I chose ME today. 

I chose me today.

At 4:50 in the morning, I chose me. 

On this, my first day back at work after a beautiful summer. When there are a million things to be done and a million reasons to get to school early. There are things that need printed and copied and labeled and prepared. There are 26 little faces that will be there to meet me tonight, to see their new space. There are a million reasons why I should have chosen to go in to work extra early today. 

But instead, I chose me. 

I chose to drag myself out of bed, past any options the snooze button would have given me. I chose to start my day with clear, cold water and the laces on my shoes. I chose to crank up the fan and increase my heart rate and strength. I chose to jolt my muscles wide awake and make them do what they’re meant to do. 

I chose to take 30 minutes or so to invest in myself. Me. 

And after that I chose me again. I chose to put healthy foods into my body while I put words of truth into my heart. Words that told me  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17) And that includes me, even when I feel like I’m coming apart. 

I chose to take the first hour of my day and invest in myself. Because I’m learning that when I choose to put myself last, I’m really not that good for anything (or anyone) else. 

Those kiddos who will count on me every day? I’m choosing me for them. My husband who shares this space and life on earth with me? I’m choosing me for him. And every face I encounter throughout my day, wherever I find myself? I’m choosing me for them, too. 

Because the best version of me has a lot to offer this world. But I can only offer it when I choose myself, giving good things to myself first so I have something of substance to offer. 

So today, I chose me. And I think the world, at least my small version of it, will be better for it.

If any of you know a teacher, then you completely get what back-to-school time entails. They essentially disappear from your life for a period of at least a few weeks while they work ridiculously long hours resetting the school year for a new group of kiddos. It often means they are running on fumes… Not getting enough sleep, eating junky food, and putting themselves at the bottom of every list. That’s always me, but this year I’ve decided to switch things around a bit and start treating myself as if I’m just as important as those around me. Because I am. And you are too. I hope you’ll be inspired to choose yourself today in some small way. 

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It’s Okay to Feel Beautiful

Dear Lady friends,

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel beautiful? A day when you just don’t fight with the mirror. You’re content, joyful, and you feel whole. You feel all glowy from the inside out. Nothing can steal your joy. There’s just something about the day and about yourself that feels…. well, beautiful. Do you ever have days like that?

Did you just say NO? I can’t really say I’m all that surprised.

And if you thought YES, my bet is that you’d give up your daily coffee before you’d admit that to anyone. I mean, that’s obnoxious, right? Wouldn’t that sound ridiculous to go around and say, I feel so beautiful today!

Weird, right?

What if each of us just climbed up on the roof and shouted I FEEL BEAUTIFUL TODAY!!!

Is it okay for us to feel beautiful? To say it like that? To feel completely unashamed just for one dang day?

Because pretty much everything in the universe tells us that’s NOT okay. Every magazine, every commercial, every billboard, every catcall, every snide comment from a family member, every diet plan, every clothing ad, every single thing tells me that I’m not enough. We even say it to one another in so many ways, don’t we, ladies?

It always seems we always need something more before we can be beautiful. We need smoother skin, a smaller waist, longer hair, whattheheckever. We always need SOMETHING else to make us beautiful.

We’re apparently not allowed to feel beautiful just the way we are, just because we are.

Apparently that’s not okay.

But I think we’ve been lied to. I think we’ve got it wrong.

It's okay to feel beautiful

 

Ladies, we ARE already beautiful. We are created in the image of God, who is Himself Good. He is Love. He is Light.

And if we’re made in His image, we are also those things. Those things reside in us and we have the capacity to bring good, to bring love and light wherever we go.

Is that not beautiful?

And more than that, each one of us brings our own individual beauty with us wherever we go. We bring our big, beaming smiles. Our eyes hold wisdom and wonder and that little sparkle of mystery. The little crow’s feet developing around our eyes give a peek into days we stood in the sun, soaking up life. In-the-moment, right-now life. That line between our eyebrows tells of some nights we stayed up worrying and praying about our wayward child. Those little wrinkles that are starting to triple on our foreheads tell of the surprises that have been shared with us, and the amazement of learning something new.

We carry all the colors of the Earth in our skin: caramel, coffee bean, light sand, peachy pink. We bring every glorious texture– smooth, straight, curly, zig-zaggy, wavy– in our hair. The curve of our bodies tells of our unique design, and the way we’ve run those miles and the times we’ve enjoyed dessert. The way life has been brought through us into this world straight from Heaven.

Our lips are pursed in truth-telling, instruction and character-building for our babies, and encouragement for every single person we mother with our love.

Our hands turn the pages of books, create delicious meals that nourish, reach out offering help and kindness, and create art that’s never before been seen in the world, including our little ones.

Tell me something that is more beautiful than all of that.

Women, we are the crown of creation. God created everything, including man. And it wasn’t good for him to be alone, so we were made. And whoa.

Then God was finished. Everything was perfectly in place with us reflecting all his qualities that couldn’t be reflected fully in man.

Through us He brought the life and the beauty that man couldn’t bring.

We. Are. Beautiful. It’s okay to feel it.

It’s okay to look at yourself in the mirror and speak to yourself the same way you would speak to a loved one, instead of firing off arrows of shame and condemnation. It’s okay to be pleased with what you see there, because our Creator most certainly is.

In this world, knowing our worth and feeling our beauty are priceless, extraordinarily brave things. Freeing things.

When we are unashamed, when we feel beautiful, we are being brave. And we are opening up space for others to do the same. Now that’s a thing of beauty, to be sure.

Ladies, let’s feel our beauty today. Look closely at yourself. Do you see it? On the outside, yes, but also what exudes from the inside.

You don’t have to wait to feel beautiful. You don’t have to wait until you cover your gray or lose 20 pounds or get that next miracle face cream.

You are beautiful right now, just the way you are.

Be who you are. Created, loved, unashamed. Feel your right-now beauty.

I promise you, it’s okay.

Lady Friends, would you be so brave as to share how you’re feeling your right-now beauty today? How you’re opening up space for others to feel beautiful? Would you share one thing you love and appreciate about your own beauty, so we can all share in your beautiful brave moment?