Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Dear perfectionism, you suck.

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Dear Perfectionism,

You suck. You hurt. You lie. You steal. You kill. You destroy.

dictionary.com defines it as this: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

Perfectionism is a deadly play ground to step into. It’s demands upon ones self and others. It is filled with unreasonable expectations, that can never be attained here on earth.

The areas that perfectionism often attacks in my opinion would be…(This being more specifically geared to women. Since that is the audience we most reach.)

Our Relationships. Everyone is always setting a standard. Actually no, these standards have already been set! They are not even personal standards, these are worldly standards feeding perfectionists with garbage. Because we all know everyone wants the “title” of being the insta-worthy looking couple and to be honest, it is literally something I have even personally tried to attain. To look a certain way as a couple, to act a certain way, and to be married in a PERFECT amount of time, etc. It adds so much unnecessary stress to you and your partner.

Our Bodies. The lies that people can speak at times can be deeply wounding to a persons heart who is struggling with perfectionism but, isn’t winning in the area of physical body perfectionism. The media, the movies, the expectations and the standards that are placed on women of “what we should look like” , “what we should dress like” , “what we should act like.” Its disgusting and sickening to me. All of the things that they are promoting are 100% against what a lady should act like. It hurts me.

Our families. Have you ever lived with one? A perfectionist, I mean? Well, my family has (ME!) and I have heard many times that I can cause extra stress and expectations that are, like I said before unattainable in this life. Perfectionism makes it hard to be around a person, hard to talk to them and even hard to want to be around them…cause of the high stress they “give” off so to say.

Our ministry. Something I have struggled with as I began my journey as a Pastor, was perfectionism. Trying to have the most well-behaved students, best curriculum, amazing leaders, incredible relationships built with ALL of the students, etc. Now I am not saying that these few things listed above aren’t attainable…just maybe not all the time. My mentor once told me, in ministry lets say you are running a kids programs and the games sucked, worship was awful (the kids were running around and not listening) and come to lesson time there isn’t much difference there either. But then, small groups come and you have an incredible 20 minutes with your students, thats okay! Not everything has to be perfect for God to show up. Because God likes messy, He’s there in the thick of it. God hates perfectionism because its a chaos filled, vicious cycle of lies that hurts His children.

Our everyday life. Here is an honest and transparent thought of mine. Perfectionism hurts me every single day. Want to know why? Because…If I don’t lose that pound I want to lose, I call myself failure. If my homemade christmas cards aren’t turning out like I wanted them to, I call myself failure. If I am not there for every person that ‘needs’ me and I say the forbidden word of “NO” , I call myself a failure. Folks, I don’t know if you can see what I am saying but, perfectionism attacks from every angle, its always in the act. Its here to steal, kill, and destroy our joy as Christians.

Moving Forward: My takeaway for today would be this. Don’t open the door of your heart to perfectionism any longer. Don’t allow this “vicious turmoil filled thing” to cause unrest and anxious feelings in your life. Live your life to the fullest because God wants you to, not because the world wants you to. When perfectionism is caught in the act of your life, drop to your knees and kick the devil in the face and tell him with a smile on your face “you’re not welcome here anymore.”

 

 

Slaying perfectionism one post at a time.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

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Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

An unedited, transparent chat. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Where do I even begin my friends? It has been quiet some time since I have just sat and waited on the Lord and wrote my thoughts down. So here I am today. NO-editing. This is it. 5-10 minutes of straight writing and like I mentioned above 0% editing will be done to this piece.

For a moment, I would like to be real with you all. For the past little while, I have been emotionally very unsettled. Not just hormonally….because we all know that happens. #LadiesDays but, unsettled spiritually too.

I have had a few days where I am just wandering in the wilderness, so to say. A few days of anxiousness, fear, anger, and very uncollected thoughts. Days of desperate cravings for something of stablilty to settle the many extra “things” raging inside me.

Although, I like to seem like I have it all together all the time. I don’t.                              “Type A personality, people-pleasing, super woman who can do all and be all everywhere and never say NO”, that is me in a transparent nutshell.

I do not have it all together and I beat myself up continuously about it. I call myself a failure. I look at my many flaws, before I look at the body I am blessed with. I look at the accomplishments of others and I degrade myself. I look at others success and I create unattainable goals. I am sick health-wise…and yes, I sure do like hiding it. Because it “looks” better. I feel terribly sick most everyday but, not many would really know it.

Struggle after struggle seems to be surfacing in this season of my life.

These struggles have lead to moments where I have questioned God’s will, and questioned His plans completely.

“God, why don’t I feel content?” “Why do I always need new, change, and excitement…why cant I be founded in you and that just be enough?” “Why am I feeling so unsettled?” “Why cant I have it all together…I am serving you and I feel like I am in your perfect will…Why GOD??”

To be frank, these were the prayers….I mean statements, that had in my waring chat with God this morning.

I live a life with high stress. I am feeling hurt…for no apparent reason. I am angry because of our world and the evil things that its about. I am anxious about future endeavours and yes, I’ll say it again….I don’t have it “all together” and that frustrates me to the core of my being.

I call myself failure, instead of treasured daughter.

I call myself fat, instead of beautiful.

I set unattainable goals that can’t be met.

I make promises and sometimes don’t keep them.

I expect more from myself than anyone else.

I can never say No.

I am a hot-mess express.

I am a work in progress. In a testimony building part of my journey.

Although, in the past 10 minutes of writing this I have not found the peace that I desire…I cling to this: “Come to me all who are weary and are burdened and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28

Thank you for allowing me to ramble in my moments of transparency.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Sunday Mornings. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Growing up Sunday mornings were always jam packed for us as The Sweeney Family…with my Father head of the sound team at our church, my mother singing on the worship team and the head of her kids department, it kept us very busy as a family.

Even as kids we were right beside our parents helping and serving in so many areas of the church. “The Sweeney’s” were always on a ministry schedule some way, some shape or form…there was only about 1-3 Sundays a year, all 5 of us met our schedules up and were in church together and were not serving in ministry some where in the church or community.

I vividly remember seeing other families sitting all together in their ‘rows’ (creatures of habit, that we all are…haha!) at church at the Sunday morning gatherings, worshipping together and listening to the sermon ALL together. I don’t have that many memories as a child for our family all together in the same row. With my parents always serving, as well as us kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t of had my child-hood any different, through the busyness and chaos of those Sunday mornings, it bestowed in me, to serve and then be fed. Engraved in me, to pour your heart out and then to receive. Released in me, to work very hard and then you will be blessed.

My Sunday mornings now are a bit different from when I was a child. Now running the entire kids ministry department at my home church. Sunday mornings still consist of serving, but the stresses are different and not always as “fun” as you’d hope.

Even since before dating my boyfriend, I have always admired couples that serve in the church together at a young age. (Still absolutely, SO love that!) Since the beginning of our relationship… almost a year and a half ago, we have never had the chance to serve on a Sunday morning together. With both of us serving in several areas at each our of own churches.

Wishing I was serving beside “my man” at his church. Ministry split-up in a relationship isn’t easy. Its actually really hard. Especially when we both run several areas of ministry at our churches and want to help each other out. It serves its many challenges and sometimes many tears like today.

This morning, as I am sitting here in my office just finished preparation for more kids min programs. The vicious cycle of thoughts continue to surround me, “Oh I wish, we could serve together like other couples do…or even go to the same church especially on Sunday Mornings.”

Even though, I know for a fact that my future Sunday mornings will never be spent together in the same row as a family. Knowing us, Joshua and I will both be busy in ministry. Through all of this I have learnt, that I don’t need everyone in the same row to feel “complete”. I know that I don’t need a time where I can sit with ALL of my family together…I need Jesus period. No extras.

I can look to Him in those moments where I am sitting in the lonely row or when I need His presence and peace in the busyness of ministry on a Sunday morning.

Sisters, All I need is, Him.

Praying that your coming Sunday morning is bright and blessed. If you remember only one thing from this post remember this…All you need is Him to feel complete.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

When I was camera shy…?

Written By: A very insecure girl.

Let’s take a walk together down memory lane…

When I was young, I loved having my photo taken, but when this comes to mind I remember a certain time in my life where I loved it even more…That was year 6 of my little life. I loved getting dressed up in fancy outfits, taking hours in the bathroom doing my hair a certain-perfect way, lathering my face with fake kids make-up and putting on my hot pink plastic high-heels that had a large, fake diamond on the front of them.

Although, with every step was squeaky sounds coming from my feet below as I walked on our 90 year old, original hard wood flooring in our bunagolo styled home. To the great amounts of pain and loss of feeling that my poor feet were experiencing…this was an invigorating time for a 6 year old.

I would walk ever so carefully in my heels to find my Mum and have her take photos of me with our family’s non-digital, non-seeing the picture till its developed camera, in our sun shine filled living room and cozy covered porch.

I felt alive when these photos were being taken. I felt beautiful. Like everything was simply perfect.

Now fast forward 13 years. There I was getting my make up and hair done. Sitting waiting to have my photos taken with my love for our 1 year anniversary.

(This should have been another invigorating experience…yet that entire day I have never felt so sick, nauseous, and nervous before in my life.)

After a couple hours of pampering, I was ready. In my beautiful dress that I had bought for this special occasion, wearing my boots that my Grandparents had bought me, make up done, and hair just right.

My love arrived to our home, I was upstairs doing some finishing touches. I heard him come in the front doors, I was beyond excited to see him, yet I couldn’t walk down the set of stairs before me. I was so nervous.

I had to have him come up the stairs to me, because I was having such a hard time facing him. Shaking inside as I heard the creaking sounds as he walked up the stairs…He looked at me and smiled like he always does. He said that I looked beautiful.

I was trying so hard to understand why I was feeling this way, I mean this wasn’t our first photo shoot. I loved getting photos taken of me, my whole life and then, it came to me… as we were driving to the location where we were getting the pictures taken.

This was the first photo shoot since I had gained 63 of the most ugliest pounds from my medication. I was camera shy. I was scared.

Feeling terrified of what I would look like on camera, we began.

All through the shoot I continued to be nervous. With every pose, thoughts swirling around in my weary heart,  “What do my legs look like?”, “What does my stomach look like?”, “What about my arms…do they look like legs?”

This vicious cycle went on, the entire time.

Then the photos were revealed to us in less than 1 weeks time and I was amazed. Even though I have gained lots and I was nervous. They turned out amazing.

Sisters, no matter your size NEVER, I repkerjosh2017-17.jpgeat never be camera shy. God created you. Yes, YOU!!! He even created me knowing that I would gain weight rapidly and hate my body through it. He knew that I would be nervous, because He knows it all. Never forget…ANY size. You’re beautiful.

Until Next Time,

~An insecure girl, who knows she’s secure in her Heavenly Father’s arms. (Kerrington)

Heather Brooks Photography.

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

The ever-changing plans, of our constant Saviour.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Sisters, have you been in a place in your life where the going gets tough? Where your emotions run like wild fire? Where there is one too many unanswered questions or uncertainties? BUT you’re doing everything right and following God’s word to a tee?

Yup, I have SOO been there…And I sincerely hope and pray that this blog-post serves as an encouragement to you, on your journey of serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Today’s topic is…God’s Will. Oh my…what a complex thing that truly is.

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye, yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Learning to see and hear the subtle signs of the Holy Spirit’s leading and listening to His directions is crucial, especially in the day and hour we live in.

Here’s a definition of “God’s will” from The Bible Study Tools website. “…as vast as his entire plan for creation, and from the standpoint of objective content, it seems to be settled and unchanging. Old and New Testament writers can thus refer to God’s will as if its existence is accepted by all. But though it may seem to have the character of a broad blueprint, in practical applications it is expressed in specific terms. God’s will can also be viewed from its active side as his conscious “deciding,” “willing,” and “choosing” to do something…”

3 specific areas of this definition above, are what I would like to dig into and discuss today, with you my sisters.

  1. It’s settled and unchanging. 
  2. It’s existence is accepted by all.
  3. It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications.  

It’s settled and unchanging: It says various times throughout the Bible that Our God, is never changing…here are a few examples below:

Settled definition: “steady or secure style of life.” 

Unchanging definition: “not changing; remaining the same.” 

Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” 

Malachi 3:6 says “For I the Lord do not change…”

Numbers 23:19 says “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

Isaiah 40:8 says “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” 

2 Timothy 2:13 says “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 

All these verses explain to us that God’s will is never changing. Its settled. Yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. Although we as humans, lie and sometimes don’t always keep our promises and change our minds…God always keeps His promises and never changes His mind. He stands faithful forever and in those moments where we are faithless. Oh yes…we of little faith, He remains Faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

No matter how many uncertainties and unknown paths come your way. God’s will is settled and unchanging for you, my sisters.

It’s existence is accepted by all: This category doesn’t have scriptures to relate to, but in the culture we live in, I thought this category was neat. How many times do you hear in movies “Oh, its JUST providence…” or coincidence somethings happen. I know that I have heard these statements countless times. But did you know that this statement is subtly saying

“Oh, its God’s will…”

When I thought this through, I was amazed. Non-Christian people saying this, don’t even completely understand that ‘Just Providence’ is really ‘God’s will’ in their lives. God’s will is accepted by all whether they realize it or not.

It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications:

How many of you dear sisters know how to read a blue print?

I would say probably 90% of you have no clue how to, 5% have done it before and the other 5% know how to. If you aren’t trained in blue-print reading, it’s hard to sometimes understand what the blue-print is saying…it’s difficult to understand the messages its trying to say, what the little words and letters the blue-print writer is tying to say to it’s readers.

God’s will at times, is just like a blue-print. Its hard to understand, its unclear at times…The Lord sending messages to us that we don’t yet understand. Seasons of life where you question “God, are you still there?” God’s will although to the human-eye may seem like a complicated, hard-to-understand blue-print. Our Heavenly Father always has practical applications for your life to help begin the process to better understand the messages on YOUR life blue-print. Sometimes it takes awhile to understand the applications and other times its a drastic eye-opening experience that you see God’s will for your life.

So sisters, if you remember one thing, remember this…

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye,

yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

One Simple Act.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Have you ever had a long, rough week? A week where it seems that everything is going wrong. Feels like everyone is working against you and then it starts thundering and raining outside. Yup, I have been there.

Depressing for sure. A week like that happens way too often.

I had a week just like this one awhile back. Dealing with drama, hearing rude comments being said straight to my face, and in all honesty, being completely blunt here…nasty things wanted to climb out of this Children’s Pastors mouth. It was one of THOSE weeks.

I still remember the moment that changed my week for good…with one simple act.

It was a youth night at the church, where my boyfriend serves in ministry. I was taking some moments to pray and worship in the sanctuary before the students arrival to the youth group. Pouring my heart out to God about how terrible my week was and how tired I was with dealing with people, with issues, and with drama. I was almost in tears with the amount of heaviness that was on this weary woman’s heart. My soul felt weakened.

Heard a little noise and quickly turned and seen out of the corner of my eye, one of my girl-students standing at the end of the pew I was sitting in. She had a bouquet of spring flowers hand-picked from her very own garden, a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean and such a proud twinkle in her eye.

She gently handed me the bouquet of slightly, wilting home-garden, grown flowers and said these exact words:

“These are for you! Hope you’re having a great week.”

Sisters, this 12 year old girl changed the course of the rest of my entire week. I felt loved, appreciated and purpose-filled. NO…Not because she gave me flowers but, because I knew that me being even just there, was impacting her in a small way.

This my dear sisters, was one simple act. Which was infused with encouragement for my weary soul. Her facial expression will forever be engraved in my mind…she was so proud.

How many times have you thought to do “One Simple Act” and simply didn’t because you didn’t think it would make a difference? If you remember when think today, remember this: “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.” 

Keeping the “simple acts” in mind, a story I heard a preacher once share, was close to something along these lines of what I can remember.

“A girl questioning her faith, feeling like she was a mistake and why she even existed on this earth, came to church one night to youth and she prayed these words to God…

“If you’re real you will show me in a tangible way tonight. Someone will give me a bouquet of all yellow flowers with only 1 purple flower in the middle of it..then I will know that you are God and I won’t kill myself when I go home later.” 

The night went on at youth group and still no flowers. It was just about to end at the program, when one of the church congregational members walked in and said in a very exuberant voice to the Youth Pastor, “I have to give something to a girl who is going to kill herself tonight…she needs to know that she is loved, forgiven and accepted by the Lord himself.”

The youth pastor in shock and utter amusement (Thinking “what is this lady doing??”) he hands her the microphone out of his hand. She announced loudly, her statement she heard from God and the room stays silent, no one says anything.

She begins feeling a little nervous and thinks “Am I sure that what I heard was from God?” Then she says in a little more timid, nervous voice “……Did someone ask God for a bouquet of yellow flowers, with one single purple flower in the middle?”

A loud sob, comes from the back left corner of the room and sure enough there she was. A girl who needed a tangible reminder from her Heavenly Father, to make sure she knew she was loved, cherished, accepted and treasured in His eyes.”

Now although, my personal experience wasn’t as drastic as this one was but, God truly works in mysterious ways even through people to send tangible simple acts, sent as reminders to God’s children of His daily faithfulness.

Sisters, are there other women in your life that you know could use some encouragement in a “One Simple Act” kind of way?

We all know someone who needs extra love and grace. Why not stop whatever you are doing right now and encourage someone. Make them feel loved and appreciated for everything they do in your life.

Sisters, remember this “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.”

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}

Stretch marks and all….I am still beautiful.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 

With everything I have walked through this past year, the last thing that I wanted to happen was…for me to “lose my beauty” or I guess how culture would describe beauty that is. To calm my immune system of the havoc that was taking place, I was prescribed a medicine that often can make you gain large amounts of weight very fast.

I still remember the day that reality came crashing in on me, like a giant tidal wave.

It was a Sunday Afternoon, I was just about to change into a fancy dress for an event that my boyfriend and I were attending that evening…I had it laid out on the end of my bed like I would normally.

That morning before church, I just had grabbed the dress, laid it out and didn’t think anything of it. I mean why would I? Its in MY own closest…it obviously fits me. Right? …….WRONG!!!

Slipped the dress on, asked my sister to zip up the back.

First try, couldn’t get it up. Thought to myself… “Don’t worry, this dress always has a hard time with the zipper.” I encouraged my sister to try again. No budge. Thought to myself again “Hmmm…Stand very tall Kerrington! You can do this, you’ll get this beautiful dress on.” Last try…nothing.

And BOOM just like that… It hit me. I wasn’t the cute little size anymore. I took the dress off and threw it on the floor, that was a dress that in the past had made me feel very beautiful. Just like that, the drop of the dress I felt like I had lost all my beauty. Tears started streaming down my face as I sat on the end of my bed. “Fat, Ugly, and Huge”…these were the words I heard going through my mind on a vicious cycle.

49 ugly pounds I have gained and continue to gain to this day, somedays harder than others…when the clothes just don’t fit right anymore it hurts, when I shop in the larger section in the stores, it hurts.

When I hear the comments like “Wow. Your face looks fuller recently!!” It hurts. When sometimes I have a harder time getting off the floor with the kids, it hurts.

A more recent painful reminder, was just about over a month ago, I looked down as I was putting a shirt on and I had seen some hair-thin lines on my stomach and upper thighs. Thinking it was dirt or something I quickly tried washing them away with a wet cloth…no matter how hard I scrubbed…they just didn’t go away. I wasn’t too sure at the time what they were, till I asked my mom.

And BOOM. It hit me again. She said: “They’re stretch marks peanut, don’t worry though…its okay!”

I asked directly after that, “Will they go away with some time?” Her response is what made my weary heart sink into a vault of defeat.

“Nope, they are there for good.” 

Oh my heart. I felt like my body was ruined forever and  I had lost all hope of ever being beautiful again. I hated this. I just couldn’t fathom it all. “Hadn’t I been through enough?” I thought.

What brings joy to my heart though, is that with all of these physical changes happening to my body ever so quickly, this never changed anything between my boyfriend and I. He still always called me beautiful, no matter what.

This was such a comfort to me, every doctors appointment that I would step on that dreaded scale and see the numbers ever rising…I could still be confident knowing that stepping on to it, even if the numbers had drastically changed again…that I knew that he still thought I was beautiful.

One meanings of my name is “Beautiful” and at times I thought that I had truly lost that. I thought that with the drop of that dress, that I had lost any chance of ever being beautiful. Well ladies, I was wrong, even when I thought my arms looked like legs, when my face was fuller than what people were use to seeing, or when those little marks that I thought were dirt just wouldn’t scrub away or ever go away…

I am STILL beautiful. 

It has taken me awhile to get to this point where I can share all of this so vulnerably but, I know that there is so many of us women who struggle with self-worth that I want to share these stories to maybe encourage someone when they fit their rock bottom.

Sisters in Christ, you are loved, you are treasures of the most high God, and you are BEAUTIFUL!!!

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington