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Friday, April 27, 2012

Enthralled

   Happy Friday, my loves!

  I'd planned to end the week of here at Sweetness Itself with a fun post - I was going to tell you about my new favorite nail polish, how I did a couple DIY projects this week, and maybe even demonstrate (per request from Mandy :) how to do "beachy waves" in your hair. Those things are sweet, fun and I love them - but, they've been pushed to the back burner tonight...because I want to share with you something more important I've been thinking about. Kinda like when you sit down for a long-awaited coffee date with your close friend, and instead of starting off with small talk about the weather, that gorgeous top she's wearing, or the amazing latte you've got in your hand - you dig right in to the deep stuff - the stuff you've been dying to tell her but just can't bear to over the phone or a text, the thoughts that have kept you awake at night as they mull over in your mind.


  So if this were our coffee date (and I wish it were!) I would take a sip from the big mug on the table as you ask me "So, how's life?"  and I'd jump right in. Because, you see - that's the kinda friends we are. Sadly, though, since we aren't at a little wooden table with steamy cups in our hands, go make some tea and come back. I've got stuff to spill, girl!

... I would tell you that I've been thinking about beauty lately.

  How I stumbled upon a news article earlier this week that featured before and after pictures of famous models and celebrities - the before shots: natural, the after shots: airbrushed. And how it got me thinking about the daily, hourly conditioning of our minds as to what "beauty" is.

   I would tell you that I realized something - I realized that if I were to take a 10 minute slice out of any given day in your week, there's a very high chance that you encountered the world's idea of "beauty" in those 10 minutes. A TV commercial, an advertisement, a billboard flashing past the car window, a sign up at school or work, a magazine cover you don't even intend to look at but are faced with as you stand in line at the grocery store, or an advertisement on the sidebar of your e-mail account. And I would tell you that I realized something else: that many of the images we see and unconsciously compare ourselves to - as women - are nothing more than painted-over pictures. Like this one, for example:

Kourtney Kardashian released this photo - 1 week after giving birth
to show how much OK Magazine photoshopped her cover photograph. 

  I've found much more graphic (and clothes-less) versions of before/after airbrushing pictures, and you've probably stumbled upon them before. But I just share the above photo to remind us of the truth - that many of the pictures we see depicting "beauty" are not even real. (By the way, does anyone else notice? They even made the baby look better and smaller - that's just wrong!)

  These images of beauty flash at you and me constantly - and without even knowing, we slowly but surely file them away in our hearts and minds... until they jump out to haunt us at unexpected times. They pop up in the form of little whispers in your mind and heart as you stand in front of the mirror each morning. Whispers of little lies that haunt you - "Your skin is not clear... You're fat. Your chest is the wrong size. Your eyes don't sparkle. Your nose is huge. Your hair is an awful color. Your eyes are too small. Your lips are too thin and your waist is too thick." You try your best to push the thoughts away, to erase them with a little concealer, to cover them with lipstick. But they linger there, over your head like a cloud, following you throughout your day.

  They whisper lies that trigger thoughts from the past. Thoughts you don't like to think about, reminding you of things you wish had never happened. The way they treated you. Those words she said that stung and haven't gone away with the passing of time. The way he dumped you, the words he spoke that cut you down, the way he treated you.
And the whispering lies just get worse.

Lies that say:

"You're ugly, worthless, and no one will ever love you."
"Your ideas are silly" 
"He left because you did something wrong"
"Nothing will ever change"
"Your dreams won't come true"

I know these kinds of lies. Their whispers in my heart haunt me sometimes. They tear me down. And I start to feel really bad. They make me feel like I just want to crawl under my down comforter in my bed and cry in the darkness. They make me feel worthless and like I will never belong.


  But, sisters - I am here to tell you something - something that nobody really wants to say. Something that seems like mere words on a page, but in reality - is as powerful as lightning.

God doesn't say those things about you.
Those whispers are not His.
Those whispers are LIES... lies, I tell you.

   And if we were sharing a coffee date, I would tell you that I want to remind you and me of truth. Of what is real. These reminders I am going to share are rather simple and not all that glamorous. But the Lord put them on my heart this week, in light of my thoughts on beauty and concerns about how the media and culture influences our way of thinking... and I want to remind you (and me) of simple truth. Truth that is beautiful.



