Make UP Your Mind!

Dear Aspiring Beauty Queens,

Step right up and have a seat at the make-up counter (aka, the altar). Relax. Inhale. Now close your eyes and take a good look into the mirror of your soul. Do you like what you see?  Sometimes the shoddy situations of life cause us to see ourselves thru a magnifying mirror, with minor imperfections appearing majorly enlarged. Our perception of self is distorted. And so we become cover girls. Our beauty is skin deep… as deep as our ability to mask tear-stained faces and outfit the skeletons in our closets with churchy couture. But regardless of your unsightly past, the traumatic experiences that have beaten your self-esteem black and blue, or the sinful scars that challenge your spiritual growth, a marvelous make-over is awaiting you! Hey, why just look the part when you can be the part?! All you have to do is make up your mind to be the beautiful woman of God you were created to be.

To become a Beauty Queen in Christ, you must make up your mind to:

1.  Submit to Surgery (Salvation)- If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your make-over has to start with a Spiritual Face Lift. Trust me, you need it as bad as I did.  Sin is ugly and disfiguring. It contributes to premature aging- leaving an unsightly rash of spots and wrinkles, forcing you to cringe at your own reflection. It must be done away with.  Here’s the Good News: accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior will redefine your spiritual anatomy. Jesus is the real deal and a dynamite physician. He loves you so much, He went ahead and paid for your entire procedure! It won’t hurt, there’s no down time and the results are lifetime guaranteed. This isn’t plastic surgery, it’s fantastic surgery! AND, you won’t even be ashamed to tell folks you had some work done. Girlfriend, if you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you run to Jesus for your spiritual facelift. Get your fresh start today! Take it from me- you’ll love the results… they’re perfect!

2. Flush Your Face (Repentance)- You were fearfully and wonderfully made but you’ll never see it for yourself until you wash away the filth that litters your life. Just as you should wash your face a couple of times a day to remove the built-up dirt, you must also cleanse your spirit of sin through repentance. Do it as often as necessary. For a deeper clean, don’t be afraid to engage in a spiritual exfoliation (fast) every now and then. This will aid in your spirit’s rejuvenation process by ridding your system of the pore-clogging impurities that have  caused chaos to break out in your life. Gotta keep that new spirit fresh and clean!

3. Slather on the SPF Moisturizer (Holy Spirit… the ultimate Sin Protection Factor)- The purpose of moisturizer is to reinforce your natural skin barrier. Regular use of moisturizer lessens the occurrence of dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin and minor skin irritations. Likewise, submitting to the Holy Spirit will keep you aligned with God and lessens the occurrence of a dry, rough, unproductive spiritual life. And the integrated Sin Protection Factor (SPF) helps to reduce the likelihood of burning in sin and pre-mature aging associated with too much sin exposure.

4. Paint on the Primer (Prayer)- Primer is a makeup and skin care solution used to prepare the skin for foundation, powder and other cosmetics. Face primer has two main purposes: 1) to help achieve a smooth, even complexion,  2) enables makeup to stay on for an extended amount of time for a flawless, long-lasting look. Just like face primer, prayer is necessary to keep you connected to God. Without it, your efforts will be in vain and nothing you apply will stick.

5. Express thru Eyeshadow (Faith)- Tastefully adorning one’s lids with beautiful, bright, bold eyeshadow is an outward expression of inner confidence.  And guess what? Your faith is a visible sign of personal trust and confidence in God. It expresses the depth of your belief. Without faith, it’s impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). The more colorful and elaborate, the more abundant and believable is your faith!  A woman who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, has eyes that are decorated with the shadow of the Almighty. Her faith in God shines brightly. Her trust in Him enables her to walk boldly. Confidently. Her eyes are the windows to her Savior, not the doors of hidden disgust. How do you express your faith? It’s easier to see yourself as the Beauty Queen God created when you express yourself through faith.

6. Affix the Foundation (The Word of God)- You can build a beautiful work of art when the Word is your foundation. More often than not, the average person tries to apply God’s Word to their life without first plugging into their Power Source via the Holy Spirit and prayer (and they wonder why their spiritual foundation is shaky). So be sure to follow steps 2 and 3 prior to attempting to build a solid foundation. Don’t get me wrong- you can read the Bible 24/7… but your level of understanding and effective application won’t be firm until you apply your spiritual Moisturizer and Primer. And once you start applying God’s Word to your pretty little palette, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it! Meditating on the Word of God and speaking it over your life will help you walk confidently in His unparalleled promises.

7. Consent to Concealer (God’s Grace)- God’s Word often challenges our flesh. It exposes some sins that we would rather keep hidden. But it is the grace of God that enables us to press on in spite of the weight of our sinful past. Just as concealer covers up your physical imperfections, God’s grace covers your personal flaws and blemishes from public embarrassment. The more you spend time in prayer and study His Word, the more you will understand His grace. It’s a gift He gives freely, as an expression of His love for us. Sin can scar one’s spirit with guilt and shame but accepting God’s grace liberates us from the disgrace of that duress. When the King of Kings gives you a priceless gift, don’t argue with His generosity- accept it! Walk in it. Be grateful and sin no more. Oh, and don’t be selfish with it. Your beautification process will be accelerated when you’re a giver of grace, not just a receiver. 😉

8. Brush on the Blush (Humility)- Humility keeps pride from sinking in and enables you to see and acknowledge God at work in your life. It keeps you from becoming so full of yourself that you live a life void of Christ. You can look like Miss Universe but an arrogant, nasty, stank attitude will cause you to more closely resemble Medusa. Ladies, “pride  goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18). Nobody looks goods good falling. Nobody.

