The Girl in the Front Church Pew: Accepting the Lie of Mandatory Perfection

The Girl in the Front Church Pew

The girl in the front church pew. She’s happy and kind. She is always perfectly put together and she has it all together…

Al least, that’s what everybody seems to think.

She’s that girl who came from a good, strong, steady Christian home. At church almost every Sunday. Participates in extracurricular church activities. Lends a helping hand when she’s asked. 

Congregants look at her and think that her life is without hurt. Kids at school think of her as the “goody-goody church girl” who doesn’t like to have any “real fun”.

Yet, she’s breaking on the inside. Her heart feels like a cracked window; a hundred little shards falling out one by one. 

Putting on a mask so that she doesn’t “let anybody down”. 

When people ask her “how are you?” she smiles and says “I’m doing so good” in the most chipper voice she can muster, all the while she just wants to scream and claw at something. Yet, she keeps things upbeat and lighthearted because she doesn’t want to bring someone else down with her troubles.

The girl in the front church pew…

I’m that girl…rather…I was that girl.

I was the girl who used to think that I had to cover up when I was hurting because people expected me to be happy; to always have a smile on my face. 

I had myself convinced that people only wanted anything to do with me when I was hurting; that they didn’t care about me the rest of the time, so why do that to myself.

I have seen several girls who grew up in church go through the same thing. We let the lies of the enemy convince us that we have to be happy. That we’ll let everyone down if we let them see that we are going through a rough time. 

There was a period for about two years that I wouldn’t let myself cry in front of people because that showed weakness. I didn’t want others to see the pain that I was hiding. It also didn’t help that I was told that crying in front of others was purely selfishness and a means to gather attention to myself.

Some of you may know from my social media sites, that I was at a ladies retreat this past weekend, and the topic above is one of the areas where God was doing some major healing in.

I’ll be honest, I had myself completely convinced that no one cared unless I was visibly going through something. That they wouldn’t take time for me unless they knew I was hurting. So, I started closing myself off to people, as I decided that if they didn’t truly care about me-or take time for me- at my highest like they did at my lowest, then they didn’t deserve to know the details of my life… 

It wasn’t until this past weekend, that I realized I wasn’t closing them off because I thought they didn’t deserve to know my life, I closed them off because I didn’t want to feel the hurt and pain of rejection again.

I want to talk to you ladies who have lived a similar life as the image of the ‘Church Girl who sits in the Front Pew’ that I wrote at the beginning of the article.

 

You are loved and people do care about you. You don’t need to put on a mask of happiness in order to make sure you live up to the standard that you think people have for you. and take it from someone who has lived through this, most of the time it is only what you think they think. 

It’s all a lie from the devil. Plain and Simple.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The enemy wants to alienate you (us) from our church family. Without that support and fellowship, we’ll close ourselves off and could end up falling so deep in believing the enemy’s lies that we start to walk away from the church altogether-as is what started happening to me. 

I left my home church and started trying other churches, and started to feel like I could start sharing stuff again; my life, my testimony some of my struggles and eventually, I ended up going back to my home church, and that’s when I started thinking that I had to keep this happy attitude. That people expected me to have a happy smile on my face, so, that’s what I did-even if I was feeling totally miserable.

What I’m trying to say, is that I believed so many different lies. Lies that I had to do this or else that would happen. That this is what people thought-or didn’t.

Ladies, it can be so easy to let ourselves get lost in believing these lies. 

I know…I know

One of the definitions I found for “to know” is: “to have developed a relationship with…through meeting and spending time…” 

I developed a relationship with these lies. I held them close and used them as my proverbial safety covering. I met with them and let them convince me of their so-called “truth”. Shielding myself with them. The lies of having to present an air of happiness became an exhausting chore, yet whenever the exhaustion would hit, my “friend” the lie would come calling and remind me why I was doing it.

 

I want you to know, you aren’t alone. I know what you are experiencing. I also want you to know, that these things you believe are so far from the truth. People care about you, and while I might not know you personally, care about you!

Seriously, I want to encourage you, if you ever need to talk, you can always contact me.

You can get a hold of me through Facebook or through e-mailing me at unfadingbeauty77@gmail.com. And if I can’t help, I’d be more than happy to try to help you find someone who can.

XoXo,

~Kristen~

When the Devil Tries To Take You Down

When the Devil Tries To Take You Down

Recently, I’ve been on the cusp of making some big decisions about Unfading Beauty Ministries. Everything ranging from projects to events and writing and everything in between.

