Viewing entries tagged
beauty

Jessika Martin: The Beauty Battle

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Jessika Martin: The Beauty Battle

It really bugs me how the world portrays beauty. They tell us that we need to be their version of beautiful so that we can succeed in life. If we don’t look the part, well, we won’t get the part. They feed us this made-up definition of beauty until it is engrained into our minds.

The grocery store turns into a walk of shame for young girls who have yet to find a sign that they really are beautiful. Because everywhere they look they see flattened abs, gorgeous hair, and seemingly flawless women. They see everything they are not.

This turns into fear. At 12 years old, girls are already feeling inadequate, needing more than the body God has given them. She’ll think that, since she doesn’t look like that model she saw on the magazine in the grocery store that she will never be worth anything in life. She is already worried that guys won’t like her, that the pretty girls will never invite her into their circle.

They are teaching her that if she isn’t the world’s standard of beauty, than she will never measure up to anything so she may as well give up now. She doesn’t want to give up though, so her life becomes a battle. An everyday struggle to become their kind of beautiful. She’ll starve herself, she’ll cover her face up with make-up, all the while simply trying to find a ray of hope that she, too, can be some sort of beautiful.

They are deceiving us, ladies. They tell us to believe the lies, that we need to strive to be beautiful, that we need to buy their products and their clothes so that we can begin to look like them.

The only true beauty comes from a life fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, where we have gotten out of the way and He can be seen in and through you

It’s so wrong, and I am so passionate about this because I believe women could do so much more with their lives if we were not constantly fighting the beauty battle. If we were not concerned about making sure our hair looked flawless before we stepped out of the door, maybe we would’ve been out in time to catch that old man on the street who needed a simple smile to help him carry on. Your simple smile.

Are you getting my drift?

We were made for more than this, ladies! We were made for so much more than fighting to be an airbrushed version of beautiful.

This is why God reassures you and me. He says,

“The king is enthralled with your beauty; honor Him, for He is you Lord.” (Psalm 45:11)

He says,

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Don’t you see? If you want true beauty, I’ll tell you a secret. It comes from a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. It never really was yours to achieve, it comes from reflection of the Perfect One.

So are we going to rise up, women? Are we going to realize that there is more to life than the beauty battle?


I don’t care if I don’t fit your standards of beauty. The beauty I want to reflect is of the Heavenly King, not some airbrushed model in a magazine.


About the author: 

Hey! I'm Jessika. Just a young girl in love with Jesus and living to tell the story that He is writing throughout my life. I hope that my life constantly reflects the One who created me.
I hope I share Him in everything that I post, in everything that I do and say, everything. I want to become a missionary someday, actually, I hope I’m a missionary today. I just want to tell people about Jesus and make a difference in this world, however small of a difference it is.

I don't want to be average, because I wasn't created to be average. I was created to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to save the broken, and to love the unloved.

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Michaela Smith: To the women of today

DSC_4847Granny Michaela, grandma, and little old lady were all names I was called in high school. No, I was not over the age of 65, and no I did not have graying hair. I was called those names because I refused to conform to what my high school peers wanted me to wear; I refused to reveal my body. I remember one day during sophomore year of high school; I had gone shopping and purchased a gray, flowery sweater I thought was super cute. I walked into school the next Monday wearing the new sweater feeling confident, until I heard my friend say, “Why does she wear the ugliest clothes? Seriously, it’s like she gets them from her grandma’s closet.” After hearing those comments I felt defeated, and hung the sweater back in my closet to never wear again during my high school years.

This conversation I overheard was just the beginning.

Throughout the next three years “friends” said to me, “Michaela, pull your shirt down!” “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” “Stop being so conservative, no wonder you’re not dating anyone, guys like to see skin.” These comments bothered me, and I always felt as if I was being judged and attacked for the way my society at the time wanted me to be…that I was disappointing them.

I wish I could say that I brushed those comments off, and that I continued to live my life without my peers affecting my choices. Unfortunately, this blog can’t end that way.

Daily, I looked myself over in the mirror. I thought to myself, “Will I get made fun of today for wearing this?” “I hope no one says anything today to me about my shirt…” “Maybe I’ll just wear my jacket all day so that people won’t notice what I’m wearing.” However, I should have been thinking less about what I wore, and more about empowering my friends to change the way they saw their outward appearance.

Now that I think back to my high school years, I am deeply troubled that my young women peers viewed their bodies as display cases for their assets. They wanted to be seen as sexy, provocative, and immodest, instead of being lovely, respectable, and empowering.

Ladies, your body is a temple of the Lord. “Know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.” 1st Corinthians 6:19

 

To the inspiring women of today,

Only you can change the way you see yourselves. Do not, for a second, think that you have to dress immodestly to be seen as beautiful. Instead, motivate and inspire young women around you who so desperately want to be noticed by their bodies, and not by their hearts. If I could change the way I reacted to my peers in high school, I would tell them that I dress this way so that I will not cause men to falter in lust. I would tell them that I dress this way to assure myself that I am a respectable woman who is not to be seen as a provocative icon.

Ladies, set yourself apart not only by the words you speak and the actions you take, but by the clothes you wear. You can be a Godly example to women around who struggle with immodesty, the ones that are looking for affection by using their body as the tool.

Embrace the body God has given you, and never believe that you have to conform to the immodesty that your friends want you to fall prey to. You are too smart, too loved, and too respected to less than honor God’s image of yourself.

So, be the influence on your peers of modesty, and guide them to understand that revealing clothes should not be tolerated amongst one another. With your help, we can help to change the society we live in today, and create an image of beauty that is pleasing to God.

 

Love,

Michaela

 

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Megan Hallmark: Appearances won't make you beautiful

Megan Growing up I never felt beautiful. I had many insecurities. I have three older sisters, who are all gorgeous. I always wanted to look like them.

In the 4th grade, my teeth were horrible. I had fangs that stuck out. In hopes of straightening my teeth, I had some of them pulled. So, at this point, I pretty much had my four front teeth, with two of them fangs. I had kids ask me why my teeth were the way they were and I would never smile in fear that they would show.

In addition to that problem, I was born with keratosis pilaris, or as I would always call it “chicken skin.” It's a condition that gives you dry bumps on your cheeks, backs of the arms, and thighs. I was always red.

