Reflection

Getting Over Myself

Thirty-three is hard for me.

It’s hard for someone who was consistently mistaken for a sixteen-year-old in her twenties. One time a pharmacist yelled at me because he thought I was skipping school since the high school was right next door. I was twenty-three. And pregnant. But you know, South Texas, y’all.

And the other day I had to verify my age (who knows for what, exactly. I have a horrible memory. I was most likely just talking to a random street lamp), and I had this stupidly expectant look on my face that read, “Ha! What do you think about that!” But the guy just nodded like thirty-three seemed like a pretty good fit.

Heathen.

You have to understand that up until this point I’ve lived my life like an only child who has been constantly patted on the head. And I don’t mean that to be condescending because it’s not.

Really, it’s nice to be patted, and to be told you have movie star teeth by your dentist, and to be given a gold star by your doctor because you’re in peak physical shape, and to be told by your hairdresser that your hair color is such a pretty shade, and she can’t actually verbalize what color it is because it’s like nothing she’s ever seen before and to be congratulated on the fact that you know how to write words in a way that stumps other people when for you it’s pretty much like scratching a mosquito bite.

What I’m trying to say is that for the longest time I thought I was pretty dang amazing.

And I lived like it. Smug but at the same time self-deprecating because if you play it right, you can make people jealous of you and love you all at the same time. It helps with getting what you want in life.

Now, you see why I need Jesus?

I’m not that person anymore. And apparently my face is following suit. I have lines in the forehead that used to be my thinking lines. They’d pop out whenever I was writing poetry, or think tanking that parallel parking business (cars are the worst), or figuring out why Taylor Hanson hadn’t been nominated president yet. But then they’d subside and my forehead was nice and smooth, the type of forehead you’d imagine would belong to a sixteen-year-old looking twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman getting yelled at in her local neighborhood pharmacy.

But they live on my forehead now even when I’m not thinking and doing things like blankly staring into a void, wondering why I’m talking to a street lamp. I also have smile lines which I find incredibly offensive because I’ve lived most my life trying not to smile for this very reason. All through my childhood my mother would be like “Smile, like your friends do. You look so upset!” And I’d just think, Smile like those hooligans?? I’d like to see what that bad decision does to their faces in thirty years.

Sigh.

My face is thinner now. My teeth yellower, probably. I don’t know. I’m still pretty obsessed with having movie star teeth seeing that I’m the lead in Ericka: The Woman Who’s Hiding Behind Her Pants in the Closet so She Doesn’t Have to Make Dinner. It’s on Lifetime.

But the rest of me has taken that step on a downhill slope. And you know what? I’m really not that mad about it. Don’t get me wrong. For someone who’s struggled with body dysmorphia for most of her life, there was a period where I was glued to the mirror wondering why God was so mad at me and decided to take it out on my face.

But He’s not.

Aging is the consequence of sin, my friends. It’s something that’s going to happen, and in a way, it’s kind of nice when you think about it. It puts into check all those pats on the head, the nice compliments, the pride you take in the color of your hair, the shine in your eyes.

It’s there, for now. But not for long.

So at the end of the day, you have to take a long hard look at yourself, and go beyond the forehead lines and the evidence of past smiles and ask yourself: What do I believe?

Because there are only two choices in this world when you get right down to it.

And you can look sixteen all you want. But it’s never going to change that truth.

 

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Faith

Bibles and blazers, oh my.

The closest I ever got to reading the Bible growing up was the Bible as Fiction class I took in college.

Wait. Scratch that.

I did have a religion class I took in high school. (Think Catholic. All Girls. Blazers. A sobering realization later in life that not everyone gets a brand new car on their sixteenth birthday. Yeah.)

I remember having to tab those really thin, practically see through pages and either accidentally sticking the pages together or ripping them apart.

So I easily equated the Bible with equal parts frustration and anger over the years.

Plus it’s antiquated, right? I mean look at us now. All evolved and emotionally sensitive to each others’ needs.

I’m sorry. I just fell out of my chair from all the laughing. And the idea of me wearing a blazer.

Okay, so what if it’s not antiquated? What if it applies even if socially things have changed a bit over the years? How does this book reflect our lives and more importantly, how does this book guide each individual human being on the planet to become the living embodiment of Christ’s love on earth?

That’s a pretty big ask in my book. And I know what wearing polyester on a daily basis feels like.

So, where do we begin?

