Monday, April 28, 2014

New Glasses & Nudists

My style is something I have been building over the last couple of years. And I have been putting it off for months, but I finally started trudging through store after store in search of a new pair of glasses. It was an experience that stretched me, and got me thinking about style.

No, in case you’re worried, this is not just a girl’s post about fashion, but I do want my clothes to reflect me as a person and not one particular style. Ultimately I want a wardrobe that is unique to me and my lifestyle, and is not defined by trends or what’s popular.

I want the flexibility to be more than one kind of person
 when it comes to clothes.

I probably tried on a hundred pair of glasses before I settled on these, but I was worried-- they were different and new-- even though I had been ogling over this cat eye meets hipster librarian style for months. Most people liked the frames I had before, and by getting new ones I knew I would risk positive and negative feedback. I had a fiance, family, and really close friends who I would much rather like my glasses than tolerate them. My relationships are not grounded in my looks, but I was still worried.

It’s hard, especially when we all can find things we don’t like about ourselves. Clothes are something we have control over when it comes to our image and who we want to be stylistically. I have had a lot of ups and downs since I made the decision to dress how I really wanted to dress a few years ago, including the style of glasses I wore, and have had to battle the embarrassment and insecurities of not fitting in or not looking good to others...

Even when I wear something that could be deemed “stylish” or trendy.

Actually, I wanted to fall in love with the way I looked. Not in a self-absorbed, vein desire for beauty in myself, but an appreciation and delight in the beautiful, wonderful, and mysterious way God created me.

Let’s face it, God created man and woman to be naked. That’s something I fully believe. Our original adornment was our bodies. The uniqueness of shape, size, color, hair, smell, and whatever else you can think of was God’s spoken masterpiece. Until we sought to open our eyes, and ate the fruit God had forbidden us to eat. We fell and spoiled the experience, beauty, and unashamedness of being able to see and even enjoy each other’s bodies without it being something deemed wrong, dirty, lustful, and sinful outside of marriage. I’m not talking about having sex with any and everyone here, or lust, I’m talking about enjoying aesthetic beauty: things that are pleasing to the eye. 

God was not hiding from us something we rightfully deserved to know, I think He was saving us from ourselves and was planning to give us a better life we could enjoy

I am no pervert when I say I would love to be in a world where it is okay to be completely naked, and we could go through life in a way where that was not such a shameful, wrong thing to do.

Do I think it’s possible to change our thinking? Should we all become nudists?

No, unfortunately, I think that is a mistake we will have to bear for the rest of our lives. It’s a touchy subject that I do not know much about, but I do know that God covered Adam and Eve. Whether He did it for their own well-being because they were embarrassed by what He created, or because they had cheated themselves of a wonderful existence that could have been theirs… I am not sure.

Maybe that is something that can be restored, I do not want to doubt the power of the Holy Spirit to change our way of thinking and living. However, that has not been a particular subject that God talks about restoring in this world from what I have read in Scripture.

What on earth does this all boil down to?

My desire is to enjoy and flatter the body that God has given me, rather than try to change my appearance. I am not saying that clothes are bad, or make-up is bad, or getting a new hair cut is bad, or that shaving is bad, or anything like that. I am saying that for a long time I have been stumbling along in a discovery of finding my beauty and worth in something more grounded than anything I could try to manage and control (like my looks).

I still brush my hair, enjoy styling it, wear makeup sometimes, and prefer clothes that make me look and feel “better”. There’s a different mindset I have to constantly choose to live by though in order to enjoy my appearance and still honor God. I have to be in sync with Him, and understand His way of perceiving beauty.

I have to know that God doesn’t want me to despise and shamefully hide the way I was made. He also is guiding me in how I dress so that I point others to Him and not fall easily into the pit of being admired and complemented by others (both of which I think are acceptable things, but they’re a problem when they get to our head).

I think He wants you to live that way too: free to express your true beauty and style preferences. Not so you can seek to offend or harm anyone, but in a way that frees you from conformity and allows you to enjoy being you (even if… *looks around nervously* you’re a Christian!).

God sure thinks you look good: Genesis 1:31.

Friday, April 25, 2014

God Told Me to Build an Ark

Except this ark is made out of Google documents, red pens and highlighters, pages of paper, lots of ink, and a hardback cover. Still clueless? I'm talking about a book.

This was my year to write a book.

Several times this year I have wanted to give up on that plan altogether, but I had a strange albeit real conviction that God was telling me, "No, I want you to write a book. Just not yet."

I've been eaten up inside because I do not have an idea I can stick with. Today I was pretty annoyed that I did not know what to write about. I have tons of ideas, but I can't seem to make any of them pan out or focus on them long enough to pull a book out of it.

That's when it hit me... "Not yet, Marissa." I am not supposed to write a book yet. God is going to give me that idea, that certainty of knowing what to write, it's just I am not ready for it. At first I did not know why He was telling me this, but now I understand that it must be in part because I am not ready. I fully believe He’s right.

It was my light bulb moment.

For once, I am not supposed to think or try to write a book. Do you know how hard that is for me? I've spent so much of my life slipping in and out of the "thinking about writing a book" mode.

I am going to keep writing. That's exactly what I feel like He's telling me to do. However, it won't be for a book or in that mindset. My blog has been on my mind a lot lately, and I've been considering just stopping and getting rid of the whole thing.

It's not time to throw in the towel unfortunately. Instead I have some wimpy creative and writing muscles that need exercised, and I am afraid my readers will be put through the ringer as I pursue that.

There are a lot of people who are actually writing good stuff about life, dating, marriage, sex, creativity, being real Christ followers, healthy living, authenticity, fashion, pain, fitness, joy, cooking, and whatever else you can think of.

My challenge is this:
to be intentional about blogging
to just write what needs to be said.

One statement I am going to avoid with a passion is saying, "This is something we need to be talking about," and I am just going to do it.

I may not be completely original, or come up with a new formula or way to approach things, but I can add my voice to the ones who are making a difference in their writing. And I can say things in my own unique way. 

Saying all of this is to prepare you... I am going to start talking about some weird, awkward, taboo stuff for me, things that I do not usually write about and post on the internet.

I'm ready to start putting days into original, heart-pouring-out blog posts instead of a couple hours. I am ready to recommit, to be raw again, authentic, and unafraid to write about what I am really pondering over. I have been prepared and commissioned to do so by my Lord.

I have a lot of butt-kicking, stinky sweating, muscle cramping, fitful screaming, fear stomping, doubt smashing, adrenaline pumping work to do. Wanna come?

It’s time to build an ark. 

Good bye, book-to-be. I do not know when I will see you again, hopefully soon, but right now I have some other writing to accomplish. I will get back to you when it's your turn.