RSS

Tag Archives: self-esteem

What I know now

“Are you an albino?”

“I was wondering that, too. You know…because of the hair and big lips.”

Those questions? Those comments? They were made about me. All while trying to get through an already awkward middle school gym class.

Those comments told me these things: You don’t fit in. You look different. You don’t belong.

So I did everything over a number of years to somehow look like everyone else. I couldn’t change my lips, but I could at least try to change my hair. So I thinned it out. I tried to straighten it. So I could run my fingers through it like all the other girls could their hair.

Try as I might, I still looked different.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

“We’ve gotten some complaints about your ‘sass.'” You are passionate, but maybe tone it down a bit.”

“Pink hair? Interesting…”

“Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that you shouldn’t have tattoos? And aren’t you a Pastor?”

“You’re so naïve. That’s cool and all, but you’re too naive. Face it! Some people are just jerks.”

Comparison and criticism didn’t stop in adulthood. If anything, it hurt worse.

I wasn’t in middle school anymore. We were all adults. Why were we still picking apart all things? And casting folks into categories?

I wish I knew then what I know now.

I wish I knew that those middle school taunts, though not forgotten, would one day not define me.

I wish I knew that I didn’t need the approval from those adults to fulfill a purpose God had given just to me.

I wish I knew then, because maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to stop straightening my hair. To show my daughter to love and style her beautiful curls. To love my face. All the delicate, and supposedly big parts of it.

I wish I knew then, that even if I didn’t fit anywhere in middle school, that I was accepted.

That if I didn’t fit the mold of what a pastor was supposed to look like, that I was made for a purpose.

That if I was naïve and saw too much good, that I was loved, and could show others this same love.

So others know they are also accepted. They also belong.

I don’t know what middle school lies you may be believing today. What mold you are being forced to fit into. Or who keeps telling you to give up on seemingly lost souls. Or even that you are one of them.

But it’s not true.

You are made for so much more. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are his. You’re beautiful.

He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

Tags: , , , ,

Through his eyes

In my job with students during the weekday, I get to spend my time supporting them in various activities. I have had the pleasure of learning how to play the saxophone. I have sat through many an assembly. Gone on a number of field trips, and completed a number of art projects. This was no different.

The assignment was 20 things. Each student had to turn to a page in their book and list 20 things that described themselves.

I noticed something. So many were struggling with those 20. Needed help even coming up with one. Looked around the room for a word. Even asked their peers to describe them, wrote what their peers said, or some word they over heard. “Oh yes, that’s me.”

It bothered me enough that I sat in the lunch room the next day and did the same thing. I wanted to make sure I was just as distracted. To see if this was the reason it was so hard. If I could come up with my own list of 20, or if I would need help along the way. If I would get stuck. Need to look around for validation. Seek the faces of the people around me for support.

‘Cause you stood right there, And then you broke apart the lies. You told me I had something beautiful inside. You brought to life the part of me I thought had died. ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me; I saw me through your eyes  -Brit Nicole, Through Your Eyes

And I realized why it wouldn’t take me long. And, after seeing my list, why mine was so different than the lists of those preteens in that art class. Because words like forgiven and redeemed would not be on their lists. They were seeing themselves through the eyes of the world. Placing value on themselves based on the opinions of those around them.

I knew in the moment I wrote my 20 things who gave me my value: God. I see myself how He sees me.

But I didn’t always feel this way. I am pretty sure my preteen self looked to the world for approval. I didn’t seek God. I know for sure I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him now. My friends were much “cooler.” Or so I thought.

If I only knew what I know now. No one will love you like He will. No one will accept you in your brokenness like He will. No one will forgive you in the way He will. No one will see all your wretchedness, and look at you with tender love the way He will. No one can  see you the way He does. So stop looking at yourself through the lenses of everyone else, and start looking at yourself through His eyes.

https://youtu.be/WJzaQP1GmEc

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Not Today

IMG-0192

I’ll sing the night into the morning
I’ll sing the fear into Your praise
I’ll sing my soul into Your presence
Whenever I say Your Name
Let the devil know not today. -Hillsong

These are the words of a song I heard while driving home on a summer afternoon a little over a year ago. I heard it a day on which Satan had been beating me up badly. “You are not good enough. See, look at what has happened. What will people think of you now?”

I had just found out I was about to become a grandma…and my biggest worry was everyone else’s expectations of me.

But, really I have been here for a long time. Living up to everyone else’s expectations. What I needed to look like. How my kids should act. Who I should be at church. At work. As a parent. How I carried myself. Whether I said “ask,” or pronounced it “ax.” I never thought I measured up to what the world expected, and Satan uses this any time he can.

Not today!