I always like to begin at the beginning if only to live my life like a Lewis Carroll novel. And I find that beginnings are easier when you have back up.

Enter the Bible Project.

The Bible Project is a series on YouTube that breaks down what exactly the Bible is, how to read it, and how it connects with Jesus in ways that’s hard to fathom for us simple plebeians who are still lamenting the fact that Hanson is no longer played on the radio. 

Above is their What is the Bible? video. Every video of theirs is beautifully animated, well-researched, and put into understandable terms that WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.

Take that super annoying and not at all useful Bible tabs.

But because these guys have built such an amazing ministry and have a heart for truly spreading the Good News to others, they also have a website where you can download written materials that take studying the Bible to the next level.

And I don’t know if you know anything about me but studying is how I like to get my party on. They don’t call me Party Pants Clay for no reason. And by “they” I mean me. And my dog. She’s half-chihuahua so you know she’s legit.

The Bible Project crew offers study notes on various topics, but I’m linking their How to Read the Bible study notes here.

“But Ericka, I don’t even own a Bible and don’t have the magnificent shoulders necessary to pull of a blazer like you do.” 

I know, you guys. I know.

But then here’s this brilliance: Tim and Jon, the co-founders of The Bible Project, already knew that and developed an easily accessible Bible app like the glorious wizards they are.

It’s called the Read Scripture app and breaks down the Bible into digestible chunks and even sprinkles their informative videos and meditative/prayer opportunities throughout.

And again, no tabbing required.

I cannot stress that enough.

I’m creating a resources page on my site that will have this type of info handy for you all.

I know what it’s like to live in the darkness. And there will be plenty of opportunity to get into the nitty gritty of my past life. But just know, it only seems like the end because the end is whispering hard in your ear.

But so is God.

It’s up to you to decide who you’re going to listen to. And the Bible can help you do just that.

No blazer required. Fortunately.

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Blog, Minimalism

Let go, let God.

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I deleted all my previous posts.

How’s that for minimalism?

But it’s been something that’s been playing on my heart and in my head for awhile now.

I’m not who I used to be.

I look the same. Ish. And I’m just as brilliant and incredibly humble about it.

You’re welcome.

But fundamentally there’s been a change. I’ve let the hand go of the old me, and every day I attempt to hold tight onto Christ’s.

That’s a big transformation for someone who’s no stranger to dancing on bar tops.

But I guess my feet got tired. And my daughter needed dinner. And my husband loved me too much for me to keep hating myself.

And God loved me, too.

So I took the leap and let go of everything, and I’m finally free.

And now it’s time to write about what I want to write about. What I really think God would like me to talk about.

Let go. Let God.

I’m doing that on an intense level. On a very real physical level that’s manifested itself into me clawing through cabinets and drawers, ridding our lives of the “maybe one days” and the “you never knows.”

Here’s the thing: you don’t know. You just have yourself, this moment, and God’s path for you. And that’s what the Bible keeps telling us.

And I think that living a simpler life is part of that path for me.

I’m not saying having things is inherently bad because it isn’t. But humor me for a second: what if those were the very things that were keeping us from the journey we’re supposed to be taking?

Let go. Let God.

Okay. So what does that look like? Like with anything else, it’s going to be tailored to you and to what God wants for you. So my first suggestion is my first suggestion for anything: pray.

And here are the words you say:

Lord, please lead me on the path you’ve chosen for me. Please help me to remove any obstacles that have impeded my progress towards knowing you fully and completely so that I can become the person you intended me to be.

Or something equally brilliant. Get creative.

So me? What have I been doing? Here’s a quick list that we’ll delve into for future posts as things progress:

  • I’ve freed my brain from Facebook and Instagram. It gets way more oxygen that way.
  • A complete overhaul of our stuff. Goodbye junk. I never liked you anyways.
  • Clean eating to balance my hormones and feel better.
  • Working out to balance my body.
  • More books. Always.
  • Reading the Bible and writing a poetry compilation as I interpret what I read. You know. Girl stuff.
  • Knitting. And wondering why yarn is the devil.
  • Homeschooling my daughter and learning more about her and myself, really.
  • Slowly taking the natural route as far as home care, face care and body care products.
  • Talking to God like I used to talk to myself.
  • Breathing. Again, girl stuff.

I’m growing, learning, changing. And so are you. There’s no perfect recipe for anything. Only a perfect God.

And as I continue to find my way, seeking Him. I’d like to write about it in the process.

Brilliantly, of course.

 

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