How To Love Yourself

Let me ask you one question. When you first wake up and look at your face, naked of makeup in the mirror what do you think? Do you remember all the names that kids have called you over the  years? Do you remember the criticisms of a family member that started from a young age? Do you remember the boy who chose another over you? We’ve all hated our reflections. I’m not sure when it all starts.  It could’ve been as we breathlessly await for our first middle school dance and realize that our mother will be the only one telling us we look pretty that evening.

It could’ve been when we were in high school and our once tiny bodies betrayed us and we began to develop curves. It could’ve been our freshman year of college when we struggled to find the balance between working out and buying a pizza every night with our hallmates.  My story is a little different than all those. You see I’ve always been what the media, the world, and my own family would consider thin. I have had the privilege of eating whatever I chose even up into my junior year of college due to my metabolism, and many would be surprised that I am writing an article about body self-esteem. What would she have to be self-conscious about?

I’ll tell you. I used to cry myself to sleep many a night because the boys in my high school chose to compare my body, one that many girls claim to envy, to a praying mantis. I felt so gawky and awkward so many times in high school with my tall frame that I cursed the God of the universe for daring to create me with long legs. I felt trapped in a body where I was both very proud of being thin but also upset when my guy friends discussed how no boys liked girls that didn’t have some junk in the trunk. Plainly, I felt like I could never win. Whatever your personal body image struggle has been we all know that no girl has it easy.

Genesis 1: 27 says, “ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.”

So many times over the years in countless Sunday classes, purity retreats, and by our mothers we have been told that we are made in the image of the Almighty God. But it’s hard to realize that when I wake up in the morning fresh with yet another pimple on my face- I bet God doesn’t get pimples. Or how about the times that you have dedicated yourself to working out but still can’t seem to lose weight- God can’t have to worry about His weight. Or the times you are sitting next to a flawless girl in one of your classes and your hair was not cooperating that day- why did she seem to get more of the image of God than I did?

We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the unrealistic standards painted on the Victoria Secret billboards. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the girls at our schools that all the boys seem to love. We need to stop standing in front of mirrors at the mall and cursing the reflection staring back at us.

Psalm 18:19 says, “ He brought me out of this spacious place, He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

Do you ever stop to ponder that sentence? God rescued you because He delighted in you? He looks upon your reflection each and every day and is captivated by your beauty. Yes, God did create the beautiful girls you compare yourself to on a daily basis, but He also formed them looked at the universe and thought something’s missing, so He made one of you too. It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and God of the universe who beholds all beauty and splendor looks at you and thinks you’re breathtaking. He can get lost in your beauty because it reflects His glory. You reflect God’s glory with your appearance each and every day because He formed you. No cruel boy, jealous friend, judgmental mother, or Satan can ever take that away from you.

But not only do we discourage ourselves when it comes to our bodies and reflections , we can also discourage others. We can get so caught up in our own insecurity that we start picking apart other girls as well. I can’t tell you how many of my high school friends felt bad about themselves and would call me a stick to make themselves feel better even though it hurt me deeply. It wasn’t until I came to college that I began to have friends who actually encouraged me in my appearance. Who would notice if I had new clothing and compliment it, would tell me I looked great some days for no reason, and would encourage me to buy dresses that showcased my legs. That was also the type of friend I was able to become. The type of friend who encourages their friends when they feel bloated and complain that they gained weight. The type of friend who isn’t competitive and can tell their friend they looked great before a formal or dance occasion. A friend who is secure enough in her own body image that she doesn’t need to jealously insult her friends.

As girls we need to realize that we all have these same struggles and insecurities and not let the enemy tempt us to hurt others in the same way we have been hurt. We are so insanely treasured and beautiful to our Father in heaven, but on days where we have circles under our eyes from late nights of studying, we haven’t done laundry in a while,  and we regret eating a whole tub of ice cream the night before, we need to have those friends who remind us of God’s truth.

“ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well,” Psalm 139: 14.

I know that we can say this verse until we are blue in the face, but it won’t take away the scars of that boy who called you ugly, the friend who told you your butt looked bigger, or all the times you cried yourself to sleep because you thought a boy would never love your reflection, but luckily I know someone who can help to heal those wounds. God. He was the only one who knows not only every thought you’ve had negatively about yourself, but been there with you every time that someone has given you even a twinge of criticism. He knows our hearts and minds and He wants to replace those lies that have taken over our mind with His truth.

So how can you start to do that?

  1. Read your bible every day. Learning God’s truth in every area of your life can help you recognize the lies the enemy feeds you in contradiction with God’s word.
  2. Pray it away. Whenever you find yourself feeling insecure or hating your reflection say a quick prayer to the God who is always listening to help take those thoughts and feelings from your mind.
  3. Encourage your friends. If you say something enough it can be hard to not believe it yourself. For example, if you start praising your friends outer appearances based on God’s word, you are going to believe it applies to you as well.
  4. Realize everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Don’t hurt other girls to try to justify your own insecurities. We have all struggled with the same things and we need to stop doing it to one another.

So the next time you wake up look at your bed head and wonder who could ever love that reflection, stop and realize someone already did. And He loved it so much He even died for it.

 

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