I started posting that message all around me when his voice started to get louder, as the expectations of who I needed to be became too much to handle.

It’s on my bathroom mirror, so when I look into it each morning, see something different than what God sees, and start to pick apart my flaws, my first response instead is “Not today, Satan!”

It is on my coffee pot so I can repeat it to myself before I get my “cup of courage” and the day becomes too crazy. It even adorns the mug I use each morning as I hurry about the house, or spend time in His word.

It is on my steering wheel as I head into work, on my planner while I work; all to keep those all too familiar “not good enough” thoughts that creep up in this particular place at bay as I walk into classes feeling incapable-“Not today, Satan!”

It serves as a reminder that all the expectations that the devil places in my head. The ones that make me feel inadequate, are the world’s…not God’s. He created me. My edges. My weaknesses. My struggles. My mistakes and flaws are made perfect through Him. And, everything the world thinks is a fatal flaw, God will use for His glorious purpose.

They remind me that the devil has never filled my head with anything but lies. Tore apart my soul, and tries daily to strip me of my worth.

He didn’t succeed yesterday. And, he won’t today. No. No. Not today.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 24, 2018 in Loving Oneself

 

Tags: , , , ,

If He sees beauty here…so will I

If creation sings your praises, so will I. -Hillsong UNITED

IMG-9633

I decided during my quiet time this week to do something a little different. Instead of my usual front porch sitting, I took my show on the road. I loaded up my Bible, my journal, and my pen, and headed to the lake in my local neighborhood in which I am blessed to live.

And, I just sat. Taking in all the beauty that surrounded me during that time. The big huge boulder that supported and anchored my back as I sat in the grass along the bank. The fireflies that danced and skimmed the waters surface. The water that rippled with the blowing winds, and the sun’s rays. The stray bird that flew through the air.

As I sat there, I realized that I needed to make sure that I spent more time doing this. Just sitting. Appreciating the beauty that surrounded me daily.

And, then I thought of something else.

What if I applied this to the body I was in? Saw beauty in it, and all that it has to offer? Walked into a room, not feeling uncomfortable, naked, and exposed? But, feeling like I belonged…because my Heavenly Father always sees beauty there?

This need to feel comfortable in my own skin. To see beauty where God sees it. To accept my quirks as gifts from Him, comes from the transformation I have witnessed in the last several weeks in my daughter.

My preteen, who still adorns her head with silly headbands, and professes she doesn’t care what others think, has now gained a certain slouch of shame when she witnesses the all to common changes that she is seeing in her body.  And, I know. I know she has witnessed this from me. Even heard many words of shame as I critique my body, my supposed personality flaws, my errors. Yes, modesty is key. Integrity. Righteousness. These are something for which we should strive. However, perfection doesn’t exist, and our personalities are usually given to us for a reason. Furthermore, being a woman should never be something of which we are ashamed.

Then there is my son. Neurologically different because of his autism. A condition that makes him look no different, but yet keeps his belly in knots with anxiety. In addition, he is also a bit socially awkward…sometimes saying and doing the wrong thing, at the absolute wrong time. Who now has a sister who will wrestle with her self-esteem. He will hear her negative self-talk. See her be uncomfortable in her skin, and begin to believe it may be alright to talk to women this way. To allow women to feel this way.

And what comes next, is the doubt she begins to feel when she hears someone tell her mom, “You sure are sassy!” She hears she needs to tone her spunk, her “go get em” attitude down a bit.

When she hears me lament about some part of my physical makeup that I don’t like. My tooth that’s crooked. My too curly hair I only started to make peace with, that is just like hers. She will in turn start to wonder if she is flawed as well.

When he becomes more aware of his differences (because as he gets older, they do become more apparent), will he continue to shrug off the kids that call him “nerd,” or “weird?” Will he be bothered by the fact that he truly is uncomfortable, because he doesn’t know how to interact in the space he is in? And, if I can’t see beauty in me. If she can’t see beauty in the skin she is in, he will in turn learn this is the norm.

Her spirit is diminished more and more, and the belief that she is truly fearfully and wonderfully made becomes overshadowed by the critiques and expectations of the world.

She forgets to see God’s beauty in the space she is in. In the body she occupies. In the personality He has given her.

He feels different because he is wired differently. Thinks differently. Is sometimes awkward. Often comes off as rude. Wonders why God made him this way, and forgets that He too…was made in His image. Autism, and all.

We are all messy, unique, quirky, weird, sassy, beautiful, funny, and glorious. In the space we are in. But, somewhere along the way, we will hear a different message.

I hear…she hears…he hears…we hear…You don’t measure up. You don’t fit in. You need to change.

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I

 If He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made….so will I.

