Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Beholder

This post was originally published on June 17, 2012 as a guest post for Christina's You are Beautiful series.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

When I first heard this saying as a child, I thought that it meant that beauty was relative.  You know, how some people think the sunrise is one of the most beautiful things in the world, whereas I hold the belief that something that happens that early in the morning can only have so much beauty.

Other things that aren't too beautiful in the morning include my unkempt hair and sleepy eyes.
The trap we fall into with relativism though is that it leads us to believe that lies are the truth - yes, even with beauty! I can't count the number of times I've heard over the years, "You look pretty!" or "That dress looks beautiful on you!" but I can tell you that there have only been a few times I've heard the words we all long to hear: "You are beautiful." 

Yet, when I started thinking about the theme for this post and the above adage popped into my head, another thought came to light that made it all start to make sense in a way I'd never realized before.  What was the thought that entered my mind with this saying, you ask?

What if I think of God as The Beholder?

Beauty is in the eye of The Beholder.

It doesn't change much, but it changes everything.

The sunrise is beautiful, because God made it. My morning unkempt hair and sleepy eyes are beautiful, because God made them. I am beautiful, because God made me. You and I, though, we hold a different kind of beauty than the sunrise because our beauty comes directly from God, who is Beauty.
Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness... God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them... God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. (Gen. 1: 26-27, 31)
The sunrise was created by God, but only us human beings were created by God in His likeness. We were not just created beautifully, but we were created to be beauty.

Just like everything else in the world, the fall into original sin skewed our perception of beauty. We forget that our very creation is beauty. We forget that because we were created by God, we are beautiful. We forget that in God's eyes, we are beautiful.

So, what can we do when we forget that God sees as beautiful? Imagine God singing something like this to you:
We'll ignore the fact that these kids are about 12 years old for now and just enjoy being told we're beautiful.

Oh, wait. My bad. God already has written us a song or two:
Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved,
ah, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves! (Song of Songs 1:15)
You are all-beautiful, my beloved,
and there is no blemish in you. (Song 4:7)
You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes,
with one bead of your necklace.
How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride,
how much more delightful is your love than wine. (Song 4:9-10)
How beautiful you are, how pleasing, my love, my delight! (Song 7:7)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just don't forget that God is the only Beholder that matters. Remember that in His eyes, you are loved and you are beautiful.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Myth, The Legend, “The One” (Being Single Series)

Some single Catholic ladies and I were discussing the idea of "The One" a while back, and there were so many differing ideas and opinions on what that means that I asked if any of the ladies wanted to write about it for the Being Single Series. Here is the first of what I hope to be many guest posts about "The One", written by the lovely and oh-so-wise Amanda!


We’ve all been there. We start talking to one of our friends about a certain guy and the inevitable question comes up:

Is he “The One”?

I used to wait for this question. There was a time in my life where I was dating the man I firmly believed to be “The One”. In fact, at the time, I would have probably bet my life on it. We had the next five years of our lives planned out, the engagement ring, the wedding, where we were going to live, and what we were going to name our kids. You name it and we’d probably had some sort of a plan about it. We started dating and were very serious very fast. Our friends were incredibly supportive and many of them pestered us about when they would get an invitation to our wedding.

Then it ended.

Our fairytale romance had come to an end when he told me that he didn’t think I was “The One” anymore. That’s not my only relationship that has ended with something along the lines of, “I just don’t think you’re ‘The One’.”

The Myth

“The One” sounds like a fairytale, you meet your Prince Charming, you fall in love, and everything is hearts and rainbows. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? On some level I think we all long for that fairytale romance, that epic story that we’ll tell our children and our grandchildren. We’ll tell them of a perfect love, unstained by bitter fights, and a relationship that was written in the stars.

However, that fairytale isn’t reality. Relationships take work. Whenever you put two people together there are bound to be disagreements, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get through them together. My parents have been happily married for 28 years and they still disagree from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t supposed to be together anymore. What matters is that they choose to love each other and they commit to working through the tough times. I think that one of the biggest dangers of buying into the concept of “The One” is that we think that relationships should be effortless and easy, and that we’ll never disagree. We think that we will find that perfect someone and we will instantly click with a powerful and intoxicating chemistry. Then, once we hit a snag in the road or have a disagreement, or get busy with other things, we no longer think the one we are with is “The One” and end the relationship.

