No doubt many of you have heard the saying “beauty is more than skin deep”.  So what does beauty look like beyond the skin that covers us all?

For those of you that have read my earlier blog posts you would be familiar with my journey of struggling with low self-esteem. In my struggle I was always consumed with how I looked and how others viewed me. If my hair did not look perfect it would ruin my whole entire day!!! Not Kidding!!! There was no peace in my heart only anguish and pain.

The truth is the average female is never going to compete with a photo shopped super model on a magazine cover.

As an audience we are presented with the magazine cover while having no clue  to the many hours of hard work it took for that one perfect shot!

The movies, magazines and t.v. portray “The Beautiful Woman” as someone who is physically attractive.  They are equipped with the perfect teeth, hair, figure, clothes and lifestyle. “The Beautiful Woman” is depicted as someone that walks into a room causing chaos amongst a mesmerised crowd gazing at this amazing flawless female specimen. Imagine for a moment if thought bubbles were visible displaying individual’s thoughts as this beautiful woman walked into the room. The thoughts could read something like this:

“Who is that incredibly good looking woman?”

 “Oh I hope my husband isn’t looking at her, if he does, he is going to cop it when we get home”

“Oops I better not look too long or everyone else will notice that I am looking”

“There goes my effort at looking good tonight”

 

In a scenario such as the one I have described, the focus tends to be on the looks of that beautiful woman. Is anyone interested in wanting to know about her as a person? As in whom she really is on the inside? Her journey in life the struggles and triumphs!

Most people would get stuck at that point and not know how to go beyond those amazing looks to get to know her as a person. After all, this beautiful woman is a human just like everyone else.

What about if someone in the crowd decided they were going to approach this beautiful woman to get to know her? A brave person decides to have a conversation and they find out that while she is stunning in the looks department there is something about her attitude that is ugly suddenly shifting the focus off the looks to her as a person.  The ugliness takes over at that point! She still has the good looks however the brave person realises that she is not someone they want to associate with.

On the other hand imagine this beautiful woman having a beautiful heart!

A beautiful heart goes a long way. As females we can get so consumed with trying to look good on the outside forgetting about how we present ourselves as a person.  We make choices every day about how we are going to react in situations. We can be self-centred or others focused. We can be stingy or generous with our money and time. We can be rude or polite. We can ignore how our behaviour may affect others or we can choose to think before we speak or act. We can be unforgiving and resentful or we can choose to forgive anyway!

A person will always be remembered for how they make others feel not so much about how good looking they were. As you grow older your looks change year after year. Now that I am older and travelling through this midlife season in life I am noticing that it is more important to keep my heart right. Midlife can be such a challenging season so it is worth investing into “being beautiful” earlier rather than later.

In no way am I saying to ignore your looks and just let it all go! I am saying to “Be Beautiful” as a person. When faced with situations think about how you will respond?

People will want to hang around you when you are “being a beautiful” person.

True and lasting beauty starts and continues from the inside out!

The Merriam Webster dictionary has three simple definitions for the word Noise.

  1. A loud or unpleasant sound.
  2. A sound that someone or something makes.
  3. Unwanted electronic signals that harm the quality of something (such as a radio, or television broadcast or a digital photograph).

When you read the full definition of the word noise the Merriam Webster dictionary emphasises noise as being unpleasant and unwanted.

Normally we don’t pay much attention to sounds. Turn a sound into something unpleasant or loud however, will guarantee a response.  Noise can be a huge distraction as much as it can send our imagination wild.

An imagination gone wild moment comes to mind for my sister and me. One day we had decided that we would sleep under a cubby house that we had built. The cubby house was a single bed with a mattress. We covered it over with bed sheets and slide under the bed. There was not much room to move around as you can imagine and instead of looking up to see stars we saw metal springs from the bed frame. These metal springs were very close to us. Our determination and excitement kept us under that small space until we actually fell asleep. All of a sudden we woke up to noise that was coming from the front porch located right next to the bedroom window. The first thought was that a burglar was trying to get in. All I can remember was a sudden surge of panic under that bed! In our distress we got our mums attention and our hair stuck in the springs. Our mum walked in on our dilemma after hearing a lot of noise and asked what was going on? After telling her what we heard she went on to say it was just the weekly soft drink delivery.  We immediately relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the day. Noise has a way of telling a story when we are not expecting it to turn up especially at night in the dark.