Because the tree just stands majestic. It may drop its leaves in silence when the time is right, but in due time, it buds again.

The flower isn’t told not to bloom. That its colors are too bold. Its fragrance too sweet. Its petals and design too quirky.

The bird isn’t told to sing a new song. That the one it chirps is too loud, not their style, or doesn’t sound quite right. It belts out its tune anyway.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. Psalm 139:13-14

That girl. That boy. This woman. You. Will walk into a room and feel comfortable in the space we are in. Not slouching. Standing tall and majestic. Not feeling awkward, or weird, or different. But, like an exotic flower that blooms boldly. Like a bird, singing a song, that may not be someone else’s style. It may be out of tune, and too loud.

But, if creation can sing praise for what God has made…then, so will I.

So will I.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Broken, Yet Beautiful

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Who cares about hair…and other truths about me

img_0078

If only I could see you as you see me, and understand the way that I am loved. Would it give a whole new meaning to my purpose, change the way I see the world? -Mandisa, The Truth About Me

Growing up I stood out. Not for any typical reason. I wasn’t taller than my peers. I wasn’t exceptionally pretty. I didn’t stand out for any supernatural reason either. I had no awesome talent or some super athletic ability.

Nope. Nothing like that.

It was my hair. I had extremely, unruly, wiry, curly hair. Like…can’t-get-a-comb-through-it-without-getting-it-stuck-in-the-ends-curly. Puffy. Poofy. Frizzy on rainy days curly. Can’t do anything with curly. Same haircut since kindergarten curly.

And it made me stand out. Made me different. A target.

For envy…because I wanted the long, silky, straight strands of my classmates. The ones that could sit in class and brush each strand without looking like the love child of Diana Ross.

And for bullies…who feared different. Who called me names. All because my hair didn’t look like theirs. Or their dolls. Their sisters. Their girlfriends. Because I didn’t fit the standard of what the world considered pretty. Beautiful. Acceptable. Perfect.

I didn’t fit into a neat tidy box.

Now, many years later…there is another little girl who often stands out. In a world that wants to think that it has changed, but has not all that much.

This girl is my daughter. With the same unruly, can’t get a comb through it hair.

But, she’s a little different.

Unlike me…if she has one hair out of place. If she has one knot. If someone makes a comment about how she is different…she simply does not care.

We could learn a lot from this spunky, sassy, strong-willed, curly-headed, beautiful little girl. We could learn that it is OK to not fit into a neat tidy box. And to simply not care when we don’t.

See, we all want to think that as we got older and grew out of our “awkwardness,” that we also stopped worrying about our bullies. The simple truth is, some of us didn’t. Some of us still carry around the hurts of the bullies that made us feel less than. And, yes…let’s be real. Some of us still have a few bullies. Some of them even live among us in grown-up (even “Christian”) bodies.

But, we don’t have to continue to be their victims. Because, yes. We are different. We are set apart. Molded. Made unique. Made different on purpose. By a creator who loves us. Just.As.We.Are.

So, when the bullies start to attack again and tell you that you are worthless, remember that He says you are worth so much more. A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31: 10

When Satan whispers that you are not beautiful, or don’t fit in, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

When those who call themselves martyrs try to call you by your sin, remind yourself (and them) that you are redeemed! Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people-free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly, free! Ephesians 1:7, MSG

You are loved. You are worthy. You are set apart. You are His. It is OK to be different. To fit in a different box. To stand out in all your sassiness. Spunkiness. Strong-will. And to not care what the bullies or world thinks about it. Even if they decide your brand doesn’t fit into their tidy box.

Embrace the truth about you.

Love it. Own it. It’s how and who He made you to be.

Because He doesn’t care about our hair…and frankly, neither should we.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Loving Oneself

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Before the world tells her different

IMG_2195

Sassy, Stubborn. Bull-headed.

Words I often use to describe my daughter. The words I use to describe the battle of wills endured here at home. After the “No, I won’t,” and “Yes, you wills.” After the demands to do this and not that. To wear boots in July. Flip-flops in winter. The demands to have her own way, and be her own person. To eat chocolate bars for breakfast. The need to have the last word. To fight to the end.

Sassy. Stubborn. Bull-headed. And under her sweet exterior, a gigantic force to be reckoned with. Fighting to the end.

My dear, dear friends, stand your ground. Don’t hold back…consider that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. 1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG

It is her stubbornness. Her tenacity. This endurance to continue the fight that I hope to never dim.

Because, this gift. This trait that often frustrates me, will be just what is needed for her continue to fight the “good fight.”

The fight with the world that will tell her she is too sassy. Too outspoken. Too strong-willed. Before that passion and determination is squelched by a world that just can’t handle it.

