Connecting Perseverance to Beauty {Looking for Lovely}

I am a quitter.  Those who know me might not believe this because I have never given them any reason to believe I quit.

Because if I promise YOU that I will organize the event or complete the project or write the letter, I will.  But, if I promise ME? It rarely happens.

Wheels begin to squeak, and I begin to grab oil cans, making sure everyone else and everything else is taken care of. And that’s not all bad. But, in the midst, I lose my promises to self and my goals every single time.

Sure there’s some self sabotage and bad habits fighting for attention too.

Still…I am a quitter. I give up easily.  I won’t fight for what I want or need. My self talk says it’s selfish, and my inner lack of perseverance believes the lie and quits. Underlying it all is a feeling of “I’m not worth it; I am fine just like I am.”

And I’ve never tried to “fix” this about  me. It’s been a prayer a time or two. But, I have never seen it as an issue – this quitting on self.  Until I read this book…

looking for lovely

 

Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs.**  

I certainly haven’t mastered perseverance. I’m just naturally a quitter, not a finisher…Instead of being brave and facing the hard moments, I run.

I loved God. I just hated me…Maybe it wasn’t that I wanted to be skinny or beautiful; maybe I just wanted to be free…When things feel too painful or seems too hard, I escape. {ie I quit}

Instead of feeling any of the suffering, instead of pressing through the pain and taking it to God, trusting that He heard me, I escaped to anywhere that would feed me, and I stuffed my emotions down by covering them in layers of food.

Every act of obedience is an act of courage. Every hard yes, every difficult no, every moment of moving and shaking takes bravery… you have to be brave to believe you are made on purpose – to go after your passions and walk in who you were made to be. 

I decided if I was going to survive this (the healing process), it had to be worth it. It had to have some sort of worthy redemption. It had to be beautiful…to stay in the process, to let it work itself out, to not give up. It was going to take a lot of looking for lovely…the beautiful things, though few and far between, were the knots on the rope that helped me keep climbing.

There is a correlation, I’m finding, between beauty and perseverance…It’s not just the things everyone sees, but it is what YOU see, what sticks out to you, the unique moments God give you to collect up and hold and draw strength from.

I needed to find beautiful if I was going to hang in there…I just don’t want to quit anymore.  

These are just a few of my many highlighted and triple underlined passages in Looking for Lovely.

If you have suffered or are suffering. If you can’t find the joy in the journey. If you quit and see no reason or motivation to persevere. If you can’t count it all joy when you face various trials (James 1:2), then this book is for you.  

Annie connects the lovely to perseverance, showing us where she finds joy: sunrises, nail polish, a farmer’s market, her people and more. And before you dismiss these as “shallow” – as I almost did – I encourage you to read the book and see how they’re anything but “first world” and “shallow” – how these might not be YOUR ways of finding lovely, but simply a place to begin looking for lovely.

I find lovely in stickers.  Yes, I am 40, but I still gain motivation from stickers on my planner. I decorate my bible memory verse cards with them too. I also gain joy from watching my children banter in the supermarket or at home. There’s something so lovely about these two beings that God gave me growing and learning and loving. Spring flowers or fresh water.  I am learning to look for lovely.

It’s not a shallow lovely or pointless lovely either. It’s the process taught by those who have scientifically and psychologically studied habit for years.  As  Charles Duhigg writes in The Power of Habit: Habits can’t be eliminated, only replaced. Habits have a pattern, cue, and reward.  Those cues currently cause me to quit or eat.  However, slowly but surely I am replacing the reward by looking for lovely.

God was doing a big work. I knew it, I just had to keep showing up, even when it hurt or felt hard or wasn’t AT ALL what I wanted to do. 

I just keep showing up.  I just keep persevering. And, friend, you can too. Step by step. Day by day. Follow the path.

It’s not that my life is all that different; it’s just that I  see it differently. 

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***A perk of blogging is being invited to a launch team. It’s a group of bloggers who receive a copy of a book before it’s released. In exchange you share about the book’s release and review it on Amazon. I’ve so enjoyed being part of Annie’s launch team. God has used it to give me the direction for which I had been praying.  If you’d like to read Looking for Lovely, you can buy it here.   

 

Comments

  1. I can’t wait to read this. I just finished 5 habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz and it struck such a cord with me.

    • So funny, Lori, because I just started 5 habits! We just read them in reverse of each other;) Did you like 5 habits?

  2. Sounds like a common thread in my life! Thanks for sharing.

    • I think I dream big, start big, and then quit big. So, I am trying to downsize all around;) I’d say the thing I quit most is my newest healthy eating programs…those often go by 4:00 when I dont’ want to struggle with dinner.

  3. I am SO with you on this! I feel like a quitter too! And same as you…if I start a project or plan something for someone else, it’s no problem, but when it comes to MYSELF, it’s a different story. Thanks so much for writing this. I know you will cringe at this, but I’m not a lover of reading…never have been, but I’m dying to read this book now…and the other 5 Habits book that was mentioned in the other comments. Love your blog, friend! You are definitely not alone in this. I’m struggling even now in the midst of something…wanting to quit. I really needed to hear these words this morning. Thank you! 😊

    • Hi Lori…I often have a crisis when I feel myself leaning toward “quit.” Maybe it’s God asking me to walk away – or is it just me wanting to avoid the mess? the effort? the struggle? And if you’re a non reader, you might consider Audible. You can have a monthly subscription or you can buy audible books on Amazon. There’s an audible app – you simple download and listen to the book. I keep a few books on audible for when I am driving:) Praying for the “I want to quit” situation. Don’t give up on YOU!

  4. So Much Amen to this, Sarah! I am stopping by from the launch team and I love this review! I too was a quitter… (God graciously called it my ‘lack of follow through’ – but still… quitter!) I am changing my ways and looking for lovely helps, for sure!

    • Thanks so much, Karrilee! It’s nice to “meet” you. I have LOVED this launch team. It’s been a great experience. I’ll find your review too!

  5. This is what I loved best about your post: “If you have suffered or are suffering. If you can’t find the joy in the journey. If you quit and see no reason or motivation to persevere. If you can’t count it all joy when you face various trials (James 1:2), then this book is for you.” Oh YES!
    And now I’m wishing I had your address so I could mail you some stickers! 😉
    P.S. I found you through the launch team.

    • Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for visiting:) I loved the launch team…I learned so much and enjoyed reading all the posts!

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