Facades & Nail Polish

I did my nails in a French manicure the other day for an industry event. Now it’s half falling off but I keep forgetting to grab the nail polish remover. However ugly I think it might look to see the pretty (and fake) nails juxtaposed to the original (and slightly dirty – how do people keep their nails clean? I just don’t get it) got me thinking though.

French Manicure

I painted an picture of what I wish my hands looked like overtop of what they actually are. This is similar to the image I try to paint around myself sometimes (who am I kidding, a lot of the time) when I’m talking to someone or getting to know people. “You don’t like country? K me neither……”

But is that really ok? Do I want people to know me, or a fake version of me?

I’m not saying we should be hanging out dirty laundry out for everyone to see it (please don’t), but I do think that we can be avoiding the joy of having someone know who we really are and still liking us. We forget that we can be pretty awesome people just by ourselves. I dared myself this fall to not text one of my friends unless what I was saying was legitimately what I would have said in real life if I wasn’t afraid of being judged for what I really thought. It’s really hard. But they’re still my friend (I think?) and it encourages me to continue to have the same vulnerability and honesty with other people in my life.

But I think this needs to be taken a step farther.

As hard as I try, I know I still slip up and cover up parts of me I’m ashamed of or think would be best left unseen (bear in mind there are still some things you probably shouldn’t share with everyone). But I know still that there is one who does see behind my facades, Every. Single. Time. The fact that God can see everything about me and still chooses to love me is just astounding sometimes.

I read Lamentations this morning, and I was reflecting on the acknowledgement of our sins. We can put up walls and masks that other people never see through, but God can still see through them. He can still see the ugliness inside, and he loves anyway. He sent his son to earth to die for me. He came to die for the sinner, not the righteous (Mark 2:17).

If having a person know things about me encourages being me, then knowing that God loves me even still is more so.There is such freedom in knowing that you are loved for who you really are. It goes beyond loving yourself and moves to the desire to be better and strive for godliness. We are loved when we succeed, and loved when we fail. And we can rest in knowing this as we try to do what we are called to do.

I hope that this realization empowers you to be you today; and to be a better you, relying on his strength, tomorrow.

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Rely and Encourage (2 Thessalonians 3)

Even in the event of someone not following what they were told and leeching off of other people, the Thessalonians are told to still approach them like a brother, not an enemy. Yes, they begin to distance themselves to hope that he begins to understand and see the err in his ways, but they do not consider him to be an enemy of them

Again, Paul refers to God being the centre of everything because it is him who directs our thoughts and paths. It amazes me that he has such faith that it is evident in every single thing he says that we should be relying on him to help us.

Brotherly Love (1 Thessalonians 3-4)

It is super encouraging to read these chapters. The excitement Paul has that the believers have remained in the faith and that he gets to continue to encourage them is easy to see. I love that the encouragement tells them what to do, but also commends them for what they are already doing. Also the fact that they are known for their brotherly love which they learned from God. It is great that they have this base because it makes all the other things they’re told to do easier. When we have a community of brotherly love, we are able to continue to strive together to live the lives we are called to, to be transparent with each other, and to challenge each other. Bravo Thessalonica, Bravo.

Comfort, Encourage, Challenge (Philippians 1-2)

I love how at the end of a long day, Philippians is able to comfort, encourage, and challenge at the same time. I should read it more often.

Comfort:

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – 1:7

I need to be reminded just as much as the next person that I’m a work in progress, and that God is continuing to work in me (well, he also STARTED a good work, which is encouragement as it is), and that it will continue to be worked through to the day of Jesus Christ. After today, while I feel a little rough around the edges, it’s ok. I am not complete yet.

Encourage:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – 2:5-11

Today, as I mentioned the rough edges, it is always encouraging to hear the gospel. That Christ humbled himself to be obedient to even death on a cross – and that obedience has given me life! It just fills me with awe that Christ could take the form of servant, something I struggle with doing daily, and die for me … and then to remember that he is now exalted above all! What a glorious reminder!

Challenge:

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you amy be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” 2:14-16

To be honest, I grumble and complain a lot. It’s something I’ve noticed, but never really been super convicted about. But if I am going to be a light to the world, I’m not supposed to. I want to be blameless and innocent, even though that concept sometimes seems too far away to reach with everything I’ve done in my life. But we remember forgiveness