Thursday, June 2, 2016

Do you notice the Lovely in life?

Looking for Lovely By Annie F. Downs ~ Book Review

My story is like many other women I know – 
the mirror has lied, and the enemy has 
whispered for years, and now we can’t look at ourselves and find anything lovely…”

I have been so moved by reading this book! It wasn’t my first pick because the description made me feel like it was too fuzzy feeling.

I was wrong.

This book is raw, hard emotion and hardcore honesty about Annie Downs’ life experiences and how she made it through to a healthier version of herself.

Annie references Romans 5:3-5 often throughout the book. She talks about being in different stages of each part of the passage.  It reads “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit Whom He has given us.

There were many chapters she talked about the hard things she was going through that I resonated with, and the hard job of first realizing it about yourself and then choosing to do something about it!

The doing something about it was someone was to keep showing up, keep doing what is the right thing and allow God to do the work in you. To persevere while He’s working on you.

Just like a sculptor with a chisel and a large piece of stone, God is chipping and carving away to reveal the beautiful creation He knows us to be. We’ve built up the ugly walls that He has to break away. Our choices in relationships, what we spend time doing, watching or consuming have created a hard outer shell around our vulnerable hearts. We’ve sinned – a lot. It has affected and shaped how we see life and deal with people.

In order to take away the mess, or walls and roadblocks, we have to submit ourselves to some construction. It hurts. Sometimes more than we think we can bear and we want to quit.

 Annie talks about this in her chapter titled “Quitter”. She says, 

In fact, a little more than a year ago, 
I wrote in my journal, 
‘why can’t I quit hating myself?’…. 
which is almost funny 
considering I can quit everything else. 
And that question, the question I can’t quit 
about the hate I can’t quit is the one 
I’ve been trying to answer ever since”.

If you leave the process in the middle before the finished product, 1) you’ll never be fully healed, 2) You won’t experience all of what God has for you and 3) you’ll remain in some state of “broken crazy” as Annie calls it.

Looking for Lovely is the pointed act of looking for lovely things in and around you while going through the ugly. It is a motivator and also a balm. At the end of the chapters she gives a looking for lovely challenge of sorts. To get up and watch a sunrise, go to see a theater production or concert in a historic music hall, picking up a phone to call a friend and tell them the reality of your situation, buy a watermelon with black seeds and the list goes on. Read it and you’ll understand.

Towards the end, Annie talks about what happened on the other side of the “broken crazy”. How her perspective changes. She says:

“I feel like since I gave honest words to the broken crazy 
and started to get healthy around it, 
God has shown up and walked me into more healing 
than I even knew to ask for. 
And in it He is opening my eyes.”

For an eye opening, vulnerably honest, lovely book check out Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs.

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