I've been asked what the one thing was that I wish I knew when I was a teenager, and do you know what it is!?! I honestly wish that I knew that I didn't have to 'look' like everyone/anyone else! I wish I realized that women truly do come in ALL shapes and sizes! (For example, think about 10 women you know right now, and just think how different each one of their bodies looks...unless those women are your family members of course!)
I wish someone told me that I didn't have to look good in clothes that long and lean models wear, and that if I found my own 'style' then I could dress my body to look pretty darn cute (hey that can be hard being 5 foot!)
I wish someone told me that I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else, because even when I was feeling pretty 'good' about myself one minute...It would all go out the window a moment later when I took one look at the 'model' sitting next to me.
The thing that I've realized now that I'm an adult is that as long as we are 'comparing ourselves' to anyone, we will find dis-satisfaction with what we DO have! When I started to realize this truth, and focus on the good in me, (and I mean purposely notice the things that I do love about me) I was shocked by what happened...I started to feel truly beautiful!
I have found that it doesn't matter how many people think your beautiful, or even tell you that you are...One thing is always going to be true... Until YOU believe that you are, you will never feel it. It all begins when you stop looking/comparing yourself to others, and start focusing on the beauty in you! It really is that simple!
Also~ when I say 'focus on the beauty' in you I'm not just talking about physical things...or even finding beauty in what society says is beautiful, (because let's face it, they have it screwed up!) I'm talking about the things that make you unique, because they are what make you- YOU!
I'll give you a little example, I love the fact that I have a very compassionate heart- I feel like this makes me an excellent nurse, and I truly believe it makes me light up peoples lives! :) I know it sounds silly- but it really is just about finding the things that make you unique and choosing to focus on those things~ after all there could never be a more beautiful YOU!
I found this article written by Marty Copeland on her Higher Fitness Website (a Christian-based weight loss website), and it really inspired me to write this post! I thought it was extremly powerful...and thought I'd share it with all of you!
"Self Image" by Marty Copeland
It took me many years and much spiritual growth to finally understand what makes us valuable. Contrary to the voice that shouts at us from the television, from movies, billboards and magazines, and sometimes those around us, we are not how we look. Oh, the freedom in the revelation that our “body” is not our “self.”
Yes, I exercise and eat right. Yes, I know that my body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit and that my goal is to honor God with a lifestyle of progressive health and fitness. HOWEVER, it is with a total equality of value that I balance that understanding God’s Word which says that while man looks at the outward appearance God looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7). Oh, how freeing it is for us to know that God loves us unconditionally, no matter what we weigh or how we look!
I encourage you to meditate that scripture over and over until it becomes a reality to you. It is a revelation of God’s unconditional love for us that frees us from trying to become something unattainable. After so many years and countless attempts at seeking after a better body, how silly I felt when the blinders were lifted off and I realized that “I am not my body!”
If you are challenged with low self esteem like I was, allow yourself to be loved by God for who you are—for who He made you to be—from the inside out. When you were born again, God recreated your spirit in His image. Your heart is full of love, joy, peace, meekness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, endurance and self-control. Romans 8:29 says we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. Our reborn spirit is like God’s—with the potential and His calling to become more and more like Him.
Don’t be like I was and waste years trying to be something you cannot be. Just realize that God made your spirit, soul and your body and that He has a plan for your life. Accept yourself the way you are today, knowing that His love is unconditional and that He looks at your heart. Self acceptance is freeing. It takes the pressure off and allows our health and fitness goals to be about honoring God in our bodies, instead of trying futilely to prove, either to ourselves or others, that we are valuable because of how we look.
We must get to the place where any effort we make toward self-improvement should be a decision based in freedom and not under pressure. This is a right and privilege of any child of God. I pray that God will bless you as you progress in your understanding of who you are in Him.
There is nothing more powerful than a person who knows who they are in Christ Jesus.