The Legend

I’m not saying that clicking and powerful chemistry are bad things. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to find someone that you feel was made for you. The danger comes in when we pass on good relationships because there is a snag or because we find that relationships actually do take time and effort.

We probably know a story or two of someone close to us who seems to have that fairytale romance. I know a few couples whose love stories put Nicholas Sparks books to shame. Their stories are wonderful, but I know that if l cling to them too closely I’ll assume that my story has to be just like theirs or else I’m a failure in the love department. Those legendary love stories should give us hope: hope that love is real, that people are still willing to commit to one another, and hope that love can triumph.

“The One”

The fact of the matter is that at this very moment God is writing your love story. GOD. Your love story might be one that is legendary, one that Jane Austen could only dream of writing about. Your love story will be unique to you and your future spouse alone. As much as I know and believe that God is writing your love story (and mine), I also know this to be true: relationships take work and commitment. Don’t use the idea of “The One” as a cop-out when you don’t feel like putting in the effort or working through the tough stuff. Entering a relationship with an eye towards marriage, and more importantly toward Heaven, will naturally place your heart in God’s hands. Decide for yourself that relationships are worth the effort. Choose to love. Love is about more than emotions and mushy-gushy feelings – Christ showed us that on the cross.

Is there only one person God made for you? I don’t know. He does. I do know that He will guide you if you let Him, but we have to be willing to put in the effort too.


Amanda is a single, Catholic woman who lives out in Denver, CO. She works as a youth minister, blogs over at worthy of Agape, writes for Ignitum Today and The Papist, oh, and she wrote a book which is being released on May 14th! Head over to her blog to pre-order your copy today!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And the Winner is...

Y'all remember my #LentPlaylist challenge?

It's time to announce the winner!

Drum roll please...

I said drum roll, not rick roll... geesh.

That's better-ish. But kinda lame.

Yes. Just yes. That's what I'm talking about.

Aaaaaand back to announcing the winner...

The "Most Listened To Song During Lent" is...

I especially like the part at 4:31!

Desert Soul by Rend Collective Experiment!

This song is especially perfect for Lent. As we all know, Lent can be an especially... trying time. Spiritually. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally.

But it is also a great time to find our center and remind ourselves that we are just a dry, barren, desert soul without God. It's a time to remember that we should always be running towards God.

I love You Lord
But I want to love You more
I need You God
But I want to need You more

I'm lost without
Your creative spark in me
I'm dead inside
Unless Your resurrection sings

I'm desperate for a desperate heart
I'm reaching out, I'm reaching

All that I am is dry bones
Without You Lord, a desert soul
I am broken but running
Towards You God, You make me whole

You are exactly what we need
Only You can satisfy 

That being said, we should always be running towards God, not just during Lent. So put on your running shoes, blast this song on your iPod, and let's get going.

You may be wondering, Yes, this is great, I like this song too... BUT WHO SUGGESTED THIS SONG TO YOU AND IS THE OH-SO-LUCKY WINNER OF THE DELICIOUS BAKED GOODS?!?

Well, I heard about Rend Collective Experiment just before Lent started, when the extremely talented Audrey Assad posted about them on Facebook and Twitter. Because Audrey and I are BFF+Ever, I trusted her and gave them a listen and was hooked like a fish. I bought their album right away, and haven't looked back since.

So, congratulations Audrey, you win delicious homemade baked goods!

Think she'd mind sending me her address so I can ship them to her?

Too creepy?

Some other great songs that were close in the running...

Here With Me by MercyMe

I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

Blessed Are the Ones by Audrey Assad

Meant to Live by Switchfoot

The Spirit and the Bride by Matt Maher

OK, now it's your turn again. What should have made the list, but didn't this time around?

Feel free to make your case if you think you should have been the lucky ducky winner.

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