Annie Downs is an individual you just about instinctively believe of as a ideal friend—even if you have never ever met her in particular person. She’s vibrant, funny, articulate, and her appreciate of Christ shines by way of her just about every word, each spoken and written.
Annie is a born communicator and has a passion for spreading God’s Word and His appreciate. She also travels nationally to speak to and connect with ladies of all ages about God’s appreciate in every day moments.
As if that wasn’t adequate, Annie is a prolific author of 4 books. She’s written two books for younger ladies: Completely Special, a spiritual development book for higher college and college girls, and Speak Adore, a challenge to ladies on how to use their words to make a distinction in the globe.
Let’s All Be Brave, Annie’s third book specifics the energy we every have to make a distinction. She admitted writing it stretched her spiritually and left her feeling exhausted. She was left facing some spiritual hurts and alternatively of operating by way of them, she wanted to turn and run away. Then God whispered, “What if you don’t run? What if we face this together?”
This spiritual shift was the genesis for her fourth book, Searching for Beautiful. It is about the energy of hope, perseverance, and obtaining the gorgeous in just about every day. In a globe exactly where it is uncomplicated to bury hurts in unhealthy habits or behind a false image, Annie shows us there is a unique way. By actively searching for out the beauty God has placed in our lives—and in ourselves—we can embrace hope, which fuels us by way of difficult occasions and assists us reside joyfully and alternatively see God and His beauty in the every day.
Annie desires us to study to appear for the beautiful all about us and gather it, hold it close, and see how God drops gorgeous factors into our lives at just the proper time to aid us step forward on our personal paths. Mastering to appreciate the life you have.
Just Among Us was blessed to be in a position to chat with Annie to speak about her journey in obtaining the beautiful and gorgeous in her life.
Annie F. Downs
JBU: What does it imply to appear for beautiful?
Annie: Searching for beautiful is obtaining gorgeous in your every day life. It could be what we have a tendency to believe of as the “little things,” like a beautiful day or gorgeous flowers or grabbing sushi with good friends. It can be massive factors, also, like finding a new job.
It does not generally have to be about us, either. Celebrating other people’s accomplishments is hunting for beautiful also. Celebrating other people—that reminds me not to give up on the life you have. My good friends might have a thing truly amazing take place to them that I would appreciate also, but I nevertheless uncover joy in celebrating them!
How do we create a habit of hunting for beautiful? What part does gratitude play?
Annie: Searching for beautiful is definitely a habit—it’s a thing you create and select to do. Attempt becoming purposeful and providing thanks to at least a single factor a day. Inform your self “I’m not going to bed until I find something that made this life better or easier or happier.” Or at just about every meal, notice a thing that is excellent, type, or gorgeous. Searching for beautiful is a habit you develop for your self, with your neighborhood, family members, and good friends.
What is the correlation among beauty and perseverance?
Annie: I’m not fantastic at persevering or seeing the beauty when life gets difficult. Nevertheless, beauty is what tends to make it probable to preserve going. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is not it? It is not just in the factors every person sees, but it is what you see, the exceptional moments God provides you to gather up and hold and draw strength from. Had I noticed any beauty in me, perhaps I wouldn’t have walked such an unhealthy path for so extended.
I have to have to uncover gorgeous if I’m going to hang in there. I have to have it in my life each day. I have to have it in my heart. I have to have it in my soul to withdraw when factors really feel difficult. So I decided to begin hunting.
How did you do that?
Annie: I’ve been struggling with this my entire life—looking for the gorgeous amid the hurt and ugly. I have to have beauty. I have to have to see the beautiful in my just about every day. I basically crave it. Possibly since I’ve felt it missing in my heart for so extended. So I’ve been actively pursuing it, attempting to uncover it about just about every corner, and ever hoping it is just proper there since I do appreciate gorgeous factors. So I’m filling my thoughts and eyes and memories with excellent factors, excellent gifts from God, so that my tank is refueled, so that my parched soul is soothed.
How have other folks helped you uncover the gorgeous?
Annie: I’ll be sincere there are not days I do not get overwhelmed by factors! Even if you are extremely constructive, it does not imply you are not permitted to have days when life, perform, or struggles really feel like also considerably. Nevertheless, if it gets to be two or 3 days when the undesirable appears to stick about, I invite other persons in to aid me see the excellent. Discomfort can be overwhelming, and darkness can really feel truly dark when you are alone. Inviting persons in delivers a balance—things might nevertheless not be fantastic, but an individual you trust can aid point out the excellent and aid you see it. And just aid you really feel like you are not alone.
