My Personal Style…A Work in Progress

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Does having a personal style really even matter? Well, the short answer is yes, in my opinion. Why?? Honestly, I feel completely inadequate to answer that question. Sierra is definitely the fashion guru in our family, while I went most of my life without giving it much thought. My so-called ‘style’ was your typical jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes. When the occasion called for something a little more ‘dressy’, my go-to get-up was a pair of black slacks with some form of a blue shirt. Black and blue…like some kind of giant walking bruise. I confess, I have had some pretty deep-seated issues with the world of fashion. First of all, I never felt worthy of fashion. I didn’t like my body, so why would I attempt to drape it with the latest trends? Secondly, I think that a pre-requisite to having a style is knowing a thing or two about who you are. If you don’t have a strong sense of self, how will you know what you like? What you love? How will you present yourself to the world? Your clothes make a statement about who you are, irregardless of whether you are trying to make that statement or not. (Thanks to Clinton Kelley and Stacy London from What Not to Wear for teaching me that!) This is true of so many things in life, not just clothes. How will you create a home? What colors do you love? What textures and patterns? Decorating your home requires you to know what you like in order to infuse your character into what otherwise, is just four walls and a roof over your head. For crying out loud, how will you choose the person you will spend the rest of your life with, if you don’t know who you are???

If you don’t know the things that you love, you will find yourself aimlessly floating through life in a fog of confusion and despair. And that’s where I found myself each time I attempted to participate in the world of fashion. Let’s face it, the deeper issue was most certainly my body image, but not knowing what I loved or how to dress my body type definitely made it worse. Here’s the deal, there was no way that I could have even considered having a style all my own until I allowed my Abba Father to do some restorative work in my heart. Like the title says, it’s a work in progress, but I am finding that if I can just accept my body right now for what it is, honor it as the temple of the Lord, I can find ways to dress my body and express some sense of style.

I will tell you the first step I took toward finding my beauty and my style. I discovered a true love for shoes. It seems so silly, but I’m telling you, that’s where it started for me. That’s where I discovered that there was still hope for me…in the shoe department. A little over five years ago, the dedicated space for shoes in my closet was occupied by one pair of Nike’s, one pair of rather drab brown heels, and a lack-luster pair of black heels…and maybe a pair of flip flops. The same could be said of my hand bags…one black purse, one brown, because they go with everything, right?? Tragic, yes I know. The first bit of color that I allowed to creep into my life was a pair of red wedges with a little bow at the toes…color and feminine detail! Hallelujah! Since then, I have learned that shoes can be a great way to add pop and color to any outfit.

The next step in the road to style happened when I met a beautiful, fiery Portuguese hairstylist named Kym. God has used this woman to bless me from the first moment I walked into her salon. I came to her for the first time about four or five years ago, a hot mess, both in body and in spirit. My hair was a total train wreck…mostly because I had never really made it a priority. Making an appointment at a salon was about like making an appointment at the dentist’s office. It was only done on an absolutely must-be-done, totally necessary basis. I finally broke down and made an appointment at The Catwalk Salon where I met Kym for the first time. She not only gave me a super cute, short and sassy hair style, she also spoke such beautiful words of affirmation into my life. I left her salon feeling pretty for the first time in a very long time. It was like a drink of cool water to my  dry and thirsty soul. It was just what I needed to build some confidence and to feel worthy of looking good. It was the first time in a long time that I considered taking some pride in my appearance. I am forever grateful to my friend, Kym.

In the grand scheme of life, a pair of shoes and a cute hair cut seem so trivial, but just like John and Stasi Eldredge wrote in their book, “Captivating”, beauty matters. That was the next piece of the puzzle for me. That book rocked my world beyond belief and was the true catalyst for my own journey to find my beauty. I don’t think it is possible to overstate how profoundly “Captivating” has affected the lives of the women in my family. You will see many of the themes from this amazing book reflected throughout this blog. Captivating was, at times, difficult for me to read because it penetrated places in my heart so deep and so tender, it was so painful. It’s amazing how we as women neglect areas in our heart in order to just get by in life. It can be a painful process to shift from survival mode to a place of thriving, being healed and whole. We cannot get there without lancing old wounds and allowing Jesus to do his restorative work on all the areas of hurt, pain and neglect. I know women who have read Captivating who seemed to be wholly untouched by it…I don’t know how other than if it is read with a disengaged heart. I don’t blame anyone for disengaging their hearts. Getting well can be so incredibly painful. But, the end result HAS to be worth it. Captivating seemingly wrecked my life at times. My whole paradigm was shifted, spun around and turned on its ear! But in the end, it opened my eyes to so many things about my faith and my God that I never even dreamed possible. It spoke of the vast, broad, deep and wide love that the Creator of all humanity has specifically towards women…not as an afterthought, but as a reflection of His beauty and His glory. We bear His image. He speaks of His beauty to the world through women…through you, through even me. Wow. Amazing. That’s where it became possible for me to see a glimmer of my own beauty . That’s where the healing of my heart began…and still continues. The process is never ending, but because I allowed myself to be vulnerable enough to go along with it, I am learning to love myself and even develop a sense of style…Bonus! =) =) =) I’m not finished yet. I have such a long way to go, but I cling to this promise:

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Until then, I’m abiding in Him and trusting Him to continue the process in my heart, my mind and my body. May the Spirit of the Living God wash over you in your own journey to discover your beauty and in turn, your style. May He heal your heart and make you whole and holy. May you reflect His glory and speak to the world of His vast, rich beauty in a way that you, and you alone can speak. Blessings! ~Shanna

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