It was such an extraordinarily beautiful Friday. I was taking the entire day off and spending it with both of my daughters. We had big plans for this much anticipated work-free day. It included a slow and leisurely stroll down Front Street with stops for coffee, lunch, and a little bit of shopping. But before all of this could take place there were a few minor chores that had to be completed at home.
As fate would have it, those minor chores turned into sweat equity that took a lot longer than expected. We would still be able to enjoy all of our stops on Front Street, we just wouldn’t have the time to look adorable while we were doing it. We had to forego taking showers, finding matching clothes and makeup to hide the flaws that one accumulates while cleaning house and working in the yard.
My two daughters still looked presentable with their youthful glow and natural faces. The older I get, the harder it is to recover quickly from strenuous work. Going out in public with no makeup and dressed in my finest yard clothes does not bother me near as much as it used to. When I was younger I would have never left my home without a full face of beauty products, jewelry and all gussied up. I just assumed that the older we get, the more confident we are in who we are, with or without nice clothes and makeup.
(If I ever start complaining about being single you are more than welcome to refer me back to the above statement……)
Not too far into our downtown journey we ran into some old friends from Winnfield. It was so great to catch up and reminisce about days gone by and talk about how fast all of our children are growing up. I could not let them walk away without throwing in, “I normally don’t look like this, we have been doing house work all morning…” They laughed and went on about their shopping. But who am I kidding, I routinely look like this on the weekends.
As soon as I turned around I ran into another beautiful friend from Alexandria that I had not seen in person in many years. Of course you run into everyone you know while you are dressed in shoes with grass stains on the sides from mowing wet grass. We hugged and I immediately apologized for smelling like fresh cut grass. Being the lovely and authentic woman she is, she graciously began to compliment me on the “Blessed” articles in the Journal that she enjoys reading.
Before the compliment was completely out of her mouth I began to respond by brushing it off and downplaying any of the talent she was alluding to. I acted as if it were nothing. Being the strong and spirit filled woman that she is, she told me it was okay to accept a compliment because she knew God has blessed me so much.
I quickly realized on this very day that we truly are our own worst critics. I stood in this one store and completely roasted myself, not once but twice. I cannot explain why it is so hard to accept compliments or why I feel so comfortable pointing out my flaws before someone else notices them.
I say things about myself that I would never even think of saying about someone else. Though unconfirmed with proper research, I do feel confident this is a toxic trait because I am not acknowledging that all good and perfect gifts come from above. What kind of example was I setting for my impressionable daughters?
I do need them to understand that God created us and all of the complexities that accompany us. He never critiques us. He knew what he was doing, he didn’t make mistakes while creating us and it is perfectly okay to accept a compliment on behalf of his workmanship. Anything less than this is contradictory to the Word of God. Countless scriptures and passages remind us how much he loves us and how perfect he thinks we are. No where in the Bible does it mention that he only loves the people who never smell like fresh cut grass and look perfect every time they leave their house.
“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139:13-16