Making decisions has never been my strong suit. What I mean by that is, I am an incredibly indecisive individual. So, when I make up my mind to follow something that is heavy on y heart, it often comes with a lot of spiritual attacks.Most recently, I made the decision to ask my pastor if I could use the church for Unfading Beauty Ministries first ever young women’s conference. I’ve had this dream in my heart since I was sixteen.

On March 12th 2017, I finally made the decision to talk to him about it. 

Thus enters the where the devil decided to start attacking me and trying to take me down.

It took place in the form of a horribly nasty message over Facebook-something that put me out of sorts for several days. Then, come Wednesday, I woke up with one thought on my mind “Today’s the day I’m going to ask,” So I set up a coffee meeting with my pastor, and we talked and he gave me the go-ahead that I was praying for. 

Fast forward to the weekend, and I got in fight after fight with family members-however, I’ll admit, I was partially to blame-but through these fights crept in anxiety, fear and a thoughts like “How can I talk to young women about something, when I so royally mess up in that area myself?”

Just as I thought that, I came upon an article by Joy Pedrow about how the Devil likes to use thoughts about being unworthy, unqualified and incapable to pull us down. This is when I realized that this is exactly what had been happening to me. 

Ladies, we have the ability to either raise our self or raze ourselves.

The enemy loves to make us think twice about what we are called to. He knows that God created us for a very special purpose. He gave us the incredible ability to have compassion and empathy in ways men have a hard time doing. Our emotions, our love, our concern and our automatic need to nurture and care for others are all God-given gifts to women.

But, when we mess up, when we let our emotions go out of check for a moment, when we fail to care for someone who needs to be loved or when we fail to be the helping hand someone needs, we start to beat ourselves up and question our self.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve most certainly had thoughts like “there is no way I can (fill in the blank) after what I’ve just done (or failed to do)” And I beat myself up and I start to get so emotionally, spiritually or mentally drained to the point I just want to lay in bed all day. 

Or maybe, it came in the form of a harsh word from someone after making a mistake of some kind.

Personally, I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve been told “you write all these things on your blog and then you act like this? You’re nothing but a hypocrite,”

As I read what Joy wrote, it reminded me of something: 

NO ONE IS PERFECT.

Everyone makes mistakes. Many of the mighty men of the Bible messed up in big ways-yet God still used them in ways that were even bigger than how they messed up…

Abraham lied about Sarah.
Moses stuttered.
Noah was a drunk.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused by his brothers.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was said to be too young.
David had an affair.
Elijah was suicidal.
The Samaritan woman had multiple divorces.
Jonah ran away from God.
Peter denied Jesus.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
And there are more examples found all over scripture”

(Excerpt from Joy’s article. Link Below)

http://joypedrow.com/2014/06/im-not-qualified/

Ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what God has called you to do.

So often we let the enemy win us over to the side of “can’t”. It’s so easy to let ourselves get pushed down and dragged, but it’s when the devil tries to drag us when we have to put on our spiritual armor and fight the only way that will defeat the enemy: With prayer, worship and praise. Pray like a warrior fights. Worship like a warrior yells. Praise like a warrior celebrating his victory.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:11-13 (NLT)

So, put on the armor of God and let us fight this war as we were meant to: with the Unfading Beauty of the Warrior Princesses God has made us to be. Let us strive to do good, and when we mess up, let us remember, that it doesn’t make us unqualified or unworthy. Let us learn from our mistakes and grow to be even stronger warriors for the Kingdom of God!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

P.S.  In regards to the Unfading Beauty Ministries Young Women’s Conference I briefly wrote about, stay tuned. When I have more information that I can give you, you can be sure I will!  

Living an Intentional Life

Last year I was introduced to the phenomenon of having a “Word of the Year”. A Word that you focus/work on doing better that year. 

When I first heard about it last year, I was rather intrigued with it, and decided “I wanna try it too!” So, I did just that.

This year-much like last-as I prayed for “my word” I sat for several days, trying to figure out why it wouldn’t come to me. Was I not praying hard enough? Was I not hearing for some reason? Was I just too unsettled? Why was I not getting my word? WHY?

Then it hit me: I was waiting for some grand revelation to come over me and tell me my word, when, in reality, my word was just a simple word that I kept saying/using towards the end of 2016. A word that I generally don’t use in everyday life.

The word? Intentional.

I remembered that I kept saying “I want to be more intentional about (Fill In The Blank)” 

Thus leading me to this year’s journey about learning to Live an Intentional Life!

intentional

Maybe you’re wondering what that means. 

Well, to me it means scheduling my priorities. Organizing my life so that I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off-as I have basically done all my life.

