Monday, February 27, 2012

A Friend in Jesus

"Whether you are wrestling in prayer over potty training your toddler, or laboring over the eternal fate of your child's soul, the victory lies in wrestling, importunate, diligent prayer." -Leslie Ludy, Set Apart Girl Magazine

I pray about everything. All the time. A lot of times over the tiniest struggles I'm having. Sometimes a voice in my head says "why do you keep bothering God with that, that's silly." While I do believe there are things that we should not pray for ("God, please make me rich and powerful") I have come to believe that it is okay if I run to him with my silly little problems. I think of the parable of the importune woman. Importune means to beg for, persistently without ceasing. In the parable, the woman pleads her cause to the unjust judge so persistently that finally he gives in. God loves us and when we come to him in importune prayer, rather than seeing it as annoying, he is touched by our diligence and faith. It is okay to come to God with our pleas of "Help my baby to take a good nap" or "Help me to know how to raise this child." No matter the seriousness of the desired thing, if it is a righteous desire, large or small, he will come to our aid.

Also printed in the same article of the quote above are the words to this beautiful hymn: A Friend in Jesus. These words ring so true to me as I have seen His hand in even the tiny details of my life:
  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?

    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there.
What better friend could we have?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Obsession with PRETTY

(She is SO pretty)
I want desperately to be pretty. I don't know why or exactly when this unsatisfiable desire hit me, but it has been so hard to tame it. I think it started somewhere in middle school. I was painfully shy (no really, people would ask me questions and I was too scared to say anything back for fear of saying something stupid so instead I said nothing) but then boys started to pay attention to me. And somehow in my silly little mind I equated attention from boys=self worth. Which later became being pretty=attention from boys=self worth. So for most of my life I've struggled with this notion in my head. I know it's not true, I know that I am of infinite worth because I am God's daughter. But for some reason I can't get myself to believe that wholeheartedly. It is an everyday battle. I see the  photoshopped pictures of Victoria Secret women and it makes me feel so insecure about my own body and features. I know it's silly. They aren't real. Just pictures. But still I can't help but feel horribly inferior. Then I look around me at real people with perfect features, perfect make up, perfect hair, and I feel more inferior.
These ones are real, and there is no way I can compete.

But I shouldn't compete. It doesn't matter! One day we will all be old and wrinkly. I know, I know, its inner beauty that counts. I know that! But why do I have this worldly desire to be "hot." I want it so bad! How do I get rid of it? It's never going to happen. And even if I could magically be turned to pretty...would it really satisfy this longing to feel of worth? No, of course not. No worldly thing will.

My obsession with being pretty has ALWAYS been debilitating in one way or another. When I was younger, it caused a rift between my friends and me because I was jealous. I never loved them as much as I could have because I was too jealous. As I got older, it kept me (and still does sometimes) from focusing on others. I get so caught up with thinking how I don't measure up to my idea of pretty and all the things that are wrong with me that I totally forget there is a world around me and people with much more serious needs than me and people who need love and care. And I am just so caught up thinking how my chin is so big or something of the like that I don't notice anyone or anything.

What I really want deep down inside is to give it up. To stop wanting to be that perfect, flawless, worldly pretty. To just be me. And not worry about it. I want to forget about me and my features and my body and my looks and focus on others and how I can serve and help others feel loved. I don't really want to be focused so much on myself.

I'm just not exactly sure how to get there. I think it all starts with my thoughts though. I must "take captive every thought" as it says in the bible. When my thoughts start going towards "me me me" I just have to kick them out like I would any other degrading thought. When I see pictures of perfectly perfect women I just have to resist comparing myself. When I see other beautiful girls pass by I must focus on loving them rather than jealousy.

And I really just gotta love me. Sometimes I think I get glimpses of how God sees me, and loves me, and then I can love myself. If I strive to get closer to him, then I will better know myself and better love myself.

And when I love myself I can be free of my obsession with being pretty. I'll be free of feeling inadequate. And I'll be free to focus on others and helping them feel loved. That's what I really want. More than being pretty.