I’ve got something to tell you, and it will forever change your life, just as it did mine. But first I want to take you on a little day dream, because come on, what would life be without them? Let’s all take a moment to imagine a elegant dove soaring through the sky with a fresh breeze hitting her breathtaking wings. Now get this, that dove isn’t elegant at all. In fact, it starts acting like a lion would. Roaring, well… not really, but there may have been a loud chirp escaping her mouth. Fighting to get food, definitely, but the poor thing looks like a fool while doing it. Trying to fight off other animals seems to be a must, but you can tell that the animals are secretly laughing more than one thought was possible. I think it’s pretty clear that the dove is trying to be someone it’s not and that is simply not working for her because she is a MUCH better dove than lion. All of this sounds fun and games until the realization hits you in the face. You are the dove.
I’ve gone many years looking at pastel flowers and dreamy skies and refreshingly cold rivers with such adornment. The sweet sensation of being wrapped in God’s beauty constructs a fountain of life in my little soul. But up until a couple of months ago there were very few times that I looked at myself and thought, “Wow, you are so beautiful. You have a heart of gold. Your mere existence makes a crazy amazing impact on so many people’s life.” Instead I would tend to think about what I can improve on. I have tried to put that mask on. I have tried to be someone I am not. And let me tell you, it does not work.
But then reconciliation hurdled my way, and it was in those moments of reconciliation that God began to place the phrase “unfiltered beauty” on my heart. Jesus began to reveal to me that contrary to the mindset of the world, living without filters creates the most beautiful life one can imagine. Those two simple words have created a huge impact on my life, and now I can’t help but shout them to the world. I am still far from being perfect, but I am also growing more than I once thought was possible. So let’s begin to uncover what it means to live by the motto of “unfiltered beauty”, hand in hand, step by step, because life is so much more than hiding behind a mask.
There is so much beauty when you don’t let a filter constantly cover your physical and internal self. Somehow it has become a societal standard to put a filter over how much of ourselves we can reveal to certain people. Words become tangled in our hearts, giving us mixed feelings about whether or not we should share something, allowing a constant internal fight over if we will be judged. You may even notice that you are more susceptible to welcome the devils lies into your ear, because somehow it has become “normal”.
I know that you may be on the other side of this screen with your heart trembling, heavy thoughts weighing you down, and feeling too shattered to rebuild. But your brokenness is welcomed here. Your brokenness is embraced here. And even though you might not feel it you will heal, and someday you will be thankful for all the pain because it gave you purpose and life and love. Today just might be the day everything changes.
When I first started sensing the passion to encase myself in a unique, God-centered life so many things clung to my mind. How in the heck was I going to go to school the next day and be the person God’s calling me to be? How can I even tear down the walls I’ve built up? What will others think? Luckily, God oh so graciously speaks to us through the Bible (aka most stolen book in the world, which I thought I should mention just in case you need to win some bible trivia). His truth reminds you to “count yourself lucky, how happy you must be- you get a fresh start, your slate is wiped clean” (Psalm 32:1). I have stared at this verse for moments at a time, reluctantly letting it seep into the depths of my soul. Each of us get a fresh start every single morning. In fact, we get a fresh start every single moment. Living life is the act of going into the unknown, often times unprepared, and when you decide that you are going to make the most of it your actions will follow.
Once you truly begin to understand that you have a fresh start ready to be cherished everything begins to fall into place. It’s up to you to make that change and take that risk. The walls WILL be torn down in time; precious time that restores one soul into a thrilling life. Trust me, it will not be easy, but pretty soon you will feel happiness creep into your soul.
Now the daunting question that is often in the back (or even the very, very front) of one’s head: what will others think? The hard truth is that some people may not like the new you. Some people will begin to fade away from your life, and that might be the hardest thing you experience throughout this season of life. But take heart, because if someone does not like the person you are becoming they are by no means meant to be in your life, and you both decided that without years of pain. On the other hand, others will love the change they see developing in you. When you cherish your sweet little soul and live unfiltered people will be drawn to you. I wouldn’t be surprised if you felt more loved by people in general once you let your true beauty shine. Because if you find your true identity full of so much more life and love than the mask you are wearing so will others. Just let that sink into your soul. Your mask isn’t only making you feel unworthy, but it is preventing you from unleashing a light to others. And once you decide to release that mask your light will shine as bright as the sun, through your struggles and your triumphs. The realization that caring what the world thinks is foolish will suddenly hit you. Because no person can define who you are.
And now comes the hard part: Figuring out how to tear down the walls that we have built up. I’m not going to lie, I don’t have this part all figured out. I’m learning, I’m growing, and I want to walk alongside you while we go along this journey.
