Set apart.


Sorry dear friends, it has been so long since my last post!  With senior year coming to a close (I graduate two weeks from today!), the days have been filled to the brim with deadlines, papers, tests, and trying to leave time for God to work in the middle of the chaos.  I really do miss talking to you guys though; I promise to attempt sitting down and making time to update you on the happenings of my life and all the ways I am learning to live in step with Jesus. Speaking of senior year, last night was none other than prom.  It’s the day so many girls look forward to, a right of passage if you will.  However, I will not remember last night for the glamorous evening that it was, but more for the lessons it taught me.

To give you a picture of my personality, I woke up the day before prom to my mom frantically asking about jewelry, shoes, and nail reservations.  How did I want my hair and what time was I doing pictures?  Naturally, my answer to every one of those questions was I don’t know accompanied by a shrug and the desire to go back to bed.  Don’t get me wrong I love a good excuse to dress up for the night, but I have way more important things to occupy my thoughts such as how I would finance a future business and how God decides which of our questions He will reveal answers to and which ones He will remain silent on.  That’s just who I am.

Come the day of prom, I found gold heels in the back of my closet just shy of the perfect height, and decided on a very special necklace my mom had made me out of a coin saved from our trip to Egypt a few years ago.  I felt like a million bucks having accessorized for free.  After all, senior year and then moving forward to college is EXPENSIVE.  My sister and her boyfriend’s mom were recruited to tackle my hair and makeup- another win for my bank account.  If it were up to me, I would have gotten ready an hour before leaving.  I mean I seriously did my makeup for homecoming this year in the car on the way to pictures.  But living in a family where appearances are a big deal, I was stuck to a chair at 2pm to begin the process of getting dolled up.  I wonder how movie stars keep themselves entertained while their style teams work away because I had a really hard time sitting still for those couple hours.

Now at the end I felt like something straight out of a movie. Definitely glamorous.  My hair was pinned up in an Old Hollywood kind of fashion and the ruby lips and smoky eyes proved I was red carpet ready.  However, I didn’t feel like myself.  At all.  I’m a dash of powder and a streak of eyeliner kind of girl so the heavy makeup is not my forte. This year has been a trial and error sort of process in learning to live life as authentically as possible, and the layers and layers of makeup made me feel as if I was going against the very nature of the person I am trying to be.  I am so appreciative of all the help I received in getting ready, that much is for sure.  But I just wasn’t prepared to feel so anxious about being covered with makeup even for a night as special as prom.  See with the attempted implication of authenticity in my life, I have also applied vulnerability to my physical state as well.  My makeup habits have become considerably low key compared to past versions of myself and feeling overdone last night affected me very strangely.

I promise I’m getting to the lesson.  I absolutely was in love with my dress and I had a wonderful friend and gentleman as a date, but the unfortunate truth about last night was I simply didn’t feel special.  Now this could partially have been due the the fact that I am battling a nasty cold and spent the night drugged up on every cold medication known to man, but more than that was the fact that I really just didn’t feel like me.  The funny thing about the whole situation is I used to hate being myself.  I couldn’t imagine something as good as being accepted for the unique person God created me to be.  But in learning to walk confidently in my own shoes lately, I have never felt happier nor have I had more deep and fulfilling relationships in my life.  Ironically, my favorite part of the prom experience was waking up rather late this morning at a dear friend’s house. We sat on the porch discussing life over cups of coffee, and I felt completely secure in the fact that ours is a relationship that runs deeper than the hardship of distance as we head our separate ways for college next year. No makeup, unwashed hair, and sweat pants. Know why this moment stood out? It certainly wasn’t for feeling particularly beautiful, it was because in that moment, appearances didn’t even need to cross my mind. I felt sought after.  A friend pursuing our relationship the way God pursues our hearts. (My friend Savannah pictured above on the left and me on the right).

I recently had a wonderful conversation with a mentor of mine, and her words resonate so deeply I’ll never forget them.  You are the best version of yourself when you are living set apart, walking in the unique and specific purpose God intended for your life. It is through those words and my experience yesterday I had an epiphany:  Feeling special is not about the energy you put into yourself, no feeling special comes with living in a way that aligns with how God designed us to pursue life.  In relationship.  Living the purpose designed specifically to us.  Set apart.  So obviously I’m not purposed by God to become a stylist.  Or a movie star.  But I was set apart to step boldly into this world full of adventure and chase God with every last fiber of my being.  I was made to spend less time in front of a mirror and more time looking into the eyes of people who need love spoken into their souls.  God created me to be the weird kid who likes to talk business strategy with adults, but who will also dance like a chicken on stage in the name of a Young Life leader at summer camp. (True story). See I used to think if I changed how I looked then maybe just maybe I would like myself. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. That kind of mentality only leads to darkness and struggles that pull you further away from who you were created to be. No, once I began to seek who I was according to God’s word, how I looked seemed to matter less and less while how I could serve God through who I am mattered more. Friends, you’ll never come to terms with who you are by trying to become something else. Take it from someone who knows; it never works.

Maybe it’s a little disappointing prom wasn’t all it’s hyped up to be.  I’ve never been the kid to find contentment in the typical ‘big moments’ of ones high school career, but I think girl every wants to feel as if the prom experience was memorable and wonderful. But the time spent feeling disconnected with myself was an amazing time realizing I truly am coming to harmony with who God actually made me to be.  No more masks, and no more filters.  In the end, the takeaway was far more valuable than any perfect night could have ever been.