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I’m so Pretty

Recently I was listening to “Betcha Gon’ Know” by Mariah Carey. It was the version that features R. Kelly. It made me think about how R. Kelly is now known for abusing women and how many were pushing for the mute R. Kelly movement, among other celebrities that are outed as abusers or pedophiles. I see why people want to shame these people and want to take away their star power. However, there are abusers all around us. There’s millions probably billions of people that abuse other people but we are only aware of the cases that make the headlines, nationally or locally. If we knew what literally everyone was up to in their spare time no one would be allowed to do anything in the court of public opinion. It seems that we have entered a new era in history. Pedophilia and abuse against women in general is taken more seriously in some ways. Despite the “anything goes” culture, the “consent” culture, there seems to be thirst to know the truth even about our supposed heroes or favorite celebrities. I cannot emphasize enough though that it shouldn’t surprise you that the World is busy being the World. That is, if you’re a Christ follower.

In Genesis 6:9, the Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” He [and his immediate family] was the only one selected to survive the Great Flood. Literally, no one else.

As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core. Genesis 6:11-12 MSG

Further in Genesis 18, the Bible tells us that Abraham interceded for the town of Sodom. He asked if God would spare the city if fifty righteous people are found and God said he would. However, I think Abraham knew there wasn’t fifty righteous people so he kept bargaining for less. He stops at ten. He asks God if he would spare the city if there are ten righteous people found and God gives His word, “for the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” We read just one chapter later that God did not find ten righteous and only allowed Lot, his wife and two daughters to flee as God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Heaven. Out of the four fleeing, three made it to the next town.

Skipping ahead to the book of Daniel, we learn about a young man named Daniel that was trafficked to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. Daniel became known for maintaining his purity in the midst of the Babylonian culture. Daniel refrained from the foods and drinks they served as to not defile himself. God gave him favor and Daniel was allowed to not partake in the lifestyle. Daniel continued to see favor throughout his life while living in a different kingdom.

Just as in the times of Noah, Lot and Daniel- these men were counter-cultural. Within their generations and throughout history, their names and stories were written down to be known forever for their righteousness. These are just three examples, but three out of the billions of people that have gone to the grave before us and will go after us… THREE stands out to me.

We are living in modern day Babylon or Sodom or Gomorrah. These cities are basically cliché in 2019. But if you are a Bible reader, you need to acknowledge the time in which we live. Our culture is a secular one. Our country didn’t begin that way but as history repeats itself, Secular is what we have turned into. That is why there is so much hostility towards the Christian life. Real Christians standing for Biblical Truth in the Post Modern Culture.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain how I’m so pretty and what that has to do with R. Kelly, historical and biblical references.

[I apologize if you’ve lost interest already. Context is one of my top strengths and I feel compelled to give the context to help lead you from one idea to the next. It’s just how my mind works! ]

While we live in Babylon just as Daniel did, we are called to stand out. We are not to participate in everything that the opposing culture offers. Daniel could have forgot his identity and dismissed his God but he did not. He could have sold out to the dominate culture, a foreign culture. Time and time again God warned his people to not worship other gods or idols. To not become like those around them. In the Old Testament, God very clearly gave those instructions repeatedly. In the New Testament, God gave us his only son to give us the grace that we might finally obey his commands. He allowed Jesus to come to love us by allowing us to see our hearts are knitted together with His. That we see ourselves and others with His gracious loving eyes. We have to distinguish what is the culture permit and what does God command? They should not be the same. We are to pursue Christ and aim to be Holy not assimilate to a culture that rebels and rallies against our God. It can feel uncomfortable but if our eyes are on eternity with Christ, saying no to permissive cultural practices should become easier over time.

Earlier that day I was running errands. I went to a Target for one thing. That one thing was not in the store so I decided to walk around a bit. Dangerous, I know! I walked through the women’s clothing, accessories, bedding, back through the accessories and women’s clothing. I tried on a lot of sunglasses and touched many handbags. I left the store only buying one t-shirt!