How about those precious moments when you need total quietness and suddenly a loud noise interrupts everything you are doing? All you can think about is the noise. That happened to me last year as I was studying for an exam. With a house full of adult children and an eight year old it is not easy to find places that are quiet at home. On that particular morning I had tried every room with an effort to find a quite space. So I caved in and went upstairs to our bedroom which I usually avoid in summer as it gets too hot. However I was desperate to get more study done. I am not kidding as soon as I put all my equipment down on the floor and began reading notes a massive noise started outside my window. That usually NEVER happens! Why now I thought? It was impossible to study quietly when all I could hear was the sounds of machinery cutting down big trees over the road.

Noise can be very disruptive. How about the noise we have in our thoughts on certain days or in certain situations? It is interesting to note that the third definition for noise is: Unwanted electronic signals that harm the quality of something. When I was younger I had too many of those unwanted signals going on in my thought life. There is nothing more frustrating than having a desire to do something with your life and all you get are distractions! Harmful signals that keep coming into your thoughts causing interference. As a young person I considered those thoughts normal. They became so familiar to me that I really didn’t know any different. Yet they were very disruptive in every single area of my life. These thoughts were attached to something deeper. Once I began dealing with hurtful situations the less frequent they became. That has allowed me to have more quality in my life and my relationships. Hurtful situations can happen anytime. I find that even after all these years of resolving issues new ones turn up. I then have a choice whether I want to deal with them or ignore them. While it is important to deal with past hurts we must not forget to deal with current ones. Hurts turn into noise which become both distracting and interfering. Let’s do a heart tune up and get a pleasant sound happening once again.

When I think about short cuts the first thought that comes to mind are those moments when you are running late and need to be somewhere right now. You might be stuck in traffic that is gridlocked so in panic mode your brain switches into speed dial analysing all possible short cuts available in your current location. If by chance a short cut is possible your day is saved! You just bypassed every other commuter and were able to get to your appointment saving you the embarrassment of being late.

In life we find ourselves having to wait in many instances. We wait in queues until it is our turn. We might be waiting for the bus, a friend, or news about a job application. Mums to be wait nine long months before they get to see their baby. Waiting equals time! Our modern world has found ways to save time. You only need to think about the time saved with micro waves, clothes dryers, hair dryers, internet banking and shopping just to name a few time savers. Much of what we do today can be done from home saving time with home deliveries to doctor’s visits. We love saving time that way we can get more done. It sounds quite logical and reasonable why not save time when you can.

There are however areas of life that require patience which equals time. As humans we are not so good at waiting when it requires longer time. So we may become impatient and start looking for those short cuts. We might be unwilling to wait for our marriage to get better so we give up too quickly and take a short cut into another relationship before we have even given our marriage a chance at surviving. Perhaps we don’t have the patience to give ourselves time to heal after a broken heart and start a new relationship with all of the old hurts still attached. Or we may take short cuts by blaming other people for all the pain we feel yet fail to take time to recognise that we are hurting ourselves by not dealing with issues of the heart such as forgiveness, resentment, anger, disappointment, shame or guilt.

When it comes to broken body parts we are quite accepting that it is going to take time to heal. If you break an arm for example a doctor will plaster it up to restrict movement giving ample time for healing. You may feel annoyed at the inconvenience it causes yet you are aware that it needs to be done in order to have full use of your arm again.

In my life time I have had many temptations to take a short cut out when my marriage was struggling with issues. It seems that those temptations usually always appear when you are vulnerable to them. Thankfully in our case both of us were willing to sort through the hard stuff to get to a much better place which took plenty of time. In relationships you need to take time to communicate, forgive, be real and honest, talk about those tough topics, listen, give, understand and not quit on each other at the first sign of trouble.

Modern day has been very inventive in saving us time let’s however recognise those areas in our lives that need time without the short cuts. Let’s not get impatient with others or ourselves, after all relationships are valuable just as much as you are valuable.  A broken arm reaps the benefits of time inside plaster similarly your life and relationships will reap benefits when you allow more time to consider the real issues and begin working on them. If an arm were to remain broken imagine the pain and problems you would endure! Why do we do that to ourselves and others?   Don’t live broken forever as that is time lost. Gain more precious time by taking less short cuts and being courageous enough to face those issues of the heart.

A few decades ago……………. yes I am that old! Ok not ancient just mid-life’ing, my memories of earthly existence remind me of simplicity. We had our staple diet of bread, eggs, milk, meat, fruit and veg and it was considered healthy. As far as technology we had the radio and t.v. (with the basic few channels to choose from) or the cassette player for our music tapes. When difficulties occurred amongst families they used the basic form of communication which was face to face and found ways to forgive and sort issues out. Perhaps people persisted longer before giving up in relationships.  There was well-grounded common knowledge of right and wrong that most people adhered to. It was less of a wishy washy anything goes living! Life seemed more stable and secure.