What compelled you to create Searching for Beautiful?
Annie: Due to the fact I didn’t want to reside my life any longer, how it had been going, with me operating from my discomfort. I believed, “What if I actually felt all this pain, really let myself feel it, and deal with it instead of running from it?” So I began counseling.
By inviting a experienced Christian counselor into my discomfort, I was in a position to commence releasing the hurt and obtain a valuable viewpoint that started moving me forward into a healthier, happier spot. When I faced it, I asked God, “What do I do with this?” At times His answer was, “Be sad. Feel the sadness, sit with it.” It might not have gone away promptly, but sitting with it was a way of processing and operating by way of it. It was surely much better than ignoring it, since it would only come up once again if I did that.
Other occasions, God’s answer would be “talk about it.” But the 1st step was to confront it, which is a thing I had never ever completed just before.
I didn’t want to run and be a quitter any longer. I decided to face it and select a unique way of basically dealing with it. I believed, “What if I found something good worth focusing on that kept me from giving up?” A massive component of that was actively hunting for the beautiful in my life. Trusting God to be with me by way of the truly difficult stuff, but generally displaying me there is excellent throughout these occasions, also.
In the end, it was about my want to be a particular person who is complete of hope and not a quitter. I think if you are complete of hope that assists you get by way of and finish the difficult factors. And when you finish the difficult factors, you are complete of hope. It is truly a circle. I wanted to take persons on that journey with me and aid them by way of it, also. And a massive component of that was obtaining the gorgeous in my personal life.
Inform us about the discomfort that kept you from experiencing the beautiful in your life?
Annie: I grew up with a lot of shame more than my physique and quitting every thing since I never ever felt excellent adequate. I was overweight from the time I was in fourth grade, hated my physique, and felt ugly. I believed practically nothing is gorgeous right here. As my feeling toward myself got morphed and complex and broken, so did my partnership with meals. Meals was the enemy…and pal. I felt like my physique wasn’t okay. I went to my 1st Weight Watchers in sixth grade. I ping-ponged among fad diets all through higher college and college to no avail. It was a heartbreaking battle that I knew I was going to shed and be at the center of my discomfort for the rest of my life. In college, I began listening to the whispered lies: I heard I was ugly I was a failure, a quitter, unlovable. My story is like quite a few other ladies I know—the mirror has lied, and the enemy has whispered for years, and how we cannot appear at ourselves and uncover something beautiful.
How did factors modify?
Annie: I’d been asking God for a miracle. In that procedure I began counseling which was so difficult. I knew that I necessary to be brave. I believed perhaps that is exactly where healing comes from. Possibly becoming brave about my brokenness for the 1st time in my life was going to bring healing. Initially, I believed I necessary to be repaired. But my counselor showed me that my have to have was considerably deeper than that. I basically necessary to be rebuilt. And rebuilding something that is more than thirty years old requires a lot of time and strength and perseverance.
Second Corinthians five:17 says, “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons” (The Message)! A fresh begin. A new creation. I necessary each of these. But I also necessary strength of heart to hold on till God could full the perform He had begun.
I had walked away from this spot just before, but now I was far more broken and wounded and knew that to dig into it would imply far more. I decided if I was truly going to survive this, it had to be worth it. It had to have some sort of worthy redemption. It had to be gorgeous.
I do not know why, but I decided to stick it out this time, to truly attempt to see if there was a healthier version of me on the other side of my broken. I could really feel a thing gorgeous developing inside of me for the 1st time in my life.
How did you continue when it got difficult?
Annie: To keep in this spot, I knew it was going to take a lot of hunting for beautiful. I necessary to uncover a purpose to show up and not give up on this essential journey. As I believed back on my life, the gorgeous factors, even though far and couple of among, have been the knots on the rope that helped me preserve climbing. In the end, it was the hope that there was a thing far more gorgeous just outdoors my view.
How do we “find” beautiful in difficult occasions?
Annie: Attempt to actively appear for gorgeous moments. No matter what, don’t forget God is nevertheless in manage. He is excellent, type, and what He’s carrying out on this planet is excellent, even when undesirable factors take place. At times you just have to actively appear for the excellent. At times the beauty in something, specifically the difficult stuff, is that Jesus is nevertheless on the throne.