9. Lay on the Lipstick (Praise and Worship)-  We serve a Mighty God… the King of kings and Lord of lords! Bless (speak well of) His Name at all times. Tell Him how much He means to you. Thank Him for His grace, mercy, and unmerited favor. Worship Him simply because He alone is God. The most beautiful words that will ever grace your lips are the praise and worship of your Lord and Savior.

10. Bask in the Bronzer (Glory of God)- Ahhh… the Glory of God. It shines brightly all around and about those who are in deep, intimate relationship with Him. It gives us that radiant, Son-kissed glow- proof that we’ve spent quality time alone in His presence. Don’t hide the Glory of God in your life! Smile about it! Bask in it. For it is the Glory of God that will attract both strangers and loved ones to lay at the altar of His operating room- to undergo their own spiritual face lift.

Woman of God, you are beautiful, loved, and lovely. You were created as such. Now it’s time to walk in that splendor. Hold your head up high. You are a child of the King! The more you grow spiritually, the more you should look like Him. Make up your mind to be the phenomenal femme you were destined to be. You’ll walk in more confidence (physically and spiritually) when you place more value on your spiritual beauty than your outer appearance (please don’t use this as excuse to let yourself go physically- that’s not cute! LOL). Being beautiful is a lifetime commitment that must be maintained. After undergoing your spiritual surgery, you must apply steps 2-10 on a daily basis. And as an aspiring Beauty Queen, you must also commit to being selective about what you feed your spirit (thru what you watch, eat, listen to, etc.). Be sure to feast on a well-balanced diet of God, Church, Bible Study, and prayer, and steer away from gossip, temptation, foolishness, and ugly conduct. You are what you eat… eat well, not hell. Be a beauty, not a beast. 🙂

Practically Yours,

~The Practical Chick

*Written as a prelude to my May 2012 'REAL WOMEN. REAL TALK.' session.
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Relationships, Friends and Split Ends

Dear Stressed and Stranded,

Don’t you just love a fresh hair cut? Everything about it is wonderful: it curls better, hair looks healthier and shinier, the style lasts longer, etc. Just makes me smile! And you know what can easily turn that smile upside-down? A split end. Oh, I absolutely despise those little critters! They’re like little leeches, sucking the life out of a sharp hairstyle. I hate them with a passion!

I have naturally curly hair which apparently predisposes me to disobedient strands that may split as my hair grows longer. Boo!!! So, I’m at that point where I just want to cut off all my hair and start all over again. But I keep punking out. I finally started letting my hair grow back after wearing it short for 7-8 years, and now I’m ready to cut it off again? And why am I so hesitant to let it go? It’s just hair. I’ve had it long and I’ve also worn it very short. What’s my hold up this time? Well, all this talk about long hair and split ends somehow got me thinking about relationships (I know, I cook up the strangest correlations sometimes. Sue me! Lol). Hence the reason for this here blog post. Some friendships and relationships are just like split ends. And we hold on to them anyway for a number of reasons/excuses…

Winter is Coming

Because I get cold very easily, I enjoy having a little extra protection on my neck in the Winter. I can tuck my hair in the collar of my shirt and then wrap a scarf around my neck to lock in the warmth. Why would someone want to cut off all that comfort and protection when Winter is coming? Who cares if some of the hair is split or damaged? Likewise, many individuals will hang on to a bad relationship simply because Winter is on the way. They love the comfort of a warm body- even if the relationship is damaged. So they stay stranded in a stressed out relationship. If they can just make it through the cold, snow and ice, they’ll let it go when the season changes. Or so they tell themselves.

Too Much Time Invested

Ever envy someone with really long hair and then when you get up close you see how jacked up it is? It’s dry, brittle and lifeless. The split ends have split ends! Oh, but at least it’s long! Ooh, that’s so not cute, is it? It’s also not too cute to know someone is holding on to a terrible friendship or staying in a bad relationship just because they’ve been in it for so long. They have so much time invested they just can’t imagine cutting their losses now. Maybe it’ll get better…? NOT!

I Can “Fix” It

This may be the worst excuse of all. Split ends (or trichoptilosis, if you want to be technical) are typically caused by an excess of heat, stress, and styling. No matter how much you try to smooth them out, seal them together, straighten or curl them, they just don’t go away. In fact, the split just grows higher up the hair shaft until the hair eventually breaks off. The truth of the matter is, split ends are irreparable. And so it is with unhealthy relationships. Unless both parties are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the relationship and themselves, it’s not going to work. I don’t care how much you try to dress it up or sex it up, you two will end up breaking up if you both don’t deal with the root of the damage. And sometimes, even when you do deal with it, it may still make sense to let it go if it’s the only way to keep both of you healthy.

The Only Cure

So, how do you deal with split ends in your friendships and romantic relationships? You must cut off the damage. Deal with it head on. Just getting rid of the symptoms is not good enough. You have to cut off everything that is not contributing to the health of your relationship. Otherwise, one of two things will happen: either you’ll stay in a dry stressed out, broken relationship that never seems to grow, OR you’ll break up but develop a pattern of similar results in your future relationships. If you have the right tools, you can handle this on your own. But sometimes you may have to get the professionals involved- you know like getting a good hair cut. If you don’t have the right scissors, you will traumatize your tresses even more. So, be sure to get the support you need to empower you to get the job done right this time. And by all means, don’t leave God out of the equation. He created you. In fact, He has every hair on your head numbered. Trust me, He would rather you cut off all the unhealthy stuff, than have you grow into your own demise. Ladies, don’t settle for brittle and battered when you can be beautiful and bouncy! 😉

Practically Yours,

~The Practical Chick

P.S. If you are dealing with domestic violence, help is available to you! Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or log onto http://www.thehotline.org.  Advocates are available 24/7. Anonymous and confidential.