Thursday Tips: Get Real

thursday

I think a lot of us are pretty good at acting and pretending. We smile through pain and maintain the image that we want the world to see. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision and sometimes… it just happens. That’s why today’s retro Thursday Tip is all about awareness. How do YOU answer this question: “How are you?!”

Check it out.

Thursday Tip: Stop Pretending from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Do you struggle with fine-itis too? What would happen if you were to answer that question honestly? What if you let yourself feel AND be vulnerable with those feelings? What then?

“…If you are anything like me, then you know the fine art of how to be vulnerable enough so people believe you are authentic, but not so vulnerable that all your mess hangs out. You know how to be vulnerable with boundaries… We may be able to hide some of the mess with each other, but we have a God who sees and knows and loves no matter what. He is a generous, patient, compassionate God and his expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves.” (Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl)

Even if you still struggle with sharing all of your mess with those around you, I would encourage you to allow yourself to be honest in your time with the Lord. Nothing will surprise Him… He knows and LOVES the True You. Find freedom in being totally honest without any pretending.

Following and learning,

Ginger

No Comparison

Jennifer Roth

 

 

When I attended the She Speaks conference in North Carolina this summer I met hundreds of passionate, talented, and driven women. Jennifer Roth was one of those women! But more than just another face in the crowd, Jennifer was refreshingly friendly and engaging and I am so glad to say that I know her!

I received an e-mail from her last month asking if I would contribute a post to an on-line Bible Study she was hosting on her blog. I happily agreed and am excited to say that the post is up today. So I would love to encourage you to do three things. Here they are…

1. Check out Jennifer’s Blog and her “Stress Point” series from it’s beginnings. If you are looking for a great study this fall, this just might be the one for you!

2. Check out Sarah Francis Martin’s blog and book, “Stress Point”!

3. Check out the guest post inspired the self-image chapter of “Stress Point.”

Here’s a taste…

In the last verses of the gospel of John we find another interesting story about my favorite disciple, Peter. Peter the “speak first, think later” disciple was given a unique and individual call.

“Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

I don’t know how I would have responded, but Peter makes me wince.

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:20-21, NIV)

Keep reading HERE.

Thanks for following, friends!

Ginger

Prove It!

How many times have you thought or heard the following: it doesn’t matter what THEY think, it only matters what God thinks!?

It’s easy to turn that truth into a trite little saying, but here’s the thing… How God sees us should be the only opinion that matters – after all, He made us. He made us! Since we are His children, our identity should only be found in how He values us. He made us and loved us enough to give us free will, the choice to love Him or leave Him.

Let’s go back to the very beginning and get the story straight. God created us. It started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. He gave them everything and told them simply to “Enjoy!” Sin entered the picture and because of that, Adam and Eve (and the rest of us from there on out) were exposed to death. We were separated from the God who created us. The penalty for Adam and Eve’s sin… and our sin is death; the payment is blood. Thankfully our Father considered us valuable enough to buy us back through the death of His son, Jesus.

Think about it this way: we determine the value of something by how much we are willing to spend. If I walk into a store intending to buy a flat iron, without having done any research on flat irons – I’m limited to two things: what the box says and how much the flat iron costs. Of course the box is going to talk up the product. I have yet to see the company gutsy enough to print: “Fairly decent flat iron. Let’s face it. You’re paying $20 for this. Don’t get your hopes up.” So if I can’t trust a box to tell me something more than the voltage and information about a warranty, I have to go by price. I immediately rule out the cheapest brand and if I have the money, I will probably take the top of the line. Why? The price indicates that this flat iron is worth the extra money. The value of the flat iron is indicated by the expense. While I may not be willing to spend $185 on a new flat iron, I certainly might be prepared to pay that amount for some new photo editing software. I place a higher value on my photos than a flat iron. (Let’s face it; my hair is already straight as a stick.)

Do you know how frustrating it is to lose something you just bought? I seem to do that with new pens. I have a certain kind I like – chosen for grip, writing ease, and ink flow. I get a package of three and sooner than I would like – they’re gone. I’d like to believe I’ve misplace them, but I know that my co-workers sometimes just need a pen and they reach for one off my desk. I don’t think anyone intentionally steals my pens, I just think they forget to put them back. But imagine my frustration if I watched someone take and use my pen and then only agree to give it back if I paid them a fee. I already paid for MY pen once; no way I’m doing that again… especially if they raise the price.

I’m notorious for shouting the phrase, “prove it!” to my friends when they make a bold statement. Usually I’m joking around, but sometimes I want them to put their money where their mouth is. “I can run a five minute mile!” My response? “Prove it!”

God proved how much He valued us by what He was willing to spend. You can shout “prove it!” all you want and He will always have the best response ready for you. Remember, He already owned us once before. He bought us again with the life and death of His only son, Jesus. Jesus had done nothing wrong to deserve punishment, and yet He died in our place. He died for me. He died for you. The cost of that sacrifice shows that you are a priceless treasure of the King of Kings. The gift of His son Jesus demonstrates God’s great love for us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

You are valuable. I am valuable. He’s proven that fact once and for all.

Following,
Ginger

Inside and Out

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 
      you formed me in my mother’s womb. 
   I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! 
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 
      I worship in adoration—what a creation! 
  

 You know me inside and out, 
      you know every bone in my body; 
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 


   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; 
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
   The days of my life all prepared 
      before I’d even lived one day. 

 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! 
      God, I’ll never comprehend them! 
   I couldn’t even begin to count them— 
      any more than I could count the sand of the sea. 
   Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! 

Psalm 139:13-18, MSG

Challenge for this week: Write your own Psalm of praise thanking God for how He made you! Be specific, be honest, and be thankful – for every single part of the True You He created.

Following,
Ginger

Fearfully and Wonderfully

Psalm 139 says that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. It tells me that God formed me and wove me together in my mother’s womb even before she knew that she was going to have a child.

He chose my green eyes, and my frustrating eyebrows that seem to have a mind of their own. He chose my dishwater hair color, my body type, and my height. And yet too often I carelessly comment about how He formed me.

We are all quick to lament the size of our thighs, the length of our noses, and even the shape of our toes! The words “fearfully” and “wonderfully” express the gentleness and tenderness with which we were created.

Have you ever held an infant before? Better yet, have you ever seen someone who is reluctant to hold a baby? It’s generally not because they dislike babies. They usually refrain from holding the baby because they fear hurting it. They recognize that something so fragile requires tender care. God showed ultimate tenderness as He formed us. David wonders at God’s care when he says in Psalm 8:3, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.”

Why mention the stars when talking about how God created us? Read it again. The universe is the work of God’s fingers! There is no part of us that was casually or thoughtlessly formed. If He perfectly placed flaming balls of gas and magma into the sky, what does that say about how He created you and me? He declares you to be His poema, His poem, His masterpiece. Not only that, but He continues to think on us even after He created us!

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”

(Psalm 139:17, NLT)

God not only created you as the crown of His creation, but He thinks innumerable precious thoughts about you!

I hope you will treasure that thought and promise today.

Following,
Ginger

True You: Friday Finds

I will always, always recommend God’s Word as the first and foremost resource when it comes to centering ourselves in truth. So many of you ask for resources to help as you struggle through your own journey to be the True You – and I want to speak as clearly as I can: The Word of God is the ONLY book every written that will span the test of eternity!

“God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.”  Hebrews 4:12, GWT

But I also know that God can and does speak through His people to encourage our hearts in other ways! That’s why I wanted to give you some books to pick up or put on your Christmas list! Those that are starred are more geared for teens, the others are for any age. I hope they continue to encourage your heart.

*God Girl by Hayley DiMarco

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting God of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman

You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth

*Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You by Jenna and Max Lucado

*Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Do You Think I’m Beautiful by Angela Thomas

TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John S Lynch

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Please feel free to add your suggestions to the list!

Happy Reading and Happy Friday!

Following,
Ginger

True You: Thursday Tip

Last week I made it to my garage before looking down and realizing that something was out of whack. I was wearing two completely different pairs of running shoes. I should have felt the difference. These shoes really are as different as can be. While they are both built for stability, they are different sizes, brands, and have totally different histories. The pink Asics pair has only seen me through some off-season running this summer. The New Balance pair joined me as I trained for and ran my first half marathon in January. I’ve worn holes into the sides of the pair. And yet, in my effort to get out the door, I didn’t recognize my error. The colors finally caught my eye before I stepped into the car and I had a nice loud laugh at myself!

I started seeing a counselor this summer. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to one, and it’s about the best thing I’ve ever signed up for. It refreshes me more than working out, getting a pedicure, sleeping late, or even a Sonic Route 44 beverage. I don’t consider myself to be a liar, but my counselor pointed out that I certainly live my life as a full-time actress. These sessions have been the “AHA” moment that I experienced looking down at my shoes. I am so good at pretending to have everything together that I often don’t even notice that something is out of whack. I FOOL MYSELF.

The Greek word for actor is ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means “Jealous” “play-acting”, “acting out”, “coward” or “dissembling”.

I think a lot of us are pretty good at acting and pretending. We smile through pain and maintain the image that we want the world to see. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision and sometimes… it just happens. That’s why today’s Thursday Tip is all about awareness. How do YOU answer this question: “How are you?!”

Check it out.

Do you struggle with fine-itis too? What would happen if you were to answer that question honestly? What if you let yourself feel AND be vulnerable with those feelings? What then?