Help her see, that even if it frustrates me, that these traits are exactly what the world needs. Exactly what God provided for His purpose in her life.

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1:5, MSG

That her stubborn nature will be just what is needed to persevere when she feels like giving up.

Her sassy and no-nonsense attitude-what is needed when she needs to stand up for what is right. Speak the truth, or communicate passion for a cause.

That her ability to not worry about what others think, care if she is mismatched, and desire not to follow the crowd will come in handy when the world tries to break her confidence. Tell her to “fit in,” to act, speak, and look a certain way.

That her tenacity will help her continue to embrace the word “no.” That she is content and steadfast in saying the word. Knowing that she has this right to say it to things she doesn’t want or doesn’t believe in. To protect her values. Her peace of mind. Her body. Her freedom.

And, if dealing with this sassy, mismatched, and tangled mess of a girl ensures she continues to love who she is….then I will stand by. Daring the world to tell her anything different.

“You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love; beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:7, MSG

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Broken, Yet Beautiful

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My Father Told Me So

How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Song of Songs 1:5

“Mommy, what’s wrong with your hair? You look like a poodle.”

I had been coveting a short haircut for many years, always scared that the curls which adorned my head would make that impossible. That those curls would make me resemble a 30 year old Annie, and nothing like the Halle Berry styles I desired.

What was uttered as a simple child-like observation after taking the pixie plunge, quickly transported me back to middle and high school. The hair that was a source of so much “teasing,” and which apparently made me resemble a poodle according to my classmates, was once again something I began to loathe.

“Mommy, all my friends have straight hair. Why can’t I have straight hair? You even straighten yours.”

Uh oh…Now, 4 years later, she has once again left me speechless. I have been called out. Dealt with. Exposed. By a 7 year old little girl who so needs to hear that her curls are beautiful, before the world convinces her otherwise.

“I just want it straight like yours.” Like “hers.” Like “theirs.” Like all the others who make her feel different. And, I get it, girl. I do. I remember watching those girls in class with straight locks as they ran their fingers through their hair. No tangles at the end of their silky strands. Able to brush their hair so it looked shiny and soft, not frizzy and frazzled like my own.

I remember all the times I made the same plea with my own mom. “Please, make it straight.” The number of times she took me to the salon in an attempt to tame the mass of tangles and ringlets I hated so much. To tame the curls that were the subject of taunts in gym class, when the running around would turn my neatly gelled curls into a heaping mess. To silence the critics that spoke words that made me believe I was not beautiful. To fulfill the longing to just look like everyone else.

The critics I still, 20 to 30 years later, try to silence with bleach, a pixie cut, and a flat iron. Yes, even the white hair that still makes me look drastically different isn’t enough to embrace the idea that my head is adorned with a heap of waves.

Even though I am reminded that it is acceptable to be unique.

Before you were born, I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5

Even though I am reminded that I am beautiful.

Even though I have a Father who tells me so…

You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead. Song of Songs 4:1

Even as I try to teach my daughter that the same heap of falling waves, and tangled curls is altogether beautiful.

To remind her that God wants her to embrace who he made her to be. To help her silence the critics who tell her she has to look a certain way. To live this out a little more in my own life, even if it means I have to leave the flat iron in the bathroom drawer on a regular basis.

To be an example of the message I want my daughter to understand and own…that she is “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The message I was afraid to embrace, and definitely too terrified to boldly state so many years ago.

So, to my former critics, and to those future hair critics who will try to decide what defines beautiful…take a look at this little girl. Take a look at her curls. The curls that some may say resemble the hair of a poodle.

IMG_0751

I hope you get to meet her some day, and I hope she will be brave enough to stand up to her critics and say:

“You are wrong! I may look different, but I am beautiful! My Father told me so!”

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Loving Oneself

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Kids Ministry Leadership

by Carolyn Burge

r e F o c u s

a ministry for transition

My Planner Life

free happy planner printables

thenotsosecretlifeofus

Motherhood marriage insanity friendship family

God, Sports, & ProWrestling

A journey through the life of an aspiring youth pastor, sports broadcaster, and possible pro-wrestler.

MIRACLES EACH DAY

Devotionals on A COURSE IN MIRACLES, A COURSE OF LOVE, and THE WAY OF MASTERY . . . with Celia Hales

Godinterest Christian Blogs

Godinterest is a place to blog about faith, culture, life and all that other stuff

Muffin Topless

A life dedicated to health, fitness & happiness

Hair Say

Hair: The Mind, Body, and Spirit of It

Arinuck ptl

Praising the Lord, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Having Joy!

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations.

Tales from the Mama Duck

Family-Life. Faith-Life. Mid-Life. Sharing-Life!