In today’s environment the options are absolutely endless and forever changing. We are consistently marketed to with a smorgasbord of choices.  Supermarket shelves are filled with plenty of variety from processed foods to the organic or low fat options. Mobile phones and computers are outdated faster than we can keep up which makes for more options when upgrading your devices. Regular studies keep us informed of the health risks associated to certain foods or the over use of our modern technology. Perhaps you may have noticed that even that information can change from one week to the next. So while we have this endless list of options we are told that these options are not necessarily good ones or we may be told later on that the information was incorrect. Essentially there is nothing wrong with options however with so much information overload it is evident that life is not as secure or simple as it used to be. We have so much information available that making decisions tend to be over analysed and scrutinised to such a point that it can be difficult to recognise the right choice.

The internet provides information on a 24/7 basis and with social media opinions and ideas are before us consistently. There are websites for everything these days. So if you need advice you just google the answer and if that answer is not suitable you can google some more! Perhaps we have forgotten to think for ourselves with all of these options? Individuals can google their relationship problem and find out what other people did in similar situations. The trouble with all of the options and advice is that we can easily lose sight of simplicity. It is almost as if the basics of having a successful relationship have been forgotten such as forgiveness or trust.

Don’t let the worlds endless options complicate what may already be complicated enough. Follow your own heart convictions more than the popular choices available today. As not all of the popular advice is necessarily healthy! We do live in an unstable world today. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for young people to navigate through in this environment. The heart of what I really want to say here is keep it simple and be true to who you are and what you believe. Don’t be swayed by every option that sounds good! When trouble hits look firstly at the basic areas that may be needing attention before exploring the whole world for answers. The answers are usually simpler than you think! Its time to get uncomplicated 🙂

In my very early teens I remember feeling so convinced and distraught that no boy would ever like me. That thought was only natural considering the depth of how much I didn’t like myself.  When I was about 15 years old I was stunned and shocked yet excited that an actual male was interested in me. This led me into my first boyfriend experience. As nice as my first boyfriend was somehow I was always dissatisfied. It was as though I didn’t know how to be content. So when we broke up I went straight into a short fling with a guy that was quite broken. In my heart I knew it was going nowhere very quickly but I kept trying to convince myself that this guy loved me. My heart knew that I was only being used yet my empty craving for affection kept me hanging on. Nothing good came of this short fling and even more brokenness accumulated in my heart. Then the cycle just kept going like a merry go round. There was always someone else around the corner that I had hoped would be the one that would take away my desperate need for love and affection.

The emptiness that I felt inside kept me hunting for someone to fill. It usually always led me to the wrong people. While I knew in my heart that something was not right my head kept telling me that the next boy would be better and more fulfilling then the last. Even as I type these thoughts down it  reminds me of how broken I was and the feeling of being lonely was unthinkable. Dare I have gone a week without some guy in my life? Emptiness can be so consuming and can make us hunt for things that are not good for us. We can get so desperate for that empty feeling to disappear that we almost sell ourselves in order to escape. While we think we are escaping we are in fact getting into more trouble and pain.

Many of you reading this blog may or may not have ever had a spiritual experience? When I was about 17 years of age I had a heavenly intervention!  So far in my blogs I have discussed some of my battles with low self esteem yet the day that heaven intervened was the day that everything in my life started to turn around for the better! My personal belief is that we are body, soul and spirit. My spirit needed healing as much as every other part of my life. The day that heaven intervened I found out that there was truly a God who not only made me but  loved me unconditionally. My journey to freedom started from that point on and has involved many steps and processes along the way. My life has been filled with some very difficult challenges yet it has shaped me for who I am today.

If someone were to sit down and tell me that they felt  empty, unsatisfied and lonely I would say to them, “I understand completely”.  Loneliness can happen to anyone perhaps even more today with the lack of genuine interaction with others. Don’t hunt for the wrong things or the wrong people to fill in the emptiness as it will leave you even emptier every single time. Find true people that you can share your story too and empty out those closets of pain and hurt that have collected in your heart for far too long. We so easily forget that just as quickly as a house gets cluttered up with useless items so does our heart! Be encouraged today that while your life may not be everything you dreamed it to be right now it has the potential to turn around….mine did!!!

%d bloggers like this: