Beloved-Self, Not Self-Love

I’ve struggled with buying into this concept of self-love for awhile. It’s the trend, and I’m always wary of those. Especially if something deep in my spirit pings at the sound of it. Before accepting a fad as gospel, I try to test it against God’s Word.

Through this lens and exploring wiser sources than just myself or IG sponsored ads of motivational mavens touting their morning regimens for fostering all-day positivity, I’m forming my own, (and Lord-willing accurate), concept of this self-love idea.

Journey with me.

We’ve all started in the same place; born with a sinful nature into a world marred by evil & brokenness. This was never God’s intent, but His love for us meant He gave humanity the gift of free will to choose. Rebellion, disobedience, and hiding were the response then…and still are today.

Because of painful experiences early in development, we’ve constructed a mask, a façade, this false identity to display for the world. It’s the presentable self in whatever time, culture, and location you find yourself. It tirelessly works to minimize the pain experienced by “suppressing or camouflaging feelings, making emotional honesty impossible.”

Is this the ‘self’ with an entire bookshelf of titles dedicated to improving it? Is this the ‘self’ to take a spa day for or indulge at my favorite store because I just need some #selflove today?

With all humility and grace, if that’s the self we’re feeding, the hunger will never be satiated.

Rather than chase this false self away, I acknowledge how it was built to protect me. I acknowledge it was constructed as a defense from my fear of failure, of disappointing others, of being unworthy of love.

Kelli, meet true self.

Beloved.

This is the one Jesus died and rose from the grave for.

This is the unhurried, at peace and at rest, jovial, whimsical, unpretentious co-heir with Christ.

“The true self claims identity in its belovedness.”

Our true self craves, because it was designed for, an intimate relationship with God. When His Truth of our belovedness is the fix of our gaze, He begins to mend the true self so we can unashamedly live out His call on our life.

With this new name, we’re no longer feeding the false self with temporary fixes to insecurities, jealousies, fears, and hurts. Finally the Spirit fills us to overflow with joy because it finds vacancy in our heart – room once inhabited by people-pleasing and ladder-climbing and status-seeking.

It’s no longer about self-love. It’s about the irrational, radical love of the Father. It’s about the work of Jesus on the cross, through the power of God that death was conquered for us! Our very existence is beloved through no effort of ourselves!!

This is freedom. Indeed, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” (2 Cor 3:17)

I pray you seek rest in this truth today. Sit and reflect. Pour over Scripture proclaiming your identity as a son or daughter of God and verbally invite the Holy Spirit to begin filling your soul. The mask will have no choice but to crumble in His presence.

stay lovely,
the tall girl

Masai Mara Safari

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” -Job 12:7-10

To what can I compare the breathtaking beauty of the wild African savannah?

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With family visiting me in Kenya earlier this month, a 3-day Masai Mara safari was a must!

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Of the Big Five we saw four: lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. The rhino’s evaded us, but the wildebeest migration, hordes of adorable donkeys in pajamas (zebras;)), giraffes, ostrich, hyena, hippos, and crocodiles made up for it! The leopard is one of the rarest to see, and it happened to be enjoying its dinner in a tree when we were able to spot a glimpse! (pun intended).

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The four of us will always remember this adventure fondly. Sopa Lodge is a stunning location to relax after each long day, and I can speak very highly for Classic Journeys, our tour guide company!

If you haven’t added African safari to your bucket list yet, be sure to change that! It’s impossible to walk away unmoved, uninspired by the wild beauty around you!

stay lovely,
the tall girl

 

26 Reflections on Silence

I “checked myself in” for a 3-day private Silent Retreat at a Benedictine Monastery this week. Nestled into the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California, St. Andrew’s Abbey is not necessarily a beautiful location. But the prayers and reverence for God that cover the small acreage bring a tangible peace for retreatants.

As I clipped that badge to my shirt “Shhh, I am on a Silent Retreat”, I focused my heart, mind, and soul on stillness. I wanted to experience Jesus in a new way.

