If you haven't already read part 1 and part 2 of this blog, please go back and read them before you continue on.
We've met 2 ladies in 2 different movies, with 2 different stories, but similar problems. Please don't read more into these 2 characters based on my posts. I'm not putting them on pedestals for their behavior or even their revelations. I'm simply noting that I believe there is truth all around us...even in fictional movies :)...little glimpses of teaching moments for us to decipher...instances where we can see ourselves in others' experiences. And couldn't we all use a little more truth in our lives?! Wouldn't it be nice if we were truthful with ourselves? And could truthfully BE ourselves with others? Don't we all have at least a little more room to grow? I know I do!
As we have seen with Maggie, she tried to please the men in her life by being what she thought they wanted. She had masked herself so completely that she didn’t really know herself anymore. She had put their needs not only above her own, but above everything else in her life. She lived to please them. Anyone relate? Do you ever catch yourself trying so hard to please others for the sake of validating yourself? Is your identity wrapped up in someone else? Is there someone you elevate to an unhealthy place in your life - even a good person, in a great relationship with you? It's very easy to let a good thing in our lives consume us - consume our thoughts, our minds and our hearts, isn't it?
And what about Rose? She had never deemed herself worthy of much of anything. She compared herself to her sister and didn’t feel she measured up. She envied those in relationships where they truly, deeply knew each other and what made each other happy, but she had never made those personal discoveries herself. Anyone relate here? Feel like you don’t measure up? Like you aren't worth much of anything to anyone? Envy others for rewards they are reaping for work they put in...wanting what they have, but not putting in the work for the rewards? Hiding behind excuses, clothes, makeup, others? Afraid to get to know who you really are, and CERTAINLY FREAKED OUT at the thought of BEING who you really are in front of others - letting your guard down and letting them in?
These 2 characters, like so many of us, find reasons to look outside of themselves for what should or shouldn’t make them happy, how they should or shouldn’t be, and they let that control their self-image and determine their self-worth. So many times, we fall into the same trap - we look to others, putting others on pedestals, allowing others to consume our thoughts, minds and hearts, envying, comparing ourselves, afraid, being fake so we don't have to let others in...hiding behind jobs, friends, family, kids, appearances, money, accomplishments, talents...need I go on?
LADIES!!! ISN'T IT NICE TO KNOW WE ARE NOT ALONE?!?!?! AND LET ME REASSURE YOU - YOU ARE NOT!!
We ALL struggle with so many of the same issues, whether we are willing to admit it or not! But we all struggle with the same mistake...we don't look to the right source for our identity!! We skip over the cliche, we dodge the obvious, we refuse the words of those who have gone before us...but we are missing a fundamental truth!
So, Who is SHE? And Who Am I?
WE ARE EACH A UNIQUE CREATION WITH A GOD-GIVEN IDENTITY AND PURPOSE!!
GOD is ultimately the source of all truth! AND it was GOD Who created each on of us...and HE created us unique, with unique abilities, talents, faces, bodies, personalities, desires, goals, dreams...HE knew us in our mothers' wombs and HE knit us together. HE knows every aspect of all that we are and all that we aspire to be. And, we are here, on this earth, during this year, for a reason!!
Sometimes it's easy to picture God as the Almighty Creator of the universe, AND HE IS!! But don't lose sight of the fact that the Creator of the universe took time to create each one of us! He wants a relationship with us - a special, very personal relationship with you! and with me! -- YEAH US! :) He wants to guide us and teach us. He wants to encourage us and challenge us. He wants to reveal Himself to us in a powerful and life-changing way...but He's not willing to force his will on us. He has already chosen us...He has already chosen you. The ball is in your court! What will you do?
Please email us if you would like to chat thru some questions.
Wherever you are on your personal journey, I'm so thankful it's landed you here, with us! I hope I got you thinking. I hope I got you even asking yourself some hard questions. I hope you'll come back!
thanx for being you...
Let's get back to our character studies! :) I last introduced you to Maggie, and I now want to introduce you to Rose.
Have you seen the movie “The Mirror Has Two Faces” with Barbara Streisand and Jeff Bridges?
Barbara plays Rose, a rather plain jane professor who doesn’t put much effort into her looks. In fact, when asked, “you don’t wear much makeup do you?” she replied, “What's the point? I'd still look like me, only in color!” A response I loved - haha!
She spends the majority of the movie UNfocused on herself, convinced she doesn’t deserve the good life. She feels her sister is the beautiful one who deserved the beautiful things in life. And to top it off, she’s convinced herself that nobody she would actually be interested in romantically would be interested in her. She makes the following comment about marriage, ”I tell you what I envy about people in love - I'd love it if someone knew me, I mean really knew me. What I like, what I'm afraid of, what kind of toothpaste I use.” But as we have seen throughout the movie, she didn’t even really take the time to know those things about herself.