To make it worse, when I was in middle school I was already 5 foot 5 and weighed 108 pounds. I was bigger than all of my classmates and none of the other girls were even close to being 100 pounds! I felt fat all the time even though I was proportional for my size. I would compare myself to models or older women whom I thought were very pretty, but I didn’t have the soft clear skin, the hourglass figure or the perfect, non-frizzy hair. I did not have the beautiful smile that they had. I felt ugly and insecure, so I searched for my securities in guys. I wore skimpy outfits and would do anything for attention.

In 8th grade I started to gain confidence in my appearance. I learned how to control my crazy curly hair and started to feel like someone who could be beautiful. Finally, in my sophomore year of high school, I was able to get braces. My teeth slowly straightened out and I felt more and more beautiful. I actually started to smile with my teeth for the first time. By senior year, I had my braces off, I had figured out how to clear up my skin, and I felt beautiful. I had grown so much in my walk with the Lord because of a depression that I went through that it didn’t matter anymore what guys thought of me. I was content and happy with whom I was and my husband was going to love me for me. Now, I am not saying that all of my insecurities are gone. I still have people that point out the fact that I'm pretty flat, but I just say that God made me beautiful and I can accept who I am. It has taken me a long time to finally get to this point. I still joke about it with my friends, but it is a part of who I am and I don’t need the hourglass figure to feel beautiful.

The thing is, what's really important is not that I felt beautiful. After all of that, I realized that none of that appearance ever mattered. I had the same worth with my ugly teeth, weird skin, and awkward body as I did with my fresh braces-free face and better hair. Sadly, that's the thing that happens so many times. You don't realize how worthy you are until you've found the worth in something else.

Do not gain your confidence or your beauty from what the media says or by how many guys you have dated or like you. It will lead you to despair and destruction of yourself. Just remember that God made you beautiful. He is going to bring you the desires of your heart.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7

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Amanda Bollinger: Quiet Ears in a Loud Society

AMANDA  

Growing up, I was never the most confident in how I looked. I found my self looking around at other girls my age thinking, “I don’t look like that.” and, “She’s definitely prettier than me.” If a guy was in the room that I liked, I would find my self looking around to see if there were any girls that were prettier and if so I would tell myself, “He won’t like you. She is definitely prettier. He would choose her.”

I had this mentality that there is always someone more beautiful. I felt that I could never live up to what anyone thought was beautiful. I found my self diving into romantic movies and chick flicks, eventually getting the understanding that what was happening in these movies would never happen to me. I remember feeling so ugly.

My cousins were always skinnier growing up; so fit looking in their bikinis. I felt so huge next to them in my tankini. Weight became another thing that I couldn’t live up to. I wasn’t pretty enough and I wasn’t skinny enough.

I finally came to a point in my life where I had to come to terms with who I was because at this point I wasn’t so sure. Who am I? I had been trying so hard to be like every other girl that I was no longer Amanda Bollinger. I was bits and pieces of all my friends, of girls I had seen, and what I thought boys really wanted. When I realized how I was living, I saw a life that felt kind of like hell.

It was all because of the battle in my mind. The devil kept telling me, “You aren’t good enough” and “No one will ever love you.” He had me focused on exactly what he wanted: the things of this world. God taught me that I will never be beautiful unless I am myself entirely. If you are trying to be someone else it won’t work.

Who will show the beauty that God gave to you and you alone? If you aren’t showing it, no one else will. Girls in today’s society waste their beauty away wishing for a substitute that is almost impossible to achieve; a substitute that comes from the things we hear, see, and feel.

I promise you this. If you turn your eyes towards God, he will show you how beautiful you are. If you let Him, He will place blessings in your life that will. I know this to be true because He did it for me. If we can learn to quiet our ears in a loud society, we can hear God telling us, “You are so beautiful. You are so beautiful my love.”

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His Side: Letter from God

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David Krstevski
Letter from God
The following letter is an illustration of God's message to you.
Dear Girl,
What you may have heard from this world; the image that it tries to create of you; the desolation in its promises is not where you need to look. Before I created the heavens and the earth I thought of you out of love (Ephesians 1:4). Before I created you I set the stars into motion (Genesis 1:14), I set the rivers flowing (Genesis 1:9).  I created this earth, the universe and all its galaxies for you. I created for you a place where you can laugh, learn, find love, and grow in me.Do not get confused with the messages around you. Do not get confused by man, by the media, or by your own discoveries. When I created you there was no media - just you - in the garden of life.  When I created you, I even placed man in a deep sleep so that I could perfectly mold you without interference. You are my perfect creation. You are my beautiful daughter. Now I see you, a woman, grown in excellence and splendor with my virtues residing within you.

Yes. Out of the rib of man I created you. Out of his rib I created you not because you are lesser than him. Out of his rib I created you because I wanted to mold you to be just like me. You see, my spirit is the protector of man’s heart and just like that rib, you provide protection for the most delicate part of my creation: the heart. When I created you, I showed the world who I am. As Adam walked in the oasis that I had prepared, he was lonely. Although he felt my presence and experienced my spirit he could not see me nor touch me. And that is why I created you. You emulate my strength, my compassion, my purity, my forgiveness and my love.

Just so you know - when a man tries to hurt you, tries to deceive you,  tries to devalue you - he is doing that to me.  Of all my creation your heart is the closest to mine. You deserve the best. Your beauty is solidified by the words that come from my spirit and not from the lips of a man. You are beautiful because I created you. Next time you look in the mirror and see what you think are only faults and imperfections remember, I designed you and I created a beautiful you. You are created in my image, my likeness and in my perfection (Genesis 1:27).

Every woman out there looks to be a part of a wonderful love story, and that’s okay. Just remember you are the subject of the most beautiful love story because I decided to love you first.

You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

Sincerely,

God
Dave KrstevskiDavid is a senior at Evangel University that has a passion for showing people the love of God. When he heard about Insecurely, he knew that it was something that couldn’t be passed up. Dave joins us as a His Side blogger and social media correspondent! To know more about David, follow him on Twitter.

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Inspiration of the Week: Paige White

paigePaige is featured as Insecurely Movement's "Inspiration of the Week." She is a sophomore bio/pre-med major at Cedarville University and plans on taking medicine overseas to use for medical missions. She absolutely loves Insecurely Movement because of the awareness that it’s giving young women of their God-given beauty and seeing the confidence and hope it's restoring in their lives so they can take on the world while staying secure in His love.  Ladies, the assault on our hearts as women is growing intensely harsh in today’s society. Whether its music, movies, magazine photos, high school hallways, teammates, classmates, or Heaven forbid our own friends, we are constantly rained upon with attacks from the enemy. It takes very little for us to believe that we are inadequate, worthless, and in no possession of a beautiful and captivating personality. We are told that everything we should be has to be made up with make-up and false character. We are emptied by lies until we have barely the strength to make ourselves into what we are told is “worth pursuing”, and even then we are still left feeling incomplete and…dead.