As I was driving away, I began to think about how much I desire to buy new clothing and accessories. How much I desire to join in the beauty and fashion trends taking place. How the pull of obtaining more clothes, more accessories, longer lashes, specific nude colored lipstick permeate my mind. I follow a lot of online boutiques on social media so I constantly see the clothes I don’t have and decide very often that I need thirty new tops every month. Social media is now interwoven with ads of all types. These ads are catered specifically for you through algorithms. Its easy to get caught up in striving to look a certain way or follow current trends.

I often feel I need to be prettier. Prettier and prettier. I have to achieve more as far as appearance. I have to improve my appearance. I have to aim to look better than I do today. Its feels like a beating drum…. Prettier….prettier….prettier. A pounding drum.

For men, it could be you feel you need to make more money, improve your wages, get a bigger paycheck. More money…money….money. A pounding drum.

I then wondered what if I replaced that beating drum with the beating drum of God’s love? What if I put that appearance drum on mute. I believe I would hear the pounding drum of God’s fierce love. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You. DEEPER. FIERCER. That sound would be overwhelming and no other sound could replace it once I heard it truly.

It made me think of how I long for a husband. A husband that would take delight in me. That would be excited when I walked into a room. Or if I were doing something like the washing dishes a very mundane activity. My back is towards him as I zone out in the task before me. He, on the other hand, very much intently watching me. Radiating beautiful thoughts towards me.

So, if I take this vision and transplant it on the Lord…

Can I fully grasp how much he loves me already? How much it isn’t about my appearance? The clothes I wear, the makeup trends I choose to follow or reject, my hair style, my weight. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and instantaneously think “ugh,” when I don’t measure up to the standards I decided were important… NONE of these influence God’s love. God has been radiating beautiful thoughts on to me since before he knit me together in my mother’s womb. For every beat of “be prettier,” God beats “I LOVE YOU” louder, “I LOVE YOU DEEPER,” “I LOVE YOU FIERCER”….its a beat more steady and full than our own heartbeat. Its a rhythm with origins in Heaven that God gave us the grace to tune in to.

Havilah Cunnington posted this the other day on her Instagram. I thought it fit perfectly into the revelation I had.

Related Reading:

Sister, Your Worth is Not Found in Your Size

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Journaling

Notes to my Husband

This week I finished reading Captivating by John&Stasi Eldredge. They emphasize that this world needs my feminine heart. The people in my life need me to be who only I can be. “No one can be to the people in your life who you can be to them. No one can offer what you can offer.”

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I can risk being vulnerable because I am secure in God’s embrace. Through these last, uh….10ish+ years I have struggled with vulnerability. Holding back tears and swallowing that lump in your throat. Waiting until you get home to cry about a conversation that took place  hours prior. Standing there with the opportunity to honor your soul by speaking words but instead you bare the tension and fix your eyes on an invisible dot on the wall. Typing out a text message either lengthy or just “hey” then deleting it, because you can’t just keep putting your heart out there. Having all the right words while alone but feeling your strength fleeting in the presence of others. Deciding a pokerface is much better than mascara-tear face. Hot tears on my pillow are safer than tears stared at from across the room. Fearing that you’re feelings will repel others. This has been me time and time again. But as I grow in my Protector, I have felt more confident to be my uniquely feminine self. It’s not easy to open up and talk about the things that make my voice shake. I prefer to be well versed, eloquent, composed, unjarred. Life is messy, but there’s beauty in the struggle.
This is me sharing my feminine heart with you all today. Almost a year ago I started a list for my future husband. I reflected on past failed relationships and asked myself What Should the Next Guy Know? I thought at some point in my next  (and final ) relationship I’d share this list with my fiance/husband. Maybe a surprise on our wedding day?

12/16/13  1:23am
for my husband…
somethings you should know about me…

I love pasta, spaghetti, alfredo, lasagna, garlic bread, I love it all!

I’m quiet, a lot. you’ll have to be okay with that. just sitting next to me in silence and know that I’m perfectly content.

but…the once in a blue moon that I’m stressed, worried, scared, nervous, hurt – I hope God gives you the ability to know the difference because…

so many times i just can’t say what i want. fear holds me back from saying certain things. please be patient.

I will almost always forget to wash dirty pots and pans.

