Week One Reading Assignments– Pages 13-39 | Quitter • Ugly • Cocaine
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I recently heard that when you feel a prompting to do something, that you have only 10 seconds to make the decision to accept the challenge before you naturally begin to talk yourself out of it. Only ten seconds! One Mississippi, two Mississippi…
When you really stop to think about it, taking more than 10 seconds this time, clearly demonstrates the destruction that self-criticism plays in our lives.
How many decisions do we give up on until the broken-crazy creeps in, like Annie talks about in the opening chapters of Looking for Lovely?
“Not the humble kind of broken but the literal ‘something isn’t right here’ kind of broken.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 22)
I’ve experienced an overwhelming dose of self-criticism over the years, that like Annie, started with my outward appearance. The words of my fellow fifth-graders stung my fresh face and it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties, sitting across a desk from a counselor, did I realize just how much damage I had allowed those words to make.
I’m fairly certain that Annie and I aren’t alone with the struggle in quitting the negative self-talk. Worry, doubt and the fear of failure plague many women, no matter what their childhood peers had to say. We all share in some kind of brokenness.
Francesca Battistelli sings in one of my favorite songs, “Bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine, cause love can heal where hurt divides, and mercy’s waiting on the other side. If we’re honest.” If we’re honest with ourselves, if we’re honest with each other, we can find healing and relief from the constant onslaught of lies.
If we’re honest, we need to be proactive choosers. We can choose to accept a challenge before the 10 seconds are up. We can choose to seek the lovely in the imperfect moments. Just like Annie when it came to keeping her appointments with her nutritional counselor, Trisha. Not because she looked forward to the conversations they had, but because of what was waiting for her on the other side of Trisha’s window.
“Show up Annie, I would think, so you can see what’s out the window today… It was the tiny bit of lovely that helped me hand on and show up. God was doing a big work. I knew it, I just had to keep showing up, even when it hurt or felt hard or wasn’t AT ALL what I wanted to do. The view out that window seemed to me the only thing beautiful in the whole situation, and it was the view that kept me from quitting.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 39)
Whatever it is that we keep quitting doesn’t get the option to name or define us because we are given new mercies every day, and praise God, a choice to start again!
God didn’t make you a winner. God didn’t make you a loser. God made you a chooser. What will you choose this week that will put you back on the right path towards a healthier and more vibrant relationship with your Creator?
Share with us in the comments; we’d love to hear from you! Or on your own blog if you have one, or on social media—and be sure to include #intentionalfilling and #livingoutlovely so we can be a part of your own journey into looking for lovely.
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To help keep you on track, we’ve developed a suggested schedule.
Of course, this is your study, so please feel free to approach it at a pace that works with your schedule.
Let’s chat! We’d love to hear from you once you’ve had some time to read through this week’s reading assignments. Come back to this space & share your thoughts in the comments below about:
Identify – In this week’s reading we’re learning, through Annie’s vulnerability, about lies that have shaped our identity. What lies have you allowed to shape who you are today?
In the Word – This week’s Scripture focus comes from Romans 5:3-5. Take a few minutes to read through these verses in your favorite translation. How do these verses speak to you in the present moment?
• Download our weekly Scripture card. Print it and hang it in a place where you’ll come across it often this week, to aid in memorization and the reminder of the lovely God brings to our lives.
Application – This week’s theme is being about a quitter. Being a quitter doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. Consider what you can quit in your life that can bring out the lovely? Can you quit staying up late at night so you can wake earlier to spend time with Jesus? In the pursuit of collecting moments that matter, we’d like to invite you to join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to share how you’re living out being a “quitter” this week. In the caption of your post, include the hashtag, #quitter, #livingoutlovely & #intentionalfilling.