Monday, October 20, 2014

real talk | you are lovely

this was originally a guest post on Taking Steps Home as part of Amy's you are lovely series. i am re-posting it here because i still need the reminder each and every day!

i remember reading an article in a magazine when i was younger, around 6th grade. the basic premise of the article was that it didn't matter if you had a few extra pounds, some guys prefer a lovely personality over a lovely figure. i remember reading that and being so happy because that meant i could possibly have a boyfriend at some point in my life. because even if i couldn't shed enough pounds, i could work on my personality.

how sad is that?! i think that sheds a lot of light on how our world views what it means to be lovely. we try to find loveliness in magazines, clothes, and makeup. we consult the world on what it really means to be beautiful. when all the while God has told us what it means to be beautiful in His word. but often that is the last place we look for our definition of beauty.

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Song of Solomon 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

i could talk about so many things when it comes to viewing myself as lovely. my weight has gone up & down throughout my life. i have struggled with learning to love my body for years and years. i have fought with my hair for so long - straightened it every day for years, then finally leaving it curly and learning to love it in it's natural state. tanning because i am so pale, and finally learning to embrace my light skin tone. there are so many things i have learned about God and myself through these struggles. but today, i wanted to dig a little bit deeper.

because the thing that makes me feel most lovely isn't straight hair, tanned skin, or being my "ideal" weight. the thing that makes me feel lovely is when i am in deep relationship with Jesus. He sees me as lovely, and the closer i get to Him the more i can see it too. the thing that makes me feel lovely is doing what i was created to do - live intentionally and live vulnerably.

any picture of me taken straight on makes me feel vulnerable

susceptible to being wounded or hurt
open to criticism

the world would tell us that being vulnerable means not wearing any makeup, letting the world see what you really look like behind the mask.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable means wearing your heart on your sleeve, and leaving yourself open to be hurt by others.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable is weak, ugly, even childish.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable is unattractive and not desirable.

pictures at flattering angles make me feel lovely

having a beauty that appeals to the heart as well as to the eye
of a great spiritual beauty

the Lord would tell us that to be vulnerable is to be lovely.

the Lord would tell us that He created our outward appearance and to Him we are all beautiful. we are not beautiful because of what we look like necessarily, but we are beautiful because we are a reflection of Him. we were made in His image & He is lovely.

the Lord would tell us that to be vulnerable has little to do with appearance and much more to do with letting people into our lives. after all, letting people see us without makeup isn't all that vulnerable at all. true vulnerability is allowing people to see our sin, our struggles, our doubts, and our fears. true vulnerability is opening up the darkest parts of us and allowing people to speak into it. true vulnerability is doing life with other people & pushing each other on towards Christ. there is nothing more lovely than that.

the Lord would tell us that being vulnerable is the strongest thing we can do. because when we are vulnerable, when we share those deep parts of us with others, we give them permission to be vulnerable too. and when everyone is being vulnerable & sharing their lives & spurring each other on through sin - that is the beauty of community. that is how we were created to be. that is lovely.

that is what i want to focus on in my life. i want true vulnerability & true beauty. i want to see people for who they truly are - i want to look past outward appearances and get to know someone's soul. i want to see loveliness the way that God sees it. and i want my life, my actions, my heart to be lovely because they are so close to the Lord. i want to be seen as lovely because Jesus can be seen through me. 

some of the loveliest sunrises are after the darkest of nights. some of the most beautiful flowers grow through the ugliest of thorns. and even though being vulnerable can be painful, it is so worth it. even though being vulnerable can hurt, it is lovely.

what does "lovely" mean to you?


  1. Love this!!! So important to find our identity in Him! We are made lovely!

  2. I really love this! I have hard time feeling lovely, because to me being lovely is completely on the inside. On the outside you are "pretty" or "beautiful" but to be "lovely" you need to be graceful, kind, caring, compassionate. And I know the wickedness in my own heart so it hard for me to see myself that way. I also will tell you anything about myself, intimate details about my personal life but if you ask me how I feel about those things I would say "good. bad." etc I am not about getting deep and real and vulnerable with my emotions because part of me is afraid that if people saw how weird and emotional I am, they wouldn't accept me.

  3. Every woman/girl needs to read this post...
    You ARE lovely!!!! In every way...
    Those pictures are spectacular!!!

  4. robyn. that first picture of you…. is so beautiful…. and the way thomas is looking at you!! oh gosh! <3

  5. thank you thank you so lovely Robyn!
    and also,.... you are beautiful! :)

  6. You are lovely and this post is something to keep coming back to!!! :) I was just thinking about the whole series the other day.

  7. it is the only way not to fall into pride or comparison! it's a hard lesson to learn though!!

  8. thank you Mary! it is so much harder to be lovely than to be on-the-surface pretty! we can't use a figurative "makeup" to cover up our deepest insides!

    i am the same way, Mary! it is SO hard to let people in to the deepest, rawest parts of you! and it's a process, a long process that always exists. it's a struggle each time. but i bet you that the people you are willing to open up to, are feeling the exact same way! they are afraid to show you the real parts of them - but if you open up, it may give them the push to be brave & open up as well!

    email me sometime if you'd like to talk more! this is such a struggle for me & always has been!

  9. thank you Rebeccajo! as a woman, this will always be a struggle - but the more truth that we can shine, the easier the struggle becomes!

  10. thank you so much Stephanie! so funny you say that - because i've always looked at this picture and thought how vulnerable it makes me feel - i've been focused on myself that i never gave much notice to how Thomas is looking at me in this picture. isn't that crazy? oh the things we can see if we take the focus off of ourselves & our insecurities! thanks for this reminder :)

  11. thank YOU sweet Emma! :) i am glad to know that people can relate!

  12. most definitely! like, i need to read this every day! ha! :)

  13. Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!!

  14. i love love love that you reposted this! (and the pictures you used!)
    as i said on the day you posted, you really are a genuine and authentic and just incredible! <3 i'm so happy to KNOW you!

  15. These are excellent, lovely words, Robyn! WHO we are in Christ is so much more important than the way we look.

  16. Beautiful, Robin! I have also struggled with weight, hair, and skin tone. I think I'm finally getting to the point where I'm loving what God has created, even if I have gained so much marriage weight. It's a struggle to not view my weight gain as failure. I'm learning, though, that curves and "imperfections" are lovely and beautiful. And as Rachel said below, WHO we are in Christ is so much more important!

  17. i need this more & more each day that passes! thank you sweet friend!

  18. thank you so much for your encouragement! :) i re-read this post a lot so i figured i would re-post here also! :)

  19. thank you Rachel!! it is such a simple truth, but one all too easily forgotten!

  20. thank you Jenna! i am right there with you - i've gained so much since getting married & sitting in a cube all day. but you're so right that our imperfections are so beautiful & they make us uniquely ourselves! :)