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A flower. Sweet, soft petals and frail, weak stems. Roots just deep enough for me to know it wasn’t true.

I was a new model and actress, excited at my opportunities, intimidated by the ones who could give them. High fashion, fast-paced excitement had me all aglow with dreams and plans.

Where will I go?

Who will I meet?

What adventures do you have for me?

Then a small, cunning voice,

Adventures? Find a new dream, fatty. Who will you meet? No one ‘til you do something about those eyebrows. Go? Nowhere unless you work harder, you lazy piece of waste.

And so I walked. Confidence, fear, confidence, fear. A never-ending dance between the two.

No one in the world wanted to do it right as much as I did. Act right, talk right, eat right, model right, interview right, the list goes on and on. Every day, I struggled to feel beautiful, to catch a glimpse of worth in the mirror, but it was never good enough. The reflection I saw was continually disappointing.

My to-do list never had enough check marks at the end of the day. <<Click to Tweet

I modeled professionally in Dallas, then New York. I still remember gulping down a huge bowl of granola at a little café in Dallas as our waiter commented, “Wow, you really needed that!” I looked down at my spotless, clean bowl and felt ashamed, embarrassed by my calorie consumption. Then in NYC, I’d go to the gym with friends and feel competitive, fearful even of showing up in tight gym gear. I remember some days feeling pretty, other days feeling ugly. Some days I didn’t want to feel at all.

If I just don’t think about myself, it won’t hurt so bad when I’m disappointed. A frail, naive flower in the big city. Roots just deep enough to know it wasn’t true…

My story is one of ups and downs, bumps and bruises, moments of triumph and loss.<<Click to Tweet

Modeling and acting professionally at the age of 16 threw me into a world of glimmer and glamour I couldn’t understand.

Why is it some days I feel fulfilled and others so empty?

Some time after the most seemingly exciting parts of my modeling career, I hit a personal low that trumped all others. A sense of loss, and waste began to color my days and drive me into a deep depression. This is where God taught me about story…

Hello, I am Emily Varee Dean and this is my story. I am founder of Verity Vareé , where my joy is “Revealing the truth about beauty through YOUR story,” which is why I’ve started here with mine. After all, how can I expect others to share if I haven’t already done so?

What I’ve learned

In every story there is a driving plot, a purpose, and an ultimate goal. There are chapters. There are conflicts. I’ve always recognized this life as a story, chronicling the many bumps and bruises along the way.

Sometimes I imagine what I'd like my life to be, what I'd look like, how I'd act, what people I'd be closest to, how I'd love and receive love. When all is said and done that life is lovely. And boring. The fairytale in my head comes stock-full of realized dreams, passions, perfect relationships, no struggle, no loss, no pain, no regrets, no consequences. I begin and end as a perfect being. There is no growth or challenge because, "My life is fine, why do I need it?"

But who reads such an unexciting tale?

I feel loss, condemnation, anxiety, stress, struggle, hurt, regret, depression, anger, sadness, selfishness, joy, purpose, ambition, inspiration, fulfillment, overcoming, thankfulness, friendship, and love on a daily basis.

Growth. Imperfect human, imperfect, beautiful story. Glory through redemption. Life is an adventure story.

I challenge you today to look at your life as a story and ask yourself, “Where is the beauty in this life story of mine?”

Here are some questions to guide your thoughts:

  1. What is my greatest joy, and am I taking that joy seriously by making time for it?
  2. In what areas of my life do I feel the most beautiful?
  3. How has God redeemed hardships to His glory and my growth?
  4. How do I measure beauty? Physical fitness? Productivity in the home? Mothering? Outer appearance?
  5. In what ways does my outer beauty correlate to my inner beauty? Do I even believe it does?

Emily Dean is wife to Ethan Dean. One of the greatest opportunities and privileges of her life is playing in their band, Emy&Ethan, and founding their new company, Verity Varee! She has had many opportunities to delight in her passions and is pursuing a career in acting, modeling, singing/songwriting, and makeup artistry. With a full plate and full heart, Emy strives to do everything to the glory of God and use every trial in her life to texture and color her story and ministry. Creating and performing is the joy of her heart.

photo credit: Ram Balmur via photopin cc

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