Your Beautiful Heart: 31 Reflections on Love, Faith, Friendship, and Becoming a Girl Who Shines

Your Beautiful Heart: 31 Reflections on Love, Faith, Friendship, and Becoming a Girl Who Shines

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414376714
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2015
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 588,418
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Lauren Scruggs is the founder and editor of LOLO Magazine, an online lifestyle hub that unites all things fashion, beauty, and health. She was an intern in the wardrobe department for CW's Gossip Girl, and reported for the New York, Paris, and Montreal Fashion Weeks. Along with Bethany Hamilton, Lauren started a yearly retreat for girls who have lost a limb to create a community and encourage others on their journey.

Lisa Velthouse is a freelance writer and speaker. The author and contributor of five books, including Saving My First Kiss and Craving Grace, she was also once the Brio Girl for Brio magazine. She's the wife to an active-duty Marine Corps infantry officer and the mom of two small children. Visit her at LisaVelthouse.com.

Shannon McManus is a Los Angeles-based actor, writer, and narrator. She has appeared in features, plays, festival shorts, and national commercials. Critical praise for her voice work includes an AudioFile Earphones Award, a Best Voice of 2012, and a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award.

Read an Excerpt

Your Beautiful Heart

31 Reflections on Love, Faith, Friendship, and Becoming a Girl Who Shines


By Lauren Scruggs, Lisa Velthouse

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Lauren Scruggs
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7671-4



CHAPTER 1

A Heart at the Center

Warehouses and Wardrobe Closets: A Gossip Girl Story


There were no shiny hotels, mansions, or skyscrapers around—instead you saw only old warehouses, water towers, fire escapes, and a giant smokestack. The area looked more like a rundown shipping quarter than a luxurious backdrop for filming. But the set of Gossip Girl was located in this gritty New York City neighborhood.

For two months in my early twenties, I interned in the Gossip Girl wardrobe closet, and I can tell you that the show's closet was just as unfancy as the studio's location. It looked nothing like the fashion hub that people might've expected it to be. It looked like a dry-cleaning business.

Picture a big room with plain beige walls, a bare cement floor, and industrial fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling. Racks of clothes were stacked two-high, with so many different pieces of clothing smashed onto them—any and every pattern, style, texture, and color—that nothing seemed to match or coordinate at all. Boxes that held designer shoes were piled haphazardly. Signature gowns could go completely unnoticed. Most of the clothes you couldn't even see; everything seemed lost among endless wire hangers and cheap plastic garment bags.

There is a reason why none of this ever made it to the TV screen.

If you know anything about Gossip Girl, you probably know it told stories of a group of young socialites from New York City's (very wealthy, very fancy) Upper East Side. The characters on the show lived lives that were spilling over with posh parties, expensive fashion, jet-setting travel, and ritzy gifts. Week after week, lavishness and glamour played out on-screen.

So it shouldn't be surprising that bland warehouses and unassuming wardrobe closets weren't what people saw when they tuned in to Gossip Girl. Even though the warehouse and the wardrobe were important parts of what made the show work, they weren't what the show was about. The people who ran the show had decided what it was about, and that was Manhattan fantasy. Shimmering sets. Opulence. Fifth Avenue glam.

In making that decision, whether they realized it or not, the people in charge had also made another decision. That's because deciding what a show is about means also deciding what the show isn't about. If your story centers on New York glitz, then you're not going to be filming back lots and badly lit closets and streets in Queens. That's why the less-than-glamorous side of Gossip Girl never showed up on a TV screen. Most of it wasn't ever filmed at all.

This principle—the warehouses and wardrobe closets principle—is also true when we look at the Bible.

The Bible tells a story. It's one big story made up of lots of smaller stories, much like how a TV show is one big series made up of smaller episodes. All the stories in the Bible are about something. They're about the big story. In the next chapter, we're going to take a good look at what that big story is and what it means. Before we do that, though, we're going to take a good look at what the big story of the Bible isn't.

What it doesn't center on.

What it spends extremely little time mentioning.

These things that aren't the Bible's big story can often be clues for us, if we pay attention to them. That's because the Bible is the most important message ever. And the most important message ever wouldn't be missing something so vital. So if an issue gets barely any page space in the Bible, that's saying something about how unimportant the issue probably is.

