Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: Feasting on Failures

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feasting on Failures

"Cynicism is the sickness of my culture 
We undress each other with an evil eye 
Concentric circles we look like vultures 
When we feast on the failures of the lives we criticize 
Don't stand alone and cast your stones at her 
Unless you think you're innocent yourself 
The same measure that we use to condemn men 
Will be the same that's poured out upon our heads 

We've all gone astray 
We kick against the pricks so convinced we know the way 
But who can repay 
The love we sacrificed for an empire made of clay 

Self-promotions how we function in this culture 
We fight for the spotlight with a peacock's pride 
And then condescend to all the lesser men 
From thrones we make of payed accolades and a compromise 
There is no power that a man can have 
Unless it's given to him from above 
Our ladders of success descend to hell 
Don't sell your soul and lose your one true love"

This is a song (Cynicism) by one of my favorite artists, Josh Garrells (who is an INCREDIBLE lyricist and music master). It's really powerful.
The second line always gets me: 
"We undress each other with an evil eye..." 
I have become a pro at judging outward appearance. My mother has done her best to teach me how to dress in a way that flatters my body type, how to wear colors that most compliment my complexion, to use make-up as sparingly as possible, and how to modestly change an entire outfit in semi-public areas (she used to be a model;) 
She has pounded in my head (in the most loving way, of course) that how I look represents my family, my Jesus, and my lifestyle. With this priority firmly planted amongst the highest priorities in my life, it is a goal and a challenge of mine to represent well.

This can easily turn into an obsession with looking perfect, though. It can also cause me to have a judgmental eye towards gals who wear colors that make them look pale, or wear empire-waists when their figure demands to be flattered by a drop-waist. It can even become a distraction from a sermon or worship service, because I want so badly to ask the poor girl "what she was thinking when she put that outfit together??"

Striving to be modest can also encourage my high horse by judging girls who are immodest. Sometimes I wonder if these young ladies know anything about the male mind. Sometimes I wonder if they know too well... It can encourage an attitude of hostility towards these girls who probably weren't taught any differently.

The Lord has brought me a long way though. I've done my best to make it a habit that, when I do see something about someone's dress or physical appearance that I deem appalling, or entirely inappropriate, I look for something that is absolutely beautiful about her. Most times, this brings me to her face: her eyes, her complexion, her smile, her countenance, etc. There is something, many things, that make a girl beautiful besides what she chose to wear in public that day. I ask God to show me.

This serves a few purposes: 1) it keeps me from being distracted; 2) it keeps me from judging someone too harshly; 3) allows God to show me the unique beauty that He has crafted in each of our faces; and 4) keeps my vanity in check, or keeps me from thinking I know "so much better than her."

Truth is, 9 out of 10 times, seeing pictures with me in them, I kick myself for thinking I looked great that day. Because in reality, what I thought looked fabulous on me was a big mistake. 

And I am repeatedly coming to Christ, again and again, repentant for judging His Beloved so harshly. I am consistently asking for His eyes, His heart, for His children.

I pray that this is an encouragement for you gals who have these same struggles. It is also a very humbling for me to write.

Grow in His grace, His presence, and His joy, Dear One.

(Picture 1: Norfolk; Pic 2: Hannah Crane, taken by Becca Crumrine; Pic 3: Becca Crumrine; Pic 4: Brooke Sweeney.)

1 comment :

  1. Casey, you have such an amazing insight into how we should respond to people around us. Thank you for the reminder of what a godly reaction should be to those who may not know better. I certainly can't imagine Jesus whispering to Peter 'Did you see what Judas was wearing? What was he thinking?'.No, instead he would have seen past the outer shell to the heart.