Browsing Category

Empower Imago Dei.

empower-imago-dei

This post is the fourth in a series about the five core valuesthat form the foundation of everything I do at Pure & Simple.If you missed the first three posts, read them here and here and here! A few months ago, I came home with this tattoo on my left forearm. It is the Hebrew word “ezer.”It’s kind of an ironic tattoo, really, because this word is most often used to describe Eve as Adam’s helper. For my entire life, that’s how I heard Eve described. A helper. An assistant. A support system. A mother. A wife. Calm. Gentle. Quiet. I assume her laugh was airy and light.Meanwhile, you can hear my laugh from a mile away. I spend most of my time at either end of the emotional spectrum, and rarely linger around calm. I forget that I’m a full-bodied person and don’t do gentleness well. Quiet isn’t my style.If you’ve been around here before, you know that I have had a hard time reconciling my personality with the characteristics I have always thought a nice, Christian woman is supposed to possess.But then, a…

•••
Share:
Empower Imago Dei.

Be Kind to Yourself.

It’s that time again when people are posting about their New Year’s Resolutions. They want to lose weight, gain muscle, save money, spend less, learn new hobbies, drop old habits, travel more, and so on and so on.If you’re like me, you want to do it all. I want to declutter my home, spend more time doing things that bring me joy, go on more adventures with Jacob, practice new hobbies until I master them, read the unread books on my shelf, and finally get back in shape after being sick for three months.Forget about the fact that I’m also a full-time student and a part-time employee – and that I’ll become a full-time employee less than halfway through the year – I can definitely stay on top of those things and accomplish all of my 2017 goals . . . right?Maybe, but probably not.One of the hardest parts of entering a new year is remembering our limitations. This is the time when everyone dreams big, and declares their goals before all of their social media friends and followers. This is the time when we compare our lives to that of those around…

Empower Imago Dei.

Why Not?

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who dance at school dances and those who do not. Personally,  I was always the latter.  I was the kind of person who stood along the wall, talked to my fellow non-dancing classmates, and spent a lot of time eating the candy being sold. (Which, let’s be honest, was the best part of dances, anyway.)When it came down to it, I didn’t dance because I was too concerned about looking stupid.At a wedding this summer, I had flashbacks to these moments. As the dancing portion of the reception began, the fear of looking dumb washed over me anew, and I contemplated staying firmly planted in my chair.But then I looked around, felt the joy filling the room, and had a simple thought: Why not?Why not have fun celebrating at a wedding? Why not allow myself to stop caring what others think? Why not make memories with the people I love?So often, we talk ourselves out of taking a risk because we’re afraid or because foreign territory intimidates us or because we worry about what people will say. I wonder how many…

Empower Imago Dei.

That Box Makes You Look Dumb.

There’s a whole series of pictures of my high school small group in which my hair looks dumb. Seriously, dumb. We brought dresses to our last Fall Retreat with the plan of getting nice pictures taken, and no one told me that my hair was a hot mess the whole time. We’re talking fly aways all over the place, and don’t even get me started on the chunk of hair falling out of my bun that none of my dear friends thought to mention.I wish one of them would have taken me aside and whispered, “Hey, that hairstyle looks dumb on you today. Go change it.” (Maybe not in those exact words, but you get how the overall idea would have been nice.)Since I know what it’s like to look back and realize I looked dumb, I can’t sit by while you walk around like this. I can’t pretend that I don’t notice that that box looks dumb on you.  But I have a feeling you already knew that. You can feel that it doesn’t fit, but someone at some point told you that this is the box you get…

Empower Imago Dei.

You are not Beautiful.

When we were freshmen at Johnson, one of Jacob’s friends said he “didn’t get” why Jacob thought I was attractive. (You can probably guess how much that helped boost my self-esteem.) There are some days when I still think about his comment. Days when I wonder what I could do to be more beautiful, and when I have to try extra hard to not let it get to me.If I’ve learned anything as I’ve grown older, it’s that I’m thankful I’m not known as Beautiful. I’ve learned that it doesn’t look at the whole picture. If you were to ask someone to describe me and all they said was “Oh, she’s beautiful”, you still would not know anything of value.Am I a hard worker? Do I like to dance in the car? Is it easy to talk to me? Can I laugh at myself? How do I handle pressure? What do I do in my spare time? How would you describe the essence of Julianna?Beautiful just doesn’t cut it, does it?That’s something I’ve always like about names – unlike simple descriptors, our names…

Empower Imago Dei.

To the Lonely Friend . . .

Earlier this week, I heard another person acknowledge the 4-word feeling I’ve been carrying in my gut for 21 years: “It’s lonely being different.”I’ve never really been one to call myself a loner. I’ve never found myself without friends, nor have I found myself unable to relate with those around me on at least some level. I’ve never fit the mold of a loner.I have, however, been one to call myself lonely. Surrounded by friends, doing typical teenage (and now early-20s) things, going to the popular places at the popular times…and yet, a deep loneliness abounds. Never feeling like I fit. Feeling like that piece of the puzzle that always lines up on three sides, but never the fourth. Feeling like I’m a bright blue chair in a world that ordered the black ones.I felt this most deeply in the 2012 school year. For five days a week, I was an official, full-time college freshman. But, on Sunday, I was a senior in my youth group. Both labels were accurate – I had graduated a year early, so life was dictated by my academic year on weekdays and…

Empower Imago Dei.

How Creating Saved My Life.

The other night, I went to the Notes app in my phone to see what I had saved from my high school years. There were funny quotes from my friends and sisters, notes from church services, and to-do lists that I probably never finished. And then, sprinkled throughout, there were snippets of poems I had written.I wrote poems about everything from marrying my high school sweetheart to longing to escape depression but feeling like I was trapped. I wrote about learning someone I loved was addicted to porn, and about not believing that a friend of mine was really dead.I wrote poems about shattered hopes, wanting to get better, and not knowing where to start.As I was reading through these poems, I realized that not only was high school just as rough as I remember, but writing my way through it probably saved my life.People say that humans were made to be creative beings. That we create in order to have beauty, life, love, and all things joyous in the world.But I also think we create so that we can move forward.Forming something where there was once nothing can only be done through…