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Week One | Quitter

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Week One Reading Assignments– Pages 13-39 | Quitter • Ugly • Cocaine
Still waiting for your book?  Click here to download the Intro and Ch. 1!

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I recently heard that when you feel a prompting to do something, that you have only 10 seconds to make the decision to accept the challenge before you naturally begin to talk yourself out of it.  Only ten seconds!  One Mississippi, two Mississippi…

When you really stop to think about it, taking more than 10 seconds this time, clearly demonstrates the destruction that self-criticism plays in our lives.

How many decisions do we give up on until the broken-crazy creeps in, like Annie talks about in the opening chapters of Looking for Lovely?

“Not the humble kind of broken but the literal ‘something isn’t right here’ kind of broken.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 22)

I’ve experienced an overwhelming dose of self-criticism over the years, that like Annie, started with my outward appearance.  The words of my fellow fifth-graders stung my fresh face and it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties, sitting across a desk from a counselor, did I realize just how much damage I had allowed those words to make.

I’m fairly certain that Annie and I aren’t alone with the struggle in quitting the negative self-talk.  Worry, doubt and the fear of failure plague many women, no matter what their childhood peers had to say.  We all share in some kind of brokenness.

Francesca Battistelli sings in one of my favorite songs, “Bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine, cause love can heal where hurt divides, and mercy’s waiting on the other side.  If we’re honest.”  If we’re honest with ourselves, if we’re honest with each other, we can find healing and relief from the constant onslaught of lies.

If we’re honest, we need to be proactive choosers.  We can choose to accept a challenge before the 10 seconds are up.  We can choose to seek the lovely in the imperfect moments. Just like Annie when it came to keeping her appointments with her nutritional counselor, Trisha.  Not because she looked forward to the conversations they had, but because of what was waiting for her on the other side of Trisha’s window.

“Show up Annie, I would think, so you can see what’s out the window today… It was the tiny bit of lovely that helped me hand on and show up.  God was doing a big work.  I knew it, I just had to keep showing up, even when it hurt or felt hard or wasn’t AT ALL what I wanted to do.  The view out that window seemed to me the only thing beautiful in the whole situation, and it was the view that kept me from quitting.”
Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 39)

 Whatever it is that we keep quitting doesn’t get the option to name or define us because we are given new mercies every day, and praise God, a choice to start again!

God didn’t make you a winner.  God didn’t make you a loser.  God made you a chooser.  What will you choose this week that will put you back on the right path towards a healthier and more vibrant relationship with your Creator?

Share with us in the comments; we’d love to hear from you! Or on your own blog if you have one, or on social media—and be sure to include #intentionalfilling and #livingoutlovely so we can be a part of your own journey into looking for lovely.

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Download the Weekly in the Know PDF below…

To help keep you on track, we’ve developed a suggested schedule.
Of course, this is your study, so please feel free to approach it at a pace that works with your schedule.

Weekly In The Know - Week 1 suggested schedule for Looking for Lovely online book study

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Community Chat

Let’s chat!  We’d love to hear from you once you’ve had some time to read through this week’s reading assignments.  Come back to this space & share your thoughts in the comments below about:

Identify – In this week’s reading we’re learning, through Annie’s vulnerability, about lies that have shaped our identity.  What lies have you allowed to shape who you are today?

In the Word – This week’s Scripture focus comes from Romans 5:3-5.  Take a few minutes to read through these verses in your favorite translation.  How do these verses speak to you in the present moment?

•  Download our weekly Scripture card.  Print it and hang it in a place where you’ll come across it often this week, to aid in memorization and the reminder of the lovely God brings to our lives.

ApplicationThis week’s theme is being about a quitter.  Being a quitter doesn’t always have to be a negative thing.  Consider what you can quit in your life that can bring out the lovely?  Can you quit staying up late at night so you can wake earlier to spend time with Jesus?  In the pursuit of collecting moments that matter, we’d like to invite you to join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to share how you’re living out being a “quitter” this week.  In the caption of your post, include the hashtag, #quitter, #livingoutlovely & #intentionalfilling.

[divider type=”solid” color=”black”] [one-fourth]Bree Blum is your average single thirty-something book loving, oil using, cardigan wearing blogger who loves Jesus.[/one-fourth] [three-fourths]Bree Blum is your average single thirty-something book loving, oil using, cardigan wearing blogger who loves Jesus.

You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.[/three-fourths]

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  1. The verses from Romans are some of my favorite–I’ve read them countless times over the years but in reading Annie’s take on them? Oh my word…this year’s been a hope-testing one through and through, and in reading the verses again as I dived into Looking for Lovely just made it all the more clear and lovely.

  2. I love this post! Excellent! I think that one of satan’s biggest weapons is our mind. I think it’s one of the hardest battlefields we have. We cannot allow lies to take up residence in our minds. I know that I have believed so many lies about myself….not pretty enough, not good enough, not smart enough…I could go on and I know most people struggle with the lies too. It leaves us feeling vulnerable and ashamed. I love that Jesus loved us enough to die for us and all our faults as well. He didn’t die for me because I am perfect. He died for me because I’m not. His power is made perfect in my weakness!! Once I realized this, nothing else really mattered.

    ” Whatever it is that we keep quitting doesn’t get the option to name or define us because we are given new mercies every day, and praise God, a choice to start again!” I love this!!! One of my favorite verses is
    Lamentations 3:22-23-
    ” The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
    they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

    The verses from Romans are perfect for my family this upcoming year. We are going to be facing one of our hardest years yet, but this gives me hope 🙂 Sorry this got long!

    1. No apologies needed, Jenny! I love that this post inspired such a great response, full of such truth. I agree, our minds are battlefields and I often feel the war waging. Praise God that He is mightier than the battles we face and stronger than the weaknesses we possess!

  3. I LOVED the opening chapters of this book! I felt like I could relate to Annie in so many ways, especially her feeling that she was a quitter. For e the most inspirational part of this week’s reading was when she made a distinction between quitting and pausing. I feel like it is so easy to get out of the habit of doing anything and it could be just as easy to get back into the habit, but we allow ourselves to harbor the negative thoughts that you talked about and feel like failures. I have done that many times in my life with everything from relationships to my spiritual life to exercise and her perspective was extremely refreshing! We can do anything that we put our minds to and just because we have taken a pause from something, it does not make us quitters!!

    1. Hi, Kristin! I agree with you, that Annie’s perspective in these opening chapters was refreshing and comforting. I found myself in a lot of her own testimony and her personal challenge to move from Romans 5:3 to living a life of Romans 5:5 really spoke to me. Looking forward to see how her words continue to speak a soothing balm over our past hurts.

  4. Growing up I was very shy and very unsure of myself. I was not good in sports and was always one of the last ones picked. I grew up thinking that everyone was better than I was. This was not something that I learned at home, however. In my teens, I was “hot” to look at but the inside of me was still that unsure little girl I had always been. This led to many disastrous events, that I shudder to think about now. I was very taken advantage of by both boys and girls, because I just wanted to fit it. I made a lot of very poor decisions in those years that followed me for a long time. I could relate to many of the things that Annie wrote about in these chapters.
    In the past several years I have made a lot of changes in my life. I used to be a night owl staying up watching TV til all hours. But, now I start winding down about 8:30, do some reading and turn off the light around 10:00 and get up and spend time with Jesus for several hours. This was something that I had never done in my life. I read the Bible and prayed when I thought about it. Now it is a part of my life. I rarely quit things these days. If I think it is something that I will not follow through with I do not commit myself to begin with. I guess it has a lot to do with my walk with God and the season of my life.

    1. Gale, thank you for such honesty and willingness to be vulnerable in this space! My story is not far from your own. I made made choices in my teenage years and early twenties that I look back to with disgust. But I am learning to see those moments, though not aligned with God’s Word, as stepping stones to the becoming of who I am today. If I would not have gone through some of those circumstances, I might be in a different place, doing different things. So for that I am grateful. Glad to have you join us for another study!

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