You see, I’m a ‘go wherever the winds blow me’ kind of person. I’m the kind of person who will pick up and does something without any kind of plan. If I feel like it, then I’ll do it, If I don’t then “whatever”!

Unfortunately, that kind of life settled into my blogging and ministry life as well. I have never planned a blog post ahead of time. Never set a work schedule. If I felt like writing then I wrote, if not-again-“whatever”. 

The longer I’ve gone on living life-like that, I realized that I have, at times, completely burned myself out. I would write two posts some weeks, and then go for three or for weeks and not write anything at all-definitely not being a good steward of what God has given me-and then beat myself up for not writing.

What does “intentional” actually mean? Well, I googled it (thank goodness for google!) and the definition that popped up is “done on purpose; deliberate”. 

I want my everything I do in my life to be intentional; deliberate-on purpose. I want to love people on purpose. I want to deliberately  go out of my way to help someone. I want to intentionally set time aside to spend with Jesus. 

Not only that, but I want to be intentional about going after the dreams God has given me. The dreams and visions for this ministry, for my career and even be more intentional about taking better care of myself physically.

Scheduling time in to my life to do certain things-and even making sure there’s tie in my life I haven’t scheduled anything to take a breather.

Beyond that, I want to be intentional about trusting (trust was my word last year) God to completely change my plans to do his will.

Like I said, most of the time I don’t plan, but when I do, I get very, very unhappy when those plans change. Basically, it can be like a pendulum, swinging too far one way, or too far the other. 

 This is my journey this year. To be more intentional about every aspect in my life. 

 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:10-11 

I hope this has inspired you all-as I firmly believe that it is the job of every single Christian to live an intentional life-being intentional to fulfill our calling and spread the love of Jesus to everyone we meet!

the-job-intentional

Love you all!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

Moving on from Feelings of Defeat

Last night, I was working on some stuff for the book I recently wrote, and as I got finished, I felt this sudden wave of complete defeat wash over me. For no reason at all, it was like it everything was over before it even began. Not only did it bring a wave of unexpected mental and spiritual exhaustion, I became incredibly fatigued-like, my body just wanted to completely shut down right then and there. 

Then, this morning I woke up waaay earlier than I usually do, and I laid in bed with so many thoughts rolling through my head. The problem with that is, once I start to dwell on something, it basically means no more sleep for me.

So I sat up, turned my bed-side lamp on, and grabbed my journal and Bible and stared writing and reading. 

This is what was given to me in my early morning quiet time with the Lord;

feelings-of-defeat

As I said, when I wake up early, I tend to lay in bed and over-think and over-analyze situations. Well, this morning was no exception. Waking up with a million emotions running through my head isn’t fun. The worst part is, it’s almost always about the same thing-or I should say, person.

When I start to think about things in regards to guys, work, the ministry, and writing  I tend to obsess. And the obsessing usually leads to feelings of automatic defeat-despite the fact that nothing bad has actually happened!

This morning when I was praying, and seeking God’s desire and-to be honest-help for this situation, I came across some verses that really spoke to me:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do. and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

This reminded me that Whatever I do, I need to lean on God for everything. Without his hand on whatever I do, I will never succeed. 

Defeat is such an ugly feeling. It wedges itself into one’s heart and mind and makes them feel like nothing will ever turn out right.  

Another verse I read this morning puts to words the exact action that defeat does to us;

“An anxious heart weighs a man down…” Proverbs 12:25

When I read this verse, I was reminded of a ring my dad bought me several years ago when I was in junior high school. It had a Bible verse inscribed on it that reminds me what I need to do when I do have an anxious heart;

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

I have found over and over again, that prayer is exactly the best way to open the “release valve” of my heart to drain out all the anxious, painful, heavy thoughts and feelings.

Prayer; what an easy thing to do! It’s as simple as saying “Lord, this is how I’m feeling. I really just want to serve you, and these things are in my way of following you with abandon. Please help me not feel this way. Take these anxious thoughts from me so that I can focus solely on you.” And you know what? He does! Every. Single. Time!

I also find that talking to people often helps to! When I wrote Proverbs 12:25 above, I didn’t write the whole verse, so here is what it says:

“An anxious heart weighs a man down but a kind word cheers him up.

How often do we forfeit the opportunity for someone to “cheer us up” because we think that they either don’t care, or that you don’t want to weigh them down with your “issues”? 

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

Gather together with someone you trust, and let them minister to your soul. Let God use them help bring you out of the pit of feelings of defeat!

It will do you so much good-I know it certainly is what helps me!

XoXo,

~Kristen~