“…If you are anything like me, then you know the fine art of how to be vulnerable enough so people believe you are authentic, but not so vulnerable that all your mess hangs out. You know how to be vulnerable with boundaries… We may be able to hide some of the mess with each other, but we have a God who sees and knows and loves no matter what. He is a generous, patient, compassionate God and his expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves.” (Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl)

Even if you still struggle with sharing all of your mess with those around you, I would encourage you to allow yourself to be honest in your time with the Lord. Nothing will surprise Him… He knows and LOVES the True You. Find freedom in being totally honest without any pretending.

Following and learning,

Ginger

True You: In Dating

There was an ad campaign by Dr. Pepper that launched in 2002. “Be you. Drink Dr. Pepper.” Sounds great, right? It’s catchy and points to the American ideal of being an individual. Take a closer look. Be you… Drink Dr. Pepper. Problem: I don’t drink Dr. Pepper. I never have. I moved from RC Cola to Coke and then Diet Coke. I’ve never been a “pepper.”

I’ve always been a Ginger. ;)

That’s why it’s so important for me to share this point in our True You series: Be yourself… even if it means losing the guy.

I know it sounds totally cheesy and like it’s part of a school assembly, but hear me out.

I’m a random, unique individual. I know that. My family certainly knows that. My friends know that. I’ve been in a few relationships where I honestly felt like I had to alter my personality and interests for a guy. I felt nervous about the relationship in the first place and so I tried to over-compensate by picking up new hobbies and even changed the way I dressed. It wasn’t fun. I was terrified that I was going to do something wrong to end our relationship. It was so much pressure.

But now I can honestly say that I am in a relationship where I can be the quirky, ridiculous dreamer that I was created to be. My husband not only accepts my goofiness, he loves it. (He tells me this frequently.) Can I tell you how freeing it is to be loved for just being me?

Question for you: If you had to do something to get a guy to notice you or accept you in the first place, what are you going to have to do to keep the guy?

My friend, please don’t be in a relationship where you have to constantly second-guess yourself. Be confident in who you are. If you constantly worry that you aren’t smart enough, funny enough, cute enough, athletic enough… whatever – it’s not the relationship for you. You deserve to be cherished for who you are, not who you are pretending to be.

“I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:14, NCV

Be YOU. Embrace the you He created.

– –

Have you ever tried to be someone you’re not in order to get someone to like you? How did that turn out?

Following,
Ginger

p.s. A version of this post appeared in April of 2007.

 

True You: Self-Esteem

I think self-esteem is broken. I’m not talking just about MY self-esteem, but the concept behind self-esteem in general.

Here’s the definition of self-esteem according to Dictionary.com:
–noun
1. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.
2. an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.

Now compare that with what we read in Philippians 2:3,“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” In humility we are to consider others, everyone else, as better than ourselves. This doesn’t say to have a poor view of yourself, but merely a right view of who we are in God’s eyes. We are His, but we are not better than each other.

But even if we totally ignore God in this equation and what He wants, I believe that we still have a problem!

Here’s the issue I take with self-esteem. Although I often times have zero trouble discovering an exaggeratedly favorable impression of myself, most days my self-esteem fluctuates almost hourly. The way I identify myself is directly connected to my emotions and feelings. Emotions change quickly. What we are feeling for a period of time (unless depression is involved) tends to change countless times throughout the day. That means I can be on cloud nine in the morning because I receive an encouraging text before lamenting a quiz I forgot to study for. And then I might just walk out the door in the morning full of joy only to trip in front of a crowd of people and find myself in the pit of despair.

My self-esteem is so high maintenance that I just decided to ditch it.

Here’s what I mean…

My perception of self-worth shifts and changes all the time. (Wait, it just did again. Awesome.) But God’s perception never will. Self-esteem would have me working hard to feel better, but I now know that until my worth is centered upon God’s redeeming act of love, my feelings will fluctuate like a washing machine out of balance. Our center of gravity must be the truth found in God’s Word and not human emotion.

Truth to soak up this week:

Jeremiah 1:1-10

Psalm 139

1 Peter 1:3-4

Psalm 45:10

We are esteemed and treasured by the King of Kings! I’m praying that truth would be real in our hearts today.

He LOVES the True You.

Following,
Ginger

True You.

We are starting a brand new series that has everything to do with being the unique YOU God created you to be. When we swim in that freedom we will also learn to stop hiding, start sharing, and drop down our walls. I’m preaching to myself, the queen of holding everyone at arm’s length! Here’s the set up:

True You from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Make-up off.
Guards down.
Masks removed.
True you.

“You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman.”
― Max Lucado, The Christmas Candle

– – –

I find that I struggle most with being vulnerable when I’m intimidated by other women, especially women in my peer group.

Do you find it hard to be your true self with others? 

Following,
Ginger