I’m far more sensitive and emotional than i let on. i may just cry in secret places at secret times. please be patient and kind.

I dont like many sports but would gladly go to any sporting events with you,  just because it’s you.

i may stare at you often. its because I’m in awe of you and your male-ness.

i love hot tea. hot coffee with flavored creamer.

I eat cereal all times of the day.

i love rainbows, glitter, sparkles.

I love to laugh, so i hope you’re funny.

hug me everyday please.

there is never enough “i love you”s

I’m writing  this on a day that all i can do is trust God that He is bringing us together, because know. ..

I’ve had boyfriends, crushes, flings, and unrequited love

and I’m putting in my faith that you’re mine to keep.

I like to sleep in.

unless we have plans, I probably won’t get dressed and put makeup on.

I’m not always on time.

I can’t wait to make a house into a home for US.

12/18/183. 2:35am
I don’t like to be rushed.

I can definitely be indecisive.

I don’t like yelling, slamming doors, cussing, acting out in anger towards me makes me not feel safe.

I dont like being called boring.

I’m shy. I don’t like meeting new people. I don’t like small talk. I don’t like superficial conversations.

so it may seem like I’m not trying to be social but I really am trying.

my perfect day with you would involve us laying in bed all day (even calling in to work) and just talk,laugh,and just be together.

I hope we have a million inside jokes.

6/11/14. 2am
I always have a pile of clothes on the bedroom floor.

I have to fall asleep with the fan on.

I eat strawberries in the middle of the night.

I hate car problems. I pray to God that you’re a car enthusiast…

and I drive on empty for days.

my mascara routine is entirely too long, be patient.

I don’t like crying in front of people, even myself.

if I’m in a sad mood and I choose to listen to music,it’ll be sad music. if I choose a movie, it’ll be a funny movie.

I procrastinate haircuts.

I’m perfectly happy sitting outside on a porch reading a book.

cloudy days make me feel like doing nothing.

I prefer any  chore except laundry.

I love macaroni and cheese.

8/6/14  1:50am
I don’t like being rushed to make a decision.

I prefer to have a partner when doing small things like running errands.

“I want the parts that you’ve tried to throw away -the parts that you were convinced no one could ever love”

every so often I fall in love with a song or movie and play it in repeat for days or even weeks a time.

everyday is an occasion for froyo

also donuts.

oneday I want to get in my car and drive to anywhere for the weekend.

8/26/14  2:05am
sometimes fear immobilizes me.

I love summer

but I like fall much better.

I love X-Files and hope one day you will too.

“if you’re a bird, I’m a bird” learn it. love it.

every once in awhile help me experience something new, at my own pace.

I like making lists 🙂

I go to bed really late.

I keep quiet about important decisions until I’m sure of my choice.

please give me a puppy.

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To be continued. ..

12/05/14    4:31pm

im usually too hard myself
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Related Music: Lord I’m Ready Now by Plumb, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBUQqLp6N24

 

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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Q&A

Makeup, Sex & Clubs

This morning I read a blog post from Girl Defined. I decided to share it and answer their follow up questions.
http://www.girldefined.com/popular-lose-respect-girl

Are you enticed by the culture’s message to “flaunt what you’ve got”? If so, why?