Anything that tells you that you are worthless is a lie. Anything that tells you that you lack beauty is a lie. Anything that tells you that you are powerless is a lie.

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:   Forget your people and your father’s house.  Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:10-11

Think about that for a second…The King of all Kings is absolutely captivated by your beauty. He designed you and crafted you with an intentionality and purpose unlike anything else in creation.  You have a unique beauty all to yourself that God desires for you to share with the world. Don’t get rid of that! Your beauty is utterly powerful. We women are warriors in an ongoing spiritual battle and our greatest weapon is our beauty. Our beauty reflects God’s beauty; it is something that brings rest, diminishes doubt, and gives life. The enemy knows that; he is keenly aware of our insecurities and that is why he will stop at nothing to ensure that we believe the lie that we have no beauty to offer. Our beauty must be cultivated and cared for. It takes time, fellowship, prayer, vulnerability, and lots of our attention and effort. The only weapon the enemy has against us is the one we lay in his hands. Let’s try our hardest not to let him get to our hearts. Guard your hearts ladies; everything you do, everything about your life flows from your heart.

To my brothers, hey there! This might sound harsh, but can you do all of us girls a favor and not mess with our hearts. If you’ve received the green light from Dad saying that you can pursue us because you have a purpose and intention in doing so, then go get her. But if you haven’t received the green, back off with the flirting. There is a way to be a loving, caring, strong and protective brother of Christ without sending the wrong message. Nothing is more refreshing to me than for one of my brothers to encourage me in my faith, congratulate me in my success, or challenge me in my struggles. Just please remember that our hearts are precious and tender, and I’m asking that you treat them as such. I love all you guys. Keep fighting your insecurities as well. We appreciate you and your strength and leadership. Don’t let the enemy lie to you either, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you guys.

For my ladies, remember this: "There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.” -Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Now go show the world what you’ve got, beautiful.

 

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Laura Prosapio: Identity

 

Laura Prosapio

Ever since I can remember, I tied my worth into how well I could accomplish the tasks that lay before me. Whether it was getting good grades, winning a spelling bee, or being in control of my every word and action—I needed to be working my hardest or best, or else it wasn’t good enough for me. And if it wasn’t good enough for me, then I reasoned it definitely wasn’t good enough for God.

I measured my achievement based on whether or not I got a compliment. If I worked especially hard to present my best, and then I didn’t get the amount of praise from others I thought I deserved, I would feel completely devalued. Even when I did receive praise, it never seemed to be good enough because it never satisfied my heart. As soon as I felt approved by those around me, I felt I needed to take it to the next level and be even more perfect, more pristine, and more worthy of love. Sure, improvement is usually something healthy to strive for. We always should try to be our best. But people cannot meet our deepest desires for approval—even our closest friends cannot make us feel completely secure. Only God can make us secure in Him, providing us with an identity that nobody can take away.

 I learned this lesson during the beginning of last semester at Evangel University when I was about ready to explode out of not being able to meet my own expectations and garner all the approval I was after. Of course I wanted to live to bless others, but deep in my heart, one of my motivations for blessing others was so that I could receive approval from them, and in turn, feel loved. I recognized the harm of this way of thinking, because without fail, I felt totally insecure in what I had to offer others—regardless of whether or not they were noticeably touched by my actions. If I could not make somebody happy or make sure they smiled after being around me, I felt I had failed them in some way. Thus, I failed myself. If I could make somebody’s day (or at least convince myself that I did), I would feel like I accomplished something great. Being in between these two extremes of shame and pride not only weighed on my heart, but it weighed on my relationship with God. Instead of allowing His grace to flood my heart and my identity to be found in Him alone, I worked to pursue perfection apart from Him. I didn’t even ponder that His love made me complete.

It wasn’t until a close friend invited me to a Bible study at Central Assembly in Springfield that I had a life-altering realization that has transformed the way I live today. The study was based upon the book Chase by Jennie Allen, and in reading the first chapter, my world was turned upside down.

I read from this book with a convicted heart, “Our value comes from God; it can never be found in how we measure up. So whether you feel worthy or ashamed, this news should probably undo you. It is the character of God that gives us worth, not anything we have done or will do. There is freedom in accepting our unworthiness and receiving God’s worth. But self-esteem dies hard, especially for those of us who stand on a great performance. The work of Christ steals all shame but it also steals all of our pride.”

 Wow. This one paragraph has truly humbled my heart and made me realize how selfish and prideful I had been. I had been living to give myself glory because I felt my identity was rooted in what I made of myself. However, the “undo”-ing truth that God gave me my identity and it is secure—despite my best and worst efforts—made me a whole new person. I am a whole new person because I am in securely with God’s love. Nothing I do can take that away. Nothing I don’t do can take that away. Now, my delight is to give glory to God, and in doing so, I find my identity and security.

If you’re struggling with having to be perfect and approved by others to feel like you have a secure identity, I’m here to tell you that you can stop finding your identity in others’ approval.

 

“She didn’t have to be perfect because she was perfectly loved.” ~Holley Gerth

 

Allow this truth to go deep into your heart. Know that you don’t have to do anything or put on any false appearance to be loved. You are already loved by a Father whose love can fill every recess of your heart. What a life-transforming truth.  

Satisfied in His Love,

Laura Ashley

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Alyssa Moore: The Crooked Life

alyssaWhen given the challenge to write about my insecurity, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write about. For sure, I’ve had times where I didn’t have the healthiest self-esteem, but I got over that in junior high amazingly enough. I had this incredible youth leader who told me how beautiful I was every week. She told me how I was a warrior princess bride of the creator of the universe, so I felt pretty much invincible despite my braces, chubby cheeks and awkwardly curly hair (it randomly decided to turn from straight to curly…So, that was cool). I went through that time of my life feeling great, and confident of who I was in Christ. Shout out to Nicole for investing in me for those three and a half years. You rock.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with scoliosis. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a condition where you have a curvature in your spine. We found out that I had a double curve. It looks like a backwards ‘S.’ Super cute stuff. Well, I wore a brace for the next three years of my life, and that was horrible. Strapping plastic around my back and into my sides was a pain (metaphorically and physically).

