Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Why You Can't See My 10-Year Challenge...

By now, we're all familiar with the infamous 10-Year Challenge:

"Let's see how much you've aged! 
Post a photo of yourself from 10 years ago and one from today."

Some are funny - people posting their crazy teenage hairstyles, or folks substituting their face for a celebrity doppelgänger.

A few are inspiring - men and women celebrating a substantial weight loss or surviving a challenging illness.

Some groups are using the challenge to show the lack of change in important areas of our world, such as race relations, gender representation, or the environment.

But for the most part, it's people either complaining about their own aging or, even worse, people sharing highly photoshopped versions of their current faces.

Ugh, do we really need to create more opportunities to competitively obsess on appearance?

As I looked at these posts, I couldn't help but think back to where I was 10 years ago - living in Nashville with my still-relatively-new husband, making music, and about to go through some of the most vibrant years of my life.

I thought about what picture I could find to capture who I was then, 
and how I could even encapsulate who I am now.  

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it couldn't be done.

Because, you see, you can't see my 10-Year Challenge.

There's no way a photo can show you how much I've changed in 10 years.

You can't see how Gerald and I were almost killed by an 18-wheeler, ten years ago this May, and the pain, grace, courage, and healing I experienced in the years that followed.

You can't see every time I've chosen faith over frustration, and how that choice has shaped my heart and my patience.

You can't see the way both my literal and my creative voices have become stronger, more authentic, and more expressive.

You can't see how I'm surrounded by friends and family who really know and love me, and how their love makes me a better person.

You can't see the thousands of kilometres I've driven on our Infinitely More tours, and how I've fallen so deeply in love with this country, our churches, and the diverse people of faith who fill the pews.

You can't see the time I was hurt by people I loved, and the immense struggle it took to forgive friends who never asked for my forgiveness.

You can't see the times I've had to stretch my skills outside my comfort zone, and the way that's made me a better manager and administrator.

You can't see the hundreds of times I've tried and failed and tried and failed, and yet somehow become even more eager to try and fail again.

You can't see the way I've grown into my marriage, working through the challenges, dancing through the good stuff, revelling in the blessings, and loving my husband more and more each year.

I've changed a lot in 10 years. You might not see it. But I can. 

And for me, I'm more beautiful and more interesting than ever.

Covered in battle scars you can't see. 
Filled with more love and gratitude than I could ever express.

And most of us are probably the same. 

The world may see your wrinkles, weight gain, or the way bodies just change over time.
But I hope you see your true strength and beauty.

Forget the photos. 
Look at You.

You've lived. You've survived. You've risked. You've grown.

You. Are. Awesome!

So, forget the 10-Year Challenge. 

Instead, I hope you have 10-Year Celebration of all the wonder of you.

You've earned it.


Unknown said...

Allison,you write as beautifully as you prrach! May we all take your version of the 10 year challenge. Much LOVE! And GOOD LUCK this week. Love Sharon Vermole

Allison Lynn said...

Thank you so much, Sharon :)

Janeswack said...

Beautifully said! Ten years is a lot of living that couldn't possibly be shown in a photo. Thanks you for the wise words and inspiration.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Alison. You said it all so well!

Allison Lynn said...

Thank you so much! I hope you feel inspired by your last 10 years :)