We can take this logic one step further: If an issue almost never shows up in the Bible, yet in our lives we treat that issue as if it's supremely important, we're probably really missing the point of things.

For example, the Bible has almost nothing to say about physical appearance.


Looking into the Looks Void

If you're familiar with the Bible, think about some of the most well-known stories in it, and think of the people in the stories. What did those people look like?

• Abraham—was he tall or short?

• David—did he have freckles, or didn't he?

• Deborah—was her hair curly or straight or some kind of wavy in-between?

• Mary, Jesus' mother—were her eyes widely or narrowly set, almond-shaped or round, dark or light in color?


For us, any attempt to answer questions like these would be just a guess. We don't have the information because the details aren't included in the Bible anywhere. In fact, if we were to read the Bible from beginning to end, looking for specifics about people's physical attributes, we wouldn't find much.

Among the thousands of people mentioned in the Bible's pages, there's an extremely small number of them whose looks get any page space at all. We know limited details like: Esau was red and hairy, and his brother, Jacob, wasn't. Leah had dull eyes, and her sister Rachel was beautiful. Saul was tall. David was handsome. Eglon was overweight. Zacchaeus was short.

It's not a lot. But even when a few particulars about appearance do show up in the Bible, they're typically just tiny pieces in a story that's really about something else. Esau's hairiness is worth mentioning because when Jacob pretended to be Esau, he had to wear animal skins on his arms. Leah and Rachel's physical differences played into their competitive, jealous relationship. Saul's height made him a desirable king for Israel. David's handsomeness was just one more thing that made Saul hate him. Eglon's weight is mentioned in the story of his assassination—the dagger that killed him had sunk into his belly fat. Zacchaeus was too short to see Jesus over the crowds, so he climbed a tree to obtain a better view.

And even Jesus, the pivotal person in the whole Bible, is never described in terms of his appearance. The book of Isaiah includes a well-known prophecy that looks ahead to Jesus, mentioning a few details—

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him....

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.


—but other than that, nothing. No hair color, no eye color, no height, no weight, no skin tone, no body mass, no facial structure. Zero. This is the Son of God, the turning point of the universe and certainly the Bible's main character, and we're not even given a basic mental picture.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is essentially void of any commentary on looks. If we're paying attention to that, we learn something crucial. Because what a thing is not tells us a lot.

Let's put it this way: If you wanted to read about a new weight-lifting technique, you'd find a fitness magazine. If you wanted to figure out recipes and dinner ingredients, you'd get a cookbook. If you wanted to remodel your bathroom, you'd check out a home improvement show. If you wanted to landscape your yard, you'd visit a gardening blog. If you wanted to focus on your looks, you'd go to a salon. A boutique. A shoe store.

You wouldn't go to the Bible for any of these things because the Bible is barely concerned with them, if it's concerned about them at all.

How about we state the obvious for a moment? When God set out to write down his message for humanity, that message wasn't anything like Dress for Your Body Type! or 30 Days to Killer Abs! or Shape Your Brows Now! For that matter, God's message wasn't Grow the Best Begonias! or 50 Vegan Appetizers! or Perfect Your Push-up! either.

One of the most difficult and most amazing things about reading the Bible is that its message is drastically different from anything else we will ever encounter. Unlike our culture and unlike ourselves, the Bible doesn't waste time on shallow points or empty entertainment. It doesn't get caught up in distractions or fillers. What the Bible does is cut straight through to the center of everything. That's why God's Word includes what it includes, and that's why it doesn't include what it doesn't.

We can't read God's Word in the same way that we'd read a fashion magazine. We can't approach it in the same way that we'd approach a workout lesson. We shouldn't expect it to behave like a self-help book or a collection of wise thoughts to ponder either. We have to read it for what it is, not for what it isn't. And when we read God's Word for what it is, what we find is an epic love story.

Yes, epic. We should be blown away by what this book does to our hearts.

Read the Bible, and what you'll find—over and over, from Genesis to Revelation—is that your heart is at the center of God's heart. That is his message to you. Of everything he could've chosen to say, that is what he wanted you to know.

But wait. In case you're somehow not awestruck already, let me make sure I'm expressing the situation adequately:

The God who flung the stars into the sky and hand-formed every universe is obsessed with your heart.


Yes, obsessed. That's what his Book is about, and it's a direct reflection of what he himself is about.