My family and I gave the whole situation over to God. He can make a crooked path straight. Why couldn’t He straighten my spine, right? Well, after following what the Bible commands and going before the elders of my church and being anointed with oil, I still wasn’t healed. It was extremely confusing to me that I hadn’t received my healing. What else did God want from me? I had all the faith in the world, I trusted Him, and still I was left with daily pain that I’ve learned to ignore and deal with.

You really can’t tell that I have scoliosis unless you’re looking for it. I’ve gotten so used to it that I only realize it when somebody points it out, and when I lay down at night and my back muscles scream a cry of relief.

Any way, I picked out a super adorable royal blue dress for Christmas last year, and I begged my mom to let me have it early so that I could wear it to church. I wanted to impress this super attractive guy who had recently started coming to my church (who is now my boyfriend! Holla!). I tried it on the night before and went to show my brother just to make sure he approved and thought it was modest. He told me I looked great, and I was feeling awesome until his fiancé told me that you could really see my scoliosis in it. Now, I’m not much of a crier at all. Unless there’s a move of God or something in my eye. Guys, I totally lost it. I stinking cried right in front of the mirror staring at how my hips are off-center and my shoulders aren’t straight. I feel like I could cry right now just thinking about it. Although, I thought I had fully given it to God, I was still holding on to a very big piece. My brother said to me, “Wipe that insecurity off your face. You are beautiful.” I love my brother so much. He speaks an incredible amount of life into me, is always there to protect me, and remind me of my main focus, Jesus.

Honestly, I don’t really care that I have two curves in my spine. My insecurity blossomed in my relationship with Jesus. Scoliosis started to drive a wedge in between God and myself. That’s a frightening place to be. Getting over that is a daily decision. I know God will heal me, and I claim His blood and healing over myself daily. Anytime my mind starts to doubt or wonder about what’s wrong with me, I lift it up before Jesus. I find my security in Him. I find my healing in Him. He is the one who is teaching me perseverance. I feel like I’ve learned it by now, but apparently God has more for me to learn. I’m thankful for this lesson, and I’m excited about everything else God is going to teach me through this.

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His Side: I love you already

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I love you already.

Josh Buckner

I'm going to take a different swing at insecurities. You know - just as well as I know - that our insecurities go much deeper than the way we look or what is on the outside. Sometimes they have such a hold on us that they become who we are. ...Especially around the opposite sex.

NO. I know what you're thinking. This is not a blog about dating or Godly dating, courtship, waiting or whatever cheesy names you want to come up with for one christian guy spending time with one christian girl. This is more about just being who you are.

It is so obvious sometimes, from an outsider's point of view, how fake people can be around  just to impress. The list of possible characters is endless. Anything from being rude, to sacrificing morals for acceptance, to the worst.. playing dumb.

I can't count how many times I've heard voices change or attitudes completely transform when someone else walks into the room. If anyone knows me, they know that I really just don't understand that.

I'm going to try not to be very wordy with this so let me just say what I need to say (my apologies for getting that John Mayer song stuck in your head).

Over this past summer I went on a... well, I guess you could call it a date. In reality, it was just a little dinner at a steakhouse with an awesome and beautiful girl. Neither of us had never been to this place and thought we'd give it a try. We made our way in, were seated, and the night had already started. The conversation alone was full of depth and laughter because we weren't trying to hide anything or be "romantic." We were just being ourselves and having a good time!

The waitress came around our orders for our FOOD! YES FOOD, LADIES! You know? The thing your body needs to survive? Well, me being a guy, I had no problems. I ordered wings and fries and was ready to have a ball. Then, it was her turn.

Let me pause here. The next part of this story is included to show how awesome the following event was. Now, back to the story.

She asked what the waitress recommended, as we had never been before, and the waitress started on a roll. She was explaining all these burgers and sandwiches, and then said this, "..and if you aren't looking for any health value at all, we have a new fried cheese and bacon burger..." She gave us a few more minutes to look over the menu and came back. The girl I was with was unsure on what to order, so I looked at her and said, "Seriously, just get whatever you want." So she closed her menu, looked at the waitress, and said "You know what? Whatever. Give me the fried cheese and bacon burger!"

I heard angels. I had to keep myself from getting on one knee right there and telling her that God meant for us to be together forever.

...that's a joke.

You see, it wasn't her getting a burger with a fried piece of dairy on it that made me remember that night so well. It was simply that she was comfortable enough in her own skin to not settle for a meal that is "acceptable" for a girl to eat. She was comfortable enough to enjoy herself while eating with a guy. She was secure enough to know that I wanted to spend time with the girl that I took out that night - not an act.

That, to me, was beauty! That's exactly what she is: a beautiful woman.

No, nothing really happened between us, but I can gladly call her one of my very best friends and one that I hope I'll never lose.

Now, I'll quit rambling and close this by saying that you don't have to live as something that you're not.

Whether that's with a group of friends or someone of the opposite sex, if they don't want to spend time with you while being yourself, do you even need to be around them at all?

To me, it seems like you really aren't around them. It's just the person they want you to be. It is all fake: someone else. It is those insecurities making you put on the act of a character. One thing leads to another and you find yourself thinking, "Is this my life anymore?" That's the worst position you could be in.

If you want to hear the 'what guys are looking for' spiel, I can't give you that. I can only give you what a true man is looking for. After seeking God, he is looking for you.

Say that. Look in the mirror if you need to and say, "Somebody out there is looking for me and I'm perfect for them just as I am." All the goofy personality traits, giggles, and awkward things that make you you are what he is looking for. A true man is not looking for a measurement or a trophy. He is looking for his counterpart. He is looking right past the outside surface and wants to see you. That is who you need to be.

God created that man to find you exactly as you are, but how can he do that if  you don't exist anymore?

You can ask any true man of God and he will tell you the same. Being true to yourself and loving who you are is one of the most beautiful things in a woman. You may not know who your husband will be, but he loves you already, just as you are. Never ever forget.

You are loved.

You are valued.

You are beautiful.

Josh BucknerYou've already met Josh - in the Insecurely: A Spoken Word video. Josh is a sophomore at Missouri State University. When he heard about Insecurely, he fell in love with it on the spot. He can’t wait to write and show each of our Insecurely girls how beautiful and unique they are. Josh joins us a His Side blogger and our resident spoken word artist.

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Annie Torr: Brutal Honesty & a Side of French Fries

ANNIE This is a sensitive subject for me as I’m sure it is for many women and even men out there. I grew up in a Christian home and was affirmed from a young age that I was a beautiful girl. I never really struggled with body image until one trip to California. I went to visit some family friends and at the young of 10 I saw 2 beautiful college girls talk about how mad they were that their thighs touch when they stand up.

From then on my eyes were opened to thigh gaps (or lack there of), muffin tops, arm flaps, and back fat. I was kind of a chubby kid growing up and it took a while to grow into my skin. My insecurities really began to form in junior high and high school when I realized the boys I liked, liked my friends and not me. Never having had a boyfriend still to this day has continued to grow some of those underlying insecurities. “Am I not good enough?”, “Am I not beautiful enough?” “Am I not thin enough?” It is so unfortunate that these are the lies that so easily are fed into our thoughts.

Going off to college opened my eyes to a world I never knew before; a world of eating disorders. I began my freshman year at a college in Costa Mesa, California. I had always thought eating disorders were something that celebrities and famous people dealt with. Little did I know, it was everywhere I looked. The closer I got to the girls I was living with, the more I found out about the lies that consumed their mind constantly. When going to lunch I came back with a full plate (if not multiple plates) of food. For those of you that know me, I love food, especially French fries. They are kind of my weakness. My friends however, would put about 7 pieces of lettuce, vegetables, and a sprinkle of olive oil in a bowl and call that a meal. I have battled thoughts of not eating/throwing up but I can’t do it. The Lord blessed me (yes I say blessed) with some health problems in high school that restrict me from even being able to do those things.

Physical insecurities are the devil’s playground. He loves to toy with our hearts in thinking we are anything but beautiful daughters of Christ. My journey with my insecurities has not been easy and it’s unfortunately not over. I wish I could write here on this blog proudly and say I am completely and wholly confident in the woman God made me!......But I am struggling. With God’s grace and mercy I am working daily toward this. We have all heard Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”, but do we believe? Truly, deeply, in our souls believe this? It says I know this FULL WELL. I pray that if we don’t right now, that we learn to know this full and completely.

I could probably talk a lot more about this but for now I will stop. If you ever want to talk more about my story or about yours I would love to listen. I believe strongly in this movement. God is the ultimate creator. Who are we to say His creations are wrong, ugly, and flawed? . I hope as a community we can begin to accept our flaws as beautiful.

You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

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His Side: You're Not Alone

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You're not alone.

Adam Wood

When the idea of Insecurely was first discussed with me, I was excited. I was very excited. Insecurity is such a big issue among girls in today's society. You are told exactly how you must look, exactly how you must act around guys, and exactly how perfect you must be. It's an incredibly harsh standard, and it's entirely fabricated and untrue. But after more thought, I realized something else: I was limiting the insecurities of women to purely physical ones--those based simply on aesthetic standards and how you must appear to guys. I was limiting it to those insecurities of relationships and how many women feel like they need a boyfriend to feel loved and to feel accepted.

But some girls don't battle with insecurities in those areas. Insecurity comes in many forms.

As a (very protective, I might add) big brother of two beautiful sisters who have never wasted their time jumping from boy to boy, I know that there are plenty of girls who don't struggle with those "cookie cutter standard" insecurities but have their other areas of struggle. And guys have those problems as well.

"I'm not funny enough." "I don't get taken seriously." "Everyone treats me like a little kid when I want to be seen as mature." "My best friends can talk to girls so easily and I have such a struggle to be myself. I'm just too awkward."

These are all insecurities that guys struggle with, and I have dealt with (and still do to some extent) all of these at some point in my life. And I know that there are girls out there who have insecurities that may not seem quite as common as others.

You're not alone.

Here's one thing that I've always had a hard time with: we men aren't able to show insecurity. I mean, after all, we're men! We're protectors! The priests of our homes! The powerful leaders of our families! To show insecurity as a male is a great sign of weakness, and weakness is the LAST aspect of personality we're allowed to come clean about. So what do we do? We overshoot, we correct ourselves to a fault. We appear to be perfectly capable on the outside when we're perfectly broken on the inside. Our insecurities lead us down a shady path that ends in the same dead-end yours often does--one that tells us we need an outside fix, whether that may be a love interest, a new sense of style, a little bit more of this, a little bit less of that, and the list goes on. These outside fixes never solve the problem.

New clothes won't change you.

Being a little bit smarter will still leave you feeling just as confused, empty, and insecure as you were before.

A better boyfriend won't make you happier.

I'm going to take a little bit of a side note here because I feel it needs to be said. Ladies, if you're in a relationship that isn't        honoring the LORD, get out. Run away from that harmful relationship! If he isn't respecting you, he's not being a man at all. And men, if you're reading this, take heart! There are plenty of girls out there who are simply waiting for you as well. It seems to me like "the good guys" always get pegged as the waiters, the Godly, the fighters, yes, the "FRIENDZONED." They're the pure warriors who feel that no ladies out there are upholding those standards anymore, and they're waiting on the ladies to come running to them. I know that isn't the truth at all. Many women have stood the test of purity and have guarded their hearts waiting for God to orchestrate their path until the time is right. Find them, pursue them, honor them, and love them as God has called you to do. Side note over now. Moving on!

Anyway, as I was saying, outside fixes never change anything. Just as a weed must be pulled from the root, we must get down to the bottom of the problem. And there's only one solution.

That Solution loved you so much that He gave what was most dear - His life. The love of Jesus was so compelling that He bore the sin of humanity just so He could be with you forever.

That's enough for me. That's enough, right there, to take into battle against every one of my insecurities.

Will I still struggle with insecurities? Of course. And you might as well. But as brothers in Christ, know that there will always be men standing with you, and we're going to help you battle through every single problem you encounter.

You're not alone.

Adam WoodAdam Wood is a sophomore at Evangel University. His passion for Insecurely began at its start – knowing that Insecurely had the capability to change lives. Adam joins us as a His Side blogger and a videographer. To know more about Adam, read his personal blog or follow him on Twitter.

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Sarah Buford: I love you for your heart

SARAH“I love you for your heart, not your face.”  That’s what Jesus said to me on a long painful drive home from youth group a couple of months ago.  We all feel ugly at one point in our life.  In my case, I had horrible acne, and a freshman 15 I couldn’t seem to get rid of.  I remember crying out to God, “Lord I just want to feel beautiful and loved!!!  I’m sick and tired of being lonely, and doing new things.” After about 10 minutes of complaining, He simply quieted me and said, “I love you for your heart, and not your face.”  I immediately started laughing.  I had always known He loved me, but it was un-attainable to me that He loved me despite my ugly cry, mascara running down my face, without anything to offer, broken and miserable. He still loved me.  I had nothing to offer Him and He loved me.  There was nothing I could do to deserve that love, and yet He felt that way about me.  Little old me.

Even from the young age of 15 I remember my Mom coming in and telling me how pretty I was.  At one point, after asking me to put on some more mascara or foundation, I remember her asking, “You don’t think you are beautiful do you?”

I didn’t.

In High School a boy told me the reason he wouldn’t date me was specifically because I was not pretty.  I spent the remaining part of that time trying to prove I was. It wasn’t until this year that I can serve others and think un-selfishly about myself.  Because I thrive on verbal affirmation, compliments mean the most to me.  God knows that.

In fact when I am ugliest, late at night, or early in the morning, those are the moments I feel the most beautiful.  Why in the world would I say that?  This is simply because it is during those times I am most consecrated to Christ.

Leslie Ludy, states it this way:

“A young woman who is deeply, passionately, intimately in love Jesus Christ glows with a radiance that overpowers even the most noticeable of flaws. I’ve seen many a godly woman light up an entire room with her presence. To study her closely, you would not think of her as beautiful; in fact she might even have major physical blemishes that would normally be distracting. But when a woman’s passion for Jesus Christ is so deep that it is the focal point of her existence, it effervesces from every corner of her being – and she glows with heavenly beauty. No matter what her physical flaws might be, they go unnoticed when Jesus Christ is center stage in her life.

Insecurity is simply an unhealthy focus on yourself, rather than a healthy focus on Jesus Christ. It’s something the enemy can easily use to keep us turned inward rather than outward. Just like the temptation toward any sin, we must nip thoughts of insecurity in the bud the moment they begin to arise.

As soon as the enemy comes in with whispers of, “Everyone is noticing your physical shortcomings. There is nothing attractive about you – no one wants to be around you,” your response must be immediate. Instead of entertaining those thoughts and meditating upon them, fight back with truth, scripture, and prayer!

If you begin to ignore thoughts of insecurity and deliberately choose to smile, reach out to others, and focus on being an example of Christ, you will soon realize that insecurity has no soil in which to grow. It may take some time before this principle becomes a habit in your life, but if you lean on the grace and strength of God, He will give you all that you need to triumph in this area.”

"I love you for your heart, not your face."

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Perfectly: An Insecurely Poem

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You look in the mirror

And see so unclear With a mind full of lies It’s hard to see yourself right

When you hear all around What’s in and what’s out Your heart starts to pound Wondering, do I fit in now?

You frantically seek approval in their eyes But they can’t see past your crafted disguise That covers every blemish and scar That is written on your fragile heart

But you see, your appearance is a fake If your heart isn’t awake Beating for the One Who sent His only son So you could see the truth That doesn’t lie in what you do

No make-up covers hidden shame No perfect smile can hide your unforgettable pain No words can change your fractured heart No actions define who you are

Only God can show you proof Of what He created out of you How you’re made in complete perfection

Your face doesn’t need any correction Your strength doesn’t always need to strive on, Just let go, and let God be the ONE Who holds your impossible world in place And fills your reality with his grace

Who desires for you to see You’re created exactly as he wanted you to be And who you truly are Lies within His open heart

Your scars you thought you had inside Were healed the day God made you alive That you could finally see again That your unquestionable beauty lives within The very heart you long to share God molded and shaped with precision and care To reflect His very heart In the person that you are

Who you are was made unique So that you wouldn’t feel the desperate need To be someone you’re not and change To finally stand out and not be the same

You are beautiful and so are they But you’re both made in different ways You each have talents to express your heart That reflects God’s gifts in who you are So realize the beauty you have within That God made before your life began So that no one person would be the same But made unique in Jesus’ name

Don’t let your insecurities blind your heart From seeing yourself for who you truly are

Be secure in the God above Who created you carefully in His love

Look to his heart and you’ll see your own It’s far more precious than diamonds, and far more valuable than gold

The answer to your heart lives deep inside Just give God a chance to open your eyes You’ll be awestruck, speechless- with no words to describe Of the undeniable beauty you’ve had all this time

So in those moments your heart begins to feel weak Know that God created you- perfectly.

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Tori McMunn: Dark Made Light

Tori McMunn  

Growing up, I always thought insecurities meant weaknesses. They were just silly things that we couldn't handle and that we covered up to hide from everyone else. My weakness was worry.

Coming from a long line of what I thought was very strong, independent, Christian men and women, turned out that once I got older I found out my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all had their own weaknesses. They hid secrets and lies that no one talked about very much. I figured I shouldn't talk about what worried me either so I bottled it up inside. I thought for far too long many nights.  I would lose sleep and have sudden fears during the day because I was worried of whatever was on my mind. Sometimes it would come out in tears or anger. It was a constant battle in my mind. The fact that my parents fought made me scared to tell them what was wrong. I figured it would make their problems worse. I was able to share minor details with friends and I allowed my grandparents in on my struggles with communicating with my parents. But it still never solved anything completely.

Finally, the summer after I graduated High School, my family went through the darkest time of our lives. Many secrets were made clear, lies then turned to truths,  and everything that had been bottled up trickled - actually gushed - out. All cards were on the table! It was my worst nightmare come to life. It wasn't until I had been at Evangel for nearly 6 months until hope started arising inside of me. A guest speaker was leading an alternate chapel one night. Although I don't remember what he spoke on, I remember a pulling inside of my heart to turn to Isaiah 46:8-9. I didn't even know if there was that many chapters in this book. I finally turned to what seemed like a random passage but this is what I read, "Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I Am God, and there is no other; I Am God, and there is none like me." I cried in amazement of what I just took in. God had told me to not forget but to let it go and give my insecurity to him. He is God!

After that night, it was like the battle in my mind had grown smaller. The things I felt I had to bottle up no longer made me weak. I understood that I'm not weak because my God is strong! Sure, I had to still face my insecurities but it felt more manageable because I wasn't by myself. God had been through everything with me. God continually works through our weaknesses to show us how mighty he is! He can take what we feel we can't handle on our own and actually make it manageable in his hands. I found out I couldn't do it on my own and that I didn't have to hide my worries. God had been there the whole time. And he is there for every single one of you! He doesn't want you to forget, but he does want you to let go so he can manage it. What ever the insecurity God is stronger!

My name is Tori McMunn and I am secure!

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Kaytee Mitchell: My Greatest Insecurity

KAYTEE My greatest insecurity is my greatest fear: love.

I know that this sounds totally bizarre and cliché, but this is the greatest fear I have ever had. Fear of love, to find love, to lose love, to pass love by, anything to do with it, it scares me. My entire life, love has been like weather. It has had its bright days, rainy days, storms, and tornadoes, but no matter what it is, I tend to run from it. Run from the thought of having something so good and having it fall right from my hands. Run from the thought that I will never be good enough for the love I desire. Run from the love from those who cares about me so I don’t hurt them. I run, and run, and run, and yet, God just keeps running with me.

It all started when I was little. My mom and dad divorced, and my mom married my step-dad. This was the beginning to my fear. My mother used to come into our rooms bawling some nights saying we were leaving and she was divorcing my new dad, and I didn’t mind because I wasn’t really sure what love really was. Yet, it slowly built this fear in me that I, myself, would never find true love. Over time, my family just seemed to be SO chaotic. My step-dad hated my brother, my mom used to hate my step-sister, and I was just there in the middle of it all. Eventually, I depended FULLY upon my friends and boyfriends to fill the love that I constantly needed when I was little. Nine years went by: nine hard years. I was trying everything to please my friends so that they wouldn’t leave, going boyfriend through boyfriend trying to find the “perfect” love. I could never find satisfaction.

When I finally figured out that my real dad had been lying to me and avoiding me all these years when he repetitively said, “I love you so much, and I wish I could see you,” my world stopped. There I went… running again. It was a constant marathon. It still is. I liked the same guy for a “long” time, only to find out that after waiting years for him, maybe he isn’t the one for me. We both changed, something I greatly feared was going to happen. I have found amazing friends, and yet I have breakdowns of fear about losing them. I try to not hold on too tight, but I’m constantly petrified of losing people who mean so much to me. So what caused all this? Why does fear cover the good I’m reaching for? Well, because my dad ran from what is good, and now I am afraid to be like him: losing everything that is good because I was so afraid. I’m afraid to be afraid! What in the world? I told you, my greatest insecurity is my greatest fear.

However, each day God walks with me step by step, trying to teach me to love, to show that it’s okay, but in the back of my head love seems impossible. Yet, there are people who show me love and it breaks my walls of fear. For example, Miss Hannah Beers once said, “Kaytee, when you became my friend, you stepped into our circle of friends, and I’m not letting you step out and run away. I’m not letting you go.” That night changed my life because finally, I wasn’t allowed to run away, and so I didn’t. She is now my best friend, who I love incredibly. <3

But, how do I stop running from the fear of love? Well I run to the only love that will protect me, God’s. It’s just not easy. I still have breakdowns, I still push “amazing” things in my life away, I still look down on myself, I still think that guys are too good for me, I still cry when someone shows me true love: even when it’s just a meaningful hug or the words “I love you.” It’s my greatest insecurity, but it’s also my greatest strength. It has taught me to run to God when I feel insufficient: which is a lot! There are SO many times I look in the mirror and think, “Who could ever love this?” There are tons of times that I think I laugh way too much and need to calm down. I can’t count the number of times I have depended upon someone else’s satisfaction of me for the satisfaction I have of myself. It’s because when you are constantly running from a love that is all around you, fear seems to run your life: every thought, emotion, action... it’s insane.  YET! That’s why I give love so much: because I want people to know that they are loved always. The phrase I didn’t hear enough is the phrase I say repetitively. I want to let people know that they are loved and beautiful, I just one day need to believe it for myself.

To read more of Kaytee's writing, go to her blog. 

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Emily Taylor: Beauty is ________

Emily Taylor
B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. Beautiful. A word every girl wants to hear, yet no one seems to really know what beauty is. There is not a set of guidelines written out for us to say, "beauty is_____." Although, every girl has a cultural ideal burned into her mind telling her what is not beautiful about herself and she is most likely willing to do what it takes to try to change that. Our culture tells us from the time we are born how to get prettier--or it at least tells us that we are not pretty enough. Our culture tells us that beauty is found in the physical. I would like to take a stand and say that true beauty is a spiritual. matter.
Jewelry, hair, makeup, and of course a cute pair of shoes are all things I like. Call me a total girl, but I actually really enjoy dressing up!  I like feeling trendy and when someone compliments me on a new pair of shoes, but for years I fell into the lie that those items were what MADE me beautiful and I was not beautiful without them. Culture has always told me the physical is where beauty comes from. Since the time I could crawl I have been playing dress-up. When I got a bit older I started playing with that little girl makeup--you know, the kind that is basically colored putty that can leave your face stained bright pink for a couple of days…yeah, that kind. When I was in seventh grade I started using the real stuff; one time I mixed several different colors of eyeshadow together and wore it to school. A boy in my class asked me if I had black eyes; needless to say, I never wore that eyeshadow again! By my freshman year of high school, makeup was a part of my everyday routine. To be honest, I don't know if I can remember a single day I left the house without makeup from the time I was a freshman in high school until my freshman year of college. I so easily fell into the snare that culture throws at us; I thought my beauty was found in the physical.
A couple of weeks before the Insecurely Movement started, God began to repetitively remind me of a saying I once heard, "Don't let a day go by where you spend more time looking into a mirror than into your Bible." Those words cut me deep, because I knew I was not doing so. I was trying to keep my appearance up to the world's standard and meanwhile neglecting the inner beauty of God's standard. Several different occurrences happened in the weeks leading to the Insecurely Movement that led me to believe that I really needed a heart change. God was redefining the meaning of beauty in my mind. I began to pray that God would give me confidence in myself no matter how I look on the outside, because true beauty is found from the inside. I memorized Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." I said this to myself everyday until it was instilled within my brain so that I was constantly reminded that my beauty must be found in my character, not my clothes or makeup.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing bad about doing your hair and makeup and dressing with your own unique style! The breaking point is this: when impressing the world with your image is more important to you than transforming your heart to the image of God.
The Insecurely Movement has truly challenged and changed my heart. Since the Insecurely Movement I have left my room a countless amount of times without makeup. My outward appearance no longer defines me; my God defines me. I now can leave the house without makeup and still feel beautiful, because no matter how I may look on the outside to others, my true beauty shines from within!
God has redefined the meaning of beauty in my life, let Him do so in yours.
I am Emily Taylor and I am secure.

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Katie Stanford: Secure in Christ

As a child, I always wanted to be the center of attention. If there were people near me, I wanted them to be my audience. I would put my favorite music on and pretend that they were at my concert. Everyday I would run around outside pretending to be Pocahontas with my hair blowing in the wind while singing all of the songs from the movie. Needless to say, I was one weird kid! I grew up in a very athletic family. My younger sister was the type of person who could excel at any sport she tried. My mother was always the one to coach her, and they made an excellent team. I, of course, tried my hand at sports but was never able to live up to par with Brooke. As I grew up, my Kid’s Church pastor saw some potential in me and started teaching me human videos. I had found the place where I belonged. I started to do more and more human videos, and I fell in love with acting.

