I’m sure most of you are acquainted with the If:Gathering by now, and if you’re not- shoot me a message and I will fill you in!
Well, for the past gathering, I felt like God was tugging at my soul to show me a few things about my heart that needed cultivation. So I locked myself in my room for two days and tuned in to the live stream with just my cats as company. I sat alone, wrapped in blankets, drinking cup after cup of tea and waited for God to speak to me. I raised my hands and sung out loud during worship sets (sorry, neighbors) and filled out the small group questions about my heart in my personal journal.
And then it happened- Ann Voskamp uttered one phrase that served as an arrow straight from God’s quiver.
“Break the yardstick!”
Now, let me start by saying that I love yardsticks. The older, the better, I use them as molding in my house, I have yardstick earrings and bracelets and when my grandfather passed away, I went straight to his workshop to gather his vintage yardsticks to remember him by. I just love them for some reason. Little did I know that there was a big, ugly, intangible yardstick that had been manipulating my life for years.
I think a lot of women are familiar with what I’m talking about- the yardstick of comparison. We are introduced to it at a young age, comparing our bodies and hobbies to either those around us or to those people we hope to become (I still think that someday I will turn into Belle from Beauty and the Beast- I can dream, right?). Over the years, this instinct just grows and blossoms to the ugliest of weeds in our hearts. And as confident as I may come across, physical beauty intimidates me like nothing else. So I compare. I poke at my own skin in the mirror, calculate BMIs to see how I compare, search for products that will promise me perfection. I’ve done this for years, but while listening to Ann speak, I heard God’s small voice talk to me about how toxic I have allowed this to become to my soul.
Ann shared the truth that measuring yourself against other tears not just yourself down, but others. Because, what happens when you compare and you come out on top? That means someone else has to be pushed down for you to be in the glory of the moment. So in an instant you trade the joy of others for your own, fleeting minute. Ann then pointed to the truth that God “isn’t about scales, but passionate souls”.
Take it in.
And when we realize that, we realize that “you can’t measure souls, you can only love them.” I want that! I want to love a heart no matter what the exterior. I want that because more than anything, I want people to love me that way.
So with this new truth burning its way through my heart, I was faced with a choice. Let it simmer or fan the flame. I chose to give that fire a bit more oxygen and see where it would go.
One of my pride and joys when it comes to outward appearance has always been my long hair. For as long as I can remember, I treasured this piece of me as beautiful. I would use it as a comparison between me and other girls for years. And with my hair as long and beautiful as it had been since childhood, I did the most natural thing I could think of.
As soon as I did it, I was bombarded with messages and comments. “I NEVER thought your hair would be shorter than mine!” “I CAN’T believe it’s GONE!”
Me neither. And even more than that- I can’t believe how it has made my heart feel. As my hair slowly dropped to the floor of my best friend’s bathroom, I felt all of those ugly, toxic vines start to unravel from my heart. I learned that my husband found me more beautiful without long locks. I found that the short took away time away from beautifying every day and made more moments for us lay quietly in bed together in the mornings. I found that I was free to stop worrying about my make up and outfits every day. More importantly, I could stop worrying about everyone else’s too.
My most highlighted quote from Ann, “Girls can rival, impale, compare. A Sisterhood of Women can bring revival, thriving and empowerment.” I would so much rather be apart of the latter. I’ve opened my heart to let God tell me about myself and the women around me. I want to see what I should love people for and through. I want to see that because I so long for people to see that in me.
Until next time!