Yes I am enticed. One day I was getting dressed for Sunday service. I had tried on a few different tops, changed my pants numerous times. There were clothes everywhere. I was late. AGAIN. I had finally came upon an outfit to which I said out loud “I look cute.” Then it hit me. I look cute for what? For church? To be seated for about an hour? I look cute to listen to the pastor preach a sermon? Why was the look I was going for “cute” or “attractive?” Why cant I leave my apartment until I look attractive?
Having a very large bust with a 4’11 frame is interesting to say the least. If I don’t look modest I look erotic. If I wore a turtle-neck I’d still feel exposed. As a teenager and younger adult, I did have guidelines on how much skin I allowed myself to bare. Now almost 30, I have commandments *no pun intended* I feel naked in a tank top, in shorts above the knee, in a swim suit. Being so clothed I have still had the eyes of men on me. While wearing denim capris and a polo shirt, a very macho male coworker’s eyes were all over my calves. He said “what do you call those?” Capris I answered back. He gave me googly eyes and a smile and said with authority, “YES. capris, I like those.” I consider that man a friend but with firm boundaries. He is definitely not at all a docile man born and raised in a different country, one that accepts hyper-masculinity. I just shook my head and realized I could wear layers and layers but I’m uniquely feminine. I do not welcome attention to my body and body parts anymore .I haven’t for a long time actually. I used to walk into a club or party and revel in the amount of eyes on me. I’d apply my lip gloss at the exact moment some lustful guy was in my line of sight. Being short, I had the advantage of the “looking up at you-bat my eyes-maybe you can see down my shirt” move. I thought I was a pro. A VIP of something. The attention fed my sultry ego. To walk into a room and automatically have all eyes on you feels a lot like power. Men reaching out to touch your hand or hip to get your attention as you walk by as if you don’t see them. That was a good feeling for a budding 20something girl. GIRL. Those *Johns* were never in it for the long haul. They wanted something seductive to make them feel like Men. The quickest way for a man to “feel like a man” is through sex. There were plenty of times it made me “feel like a woman.” To be wanted by a man, makes you feel like a woman. In a time where gender is seemingly negotiable, there’s something to be noted here. This powerful exchange between a man and woman (even if strangers or acquaintances) barely touches the surface of the Missing Part of our relationship with one another. If “flaunting” IT, got me closer to that powerful feeling,I did it.

In what ways are you tempted to “allure” guys with your beauty?
I’d like to say that I’m not tempted to allure a guy. I am tempted. Every once in a while I recall those times I mentioned above. In recent years I thought I still wanted that. But it’s not the same. The essence of that person is gone. She moved out and I haven’t seen her since. She took her pompous attitude with her too. I see magazines, online articles, internet memes that are straight to the point. With big long lashes, plump lips, long shaved legs, voluminous hair, and every list of so called “tips” to getting him to notice you. I’m tired of following lists. If he didn’t see me and walk up to me, speak words to my face, then I truly don’t care. I still require that my eye lash game be on point though. Guys remember eyes. Or so I read on the internet somewhere.

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Do you view modesty as a tool that places value on your most intimate parts?
I do view that modesty places value on my most intimate parts. When your body is exposed people feel comfortable to make comments regarding your body. Two years ago, a friend posted a picture of us from an event we attended. A “facebook friend” messaged me a very bold statement regarding my “bust” but he didn’t say bust he used a different word. Not disrespectful on its own, probably said by many 6th grade boys. I’m sure it was similar to a knee-jerk reaction to see something with his eyes and then let me know what he saw. I felt offended. His comment was out of line, unnecessary, unwanted. I know what every inch of my body looks like. I didn’t need him to send me an obnoxious message spotlighting my body parts. “Some things are needless to say”—I Said. He apologized. “I’m just a boob-guy.” NEEDLESS TO SAY. STOP. SAYING. THINGS. He made a few more intended apologetic sentences but I could tell his brain was functioning in a different capacity. The messages ended there. I realized again, modesty is for the best.
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Since your body is God’s temple, in what ways should you respect it?
I should respect by practicing modesty in how I dress and in my behaviors. I’m not wanting male attention towards my body parts but me as a whole. Me in my entirety. Men fall in love with their eyes, and their eyes are everywhere. Call me beautiful once, but do you KNOW if I’m beautiful? I’ve begun to divert attention away from outward beauty by saying “It’s just makeup” “It’s just Covergirl and Maybelline” “It’s just whitening strips” “It’s just shampoo and conditioner.” It gives suitors a quick LOL. You like what you see but would you like what you haven’t yet seen? My face with no makeup, my hair with no products, my body with no clothes? I don’t trust the average guy to answer me honestly. Everyone looks good in the dark at 2am. I have been respecting my body as God’s temple in that I no longer allow others to have access to it. There’s a cover charge and the Holy Spirit is the bouncer.image

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my mascara face & the photo I edited because “too much” was showing (2012)

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

Related Reading:

http://www.girldefined.com/clothes-on

http://www.girldefined.com/4-ways-raunch-culture-lying

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