God says inner beauty - our hearts - is what lasts, what matters.

 "Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised."
- Proverbs 31:30

He says He loves us.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love...
I have drawn you with lovingkindness."
-Jeremiah 31:3



 
And He says....


You are beautiful.



You are not alone.



You are special.



You are forgiven.



You are loved by God.



You are a precious gem.



And you can fly.



    People can try to tear us down, the media can strive to make women feel worthless with airbrushing efforts to make models look a certain way. But they can never steal truth away from you or me. So hold onto that, girl. They cannot take away your confidence, your voice, or your true beauty. And no one can change what God says is true. And ya know what my favorite thing He says about us is? That we are princesses to Him. And that He is enthralled by us.


"The King is enthralled by your beauty,
honor Him for He is your Lord."

-Psalm 45:11


  If we were having a coffee date, I would probably be wiping away a few tears right now, as you took the last sip of your latte. We'd hug and exchange "Call me"s and "Have a good weekend"s.


 And with that, you'd get in your car and I'd get in mine.
 And as you drove away, I'd send you a little text that said,

"Girl remember... He's enthralled by our beauty. True beauty.
 Let's go honor Him for HE is our God. Love you!"


Don't forget it, k?

Hugs and Happy Weekend, you beautiful soul.


XO

Erin


44 comments:

  1. Erin, this is amazing.
    I'm learning to filter out the things that I see without choice. It's frustrating how much of these lies are IN OUR FACE!
    Every day we must speak those messages like that 'text message' from you and hold on to the truth!

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  2. You are beautiful inside and out! Thank you for sharing. I feel so blessed to have read this, it's a great start to my day :)

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  3. What a great post to read on a beautiful Friday morning! Thank you so much for the truth, honesty, and just transparency that you write with. You are a true inspiration to me. Be Blessed.

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  4. You are beautiful, Erin. Thank you, yet again, for this much-needed reminder. I SO WISH we could talk sometime....

    xo
    purposelyathome.blogspot.com

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  5. This post is a testament to just how beautiful you are dear friend :) Love you. This really hit me where I needed it this morning. I think without realizing it, I get completely wrapped up in this negative way of thinking. I can't say thank you enough for this beautiful reminder. Happy Friday!! :)

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  6. Thank you so much for that. You don't know how much I need to hear that this week. :-)

    Michelle

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  7. This was really beautiful. I have two little girls, and I
    am so glad that ideas like this are spread in the world they live in to counteract the destructiveness of the media's messages. And I'm glad they exist in my world too because I struggle with these things daily. Bless you

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  8. Erin, thanks for always having such inspiring posts!:D

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  9. Yes. Thank you friend for such wise and uplifting encouragement today!

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  10. Hey girl! Thanks so much for your encouraging words =)
    LOVE your posts, always =)
    Much love & miss you!
    L

    allglorious-within.blogspot.com

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  11. Beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  12. What a lovely and encouraging message to wake up to! Always love your posts, girl :)

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  13. Erin!! Thank you for always encouraging young women to embrace who they are, who God made them to be. It gives me hope that there are women like you in this world where everyone is so focused on perfection and beauty.

    I'm sure you've seen this Dove video, but that photo of the Kardashian sister reminded me of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

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  14. I wish that we could have that coffee date. SO encouraged by you! Have a great weekend, sweet girl!

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  15. Absolutely beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder :)

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  16. love love love this post :) Such a lovely reminder that I have really needed this week! You my friend are gorgeous and so dear to me :)

    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

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  17. We seem to be on the same page (http://theefirewife.blogspot.com/2012/04/too-much-and-not-enough.html). So glad you took the risk to share some love & some truth, even though its a bit heavy. So good to hear!

