With all the platforms I use, I’ve made it a point to try and be pretty open about my struggles with self-image and the things that cause those struggles. It is something so daunting and crippling if you let it be, and sometimes it feels like there’s absolutely no stop to it, or that there’s no solution. If I’m being candid, it freaking sucks. It does, and there’s no way to get around that, but that factor doesn’t mean you can’t conquer those feelings and live a life that feels beautiful and confident.
Recently, I received a direct message on Instagram, and I didn’t respond to it right away, because I knew I wanted to write this blog for the sweet girl who reached out it me, to myself a few years ago, and really to any person dealing with self-image issues.
In the message, this sweet, brave soul told me how what she was dealing with was preventing her from living her life and doing the things she loved. She then went on to explain how she desperately didn’t want that to be the case; she wanted her joy to be planted in the Lord, to be confident through him not these external circumstances.
I’m going to start this by saying, anyone who feels less than beautiful, wonderful, smart, capable--what have you, I’m sorry our society has these “norms” that tell you you’re not good enough and you need to be ashamed of the amazing person you are. Those are lies from the enemy. Straight up.
Now that we’ve got that covered, here’s the nitty gritty, the tips and tricks for believing the truth God says about you and kicking the lies of the enemy to the curb. So, just want to state this, I’m not an expert, I’m just a girl who wants to fight to love myself. Over the past few years I’ve learned a couple things, and something I got reminded of this morning, while listening to The Daring Romantics podcast, was encouragement. Ok, so that might not make sense, but one thing I’ve come to realize is that when you’re encouraging someone else you become very joyful. If you’re having a bad day, I challenge you to encourage someone else, because seeing their joy will fill you up, and you never know how much they may need that encouragement too. You guys, this is something I legitimately practice. If I start to feel like a breakdown is coming on, I break out my phone and literally text every person I can think of something encouraging and then within the next 15 minutes or so, I start to feel better just because other people are smiling.
I know out there, in the world, it can feel pretty daunting. Encouraging someone can just feel like way too much, especially if you, yourself feel discouraged, but good news is that you can encourage yourself too. It’s so imperative that we remind ourselves who God says we are. In scripture there are countless, empowering adjectives God uses to describe us. I am bold. I am redeemed. I am a conqueror. I am a child of God--these are just a few. Take a minute, when you look in the mirror and you hate what you see, to sit down and recount what your masterful creator says about you. Write a dang list if you have to, and read it till you believe it. Set a reminder on your phone every hour with a different word that calls you by your real name, the one God gives you, not the one your insecurities assigned to you, to diminish your potential.
Let me say this, when we walk in our insecurities instead of our promise and truth, we are taking part in demolishing the calling God placed on our life. It’s like we’re telling Him that what he says isn’t true, and what He’s created for us is unimportant. We let our weakness crush us, because we’re afraid to take a stand, to really fight.
Here’s a little tip, you are so much stronger than you think, and like I said above, those negative things you hear in your head, are lies. They have been specifically designed to throw you off your game so you won’t walk into your full potential. YOU ARE HERE TO CHANGE THIS WORLD. Plain and simple. It’s not scary, because you’re not alone.
Ok, now back to the initial thought--fighting insecurities. So, you’ve told people they’re wonderful, you’ve told yourself you’re wonderful, but what if those things don’t work? Do not fret. I think the important thing to remember in all of this is that you need to give yourself grace to feel and acknowledge those feelings. Sometimes, it seems if we just go for the jugular, we don’t give ourselves time to genuinely heal. It is 100% ok to be in pain, to hurt. You are not defective or broken, you’re just human, and that’s beautiful. In saying that, another way to fight your insecurity is to lean on your community when you can’t fight for yourself. You are not a failure if you have to text your friends and flat out ask them for encouragement. The truth is your friends might not even know that you’re feeling crummy, sometimes you have to tell them. People are not mind readers, it’s just true. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve gotten mad at people for not knowing what I’m thinking or feeling, and that’s just not fair. People don’t know things unless you tell them. You have full permission to call your friends and tell them “Hey. I’m having a horrible day. I’m hiding in my closet in the fetal position because I can’t stand the sight of myself in the mirror. Will you pray for me and just encourage me?” It’s ok if it takes someone else telling you the truth about yourself until you see it too. I will say this though, don’t get all your worth from those people, they are simply an avenue for God to use.
The truth is, there’s no easy fix to feeling confident in your skin. It could take 5 minutes or it could take 5 years, but there’s something cool to be noted, all the fighting and overcoming that you’re walking through is going to help someone else grow into who they’re called to be. All of this struggle is not in vein. It is so valuable, so embrace your journey to wholeness and love people along the way.
"There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"