I do a lot of factors that sound easy, but make a substantial distinction. For instance, I create factors on my bathroom mirror. Encouraging words from God’s Word that I would be forced to appear at and study. Psalms, Proverbs…positive encouragement. I even have notes in my car or truck!
I attempt to make sensible, uncomplicated selections like listening to constructive and uplifting music in the car or truck. It is these small measures and actions that develop you up and aid you see the lovely—even in unlovely situations.
I am continually hunting for factors to refresh me, even if they are smaller factors. Like taking breaks just about every so typically, and going for a stroll. It feels excellent and God generally shows me all the beauty about me. Or taking a nap! By taking breaks from the trenches of life, we’ll uncover far more time to uncover the joy in life.
What is a thing beautiful God has dropped into your life lately?
Annie: I had a excellent dinner with some truly dear good friends of mine. What’s awesome is I moved to Nashville nine years ago. I had moved right here with 4 persons I had met just before, but no a single I had a true history with collectively. However at that dinner, I realized I was component of this fantastic neighborhood of ladies.
It was bittersweet, since we have been collectively to celebrate a pal who was moving away. But catching up, and laughing, and becoming component of that community…that evening was a thing beautiful that God gave all of us. It was a present.
One more factor He’s dropped into my life lately is some truly gorgeous sunsets. Sunrises are fantastic, also, but the sunsets right here appear just a small bit longer and are so gorgeous. Lately, I’ve been operating extended days, so it is been cool to have the days finish with gorgeous sunsets. It reminds me that God is nevertheless telling stories, He’s nevertheless painting factors.
How has this search for beautiful changed you?
Annie: I am a unique Annie than I utilized to be. I had to be broken to be rebuilt. So typically, it is our breakdowns that have to have to come proper just before we have breakthroughs. My cape of shame is gone, and my days of continuous self-hate have passed. What God has completed in my heart and life (and physique, to be sincere) in the final two years is practically nothing brief of a miracle. I utilized to be a quitter, now I cross far more finish lines than ever just before. And I’m intentionally living a healthier life style.
What is a lesson we can take from hunting for beautiful?
Annie: Searching for the beauty and beautiful in life is a thing you have to have to perform toward and have perseverance. For years, I didn’t know how to persevere for something. The final couple of years, I discovered how to quit quitting. Now I finish what I begin, with a much better understanding of God. In complicated occasions, I see Him on the other side of any discomfort I’m going by way of.
What word of encouragement do you have for us?
Annie: Be the type of lady to persevere by way of the difficult things—persevering alterations your life. It genuinely alterations your life. Romans five talks about how we can glory in our suffering, since it produces perseverance and grows our character.
It also talks about the hope of the glory of God. We have to have to treat hope as if it is this cost-free thing—hang it on the walls, tattoo it on our hearts and minds. God—His appreciate and His hope—He’s with us even by way of the complicated struggles. Paul says in Acts 20:24, we are meant to finish the race we’ve began. That is what I attempt to do, and I encourage other folks to do the exact same.
It is fascinating how typically what occurs in our physical bodies is a reflection of what occurs in our spirits. For instance, education for factors, like operating races, hurts—it’s a painful developing expertise. But the subsequent time it is less complicated. You preserve operating at it, you perform by way of the difficult stuff, you get stronger, and you can finish the race. The exact same factor occurs when we actively perform by way of the difficult stuff emotionally and spiritually. Alternatively of operating from it, we run by way of it. And we get by way of it with Him. As a outcome, our spirits and our partnership with God develop stronger. We persevere and finish the race with a heart complete of hope, prepared for the subsequent massive factor. And that is exactly where the beautiful is located. And when we uncover it, each in us and the world—it alterations every thing.
How did you lastly uncover beautiful?
Annie: In the final many years, by way of my brokenness journey, God has opened my eyes to all these small moments of beautiful about me. They’ve generally been there I just never ever had eyes to see them. It is not that my life is unique is just that I see it differently. So it feels like a brand-new life. I really feel like given that I gave sincere words to my brokenness and began to get healthful, God has shown up and walked me into far more healing than I even knew to ask for. And in it, He is opening my eyes.
And as I’m collecting these moments that matter, I’m basically seeing far more of Him. Due to the fact in the finish, that is what this is all about. When you uncover Jesus, you have located beautiful. He is every thing we have to have.
~ By Susan Vanselow