months ago I sat on my bed with a dear friend, where we talked about howcircumstances in our lives, situations, and hurtful moments somewhat changed the way we lived our lives. In particularly we discussed how our very creative sides had been repressed and that we were not using all of who we were to live our daily lives. Then we spoke about how certain people and situations had re-introduced that aspect of our lives and that God was healing us so that we were no longer afraid to be the women that He had created us to be.
How often have you not taken a step because of fear or because someone else put pressure on you? How often did something feel so right, but then maybe circumstances of life got you down and you allowed all the pressure around you to stop that which was so good? When was the last time you sat quietly, stilled your heart and went “Yes, there is a lot of pressure andI’m not sure how this is going to play out but I know I have to do this?”
Look at David. He was a small man who many around him thought that he could never defeat Goliath. His skills, that which made him uniquely David,were in the end what helped defeat the Giant.
I’m not making an argument for God’s will for your life. I believe that His will is to live for Him and to show others His love. I believe that the way you live your life, the partner you chose, the career, the activities and passions you pursue are a vehicle for how you show God’s love to others.
Sometimes we get so caught up in how the world thinks we should be or how others perceive our actions. Or simply in not wanting to hurt othersthat we sacrifice that which might be the best for our future. Recently I was listening to Priscilla Shirer speak about decisions. She said that when faced with a choice it’s often the one that seems the most difficult that is the one that the devil is stopping you from making because it will likely put you on the path that God wants you on.
God has a great plan for your life and remember that you’re living His plan now. Each day, each moment is preparation for what He already has in your future. No one can take that from you. You were formed uniquely and put on earth for this time and place so that you would seek Him and fulfil your purpose (more on that later).
So go, live for today with eternity in mind, start living that life you imagine. Start today because a year from now, you will wish you had.