Monday, July 23, 2012

A Very Heavy Heart

Hello Beautiful

I took a nap this evening that ended in one of the saddest nightmares I have ever experienced.  It felt so real that even as I awakened I had to remind myself it was not reality to prevent myself from crying.  As I scrolled my newsfeed on Facebook, I came across the most recent post of an acquaintance.

They were an influential leader with a brilliant mind and strong heart.  Recently I began to see curious posts on their Facebook.  Post that questioned our perception of religion, politics, and capitalism.  I was a fan.  We are constantly bombarded with information from every portion of life, we hardly have a second to think and challenge these ideologies.  Yet as I read the latest post I began to feel worry and sorrow that this line of questioning had gone too far.  I dare not judge their stance on the subjects, this is not the place nor is it relevant.

What terrifies me is how they jumped from questioning man, to questioning God; seeking a higher self-enlightenment.  If we began with the premise that humanity and its systems are fallible and corrupt, how did we end up trusting in our own humanities thoughts, instead of a loving, all-powerful, mighty, and perfect God?  I was grieved inside as I saw this progression unfold.  A sadness on par with my nightmare; a vision that coincided with my acquaintance’s post.

Question the systems of the world around you—religion, politics, economy—and find their faults.  But do not completely write off the system; become a part of the solution.  I am reminded of when Christ became angry in the temple.  He was upset with the current state of religion, but did not come to destroy the church, rather to save it.  God calls us to love, joy, and peace.  To create beauty and exert our dominion over the Earth not as a destructive force, but as its care-takers.  To be a part of the solution the world needs; not to remove ourselves from it.  It is when we lose our focus that our fallibility comes forward.  But when we focus on God’s original plan, an intimate relationship with Him, our beauty and perfection are founded in His.

I write to you with a very heavy heart,
You are beautiful.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beef and Causality

Hello Beautiful

I made steaks today.  A rare yet boss occurrence.  Seasoned with saffron salt, fresh parsley, and an assortment of secret spices, I placed each slab of succulence upon the grill on medium-low heat for twenty-five minutes.  (Vegans and Vegetarians please stay with me).  Initially superficially red, upon my return the exterior of my steaks were evenly cooked yet filled with juiciness.  When I cut into one I was saddened to find it was not quite done; requiring seven additional minutes.

When we first decide to transform something—our image, friendships, or behaviors—we begin as this bloody red steak.  It is obvious from the outside that work needs to be done.  Someone decides to put in the effort.  Whether it is ourselves, a friend, or church, spices are added and the heat turned up, slowly and carefully transforming us into the person we wish to become.

It is easy to treat the symptoms of our lives; like a doctor prescribing ice and tissues when we have a fever.  Some time later we may not appear to be sick—the snot is wiped constantly from our face and the ice lowers the temperature on the thermometer.  The truth remains that the influenza that has ridden our system is killing us.

It is a strong belief of mine that there are two types of problems with humanity.  The illnesses that are symptoms and those that are causes.  We can easily identify problems with alcoholism, self-affliction, promiscuity, violence, and dishonesty.  We can treat these problems easily.  Two-drink limit. The buddy system. Church attendance. New hobbies.  All great solutions to problems we face as a reality.  However, stopping here is like only cooking the outside of your food.  There are reasons we are drawn to these vices.  Our deep issues of self-worth, abandonment, loneliness, and emptiness are root causes common to every human.  While they may not manifest themselves in destructive behaviors, they are no less poisonous to our bodies.  Remaining undetected, these deadly cancers spread until they kill us from the inside out.

The transformation that God desires for our lives is one of completion.  He does not want you to appear good as you slowly die inside.  As I bit into my steak and enjoyed its fully cooked, juicy deliciousness I thought of how God sees the gourmet meal we will become.  I thought of you and how you are beautiful.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Audrey: Dance for Healing

Hello Beautiful

This week we will be featuring our first interview: Audrey. She is featured as this month’s background and you can see the rest of her photo shoot on Facebook.

Nickname: Audrina, Oz, Shnardbark
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Major life dream: Public relations at a major performing arts venue.
Least favorite vegetable: Are olives a vegetable?

What do you believe it means to be beautiful?

Beauty means confidence. It's downright heartbreaking to see a girl struggling with who she is, in a constant state of TRYING. Trying to be perfect—good enough, smart enough, thin enough, talented enough. This girl is uneasy. It's not that this girl is ugly—her beauty is hidden under layers of burden. Confidence is key. And the umbrella that covers these things is God's Identity. How often we forget that He molded us especially the way He wanted to!

How do you feel that dance relates to beauty?

Yet another loaded question! I've always recognized a freedom in dance that I've never found anywhere else. Dance lets me explore, create and emote whatever is on my mind and in my heart, both good and bad. I can be completely transparent or entirely masked in the guise of someone else. Dancers are some of the most brilliant, maddeningly unreasonable people in the world. When they dance, they are in their purest, truest and freest form. It's nothing short of exhilarating, nothing short of addicting, nothing short of beautiful.

How have your challenges at home developed you?

It’s funny… until recently I had never thought of my home challenges as sources of 'development’. I considered myself victimized by them, fragmented beyond repair and eternally closed off from the fullness of God because of how angry I was. But within the past half a year God has been working in my heart and teaching me about forgiveness. I've come to realize that in order to grow into the woman God's called me to be, I had to first be real with my past and choose to forgive the people and situations that wounded my little girl heart. It's so hard to let things go and "cancel the debt," but I've already seen so much growth and healing come of it. It's taught me how to love more like Christ loved.

Has developing your dance alongside your faith helped you face your struggles?

Without a doubt. Before I became a Christian, I danced to be seen and heard. It validated me. After I started dancing as a form of worship, it took the focus off of me and onto God. When performing, people aren't seeing me—they are seeing God through me. The validation I sought after as a child doesn't matter as much anymore. Dancing has a bigger purpose, a healing purpose for me. What could be more fulfilling than to be called by God to add beauty to people's lives, to inspire them, or simply put a smile on their faces?

Thank You
You are Beautiful