Pushing and pulling


This morning here at work, there are four repairmen walking in and out of the lobby – in and out, in and out – carrying ladders, tool kits, wire, and generally, looking confused. I have no idea what they’re doing – but they keep climbing ladders and removing the ceiling tiles and disappearing from the waist up into the space above, yelling back down to their comrades on the ground. They were here yesterday, too.

The glass doors in the lobby swing one way. Since they have probably used these doors 80 times in the last hour, one would think that they would know which side to push on, and which side to pull. But they don’t. Every single time that they walk up to the door, they do the wrong thing: push when they should pull, or pull when they should push. And a few minutes ago, one of the men ran straight into the door.

Who could blame him? Glass doors: now you don’t see them, now you don’t.

I feel agitated. These men have invaded my domain, my private sanctuary, and are disrupting my peace and quiet (and, let’s be honest: nail painting) with their… clanking. Hammering. Shuffling. And whenever they pull when they should push, or push when they should pull, I fight the urge to roll my eyes and yell, “IT’S NOT THAT HARD.”

Why do we make the same mistakes over and over again? We know better. We’ve been there before. We’ve experienced the consequences. And yet, we still mess up. We struggle with the same thing we struggled with yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. We fail to choose the right path – we forget the fallout.

Sometimes, I start to think that my struggles are hopeless – that I will never rise above, that things will never change. I push when I should pull, and pull when I should push. I know the right answer – I know the TRUTH – but I allow myself to be distracted just enough to trip. To throw my weight in the wrong direction. To run smack into the wall.

To change our behavior and our way of thinking, it takes awareness. Vigilance. Dedication. Attention.

There are many areas of my life that I could apply this to. But this morning, I am coming back to the same issue that I have struggled with year-in and year-out: the relentless issue of “beauty.” I believe lies. I buy into the world. I trust the media, and the voices in my head. And since such a large percentage of the female population feels the same way, there is no escaping it. Will it ever change?

Yesterday, my beautiful friend Emily posed the questions:

Am I willing to be the odd-woman-out and love the shell that God has given me to inhabit while on this earth? Am I willing to talk nicely to myself, in private and in public? Am I willing to ruthlessly edit the messages that I receive through media – cancel magazine subscriptions and delete shows from my DVR, if that is what it takes? Am I willing to let others compliment me and receive those kind words as truth? Am I willing to train my thoughts to dwell on the positive and stop comparing, stop chastising, stop chasing?

THIS is what it looks like. This is awareness. Vigilance. Dedication. Attention. And I want to be willing.

Push and pull, push and pull. Maybe one day I’ll get it right.



  1. Emily on November 12, 2008 at 11:59 AM

    Oh Annie, it makes me feel famous to be on your blog! Thank you!

    I’m thoroughly disgusted with the bombardment of lies that women face and internalize as truth. I want to do something about it, but I know that the first step is dealing with it in my own life.

    You ARE beautiful and you have the God-given strength to fight, and win, this daily battle. I’ll be one of your many cheerleaders – telling you the truth, that you are BEAUTIFUL- as many times as you need to hear it.

  2. Anonymous on November 12, 2008 at 12:06 PM

    Great post!

  3. Deborah Barnett on November 12, 2008 at 12:13 PM

    thanks for this. I “hear” that “confidence” is the best outfit a woman can wear… but apparently mine is too small and I can’t wear it anymore. Because I haven’t put it on in a while… I’ll need to work on that. ;o)

    (I just posted the same thing on Emily’s site – thanks for referring us there!)

  4. Jodie on November 12, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    One of my favorite quotes say, “A change in our way of thinking is always radical and deliberate.”

    I think the “beauty” issue is universal. Those are great questions. Why is it so easy to believe the lies, and SO HARD to undo them?

    Great post, as usual. :) And I’m with Emily — you ARE beautiful!

  5. Sarah on November 12, 2008 at 2:38 PM

    Thanks for your sweet blog wisdom.
    I think we need to hear this every day. That we need to put up a constant fight to believe that we are beautiful and worthy.

    Because sitting in an office on a rainy, cloudy day? Not always the best place for a self-esteem boost. Sriusly, I am thisclose to just bringing in a thermos of wine. Just kidding, you know I wouldn’t do that.

    It would be gin of course. A breakfast booze.

  6. Tad on November 12, 2008 at 2:58 PM

    Hear me now, believe me later…

    YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! No matter how you cut it, you are stunning, both inside and out.

    When you are tempted to believe the media and the world, believe your friends who all agree that your beauty is beyond word’s ability to decribe.

  7. Sally on November 12, 2008 at 3:45 PM

    In my experience there is no amount of pushing and pulling that will get me where I) want to go. The only time I have ever seen success, change, transformation… is when I said I can’t and thanked Jesus that He could. And then again when I encounter the thing that I cannot, I thank Him over and over again that He can.

  8. Shannon on November 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM

    I may have to print this blog and post it on my fridge as a daily reminder :P

    I love your writing, Annie!

  9. candace on November 12, 2008 at 4:52 PM


    hilarious and so classic. and someone is probably saying that about my life as well.


  10. Sarah Markley on November 12, 2008 at 5:48 PM

    Ahh, what a good question. i love it.

  11. ~lady j on November 13, 2008 at 2:08 AM

    i love this. what a terrific reminder.
    and while i feel like an echo, now that i see your “wall”, i really was going to say this before i saw anyone elses post… so here it is:

    you my dear, are beautiful.
    truly fabulous.

  12. Marie-Claire on November 13, 2008 at 9:14 AM

    I like this a lot. Thanks.

  13. bethany on November 13, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    I chucked my television out the window about a month ago and I’ve never felt better about myself.
    Or spent less money.
    I love it.

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