Earlier this week I shared that I recently retired from my little accessory business. The one thing that I am going to miss is that moment when I get to respond to someone who says to me "oh these are really cute, but I couldn't pull it off."
Well not with that attitude.
That's when I get to show them all the ways to wear a headband that look supes adorbsies. Then I get to say things like "supes adorbsies" out loud, and in a context that begs for such expressions. And I get to make people feel beautiful. And I'm really gonna miss that. I mean, I know that shifting over to a speaking and writing career ensures that I will still get to say plenty of obnoxious things out loud, but I will miss teaching an insecure 12 year old girl how to pull her own hair up and make it look pretty and effortless. Not because I think young girls need to value their appearance more but because I think that feeling pretty should be effortless, especially when you're twelve. I like to help people realize that they are more beautiful, more powerful, more brave and more capable than they ever dared hope. And I like to convince them that they are those things RIGHT NOW. Not "I used to be..." or "someday I will be..." but that we possess immeasurable value right this very minute.
It's easy to look at a picture of ourselves from back in the day and think, "man, I wish I was as cute as I was back then." The problem is that we didn't think we were cute back then either. I am definitely guilty of this photo dysmorphia phenomenon. Tom once called me out on it. He said "Lara, you can look at a picture of yourself from a half hour ago and still think you used to look better."
Ugh. I'm so sick of my husband being a mentally stable, wise old sage of a man.
I believe in both diligently pursuing growth, and also learning self-acceptance in the process. God himself created man and said we were "very good." He never said a darn thing about how we used to be cute. He just adored us as he made us. BUT, he doesn't let us stay where we are, either. If we think about God as the perfect parent, then this is very easy to grasp. Whether you are a parent or not, you have most likely experienced that pure, uninhibited love for a new baby. You just LOVE them. Based on nothing. They have zero accomplishments apart from coming out of a uterus, and they can hardly take credit for that achievement. We love them before they DO anything, because we love what they are. We just love that they are.
But, that doesn't mean we don't teach them to do things, or to become things. When you love a baby, you equip them and empower them and challenge them to strive for the next milestone. And we love children whether they meet the milestone or not, but we are always holding their hands and encouraging that next step.
This is how God sees you. And me. We are just a bunch of big, useless babies trying to stumble around and get some things right. God loves us just as we are, just because we are. But, he also grabs hold of our sticky little hands and guides us sweetly toward the next step of faith.
My #AdamsActs for Day 6 is one of my favorite kindnesses from previous years, and is one I look forward to every year! Leaving little notes of encouragement in the locker room at the gym is perfect for this phenomenon because, to me, the gym is such a tangible and physical example of this spiritual truth... of both accepting ourselves (and even appreciating ourselves) in our current state, but also, not settling in and staying stagnant where we are. My sister, Kristin recently sent me this quote:
Day 6 - notes at the gym to encourage all the masterpieces who are working out their progress.
It doesn't matter if a few people don't like one of VanGogh's paintings... anything he paints is extremely valuable, just because it bears the artists name. As an image-bearer of God, it really doesn't matter where you are at in your process, you are a masterpiece because you were created by a master. Bearing his name is what gives you value.