The God we meet in the Bible is consumed with the process that turns human hearts from being hardened and sinful to tender and beautiful. This God will do anything—in fact, he has done everything—to bring true beauty into your life and to make it radiate from the inside out.

Don't believe me? Keep reading.

A beautiful heart understands that God's focus isn't on looks.


Discussion Starters

1. Look up 1 Samuel 16, especially verse 7. What is happening in this story? What does verse 7 tell us about God's perspective?

2. In what ways does our world center on looks? What should it tell us when our world's focus is so different from what we find in God's Word?

3. "God is obsessed with your heart." Do you believe this? Why or why not?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Your Beautiful Heart by Lauren Scruggs, Lisa Velthouse. Copyright © 2015 Lauren Scruggs. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword, xi,
Introduction: An Imprint for Your Heart, xiii,
Your Seeking Heart,
1 A Heart at the Center, 3,
2 A Heart That Is Loved, 11,
3 A Heart That Receives, 19,
4 A Heart That Believes, 25,
5 A Heart That Worships, 33,
Your Changed Heart,
6 A Heart That Says Thanks, 43,
7 A Heart That Knows, 51,
8 A Heart That Listens, 59,
9 A Heart That Heals, 67,
10 A Heart That Overflows, 75,
Your Obedient Heart,
11 A Heart That Sees Sin, 85,
12 A Heart That Repents, 93,
13 A Heart That Rests, 101,
14 A Heart That Celebrates, 109,
15 A Heart That Chooses, 117,
Your Heart for Others,
16 A Heart That Gets Vulnerable, 127,
17 A Heart That Is Wise, 135,
18 A Heart That Serves, 143,
19 A Heart That Is True, 151,
20 A Heart That Uplifts, 159,
21 A Heart That Confronts, 165,
22 A Heart That Forgives, 173,
Your Distinctive Heart,
23 A Heart That Delights, 183,
24 A Heart That Fills Up, 191,
25 A Heart That Dreams, 199,
26 A Heart That Dares, 207,
27 A Heart That Includes, 213,
Your Heart Looking Forward,
28 A Heart That Trusts, 223,
29 A Heart That Fears, 231,
30 A Heart That Hopes, 239,
31 A Heart That Waits, 247,
Epilogue, 255,
Acknowledgements, 257,
About the Authors, 261,
Endnotes, 263,

What People are Saying About This

Laurie Polich Short

Lauren is an example of how God’s beauty shines best from brokenness. Her courage to share her story, paired with Lisa’s gift of writing, makes this an excellent resource for young women. It is also a great tool for youth leaders who want their students to experience what real beauty is.

Susie Shellenberger

I love it! This is a must-read for any young woman who desires confidence and authenticity. I was captivated by the real-life stories and was drawn into a clearer picture of what God truly cares about in each one of us—our heart! Your Beautiful Heart delivers an intimate look at God’s view of true beauty. Readers will definitely grow closer to God through these pages.

Kat Harris

With grace, authenticity, and depth, Lauren shares her life in Your Beautiful Heart. She is a powerful voice in our culture, confidently leading young women down a path of true beauty and identity that is grounded in our identity in Christ. God is using Lauren in a powerful, culture-shifting way, and her impact on young women is making ripples that will last for generations to come.

Bethany Hamilton

Lauren is an amazing woman who has overcome much through her faith in Jesus Christ. She is a dear friend of mine, and I admire how she views fears and the way she sees beauty. So much to learn from!

Andrea Stephens

Get a copy of Your Beautiful Heart and prepare to be changed! You are about to become breathtakingly beautiful—the never-fading, always-glowing beauty that’s rooted in the truth of God’s love. Lauren’s fresh approach will prove that outer appearance does not define true beauty. It is all about your heart, the person you are on the inside. So get reading! As Lauren’s words and the Holy Spirit work together, your heart will become more beautiful, more loving, more forgiving, more free, more others-focused, more . . . well, just dive in. You’ll see what I mean.

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Your Beautiful Heart: 31 Reflections on Love, Faith, Friendship, and Becoming a Girl Who Shines 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book for pretty much everyone but based on the style and complexity it seems like it is written more for preteens than I originally thought. I'm 14 and the simplicity and word choice bothered me a little bit just because I' m used to reading more complex books, like Still Lolo which is definitely wtitten for mature teens and adults and has some mature content. But anyway this is a great book and has helped me a lot in my life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago