A Chat with Christina Gard
Christina Gard: a tremendous leader, professor at Southeastern University, former Miss Alaska, fitness enthusiast, and the love of Andrew Gard's life.
Q: What is your go-to beauty product?
- A: I'm not really a glam girl, I was born and raised in Alaska, with no running water or electricity until I was eight years old. So I didn't own my first makeup until I was a Junior in High School. But if I had to pick my favorite beauty products it would have to be hairspray, Bare Minerals makeup, and I never go anywhere without lip gloss or Burt's Bees Chapstick.
Q: What are 3 things you must have in your purse?
- A: I always have to have sunglasses, Chapstick, and my Tory Burch wallet.
Q: How would you describe your style?
- A: I would describe my style as not time-consuming but well put together. I think that how we dress says a lot about who we are. I have a rule which says that, "I wont spend more than a few minutes picking out my clothes".
Q: What is your go-to outfit?
- A: I am a fitness instructor (Yoga and Pilates) so most of the time when I am not teaching about psychology or human services you will find me wearing no makeup, my hair up in a pony tail, and wearing Lululemon.
Q: What are 3 things on your bucket list?
- A: Andrew and I just crossed off a big one from our bucket list, which was going to Paris and Rome. But other places that are next on our list are Fiji, South Africa, Australia, St. Lucia and Antigua.
Q: What are some tips for healthy living? Exercise, diets?
- A: In college I didn't value physical fitness. Growing up in Alaska our lives were very physically fit (hunting, camping, fishing), so I didn't value going to the gym. But I figured out how to be physically active now, since my life involves more teaching. I developed a value to be physically active at least 3 times a week. I value physical fitness because my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I want to live long to do a lot of ministry. My advice would be to set small goals (walking, jogging, running) and to find things that are more conducive with your personality.
Q: Coffee or Tea?
- A: Tea! Chai and Earl Grey are my favorites. I've always admired trendy coffee people, but I'm not a coffee drinker. Funny moving here from Seattle, you would think, because everyone in Seattle loves coffee, but not me. I fell in love with tea while I was in school in England. They always had high tea, afternoon tea, tea and scones. I love scones!
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received (that you would share with girls)?
- A: There are many things that jump out at me, but first have mentors. I have mentors that give me advice in different arenas of my life. Most importantly,
- Beyou because God only made one of you! : Don't try to ever be somebody else. Why die a copy when you were born an original? When you spend time trying to copy or compare, you won't ever be fully satisfied in who God created you to be. Love every part of who you are!
- Just because you can doesn't mean you should : We often feel like, "I can do this so I should do this". Anyone who has skill, gift, talent, ability, is going to be given opportunities in life. But just because you can doesn't mean that you should. If you try to force a door open or if a door is opened for me that I'm not supposed to walk through then I'm going to have to work to keep that door open. I would rather walk through doors that God opens for me and walks through those knowing that God's going to keep those doors open. It's not by my effort, not by my strength, or my might, it's by His and His alone.
Q: 1.) How was your experience competing in the Miss America Pageant? 2.) What is one thing that you took away from your experience as Miss Alaska?
- Gosh it was so phenomenal! My experience was so rich! I'm still in contact with most of the girls till this day. In fact, this last September we had our ten-year reunion. We were sitting at a table, celebrating at Miss America, getting ready to crown the new Miss America. I remember looking around the table and I found myself facing a surgeon, professor, to my right was a lawyer, CNN news anchor, and to my left a writer for Forbes Magazine. Sometimes people have this perception that it is based on looks and it's catty, but my experience taught me that woman are capable of achieving absolutely remarkable things. And when we stop the fighting, competing, or the cattiness (that can exist in woman in general), we can really unite to do something truly phenomenal and special. These woman have inspired me to dream more, to grow in trust, confidence, experience another level or vulnerability. It's a very special sisterhood, and they don't make you want to settle!
- Being Miss Alaska was a really special time of my life. I was a victim of child abuse, the unexpected component of the Miss America Organization is that you spend your entire year serving a cause, what they call "my platform". My platform was Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention, I spent my year working to break a cycle of silence around child abuse. I got to share my story and see kids and people come forward who were abused or had been abused. Being able to share my story and hear their story was an unexpected real blessing and gift.
Q: How did you not succumb to the comparison or body image insecurities while being in the public eye, surrounded by the most beautiful girls around America?
- A: I think that naturally every girl deals with insecurities, it's a natural part of live. I believe that there's two sides to every woman. One side that leads to security, growth, and health and the other side leads to destruction, comparison, and nothing good. Whichever side you feed with your thoughts will grow. Because whatever you feed grows. So if you feed good and healthy thoughts then that side will grow stronger. I want the healthy side to grow, so I feed whatever I want to grow. You have to stop the negative thoughts and replace it with another positive thought. Stop it, block it, and replace it with another thought that is laden with scripture and truth. The first step is to realize that we are all going to deal with insecurities, just admit it. Then, find a place to communicate those insecurities in a safe and healthy way with girlfriends, friends, mentors. You need to love who you are and who God made you to be. I am my potter's clay and God is my potter, so every time I deplete the value of His piece of clay I am devaluing my Creators work and I am devaluing my worth. When I know my worth and value because of who He is and who I am it changes the way I carry myself and view the world.
"When you compare and compete the result will always be defeat."
Q: How do you live a life with drive for God during a period of change and uncertainty in college?
- A: I feel like it's easier to live a life of drive for God in college. Finding myself in my mid-thirties, I have more stability in life and it's more scary now to take risks then when I was in college. There are a lot of things (marriage, mortgage, career) that would prevent me from taking big risks for God. When you're not settled its easy for you to uproot yourself. At your age, I was traveling by myself and studying around the world and I wasn't afraid. It was easier to dream and have drive. The older I've gotten the more inclined I've become to be comfortable. The song You Make Me Brave says, "You call me out beyond the shore into the waves." It's comfortable and safe on the shore, I know what to expect on the shore. But I am called to traverse the waves of life, to go out into the open waters where I don't know what's going to happen. You have to position yourself in a place where God challenges you to do something and you were willing to do it. I wonder how different the world would look if more people were willing to take risks for God, to leave the safety of the shore, to traverse the waves of life. My advice would be to keep the Great commission and Commandments of God. It's easy to get distracted in this world. Keep God the priority and continually position yourself in a place of having to have complete and total dependency on him, and the only way have complete and total dependency on Him is to take risks and living by faith.
"Try things knowing that failure is a possibly, but I would rather try and fail than to have not tried at all."
Q: How did studying psychology help you in ministry?
- A: Psychology and ministry are so interrelated because god made our mind and our being. Studying human behavior and people helps me have a better understanding of who God is. Having a better understanding of God helps me understand people more and why we deal with the things that we deal with. Both have benefited one another. Now, being a professor helps me understand people better which in turn helps me understanding God better, and understanding God better, helps me understand people better. They all just overlap.
(Thank you Christina Gard for your heart of gold and also Rachel Tackett for your lovely pictures!)
I hope you were inspired and encouraged by someone who has inspired me! Stay tuned for next months Q&A.
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