I found a beautiful knit cardigan on sale at an exclusive store I was browsing through with my granddaughter. We were in an artsy shopping area enjoying an afternoon together. The sweater was the perfect shade of blue that I love and a kind of cotton that is practical for Texas summers.
It is said that there are three artists that give us music: God, who gives us magical wood to make the instruments; the instrument maker, who after months of labor awakens the music dwelling in the wood; then the musical maestro, who liberates the music from its woody confines to set the listener free.
I witnessed firsthand an illustration of music’s redemptive power when I visited a women’s prison in Uganda. In some cases, these women were pregnant or lived within the prison walls with their children in tow, as there was no one else to take care of them.
We all go through experiences in life that leave us with scars, and whether the scars are physical or emotional, we often try to hide them out of fear of what others might think if they were to see them. These scars could be anything about ourselves that we may feel ashamed of and try to hide—such as buried hurts from the past, inner struggles we face, physical traits we aren’t proud of, etc. Throughout my life I have come to learn that there is great freedom in being open about our scars rather than hiding them. Here’s an example of one of my proverbial scars I’ve learned not to be ashamed of.
To one degree or another, just about all of us are unsatisfied with ourselves—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A certain amount of dissatisfaction is necessary if we’re going to keep making progress. It’s healthy to aspire to be more than we are. The problem is that too many of us stop there. Why do you suppose that is?
Dressing my three preschool sons alike seemed sensible at the time. It made clothes shopping easier, for one, and because they were brothers with similar builds and complexions, they looked good in the same clothes. At home it gave a sense of order, however superficial, to a household with three little boys in perpetual motion, and in public it showcased what I was sure was the most adorable set of kids ever.
1. Make a list of all the good things you currently have in your life.
I looked at the mirrored wall at the gym as I moved through the tai chi motions and had the most surprising thought. I never knew I was so beautiful.
Let me explain.
Lately, when I have gone to the bank I’ve noticed that I now only have to show some identification and then put my right thumb on a biometric reader. This effortless action conjures up all the information needed from my personal bank account and I’m able to withdraw my money without any further procedures.
One key element in our pursuit of Christlikeness is emulating the humility of Jesus. In the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans, humility was seen as a negative trait. It denoted a subservient attitude on the part of someone considered to be of a lower class. It was seen as a cowed attitude, one of self-belittlement or degradation. The honor-shame culture of that time exalted pride, and humility was seen as undesirable.
At a workshop I attended, art and drama therapist Emily Nash shared an experience she had while working with traumatized children and adolescents at a residential treatment center in the USA. The boys who attended her class were often combative, prone to negative and self-destructive behavior, and unable to trust adults or even one another. Almost all had histories of severe abuse and emotional neglect.