Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hard and Holy Things

          I am not the first, nor last person, that will admit to comparing myself to others online. Scrolling through perfectly curated Instagram feeds, it's hard not to think that I am the only one without their s-h together. I do not have a perfectly smooth and toned backside, no matter how many squat challenges I do. The only time I can get my hair to do that effortlessly undone top knot is right before getting into the shower. And even after decades on this earth (and 1600 hours spent in cosmetology school) I still cannot do wing-tipped eyeliner or a decent french braid to save my life. And when the realization of this starts to affect me too much, I go back to this quote. There are enough women out there who know how to be (or at least look) perfect at everything. The amount of seemingly-flawless people on Instagram are a dime a dozen, and there are about a million YouTube tutorials showing you just how to achieve it. 

        Don't misunderstand me-- I would still love to be put-together with flawless makeup and six-pack abs, but is that what really matters? Other than being a beautiful thing to look at, does it really serve anyone else? There's another quote that comes to mind that goes something along the lines of "Mother Teresa didn't worry about her thighs, she had shit to do." It's hard to put yourself down when you stop thinking about yourself so much. 

        So what exactly are these hard and holy things? Is it joining the Peace Corps.? Is it going to impoverished countries to meet needs of the underprivileged? Sure. Yes, of course. But could it also be having patience during a frustrating situation? Is it showing kindness and compassion to that customer who is always rude to you at work? Putting down your phone for 5 minutes to actively listen to someone and make them feel heard? Because Lord knows those are not easy things to do. But they are the things that mean the most.  I would rather be known for bringing joy, for being understanding, for showing love than for being able to blend my eye shadow (but if I can do them all simultaneously then it's just icing on the cake.) 

        I came to the conclusion recently that we (and by we I mean me) spend a lot of time stressing about not being where we think we should be in life, not having things we think we should have or not being as successful as we think we should be. But if we really strip it all away, in the grand scheme of things, what is it that really matters? What are the things that really should have priority? In Matthew 22:36 Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" That's it. Not "make six figures". Not "be a size 2". Not "take vacations so you can document them and make your life look perfect to strangers." Just simply serve God, and serve each other. Of course God will ask us to do other things throughout our lives, but all He really wants is for us to love Him and love those around us. Those are the hard and holy things. And do not think it is lost on me that all this is being said while being sandwiched between outfit posts 😁

       Jesus makes it very clear that we don't need to worry about how we look, things we aren't good at, or that we aren't wearing the right clothes. "If God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'what shall we eat?' or 'what shall we drink' or 'what shall we wear?'...your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:30-32)

      Don't worry that you can't get perfect beach waves, that you can't figure out how to contour, or even that you don't have your dream career. Do the hard and holy things. That is really what the world needs. And if all those things are added unto us as well, then great. But maybe by the time we get them, we'll realize we never really needed them anyway. 

Image from The Free Woman

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