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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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Whats So Wrong With Being Single?

Today it’s a regular Monday in April. Cloudy and rainy here in Midwestern USA. I don’t watch weather forecasts but prefer to take the day as is. I prefer to not stress myself over things I do not control. Adding information such as, “partly sunny” and “30% chance of rain” does not serve my over-thinking brain well.
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I actively practice controlling my thoughts. Not every thought I think should be surfed on. Some lead to old ways of thinking, some lead to negative self-talk, some lead to worry. Some of my thoughts come from God. Like, when I get married I’d like to move to a smaller community outside of my main city. If and when I have children, I’d like to home-school them for a while. I’ve had these thoughts come to me that I would never think on my own. In fact, they sound a lot like things I would scoff at. I measure them based on a few key ideas.

*Is it what God would say?
*Can it be rooted in Scripture?
*Does it make sense?
*Is it healthy for me? Does it create peace and joy?

If I’m thinking something that does not fit in with what God says, is not found in God’s Word, it doesn’t make sense, and is not healthy…..then I sever the thoughts from my heart and mind.

One thought (question) that keeps reoccurring is, What’s So Wrong With Being Single?

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I have been Single since May 2012. I’m very much used to being single, relationships are what is foreign to me. My last relationship was almost 3 years ago. Though there was a ‘situationship’ (please see The Purge, and Is It Official?) that became active again after that relationship ended, it’s been almost 2 years since I have seen that person. Though text messages still sporadically surfaced, nothing significant ever materialized. And that, has described my romantic life (HA!) for the past 3 years.

On Thursday, I found myself having to kill an hour of time before meeting with a friend. I had chosen to pop into a Mexican-themed restaurant to grab a bite to eat near our meeting location. After parking and deciding that crossing the busier street was just going to be too much effort, I looked around and spotted a seafood restaurant. All my life I have claimed to hate seafood. However, I have learned to enjoy shrimp, sushi, calamari, and the random main dish of some type of fish another good friend has cooked for me. I used my phone to look at the restaurant’s menu just to confirm the pull I was feeling. They had a happy hour menu which means cheaper items and smaller portions. I spotted the words Fish Taco. Hmm, I always hear about fish tacos. In movies like I Love You, Man.

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“beer battered or blackened white fish, slaw, pineapple pico de gallo, avocado and charred jalapeño crema 3.5”
Pineapple, avocado, jalapeno. Decision made. I walked in and was sat at a booth. I ordered the fish taco and it was delicious.

I tell you all this in detail because I don’t do spontaneous too much. I had originally picked the Mexican place because I have been there multiple times, and I know what to expect. I was proud of myself to have done something I hadn’t even thought about. There is more to what I felt in those moments of a solitary disposition. I felt content. I felt relaxed. I felt pleased with myself. I was enjoying the time I was spending with me.

On Friday, I met my family at the zoo. They were already inside and so I paid for my own ticket in. We visited a few attractions together but they were on a time crunch so they had to leave after a while. I decided to stay a bit longer. I have had thoughts about going to the zoo by myself, but would never follow through. I found it amusing that the pull had its way anyway. I visited the Kingdom of the Night, Aquarium and Butterfly Exhibit. I walked at my own pace, I stopped and watched animals for however long I wanted. There was no pressure to hurry along or to stay with the group. It was just me, and I enjoyed it. I had a great time with me.

So I ask, Whats So Wrong With Being Single? What is so wrong with you that you don’t want to be alone with you? I can honestly say that I think I have fallen in love with myself. All my curves and all my edges, All my perfect imperfections. I have so much peace and joy residing in me. I’m casting out fear daily. I love me so I’m not depending on anyone else to need to love me. I am who my Creator says I am.

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. –Isaiah 49:16

When you truly love yourself, and know that you know that you know that God does Love *YOU*, you won’t need anyone else to love/like/want you.

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Related Reading:
http://www.crcna.org/resources/church-resources/reading-sermons/engraved-palm-his-hand
http://theonlinebibleschool.net/single-articles/controlling-your-thought-life.html
http://www.girldefined.com/handle-unexpected-single-years
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