In January, I brought home a dozen pink roses. They were gorgeous when I brought them home. But, as the buds began to bloom, they left me speechless. I was so enamored by their beauty, that I found myself carrying them from room to room so I could enjoy them wherever I went.
One morning, I was getting ready for the day and noticed my roses sitting on the bathroom counter. As I looked at them, I noticed everything I loved about them. Their color, their shape, their uniqueness.
Every day, they opened up a little bit more, revealing even more beauty.
Whenever I looked at them, my first reaction was to smile as an indescribable feeling of deep joy and sweet pleasure swept across my heart.
I chose my roses with great care. In fact, the floral department is the very first place I stop whenever I’m buying groceries for my family. Whenever I bring home a new bouquet, I pull out my favorite vase, trim their stems, and place them in fresh water. After a few days, I trim them again and refresh their water.
I nurture them by giving them what they need to not only grow, but flourish.
When I stop and appreciate my roses, my heart is full of praise.
I don’t judge them harshly by telling them all they are not.
I don’t compare them to others.
I don’t call them names or chastise them in any way.
I simply smile and breathe in their delicate beauty.
And then, when the day sadly arrives when my roses begin to lose their vibrant strength and color, I let them go. I thank them for the joy and beauty they added to my days as I empty them from my vase.
I feel a sense of sadness to let them go, but also a deep sense of appreciation for the beauty they added to my days.
I quietly grieve their loss and move on. They served their purpose. Gallantly.
How ridiculous it would be to yell at my dying roses. To tell them how disappointed I was in their performance. To tell them they weren’t enough.
After admiring my roses, I continued getting ready for the day. Looking in the mirror to put on my make-up, I noticed the puffiness under my eyes, the blemish on my chin, and the way my eyebrows never fully recovered from my well-meaning older sisters when I turned 13.
The more I focused on my faults, the more negative I became.
I felt frustrated with myself for not drinking enough water. For not making more healthier choices in my diet. For not making the time to exercise the day before.
And then, like out of control weeds, my criticism grew.
My frustration turned to disappointment when I thought of items left undone on my to-do list, my past mistakes, and lost relationships.
Isn’t it crazy how one minute we’re noticing the dark circles under our eyes and the next moment we are convinced there is nothing good in us?
Instead of making mistakes, we become a mistake.
We fall victim to the lies of the enemy and start believing we are complete and utter failures.
How is it possible to have polar opposite emotions towards two of God’s creations?
There I was, giving grace and acceptance to a dozen roses that would die in less than a month and I was unable to appreciate the miracle I am as one of God’s most prized creations?
“ God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
What would it be like to view myself through the same lens I view my roses?
What if I looked in the mirror and told myself I was enough?
Luke 12:27-28 (ESV)
My Friend, here’s the thing. Not one of us is perfect. We are all imperfect people doing our best, today.
In fact, we are all beautifully imperfect people who desire to be loved and accepted. Who get so caught up in tearing ourselves and others down, we forget to notice the good, to appreciate the beauty God has so wonderfully instilled within each one of us.
We aren’t going to be able to judge ourselves into beauty and goodness. In fact, the more we focus on what we feel is wrong with us, the bigger those faults will grow.
The more negative we become.
The more hopeless life feels.
Maybe it’s time to stop judging ourselves. And, stop judging each other.
Because if we stop judging, maybe, just maybe, we will be able to see and appreciate the incredible gift we’ve been given. The incredible gift we are.
The more we focus on what’s good in ourselves, the more we will be able to pour good into each other.
Grace is a powerful, powerful thing. It’s a gift we can choose to give ourselves (& others.)
And so, today, I leave you with one tiny piece of advice and one big truth: