Life isn't about getting to the destination

--it's about the journey. So don't think that you have to rush to get to the destination. The destination isn't important; the journey is the important part, what you take time for, what you learn and experience along the way. The journey is also where you find Me and where you learn about Me. That's what life is about, and if you don't take the time to get to know Me, then you will miss the meaning of the whole trip.


Lessons learnt

Something I have learned since the start of the Winning Offensive is the importance of personal presentation and looking the part.
I'm a full time teacher & would wake up and jump right into the day; personal grooming would consist of getting dressed and washing my face; pulling my (often) un-brushed hair back into a ponytail. After a while I would feel the way I looked: harried, tired, disorganized, unkempt and plain old uninspiring. It was the well meaning comments of friends and co-workers on a daily basis that finally got to me; "You look so tired today, are you feeling ok?", "Rough night?", and so on. As a parent of young children there are always rough nights, but I received these comments even when well rested and feeling great.
Around the same time I began meeting mothers in the neighborhood who would in turn introduce me to their friends. It turned out that many of them as well as their families and friends have seen me around the local area - taking the kids out, exercising, shopping, etc. & it was a bit surprising for me to realize that I was recognized.

My first child was born when I was 19 and I was a "no make up" type of girl, thinking that it was only for occasions such as Outreach, follow up, witnessing, parties etc. and subconsciously that mindset carried over with each child I've had. I also felt that I couldn't afford daily time to groom myself, after all there is laundry to be done, house to keep clean, kids to care for, meals to make, school to be corrected and more.

Now I'm in my mid 20's and that attitude doesn't cut it. Japanese place a high importance on outward appearance and personal grooming, and society expects mothers my age and older to dress neat, clean, on the conservative side, wear make up, and look the part.
While I won't get into the exact same look as those in secular society it has dawned on me that wearing a bit of make up on a daily basis adds a lot to my self esteem and appeals to those we are trying to reach. As the Lord has said "I want to explain that your image and how you look and come across are a big part of your testimony and sample. There is so much about this in the Word-for example, how rich people want to invest in a work that's thriving, and your appearance and how you carry yourself can sometimes determine whether or not they will invest in you, or see you and your cause as a worthwhile one. -Mature Beauty"

I spend 5-10 minutes every morning for personal grooming while listening to an inspirational audio file or music. My make up routine is minimal but the feeling of satisfaction I get when I catch sight of my reflection on bad days and look better than I feel makes me feel better, not to mention knowing that I look suitable for unexpected visitors or running an errand has boosted my self esteem & has inspired others in my home and area to do the same.
Even better than personal gratification is the influence it has on my children. They are becoming aware that personal grooming & care is important and that it goes hand in hand with witnessing and winning the world for Jesus! On the odd days I have skipped this routine my kids notice and politely remind me. If you're a mother of two or more kids, try investing in your appearance if you don't already. My kids are ages 18 months to 6yrs old, and I've found that it's good to wake up a little earlier than them, or put on music they can dance to, or give them some small personal grooming activity to do while I do mine.

The mothers I meet are happier to invite me to social events and introduce me to their friends because I look less like someone who is struggling to get through the day and more like someone who has their act together; is happy, successful and can handle the challenges of life. In short, a successful missionary mother who has a lot to offer.

Well, I'm not an outreacher, and although I strive to be an instant witness, at times I forget to take tracts & Activate mags, yet am contributing towards the Offensive and the kids are learning to improve one step at a time.

Although I may not be a full time witnesser I know that I am contributing to the Offensive through my sample and the sample of my children.

My hope is that this write up might encourage other mothers to put a little thought into their daily appearance and let them know that it's not time wasted or being vain, but rather part of our being professional and attracting others to our lifestyle. Like Peter said: "As your circle of contacts and friends expands, you should be dressed appropriately to receive visitors that drop over unexpectedly. As they grow closer, people may stop by at times, or neighbors or people you're ministering to in the local community might pop over as they get to know you better. -A Professional Lifestyle for the Offensive"


Babylove said...

I know it's something we should already know but I'm just starting to "re-realize" it too. Esp the part where I look at my clothes & think "Am I 18 or am I 28?" I'm just starting to get rid of stuff that I haven't felt "comfortable" wearing in forever & finally realized that's cuz' I'll never be comfortable wearing it again. I never realize how confidence really boosts your mood. (A bit late in the game) :) Bet if you sent this in you'd get 10 euros. :) You should!

Kari said...

Heh, thanks Al. Its been on my mind for some time now, but the 10 Euros gave me the incentive to type it up. Fingers crossed!

Kari said...

Oh and Dawn, please do leave comments, I like comments. :)

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