We stare at the fine lines and blemishes appearing on our faces and are comforted by the anti-wrinkle products designed to wind back the clock.
Pretty models envelop the sides of buses and billboards. Magazine covers are draped in images of perfect bodies, filled with diet tips, how to be and live a particular way: how to be the best dressed, have the best hair, how to be the best friend…the list goes on.
We are in a culture of comparison and wanting what others have- your house is bigger than mine, that outfit looks better on you, I wish I had a partner like that, I wish my children would do that for me…
Even in church I find we have a tendency to compare. I wish I could pray like that, preach like that, write like that, be that sort of friend, be as kind and thoughtful as them, give as much time as they do. The list goes on…
It’s exhausting and draining! No wonder many of us walk around feeling insecure, inadequate, uncomfortable in our own skin and discontent with our personality.
Having battled with an eating disorder (another blog for another time) I have experienced first hand how we can never feel adequate enough and seek to fill a gaping whole through a multitude of things.
It is frustrating trying to be something or someone that you’re not! I once read a statement that really resonated with me: ‘Be the best version of you!’
Even in my early teens, I would pretend to be someone I wasn’t just so guys would like me- I’d try to be more outgoing, adventurous, bought myself new clothes (that totally wasn’t me!) and all in an attempt to fit in with the other girls and win the affections of a guy who God hadn’t prepared for me anyway!
Sometimes in the work place we try and fit in by contributing to gossip and copying the ways of others instead of following what you know is right and having the confidence to be different.
As I reflect on my past and give thanks to God for bringing me to where I am now- healthy, happy, blessed with a loving husband and baby on the way- I can’t help but think about how important it is that we know who we are in Christ!
As I contemplate todays society which seems to be filled with an image conscious, money focused and self-obsessed view to happiness and enjoyment of life- I’m compelled even more than before to boldly know who I am in Christ so that my daughter will see not only a strong woman of God, but know- confidently- who she is in Christ too!
I’m currently reading a book which I would encourage you to read, written by Joyce Meyer- ‘God is not mad at you!’ In this incredible book, she writes so candidly about learning to enjoy yourself and running YOUR OWN race. Allow me to quote just a few sentences:
‘You will never be able to to be anyone but you, so you may as well start enjoying yourself…God has created us all very different on purpose. Each of us is unique and we have something to offer… When each of us becomes the best we can at being ourselves, then God’s purpose can be fulfilled…We are encouraged to run our race, not someone else’s…If we admire qualities in another person, we can ask God to help us develop those qualities, but even then they will flow out of us in a different way than they do in the person we admire… Are you comparing yourself with others and trying to be who they are?…Learn to give yourself permission to be a human being who is flawed.’ Joyce Meyer- God is not mad at you.
How many of you were nodding along in agreement to some or all of the above? I know I was! I really could write for hours on this as it’s something I feel so passionate about (maybe I’ll start a new trend for ‘lengthy’ blogs!
First of all, in order to know who Cheryl was, one thing I had to understand and live by (although sometimes I need reminding of this!) is that when you ask God into your life- the old you has gone and a new life is ready to start being lived! Whatever baggage your carrying around from your past; regrets, unforgiveness, comparison, resentment, bitterness, failings – whatever it might be- let it go! Ask God for forgiveness and start walking in the new life he has for you. I had to learn not to be defined by my eating disorder and allow God to break the chains so that I could be set free and be the person he created me to be. I could easily have remained trapped in torture and turmoil thinking about the person I was- a slave to an eating disorder and the personality I developed because of it. But God clearly states, that life has gone! A new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
He loves us so much that He made you and I in His perfect image! The word image helps us to understand what God meant here. ‘Image; likeness, representation, carving.’ He made us so that we would be like Him, represent Him here on earth. He’s carved us into our own unique and perfect design that will show a likeness of Him. Wow! – no pressure then!
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them
Why would I want to compare myself to anyone when I’m already made in the perfect image of God?! There is no comparison! When I contemplate how much thought went into creating me and all my quirky-or not so quirky ways- I am set aback in awe and wonder! I hope I can convey this reality and truth to our daughter by reminding her who was behind her very being when she struggles with insecurities, thoughts of imperfection and remind her just how special she is.
Give thanks to God and embrace your quirkiness, all the things you wish you could change, and know that you were made in the image of a perfect God, He made you to be you and no one else, He loves you unconditionally and offers to extend this love to you everyday!