Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Like"-able Beauty

Earlier in the week, I was browsing through my Instagram feed and I came across a picture that caught my eye. It was a female with her hand placed directly over her face.

Out of curiosity, I glanced above the photo to see who had posted it. I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with the television series “Pretty Little Liars,” but the actress who plays Spencer Hastings is my favorite. In turn, I follow her on all social media. (Her name is Troian Bellisario.) As I looked again at the picture, I began to wonder why she was in such a peculiar pose and decided to read her caption.

After reading it, I honestly just wanted to yell “AMEN!!!” (Don’t act like you didn’t want to do the same thing.) 

Social media is great. It allows us to connect to old friends or even make connections with people we will never meet. We post pictures and share links. We message back and forth and “retweet” or share things we like. However, the one trend in social media that I have noticed over the years is the “need for approval.” People post a picture of themselves and wait as the compliments fly in. In fact, you almost start to wonder what’s wrong with yourself if you don’t receive a “like” of approval or a generous compliment about how “gorgeous” you look. Sure, we all need a confidence boost every now and then, but the problem is when the need for approval is what drives us. When you feel as if you feed off of that kind of attention towards your outward appearance, that is when there is a problem.

It may be cheesy and a little bit cliché, but always remember that it is what is on the inside that matters the most. You can spend countless hours primping yourself in front of a mirror or editing a photograph to meet the standards that society has set for us...but in the end, is that what is going to bring happiness to your life?

As we begin a new week, start thinking about where you find your worth. Think about this as you wait around for compliments and consider this as you give compliments in return. Someone may be beautiful on the outside, but imagine how much more meaningful it would be if we started noticing our actions and gifts rather than the superficial things. Now that's something to "like"!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Where You're Meant to Be

It was a Friday afternoon when I was in this really dark and confusing point in my life. I felt discouraged. I was losing so much of my faith in myself, my future, people I had trusted, and God. How could life be going so smoothly one moment and the next, the wind is knocked out of you and everything you thought you knew was all for nothing. Regardless, I took a seat in the booth of that small cafĂ©, the aroma of coffee filling the air and the chatter of small town people surrounding me. My professor, whom I had been working years on research with, sat in the seat across from me. We sat together and went over the discussion section of our manuscript. Finally, after determining our next steps, she closed her laptop and looked me in the eyes and asked me, “How’s life?” Not one to easily hide my emotions, I told her about my frustrations. I told her about how I felt defeated after working so hard in school and work and still hadn’t heard back from my number one internship choice. I told her how it is discouraging to have put so much energy in that aspect of my life and not see the results. As I finished voicing my concerns, she calmly said “You know one of the things I think you need to remember and keep with you is this:

After we had packed up our things and parted, I thought about what she had told me long after leaving the confines of that cafe. Sometimes life throws all sorts of curve balls our way. In fact, I’m often left asking myself “What did I do to deserve this?” Life is discouraging, isn’t it? We put energy into our work only to watch someone else get credit. We invest time in relationships only to discover that we were used all along—never good enough. We put down our guard to love another and discover that they will never love you in return. To put it bluntly: life is hard. It really is. We make all kinds of happy, perfect plans for our lives. How do we not? But life never turns out the way we plan. While it doesn’t necessarily take away the hurt or lessen the pain, I do think it is so important to remember that God’s plan is so much greater and grandeur than we can ever imagine. Even through the pain and suffering, He is molding us into the people we are meant to be.


I may not end up where I thought I will be in this life. But I do have faith that I will end up exactly where I am meant to be.