A few days ago I was laying on my bed wondering what I should do. This world offers a lot of options to pass time (Netflix and phones WHY do you have to be so addicting??)but I decided to watch Sadie Robertson preach. Let me tell you, that was the single best decision of my day. Suddenly I began to realize that there is no step by step tutorial on how to tear down the walls you built up. Each person is different and receives their “aha” moment at different times, but there are some pretty dang good truths that might just contribute to your “aha” moment.
Truth #1: You were appointed to serve him because he considers you trustworthy. When God looks down at you, from a place that is beyond perfect, he says “this is my child, and they are going to do great things.” YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!! Which also means that God saw something in your precious soul that he knows can create masterpieces. A field of lavender soaked in sun does not compare to the beauty he is going to create through you!! If Jesus were to come down to this Earth right now I bet he would say something along the lines of “didn’t I chose you? Don’t sell yourself short, because I am your father, and you are capable of doing anything because of me.”
Look at the disciples, none of them were these super religious or perfect Jews, they were ordinary people. And if we’re being completely honest here, many of them were hated by a lot of people. Yet Jesus chose them, and many years down the line they were given the extraordinary power to work miracles through people. They were a huge factor in spreading our glorious faith, and you can be too!
And remember Moses? “Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say,” Exodus 4: 10-11. You see, there is nothing that we cannot do. We were made through the lense of God. In his eyes there is no such thing as weakness, because he made us, and he is capable of using his power to fill the weakness we “have”. So yes, God chose you. Yes, you are capable of building His kingdom.
Truth #2 (and trust me, this ones a hard one): You will continue to feel bad about yourself if you don’t do anything. I cannot stress this enough. If you do not do anything that you aspire to do you simply won’t get anywhere. Commitment is real, and it’s something that is very hard to achieve. But when you achieve something you continually put yourself down for not doing that guilt disappears. You. Have. To. Act. Something that helps me is making a schedule for my day or week. That way I know what I need to do and feel more obligated to do it! But like always, don’t get too stressed about this schedule, what happens happens.
Truth #3: When your father is the King of the Heavens and the Earth nothing can shake you. One of my favorite songs is “Do it Again” by Elevation Worship which puts my heart about this subject into words. It goes a little something like this, “Walking around these walls. I thought by now they’d fall. But You have never failed me yet. Waiting for change to come. Knowing the battle’s won. For You have never failed me yet. Your promise still stands. Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness. I’m still in Your hands. This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet.” For a couple of weeks this song has been my anthem, reminding me that though my physical body may not be working as it should, God will never fail me. He has created miracles in my life and I am positive he will do it again. Nothing can shake you because our God is faithful, and we are in his hands!
Truth #4: Stop focusing on yourself. There is a extraordinary change in your soul when you begin to put down the walls you built around yourself and chose to focus on others. And not just people who you feel comfortable with, focus on people even if they will “lower” your status or if you think they are “too popular” to be seen talking to you. The truth is, most people will accept you for who you are, and when you begin to speak truth into their lives and show them a undeniable love there is no doubt you will be making a huge impact on their life. We all crave the warm feeling of being loved, but if we change our perspective we could be the people that make others feel like they are wrapped in blanket that just got out of the dryer with hot chocolate by their side on a snowy day.
Truth #5: Jesus takes all of your burdens. He said, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” (Matthew 11:29-30). Lay down the fear of others judging you at the feet of Jesus every. single. day. I don’t care where you are or what you are doing, God wants to take all of those fears and show you that He is enough. That He has complete control over your life and BIG plans are in store for you. He knows you will do extraordinary things for his kingdom, but first you need to clear your mind of that worry the devil is putting on your heart, because the devil tends to destroy things. I know that this may seem like the hardest thing you could possibly do, but in reality it leaves you soaring.
Truth #6: The bible gives life. Spend time in it, because those words were created by regular people but given by God. It wasn’t until recently that I begin to realize how awe-inspiring the words of the bible are. It relays more truth and peace and love than I have found anywhere except at the feet of Jesus. When you live out the truth the bible gives you that mask you put on will disappear because a shield of truth is being built around you!
I could go on and on about the truths God has spoken over each of our lives, but that would leave us with thousands of pages. Instead I want you to let all of the truths I have given you truly sink in. Then I want you to be a vessel of hope and inspire countless people.
Because of God’s exceeding love we can all be free from the strings of this world. You are much more than the words you use to define yourself. You are a warrior in God’s kingdom. Never let yourself forget these things. Live with unfiltered beauty and walk into that super amazing life God has planned for you. Let’s do this thing!