I have struggled with insecurity a lot in my adult life. I have said hateful things to myself about how I look; things I would never to say to another person. I feel like God has been dealing with me lately on how to live above these feelings and thoughts. So, I thought I would share them with you. =)
My weight has fluctuated a lot since I had children. I was always pretty small and didn't pay attention to what I ate, but I was always active working out and playing volleyball.
I dated a guy in college who told me I was fat and that I need to lose weight and workout more and for some reason those words really stuck with me and the insecurity began. I began to put way too much emphasis on how I looked, thinking that if I was in perfect shape and put a lot into my appearance that I would be happy with myself and people would like me. That line of thinking didn't backfire too much until I had children and gained about 50 lbs. At that point, I felt like I was worthless, ugly, and less of a woman because I had put so much value in that and not in who I was as a person.
My size and appearance has fluctuated and changed a lot over the past 8-9 years of having babies.
Any time I would lose weight, I would feel good about myself, but whenever I gained some, I felt like a failure and that I had no value to anyone, especially my husband. Let me stop here and say, my husband has always been so kind and loving to me. He has always spoken life and value into me and I'm SO grateful for that. But, this was an internal battle that I had to conquer myself with the help of Jesus, of course.
A few weeks ago, I was feeling really down on myself. I had lost a lot of hair due to hypothyroidism and horrible incident with a hairdresser, I was overweight, and I was feeling valueless from a ministry standpoint. I unloaded all of my insecurities on Tauren and his response threw me for a loop. In a very loving way he said, "I think you are focused too much on yourself. You need to focus on God and others and take your eyes off of yourself." I was silent for a moment, in shock that he would say anything other than, "I'm sorry you feel that way, babe. You are perfect and blah blah blah." But, instead he said something powerful and challenging; something I needed to hear. I immediately began to let that marinate in my mind and began praying about it. MY HUSBAND WAS RIGHT! Now, write that down, cause I don't say that much! Haha!
I feel like the message of our culture is to focus on ourselves. You don't need anyone. You are beautiful and powerful. Look to yourself for inspiration and fulfillment. Be your own best friend. Love yourself. These messages seem inspirational and encouraging, but all it does is turn our eyes even more inward in an isolating and self-focused way. What we need to do is look UP. Look to God. "Look to the hills from which comes your help. Your help comes from the Lord" (paraphrase of Psalm 121) If we could take our eyes off of ourselves for a second and start helping others, putting our thoughts on God instead of what we don't like in the mirror, it becomes easier to overcome our insecurities. We are no longer dependent on ourselves to accomplish goals, we are realizing that without God, we can do nothing. He has created us the way He did for a purpose and if we will surrender that to Him and let it be used, He will use us and fulfill us.
Ever since that conversation with my husband, I have been putting this into practice. Whenever I feel myself sinking into that destructive train of thought, I remember that I must have my eyes in the wrong place. I need to get into God's Word and speak TRUTH and I need to take my focus off of me and focus on someone else who needs encouragement and uplifting.
The truth is, we are more than our waist size. We are more than our skin tone, thigh circumference, or lip fullness. We are children of God, valued for our existence. Ask your close friends, what they love about you and I guarantee you that not one of them will say, "Well, it really means a lot to me that you have great legs and beautiful hair." They will speak of your character. Your kindness. Your humor. Your love. Your faithfulness.
So, by all means, workout, eat healthy, and be a good steward of the body Christ gave you, but more importantly, pour into your character. Look up and look out beyond yourself. I know that your insecurities will begin to be a distant, more infrequent thought.
Lean in to Life. It’s messy, but beautiful.