Monday, August 07, 2006

Everyone I knew was waiting on a cue to turn and run when all I needed was the truth

[Over My Head (Cable Car), The Fray]

Last night I started thinking about something.

So often people experience something good and think it means they (we... I...) need more of that good thing. This is understandable, since most of us are trained that some things are good and other things are bad. Avoid the bad, embrace the good.

Allow me to insert pieces of a conversation written on the journal of an acquaintance elsewhere in cyberspace:

His original post

Maybe I just scared the crap out of [a little girl that started crying on the train] with my remarkable blandness. No, on second thought, make that: "My intense physical ugliness." I'm so ... blah! I know this is classic pathetic insecurity, but lately I've been feeling it.

What would you give to be intensely beautiful? Not inner beauty, but outer beauty. The kind that causes gasps of wonder and turns heads. The mesmerizing kind of beauty. The enchanting kind.

My response
Per beauty... I can relate. There are times where I see someone with that kind of dazzling beauty and wish I could know for even five minutes what it feels like to be seen that way. To be desired, to have others wish they could just experience my beauty. But then I look in the mirror and realize that I am robbing myself. My weight is something I can control and am taking the reigns of. But my smile is genuine. My eyes are sincere and they sparkle. I am a handcrafted product of the Living God! How dare I apply my limited understanding to what physical beauty is. Particularly, I don't let Hollywood and the media define my moral and faith values, so why would I let them tell me I am ugly? Confidence is what makes a person truly beautiful.
I think about friends that, to me, are stunning. Were I to not know them and passed them on the street I would merely go on with life. But because I know them, and I've been there when they are alit with joy, or seen the beauty of strength in personal tragedy exhibited by them, they could not be more attractive to me. And this is not JUST because of inner beauty.
I had a friend when I was younger that was stunning. Toned and athletic yet sexy size six with a chest that simply didn't seem natural (yet totally was). She was blonde haired and blue eyed, and had that casual "I'm not even trying to be sexy" sexiness. And she was far beyond simply losing her virginity by middle school. Then another friend in high school, similarly gorgeous, went through almost a boyfriend a month. Usually she broke up with one because she was caught making out with an ex.

I, in my limited scope and frame of reference, often complained about wishing I could be like them, to have guys lining up to date me and girls envying my physical beauty. Both of them told me, separately and years apart, in moments of depth and vulnerability, that they sometimes envied me. They envied that the boys (and girls) thought I was smart and funny, easy to talk to yet deep. They told me that if I were pretty I would always question if a guy was with me because of who I was, or because he just hoped to get in my pants.

At the time I huffed and said, "Yeah, well, I bet you still would never trade places with me." But now that I'm older, I see what they meant. And they were right. I was in a relationship recently where he was caught up in how beautiful he thought I was (even though I was like, "Have you LOOKED at me? Do you have beer goggles on?"). He was also nearly obsessed with my sexual purity. He was enthralled with the idea of showing me sexual pleasure I had never known and being the only man to show me that pleasure for my entire life (his exact words there, actually.). He was also caught up in the kind of mother he thought I'd be. But I realized that he didn't know me. He was threatened by my intellectual abilities, told me he always hoped he'd end up with someone who can't sing so she'd be impressed with his abilities (thus he was threatened by my singing talent), and he always tried to one-up me in everything-- even faith.

I've recently met someone. I'm not sure where things will go with him- we're being careful to seek Christ and not jump to conclusions about one another. But I know he's in awe of me. He loves my writing, thinks I'm brilliant, constantly remarks at my wit, can't wait to hear me sing, is excited about seeing me succeed in anything I put my mind to, and is inspired by my walk with God. I wouldn't trade that for the entire WORLD- if I could have unmatched beauty but had to surrender being seen for who I am inside I would turn it down.

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman [or man] who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

As I mature into a woman I realize all the more how true that really is.

So these thoughts were on my mind last night. Misjudged beauty- both physical and that of character, from within- mingled with how faux my first relationship really was, in contrast with just a good, healthy new friendship. Not to mention other friendships of varying lengths with people who see into the depths of me and love me for who I am- none better than my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You may wonder what this has to do with "good" and "bad". Upon my pondering I realized that my relationship with said ex was bad. It was bad and I got out. The Lord was faithful in revealing how bad it really was, and as I dealt with the layers after the fact I discovered rottenness I couldn't have even seen before. Had I not been faithful to peel away and was content to look only slightly bruised on the surface they would still be eating away deep within my core.

But now- now it seems I have something good. Something healthy. A friendship where I am being careful in ways I never have been before. And that's when it hit me- I do have something good. Worldly wisdom would say to dive in. This person gets me- why not run with it, take the chance that this is IT and force on full-steam ahead? This that I have with him is good so why not embrace it and go to the next level? That's the logic that many would say makes most sense, and they would question why I don't operate by it.

For a moment I asked myself why, indeed, have I not sought more? And then it hit me- I want something better. So frequently, I said to myself, we run away with "the good"; how many refuse to accept "the good" and hold out for "the best"? In the world, there is good and bad. Healthy and unhealthy. Right and wrong.

Life in Christ offers something more- beyond good, healthy, and right. Christ offers the best. That which far exceeds our greatest hopes or expectations. I want His best and will. Not. Settle. For anything less. Not in my relationships (not even with said new friend), not in my walk with God, not in my life.

For some of us the good... well, it simply isn't good enough.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. [John 10:10, NKJV]

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him." [Isaiah 64:4, as referenced in I Corinthians 2:9]