Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dear Hilary, Love, Hilary: The Lovely Things

Today I'm linking up with Joy's life, unmasked, where we share the messy and the beautiful of our lives. We watch together as God works through it. I unmask through letters, but I hope you'll come share however you best tell the miraculous story of you.

Dear Hilary,

It's the beginning of Lent, and so I was trying to think about what I wanted to give up. I was looking in the mirror this morning with the same frown on my face. I'm hardly ever happy with what I see. I judge that girl - not skinny enough, hair an in-between color, clothes not trendy enough... I don't even know what it is that I'm measuring. So I was thinking about giving up thinking frustrated, unloving things about my body but then it seemed impossible. How can we give that up?

Lenten Discipline

Dear Lenten Discipline,

I remember not long ago giving up makeup for Lent. I said it was impossible. I said it couldn't be done - how can anyone go for six weeks without makeup? How can anyone bear to walk out their front door without being sure that they've made their face look exactly as they want it? But every day, when I walked to the mirror, and I slapped my hand away from the makeup drawer. I moved more quickly through that part of the morning.

I learned that there is something beautiful about naked, makeup-less faces. It scared me to no end to imagine what I looked like without makeup. I swore there would be no way, no way, NO WAY that I could do it, that I wouldn't like my face, or other people wouldn't recognize me, or what if they talked, or noticed, or those dark circles under my eyes and... I discovered that you radiate out from your skin. That it will glow brighter for having been scrubbed clean of expectations. That you will smile and fill a room with it. That you will be free.

I believe in this discipline for those of us who think angry, unloving things at our reflections early in the morning. I don't know what merry-go-round we're trapped on. It makes us believe lies about ourselves. It takes that word enough and chains us to it. So we're never enough. And we could run 20 miles, eat only grapefruit halves, poke our bellies or our shoulders or our hip bones for hours in a mirror only to discover that we are still living inside ourselves. We can't escape these bodies. They're home for us. Wouldn't it be amazing to think about those homes as beautiful, breathtaking, lovely things? To love them that way?

Please give up thinking those frustrated, unloving things, sweetheart. I can't think of anything better to do in Lent. Lent is the time to prepare your heart to burst open with the Resurrection. Lent is the time to make room inside yourself for Love. Lent is the time to undo the lies, and clear a path. So please give up those things. Give up the mirror. Give up the tired eyes that judge. Give up the expression of disgust. Give up the second guessing at the second piece of cake. Love yourself. Let the love fill you this Lent.

And in all those moments where you are tempted to think the unloving things, to hop back on the merry-go-round of which outfits and which second glances and if you're turning heads or if you spilled tomato sauce on your favorite shirt and should you go to the gym four times a week or just three?

Can you think the lovely things? That you can breathe, and think, and move. That your body carries your heart inside it. That your body feeds you, and that it has lived for years, and years, carrying all of your stories.

Think the lovely things, love. Think the lovely things this Lent. 

Life: Unmasked


  1. If it didn't seem impossible, how much would it be giving up?
    And intimidating though changing thought patterns can seem, it IS possible. Last year, for my very first Lenten discipline, I struggled through taking every single thought captive to Christ. And it seemed impossible. I'd failed and failed, for years and years, to do this. But I fought for it. When I failed, I just ran more Scripture through, meditated on His mercy, and kept on focusing my thoughts on Christ. Now, a year later, and in a very different life situation, the fruits of that discipline are proving invaluable.
    So yes, dear, do it. Press on, through. Meditate on Scripture, whisper constant gratitudes, acknowledge the good and beautiful in yourself. And you will find His grace will transform you. For you ARE beautiful.

  2. Thank you, Suzanne. Yes, yes - there is so much to be gained from disciplining our thoughts, isn't there? I will press on. Many blessings to you this Ash Wednesday, and on the beginning of Lent.

  3. i, too, am discovering that beauty isn't in the fixing up; it's in the undoing.
    and what makes something beautiful is simply His holy presence.
    thanks for this encouraging reminder to embrace the splendor of His beauty as it radiates through us.

  4. oh, how i need to be dwelling on lovely things!  the tired seems to be overtaking me, instead.
    thanks for the "lovely" reminder :-)
    blessings to you, sweet hilary,

  5. Thank you, Tanya. I'm glad it encouraged you. And yes, beauty is not the fixing up - but the undoing. May we all remember this together.

  6. Thank you for visiting, steph! It is good to be reminded to dwell on the lovely things - I needed the reminder today. Blessings to you, too.

  7. thanks for the reminder that our bodies carry our hearts and stories - i want to honor my heart and stories; thanks for the reminder that loving who i am on the inside AND outside is an important part of that :) 

  8. You are so welcome. Thank you for living that reminder, and for reminding me, too. I'm so glad that we are in this journey together. 


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