Here are the reflections my time of silence brought:

  1. Your other senses are enhanced. I smell my surroundings more potently; I taste and enjoy my food more wholly; I hear others’ words but even more seem to tap into what their hearts mean behind the words (probably because I’m not worried about what I have to say in response!); I see because I intentionally open my eyes to be more observant; and I feel deeper emotions as I tune in to what the Spirit is revealing to me.
  2. It’s extremely challenging at first, but then you begin to enjoy and even revel in it!
  3. It allows you time and energy to not only ask yourself the big life questions, but to also hash them out. (What is my purpose, what am I here for?)
  4. Because doing this one thing is out of your comfort zone, it pushes you to do more things out of your comfort zone (like lay prostrate on the floor for an hour in prayer like King David modeled).
  5. It opens your mind to realize how much you complain and gossip.
  6. It makes you want to ask people a million questions and just stop talking and listen, despite what “good advice” or knowledge you think you can impart.
  7. It stirs up old bitterness and resentment you thought you were healed of.
  8. It causes you to pray. Nonstop.
  9. You become fully aware of the percentage of your thoughts in any given category. (I.e. Here was 8 minutes wasted in jealousy or given to lust. Half my day was spent in planning (quite in vain) for the future and the other half day-dreaming or contemplating my past, etc.)
  10. When you adore Jesus, you are humbled to feel HOW MUCH HE ADORES YOU!
  11. Everyone should try silence for a specific, extended period of time.
  12. It unsettles others and can make you uneasy to not respond – but in the end it’s a good challenge for both you and them to accept the difference in people.
  13. It takes a while to still the heart and totally check in to the silence…of the tongue and the soul.
  14. Perspective becomes clearer.
  15. Your heart changes. Rather than praying for my way and specific requests, I was asking God to move in hearts, lives, and give His guidance; I was fully surrendering to His will be done and being okay with that.
  16. You come to a sense of peace in who you are – who He designed and destined you to be. Because suddenly the things of this world grow strangely dim.
  17. You feel the sense of time more presently. It doesn’t speed by as in a busy day with many appointments, nor does it crawl on endlessly as an unintentionally unfilled day can seem ‘boring’. Every minute is pregnant with purpose, and you feel it as it is.
  18. People come to mind to pray for you would not have thought of otherwise.
  19. Jesus breaks chains.
  20. As the rhythm of life slows, you sleep better.
  21. You don’t want it to end, but you’re also anxious to bring the insights you’ve discovered back to the real world. (I won’t deny I was chomping at the bit to be home a little 😉 ).
  22. You drink more water…maybe I just remembered to more often? It happened though!
  23. It’s a catalyst for change! I want to talk rather than text, I want to live life with people rather than Snapchat my life to them, I want to ask questions rather than gossip or complain.
  24. It causes reflection on the past – and to ask hard questions.
  25. It makes you miss mom and dad.
  26. Once you introduce talking again, your pace immediately increases.

 

There were many breakthroughs during the 3 days, but I’d say the greatest praise I have was the Spirit’s assurance on my heart to start boldly proclaiming I AM MOVING TO NAIROBI, KENYA IN JUNE! I have been hesitant and timid to tell people for fear that it will fall through if perhaps I was wrong in discerning God’s call for me to go. This week He broke that chain of fear! I am not called to live half-hearted but to walk boldly in the call He’s given me!

I have held back so it wouldn’t hurt as bad if the rug were pulled out underneath me and I ended up not going. It would soften the blow of failure or disappointment. This fear is of the enemy, though, not of God Almighty!! It really did take the silence to name that fear, call it out, and fill the vacancy with the confidence of Christ.

Praise God!!

stay lovely,
the tall girl

 

Discovering Tuscany: Florence Edition

The guidebooks were correct on one thing: Florence is overflowing with tourists. I heard more English or German being spoken than I did Italian in this city of over 360,000 locals.

If tourists are swarming, it must be for good reason. I almost didn’t go because of low expectations and a lingering tiredness from the week prior, hopping quickly from Athens to Santorini to Rome to Pisa. Well, those low expectations led to a dropped jaw and wide-eyed stares at the beauty surrounding me. Continue reading “Discovering Tuscany: Florence Edition”