I hope you’re having a great week! Are y’all ready for spring yet? Our yard actually has a lot of daffodils growing, which is totally mind-blowing to me! 🙂
Today we’re going to start off with a little story, so settle in! 😉
In January of last year, my parents and I took on the task of moving my grandmother from her house two hours north of us into the house next door to ours. Of course, a few months later we started all over again and moved both households to North Carolina, and we definitely learned a lot from this first move. 😉 I don’t know if you’ve ever moved someone, or yourself, but it is a huge task. As such, we were running several times a day a few miles over from her house to what we fondly call “the dump.”
On one of these trips, I wasn’t there, and my mom tried to text me this picture.
Well, I never received that text. About a week later, we pulled up to the dump, I asked what in the world that was next to the garbage chutes, and I ended up plucking the doll that you see here from her perch and taking her home. See, I may be eighteen years old, but I’m still a huge kid at heart, and I may or may not still own some toys. 😉 What struck me, however, was that this doll was actually being thrown away. In the trash. Not even being given away or sold—just trashed. Over the next couple of days, my family started jokingly calling her “the Dump Doll”, and she got me thinking.
See, whether we realize it or not, we can all probably relate to the Dump Doll in some way. There are always going to be times in our lives when we feel like we’re in a dump–emotionally, physically, any which way. I can 100% testify that I have felt this way before, many times…
…but I’m here today to tell you that whatever dump you feel stuck in is not your final destination in life.
For me, a prime example of a mental dump was counting calories. A few years back, I fell into the common trap of thinking I was overweight. I compared myself to other girls (read: bad idea), and ended up thinking that I needed to eat less. Thankfully, I have an amazing family and my relationship with God to support me, so I never got into an eating disorder or anything drastic…but I got into counting calories. Inside, I knew that extreme dieting was not the answer, and that refusing to eat when I was still hungry was not the answer either. I kept eating healthy foods in healthy amounts, but I counted calories obsessively. I mean, I was on the calculator of my phone every hour adding up my allowance for the day, and I would spend so much mental energy worrying if I was going over on calories, even by a little. Of course, an inkling of worrying is good, because it keeps us away from super unhealthy eating habits, but a lot of worrying? It doesn’t help you a lick.
See, this doll was being thrown away, but someone picked her up and set her on that sign, so that she could be spotted by a little girl who wanted to give her a new life (even though that little girl turned out to be a college student). 😉
In a society where we are constantly told how to look, what trends to follow, and which people to emulate, it is so easy to feel inadequate–which is why I think the concept of weight and skinny-ness is such a common dump for girls my age. However, this little piece of plastic who received a new lease on life is a perfect example of how you can get out of any dump. You can’t do it alone, though. Find people who inspire you and lift you up, and spend time with those people! Don’t focus on the people who drag you back down into the dump (and trust me, there are always people like that). One of my personal heroes, Corrie Ten Boom, says “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” No matter how deep or messy your dump is, Jesus paid for it when He paid for your sins on the cross—and He’s never going to just leave you there.
Pray often, latching onto the assuring knowledge that God knit you together in your mother’s womb like it says in Psalm 139:13—He designed you with your specific physical traits for specific reasons. I will tell you, as someone who has taken multiple levels of anatomy, physiology, and biology classes, the deeper you get into the workings of the human body, the more it hits you in the face that human life is beautiful, period. Your life—and you—are gorgeous, especially in God’s eyes. Did you know that when you were first conceived, you took on one unique genetic combination out of approximately 70 trillion variations? There is literally no one in the world like you.
Shifting focus here, maybe you’re not the one in the dump. Maybe you’re in a position to lift up someone else who is bogged down. In our society, we’re told almost every day of our lives to have tolerance…and without making a political statement, I want to tell you about a new kind of tolerance–one that I dare you to exercise.
I call it radical tolerance.
I challenge you to take in the outcasts, the un-populars, the “weird ones”, and tolerate them…and by tolerate—I mean listen to them. Take an interest in them. Converse with them. Befriend them. I think you’ll be shocked to find how many of them befriend you right back. In, fact, in a heck of a lot of situations, I would be perceived as weird or awkward. I mean, I carry knitting projects with me almost everywhere, I dress like a fancy grandma from 1955, I probably laugh way too much, and I sing show tunes very badly and loudly at every possible opportunity. 😉
But you know what? My fellow awkward-ers are some of my best friends. Personally, I think that a lot of bullying in the world could be alleviated if kids were raised from the beginning with the ideology of reaching out—but it’s never too late to start. In fact, one of the best examples that I have ever seen of reaching out happened in my choir, with a few little boys who were about ten years old. There was a new kid, and the choir director didn’t even have to prompt them…they just reached out, shook hands and said “Hi, nice to meet you!” They then proceeded to invite this new kid to sit with them and started asking him questions about himself.
You never know who is in a dump–but you have the power to lift them up. In fact, you have the freedom to lift them up. One of the things I hate most is when I see people not reaching out to others because they’re held back by fear of what others will think of them.
If fear is what’s holding you back, or if there are bullies and negative people stopping you from being a light for Christ, I want to give you a piece of advice. It’s often said that not everyone in life is going to like you, but for whatever reason we still think they will, and we try to please everyone, even if that means missing out on opportunities to reach out. Like, hey, I might not have made that shy girl’s week by asking her to sit with me at lunch, but at least I kept up appearances with the cool people, because they know now that I don’t sit with weird, awkward people like her.
A while back, I heard a news reporter on an interview, where she was talking about how she often gets cyberbullied on her social media after appearing on talk shows and news outlets. She said that people often say really mean things, not just about her news-related opinions, but about her appearance and skills at speaking and reporting. But she said that when she clicks on their profile and looks at their Twitter or Instagram, they’re absolute trash—they’re Internet trolls who are obviously terrible, messed-up people. She summed it up like this—it’s okay if bad people don’t like you. In fact, it’s probably good. She said that she would honestly be pretty concerned if those awful people did approve of her and what she says, and she would probably be checking her heart and reevaluating her stances on issues. It’s okay to separate yourself from bullies, oppressors, and Negative Nancies—in fact, it’s probably one of the best things you can do. If you can brighten some lives by reaching out, do it without a second thought to what people will think of you.
But, back to if you’re in the dump…grab onto the pure and good things in your life, and be encouraged. No dump can hold you down forever—God is with you, and He can help you get out of it. Never be afraid of your past, either. Your past is not today, and that is something to celebrate.
And, just for fun, I thought you might like to see for yourself what happened to the Dump Doll….
….She surrounded herself with people who helped her to overcome her past, her insecurities, and her fears, and she lived happily ever after. 😉