January 9, 2017
Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with feeling confident in how I looked. Back in middle school, (even though I tried to block that from my memory…) I used to tie sweatshirts around my waist every day because I felt so uncomfortable with my stomach. Hoping no one would notice me, I would try to make myself small.
I can’t actually remember a time in my life where I didn’t have that voice in my head telling me that I’m not good enough.
I used to think that this voice was telling me the truth, stemming from the fact that I was a little chubbier than the other girls. But you know what? This voice got worse, she got mean, when I was at my thinnest. Not so shockingly, I developed several different eating disorders. Each time I’d come up with some new plan that would make me thin, and therefore “worthy” and even when I was thin that voice would tell me it wasn’t good enough, leading me to give up or binge eat and start the cycle all over again.
While I still struggle with this mean girl voice in my head, I’m now able to recognize that it’s all lies. I’m able to shut her out of my head and tell her to be quiet. But how?
I found my worth in God.
My baptism in Lake Michigan!
All of those years that I was struggling with eating disorders and a huge lack of self-worth, I had no relationship with Christ. I actually wasn’t even sure I believed in him. But he believed in me. I felt called, constantly, to seek out more information about the Christian faith until finally I joined a church and a small group, hoping I would learn from other women who walked in the Christian faith.
I learned from them and from my church’s teachings that these voices in my head were put there by Satan. That they are just lies, directed at my insecurities, to bring me down, to keep me from being a light. I learned that I am perfect in God’s eyes, that we all are. That each and every one of us is unique and sent to this earth for a purpose, and that purpose is NOT to just be thin or pretty or have tons of money.
I learned that my value is in being a child of God and that what I give to the world is not what I look like, but the love that I’m able to spread.
Now all of this is great… for me. But what about you? Do you struggle with that “inner mean girl” voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough? I promise you, that voice will never go away, but there are lots of tools you can use to quiet her down and turn around your thoughts much more quickly:
Using the affirmation “I am a beautiful child of God and he loves me just as I am,” made a WORLD of difference for me to help overpower those negative thoughts that were in my head. Find one that works for you and SHOUT IT if you need to drown out the negativity.
Bring voice to your shame.
Oftentimes, we’re ashamed of how we feel or what we really think. Share those thoughts, worries and insecurities with a friend that you truly trust. Simply vocalizing them will shine light on them and make you feel less ashamed.
We so often get wrapped up in the negative things in our lives that we don’t realize just how blessed we truly are. Take the time each day to think of new things you are grateful for, no matter how small or silly.
Celebrate what makes you different.
When I was a kid, I HATED my curly red hair. Now I love it because it makes me unique. What makes you unique? Embrace those things and share them with others. Your uniqueness is your gift to everyone else.
Don’t judge yourself.
Jesus has granted all of us grace, so accept that gift and don’t be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can every day and know it’s okay if you mess up. It’s in the mess of life that we grow.
Just remember, this takes time and lots of practice. It would be lovely if we could have an epiphany, check that off our list of struggles, and move on, right? But often we have these struggles for a lifetime. We just learn how to handle them better and, most importantly, how to help others with the same struggles.
We are all in this life together, so let’s be lights. Let’s share love and lift one another up, even if that means sharing the difficult parts of ourselves. You are valuable, you are worthy, and you are so very loved.