While all this is going on, we are watching another storyline unfold. A story about another professor at the same school, Gregory, played by Jeff Bridges. These 2 professors do not start out knowing each other, but soon meet. Gregory had already made a vow to only date people he’s NOT physically attracted to – of course Barbara is unaware of his personal vow when they start dating.
Some funny, touching movie and great quotes later, we find them married. I won’t tell you what causes it, but Gregory let’s the cat out of the bag and divulges that the original reason he even began their relationship was bc he was NOT attracted to her. This completely devastates her, OF COURSE! I MEAN CAN YOU IMAGINE HEARING THAT FROM THE MAN YOU LOVE?!?! (heavy sigh and tear!)
They split temporarily – don’t get divorced, just take a few months apart. During this time, Rose basically has an epiphany and begins to work on herself – her inner personal view of herself as well as her exterior. She works out, sheds a few pounds, buys new clothes, wears makeup…not that these things are what made her or defined her – but these things represent for her, an awakening of herself, the hidden woman - her "authentic self." They represent the process that she undergoes as she begins to find self-worth and begins to value herself – to see value in her life - to truly uncover her identity for the first time in her life.
Rose soon finds herself in an exchange with the man she had always secretly loved – her dream beau, Alex, not Gregory, BTW – the lightbulb goes off right before our eyes.
They are small-talking alone.
He says, "l must have loved you all along. l just didn't know it."
Rose back to him - "What did you mean by, you must have loved me but didn't know it? - l'd like an answer."
Alex - "You were different then."
Rose - "How could you have loved me then?"
Alex -"l loved you for who you were."
Rose - (confused) "So now you want who l am because l'm not who l was any more?"
Alex - (more confused) "Rose, what?"
And here it comes ... :) !!!
Rose - "l have dreamt about this moment from the first day we met. l've played out what you'd say and what you'd think a million times. But you were better in my head. --- l don't feel anything! lsn't that great? l never thought about my feelings, only yours. --- l didn't think l was good enough."
Alex - "Oh, but you are!"
Wait for it........
Rose - "l know! But Alex, you're not good enough for me!"
FINALLY!!!!!! She realizes who she is! And FINALLY has the gumption to say it! He wasn’t good enough for her!! She finally gets it!
Now please understand my point here! You need to see the movie to catch all the nuances and all the insight, and the jerk of a guy this man really was - not to mention, to see how it all ends. :) I’m NOT putting down men- nor the place God gives them in our lives - I'm EXTREMELY happily married to the man of my dreams!!
So, the question at this point is, are you like Rose?? Are you living a life feeling undesired, unworthy, unloved? Do you feel others deserve what you want, but somehow you just aren't good enough for the good stuff in life?
Well, make sure you come back for the conclusion of this "series." :)
thanx for being you...
Have you ever been washing your face and suddenly you do not recognize the woman staring back at you? Or passed a mirror in a hallway and have to look twice at your reflection? The woman in the mirror looks vaguely familiar but bears very little resemblance to the woman you were expecting to see.
I’m not referring to the few extra laugh lines you noticed this time or possibly the few extra pounds you might have put on or taken off.
What about when nobody is around? The room is quiet, no TV, nobody asking you questions … in the car … without the radio on, with just the hum of the tires on the road… Does this situation make you uncomfortable? Do you avoid these kinds of quiet situations?
Do you ever ask yourself these questions, “Am I today, who yesterday I thought I would be? And who I want to be?” “Do I really know ME – do I really know who I am?” “Do I know who I was created to be?” "Am I living my BEST LIFE?!"
Have you seen the movie “Runaway Bride” with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? If so, you'll know right where I'm headed. If not, here's the set up for it...
So, here’s this gal, Maggie – played by Julia Roberts, engaged 3 times to 3 different men, and in all 3 weddings, she runs – doesn’t get married.
Ike, Richard Gere, a writer, hears about this story and writes an article for his newspaper that exploits this woman. She in turn writes to the paper slamming Ike for what he did and claims he didn’t have the facts. In an effort to save his job – after being told he may lose it – he goes to her small town to meet her and “get to know her” so he can tell “the real story.”
Cute movie and several great quotes later – he falls in love with her and she with him - as it should be, in any good romantic comedy. :) Awe! He finds himself at the end of the aisle with her walking down it, towards him, slowly, then more confidently, then POOF! It happens, she’s distracted and she runs! He chases her – humiliated and devastated.
More cute movie and great quotes pass and we find her in his apartment and here’s their exchange.
Maggie: I wanted to tell you why I run - sometimes ride - away from things.
Ike: Does it matter?
Maggie: I think so.
[takes a deep breath]
Maggie: When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody who didn't have any idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person's fault, because I had done everything to convince him that I was exactly what he wanted. So it was good that I didn't go through with it because it would have been a lie. But you - you knew the real me.
Ike: Yes, I did.
Maggie: I didn't.
"I DIDN’T!" was her response… she was saying I didn’t even know myself! How many of us get lost in piles of dirty laundry - or sometimes in my case, CLEAN but unfolded and un-put-away laundry, stacks of bills to pay, a long list of errands to run, events to plan and events to attend, or any number of things?! We get lost! Are YOU lost right now? Are you searching for your identity? Is your identity attached to the wrong thing - something that will fade or wither away? Are you trying to be like someone else - look like them, sound like them, talk like them,their car, their family, their life?? It's an easy trap to fall into, so if the answer is YES, don't feel guilty!
REMEMBER - YOU ARE A UNIQUE CREATION WITH A GOD-GIVEN IDENTITY AND PURPOSE!!!
We'll continue to dig into this concept all throughout this blog! :)
thanx for being you...
I don’t know what kind of effect this phrase has on you, but for me, the moment I hear it I smile. It makes me sit up straight in my chair and await being told a happy ending story. It causes me to imagine that I’m wearing a big poofy princess dress. It makes me picture little girls playing dress up. It causes me to scroll through the knowledge of every fairytale story I have permanently (and maybe embarrassingly) stored in my mind. These four little words were read to us over and over as children and made us dream and write love stories for our barbies when we were little girls in those dress up clothes.
I’ve been thinking about these words lately as I’ve found myself surrounded by women on every side! My cousin is getting married, and I have been bestowed the maid of honor title. She and I grew up pretending, sometimes believing, that we were those princesses in the stories we read and movies we watched. I was always Cinderella and she was always Ariel. When we went dress shopping, they told us of a new line the store had called The Fairytale Collection. We didn’t give it much thought other than it being a cute idea. The bride suggested some of the things she liked, and the shop ladies brought poofy sparkly dresses one after another. The bride to be wasn’t even actually planning to buy a dress that day, but then... she tried on the dress. You know, THE dress. The minute she turned around her mother and I go teary eyed. It was beautiful. Miss bride to be didn’t even want to take it off. The dress just so happened to be one of the aforementioned Fairytale Collection ones... Ariel. When we discovered that, of course we cried more. It was one of those moments.
“Once Upon a Time” looks different for everyone. Maybe you weren’t the girly girl playing make believe in pink sparkly dresses. Maybe you had read every Nancy Drew book before the rest of us even discovered Nancy Drew. Maybe your dream was academic, athletic, or inventive. As we grow up, we often put our once upon a time dreams in a dusty corner at the top of the bookshelf. We grow up, life happens, we write it off as a silly childhood dream. Or maybe you got your once upon a time and now what? Dreaming is over? Thinking about the once upon a time concept and of myself as a little girl pretending I was Cinderella, my life does not look anything like I thought it would. Picking up my old dusty once upon a time dreams, it appears I’m missing out on somethings at the first glance. As I look beyond the surface, I realize it was never my job to write the end of my story.
God is the author of our lives, of our fairytales. Life isn’t perfect and it doesn’t always look like a fairytale. Our hair isn’t always pretty and we don’t always get to wear a sparkly poofy dress. Sometimes our princess attire looks more like a work uniform. We trade in our dress up clothes for that old t-shirt and those lounge pants we use to clean the house. But our moments aren’t over just because we are grown ups. From the time we were old enough to talk and think, God gave us the ability to dream. I know you have those thoughts, maybe sometimes fleeting, where you get a big idea that you just push away or write off because there is no way you could do that. There is no way you can do that in your mind, but that doesn’t make that feeling and thought true.
He gives us dreams, big ideas and the ability to imagine for a reason. Dust off your once upon a time and let it inspire you. You are a princess with the ability to accomplish the tasks, dreams, and visions God gives you as long as He is with you. Just as the bride to be had a shining glowing moment when she put on that dress, we shine and glow and reflect the glory of God when we are used by Him. Don’t miss your moments because the once upon a time you dreamed of doesn’t look like you thought it would or because it already happened. Psalm 37: 4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If we delight in Him, He promised to give us the desires of our heart, the desires that He puts there and that line up with His.
Wanna know more about our workshops and conferences?? Here's a bunch of info for you!
WHAT IS DISCUSSED?? There's a Theme!
At each workshop and conference, there will be an overarching theme. Our theme will follow the acronym S.H.E. - such as Scaling Her Everest and Shedding Her Excuses. Our large group SESSIONS will introduce our theme and "set the table" for the rest of the day's events and discussions, as well as conclude the day. At our SWAP SHOPS - small group discussions - we will break down some of the main topics introduced at the SESSIONS and swap ideas, thoughts, concerns, questions, possible answers and solutions.
WILL I HAVE TO TALK?? - No!
We break into smaller groups for the Swap Shops which are led by someone on our SHE Team. These smaller groups are set up so that we can have discussions and anyone who has questions or who would like to share is welcome to share. HOWEVER, you WILL NOT be required to share! You are welcome to sit back, listen, take notes, whatever you would like. While we would love to have your input in the discussions, there is no pressure to contribute verbally! We want these workshops to be meaningful and inspirational, not stressful!
WHAT HAPPENS THERE?? - Lots!
There will be an overarching theme that directs our Sessions and Swap Shops. These two settings take up most of the day, but there is a lot that happens outside of those discussions. We will have several times for fellowship, we have gifts for every lady attending as well as several gift-aways given throughout the day. There will be a delicious lunch provided, and we will also have Vendors set up around the workshop for some light shopping.
WHAT IF I DON'T GO TO CHURCH?? - No Problem!
We are definitely a Christian-based group and our entire SHE Team is active at a local church. We believe our motto: "You are a unique creation with a God-given purpose and identity" and we want to help you better understand that message. However, our goal is not to convince you to go to church, or to make you feel guilty if you do not. Our goal is to challenge you and equip you spiritually and creatively - to help you live your best life and be the woman you were created to be, all the while encouraging you in your personal relationship with the One Who created you. While our SHE events are not church services, we do consistently point to our Heavenly Father as the author and creator of all we are and all we have. As stated above, we want to challenge and equip women to better understand their God-given purpose and identity as well as their relationship with the Almighty Creator.
CAN I BRING A FRIEND?? - Please Do!
All of our events are open to anyone in our community! You do not need to attend a specific church, or even attend church at all. Invite your friends and family, invite your neighbors and co-workers. We promise a fun and non-threatening atmosphere where you can be challenged and encouraged to be all God created you to be. Just remember, anyone coming needs to register. For more information on registration, please go back to our homepage where you will find a link to register online.
WHAT IS A VENDOR?? - Two-Fold!
1. We know we have some amazingly talented and hard-working ladies in our community. We want to shine a light on their talents as well as their businesses. Having Vendors is one way we do this. Vendors can set up a display in order to promote, advertise, and sell their products and services. Some idea of Vendors are those selling and advertising handbags, jewelry, candles, bath and body products, embroidery, cleaning services, catering services, and photographers, as well as business owners who would like to simply promote their businesses ... to name a few.
2. We try to keep the cost low for attending a SHE workshop. One way we do this is through our Vendors. Vendors pay a small fee to set up space at our workshops. This fee goes directly to SHE and helps cover miscellaneous workshops costs. The Vendors are able to keep all the proceeds they collect at the event. If you would like to be a Vendor, or know someone else who might want to, please contact us.
WHERE CAN I ATTEND AN EVENT?? - Check our homepage!
We will always list our upcoming SHE events with details on our homepage. SHE is currently being offered through Northshore Church in Slidell, LA. If you would like to bring SHE to your church or organization, please contact us.
If you are new to SHE, you probably don't know much about it. As you read on the first page, SHE is the event side of Total Woman U, Inc, a non-profit organization modeled after a university and designed to encourage women to embark on a spiritual and creative journey to become all they were created to be. SHE stands for "Sending Her Equipped," Our message is "You are a unique creation with a God-given purpose and identity." To remind women of this ife-changing message, we put together workshops throughout the year, an annual conference, and an Online Community through this blog, facebook and twitter.
What is SHE? ~ A Workshop!
SHE Workshops are 1-day workshops lasting 5-6 hours and are held on a Saturday during the Spring and Summer. Each workshop includes both large group teaching sessions as well as smaller, break-out sessions called Labs. All of the sessions take different approaches to an overall workshop theme.
What is SHE? ~ A Conference!
Once a year, we have a 2-day Conference. The conference format is much like a workshop with the large group teaching sessions and the Labs. However, the conference is 2 hours on a Friday night and 6-8 hours the following Saturday. Conferences include all that is at a workshop AND MORE.
What is SHE? ~ A Community!
We want to stay in touch with ladies beyond our workshops and conferences. Our SHE community is how we do that.
The first part of our Community in our ONLINE Community. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and get frequent challenges and words of encouragement as well as thoughts and ideas to ponder. Our blogs are a bit more personal and reveal more about our SHE team and our message. We post blogs as follow-ups to our events in an effort to take our topics a bit deeper. We will have surveys throughout the year as well as other practical and fun ways to stay connected. This is also where YOU can contribute to the SHE community by responding and commenting to the blog.
The second part of our Community are smaller-group in nature. Throughout the year, we hold topic-based Study Groups which are discipleship in nature as well as Affinity Groups which are formed based on hobbies and common interests.
And finally, we host Community Outreach events and FUNdraisers, both of which are more social in nature.
If you still have questions, email us! Take some time to get to know us! Follow us online and read our blogs! Come to our next SHE workshop! We can't wait to get to know you!!