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  18. Crazy! I went to CVS tonight to pick up allergy meds and I literally had to run myself through the aisles and avoid every magazine in sight. I find that I'm in that place of seeing how those lies work their magic. How I am so easily enticed by magazines that say the same thing month after month - "Here is how to fix this and beat that and make it look better." ENOUGH! The only thing that needs fixing is my heart. So timely. I love yor convictions. This was a much needy confirmation that I've got to keep my eyes set on things above. Oh, and I'm so happy to mention, I went to CVS looking like a bum in pants with a hole and no makeup. And the world didn't end :)

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  19. ERIN! thanks!!! New follower but we are twitter friends and IG friends! :) LOVE this post! :)

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  20. Thank you for sharing this Erin! I think we all need to be reminded that we are beautiful. Have a great weekend!

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  21. My dear sweet Erin, you have once again moved me to tears. This was an excellent post. How I wish we were closer for real coffee dates! I am thankful for the ways the Lord brings us together though & very thankful for you my friend! Xo

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  22. gorgeous post! always a good reminder. Working in Hollywood, I always find that the women look more beautiful without the globs of make up because they look like real people!

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  23. Amen! Thank you for sharing. I am usually not affected by stuff like that as miChat as many of my friends, but then I am amazed to find the ways it does creep in to my mind. Thanks for sharing.
    Alesha <3

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  24. This is so true and often lays heavy on my heart as well. I hate hearing women talk about diets and workouts ALL THE TIME, knowing they are only comparing themselves to these "fake" women or maybe even women who have completely different types of bodies than they do. It is so important to take care of ourselves and to embrace this beautiful body that God has blessed us with. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

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  25. Go Kourtney for releasing that photo. Great post my dear, I'm so grateful for health that I've been blessed with. SO many things to be grateful for. xo

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  26. Love this post, although I think it's extremely sad and scary how much she (and the BABY!?) was Photoshopped!? Seriously. She looked completely fine in the first picture, and the baby is a baby!? How else is it supposed to look!?

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  27. Erin this was so precious. What an amazing reminder, I had tears reading it. Just moments ago, I told Jeff " I'm going to the Y this morning. I'm tired of feeling like a fatty."
    It's a dishonor to our creator to call what he sees as beauty, ugly. And instead of seeing things by his standards (he is God afterall) we let the culture decide what is beautiful.
    Thank you for this. This was God inspired:)

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  28. I just love you friend! Excellent post as always... I'm so glad for the friendship we share and I'm so proud of you for your posts and for "shining". :) hugs and happy monday!

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  29. I feel like crying tears of joy. Those same evil thoughts that you were speaking of have been evading my mind this morning. When I read your comforting and true words from God, I just wanted to let the tears of relief flow. Thank you so much for sharing these truths!
    I am SO grabbing your button, thanks for wanting to swap with little ole me! Oh and I love your shoes, by the way :)

    SoUtHeRnPiNkY.bLoGsPoT.cOm

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  30. great post Erin!!!

    just wanted to let you know that i just blogged about the swap :) check it out!!!

    http://feelingbloggy-read.blogspot.com/2012/04/spring-fling-swap-teatime-thoughts.html

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  31. THIS IS SUCH AN AMAZING POST!

    grace
    http://herumbrella.com

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  32. Erin!

    Wow what amazing and true words. So much truth!
    I struggle with this and I know ALL girls do. It's crazy how media warps out images of what true beauty is. Not ok. There are so many lies out there that I believe. I sometimes have to stop myself and go wooah there this is not the truth about who I am.

    I love the way you write as if we were friends going out to coffee. I am the same way with my friends. Coffee dates are the best!

    You are an inspiration!

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  33. i absolutely love this! and you are right, they did make the baby smaller. so sad that even a small newborn child is not good enough. thank you for showing the world it's flaws :)
    xo TJ

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  34. Love this! So true. And you are beautiful. This is my first visit to your blog.

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  35. This is very true, and very sweet. And I had coffee instead of tea ;) Also I am just lingering on your page for the music. Good stuff girl.

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  36. This is beautiful! You are so right about the media surrounding us with false images. Images we feel we have to live up to. However, reality is these images are not real and beauty is truly found within. What a great message you are sending out! <3

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  37. Words I needed to hear today...the truth! Thank you so much!

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  38. I am just completely in love with your blog. It is so awesome to see people who are so focused on the Lord, and who see the truth! You are not deceived by the secular, false opinions of the world. You know the truth, and your posts show it. <3

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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