Summer in between my freshman and sophomore year, my world fell apart. My Kid’s Pastor resigned after dealing with a scandal in her personal life, and my older sister stopped talking to any of my family members. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know why everything was going wrong. I then started to get the terrible “what if” thoughts. “What if I would’ve encouraged Tisha more?” “What if I let Danielle know how much her family loved her and wanted her home?” “What if I told Tisha that I wanted to grow up to be like her one day?” “What if I let Danielle know that I longed to have a great sister relationship with her?”

These questions haunted me. With each day that passed, I started to feel worthless and forgettable. On the outside, I was acting like nothing was wrong. I became so numb to anything and everything, and I finally resorted to self-harm to allow myself to feel again. With every blow of pain I felt, I could escape into a world where I could control that pain. It was easy to take care of. In the end, all I needed was a band-aid. A lot easier to mend than any mental pain, eh?

As high school went on, the wounds slowly started to heal. I had accepted what I could not change. God and His amazing redemptive power healed my mind and restored my thinking. I started to not care what people thought of me, and I found myself a much happier and carefree person.

Of course I still struggle with self-harm and self-image, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s a constant reminder of what God has brought me out of. Through His power alone, I can write this story, and I can honestly tell you that there is hope.

 

“What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.” 2 Corinthians 10:18 MSG

 

I am Katie Claire Stanford, and I am secure in Christ. 

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Abbi Leathers: Insecurity for real

 Abbi Leathers

Insecurity: The oh-so-lovely gift from SATAN to pretty much the entire population of girls on this planet Earth (and boys too I guess, equal opportunity and stuff).

Okay but for real.. insecurity is totally straight from Satan. Want to hear about my never-ending battle with the nasty crap? (Sure Abbi, I’d love to!) Alright, sweet. Let’s just back it right on up to THE WORST YEAR OF ANYONE’S LIFE EVER: That’s right, you guessed it, sixth grade. Can I get an “amen”?! You know, that’s the year when you returned to school after summer break in your cool new jean skirt and leggings, and half the boys were still smaller than you and the other half grew about ten feet, started talking with that bass down low, and sprouted massive amounts of armpit hair that they insisted on showing off every chance they could with their jank, homemade cutoff t-shirts. You with me? Yeah, well that’s the same year when I learned all I didn’t want to know about pimples. I was only twelve years old when I went to my mom and demanded to learn about the wonderful world of makeup. I was in my last year of elementary school, and my dependence upon hiding my face had already begun.  And let me tell you, I got to be pretty good at it.

So basically, that continued all through the awkward junior high years and right on through the high school ones too. I’ve always struggled with my complexion, and I’ve literally tried every remedy known to man. And despite the fact that I’ll be twenty years old in just a few short months, my face still acts like it belongs to that twelve year-old girl in the sixth grade.

Since all that began, I can honestly say I’m not even sure if there has been a day in my life that I’ve gone without makeup completely. Over the years I grew to be embarrassed of my face and did my very best to hide it. I cut my bangs and never pulled them back in an attempt to hide half my face, and when someone would try to make eye contact with me, I’d quickly look away. I was the epitome of insecure.

Like most girls, I’ve also battled with a lack of confidence in my weight, size, hair, voice and pretty much everything else about myself too. I know what it’s like to grow up in a culture consumed by commercials with undressed Victoria’s Secret models and an obsession with sex. And I definitely know what it’s like to want to be desired. Been there. Done that. Still fighting that battle.

But I can honestly tell you that when I realized that the Creator of this entire, amazing universe desires me and is relentlessly pursuing me, well that’s when my perspective changed a little. As Christian men and women, we’re all for the idea that God is perfect in every way and Created the Earth and everything in it. But then we continue to hate ourselves and every feature we possess. But do you not realize that YOU were created by that perfect Creator? The Creator that makes no mistakes and does everything intentionally? The One who created the ocean and heartbeats, daisies and oxygen? Not only did He create those things, but he stepped back from it all in the end and said “Dang, that’s good,” (or something similar that.) THAT’S the God who created YOU. He made you on purpose. He made you for a reason. He makes no mistakes. And He’s your biggest fan. You are His most prized masterpiece.

Now do a brother a favor, and the next time you look in the mirror, try to see yourself the way your Creator sees you. Because He says you are beautiful, you are original, you were carefully made, and you are a masterpiece.

And maybe skip all the foundation. It’s actually kind of liberating once in a while.

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Nicole Finnell: Healing Process

Nicole Finnell

 

These are the words of the very things that shaped who I am. I have to dig deep to bring my insecurities to the surface. I’ve dealt with a lack of confidence due to both my appearance and personal experiences. Growing up, I was the slightly more than chubby girl with the slicked back hair and the face covered in acne. I spent a great deal of my time in books. I was a “nerd” who found her security in school. My brains were what gave me value. I found comfort in being the class clown because that seemed to be the only way I fit in contentedly with my peers. I found security in my humor. Until the summer before my junior year when the weight came off, the acne cleared up, and I learned that I didn’t have to wear a ponytail every day of my life. I became confident in my looks, I became okay with who I was and my personality stayed the same.

I enter into my junior year thinking this was it. “I’m finally free of the burden of worrying every day whether I was presentable and acceptable to the world.” Little did I know that I would soon meet my biggest insecurity. His name holds no significance. It was his actions that made all the difference. His words made me feel beautiful and his actions made me feel worthy. For the first time in my life I was being noticed by a guy. Within no time I fell head over heels for this boy, and with that, my self-worth would start to grow attached to the opinions and thoughts of this guy. Everything he wanted I did. Everything he disapproved of, I stopped. I wasn’t Nicole anymore. Instead of being an original, like I had been my entire life, I was a carbon copy of the person he wanted and created. As time went by, he got tired of me. A crushed little girl, I tried to move on pretending he didn’t destroy a little piece of me.

This same guy will be seen in and out of my life for the next four years. I was his fall back girl and I had a low enough self-esteem to be exactly that. Even if for the moment I wanted to be wanted and I longed to feel beautiful… So I let him use me. Eventually, I would become the secret; a hidden aspect of his life. I would feel as though I were not good enough, not pretty enough, not perfect enough to be a part of his reality, so I did my best to fit into his fantasy. I gave what was most precious to me so easily to this guy only to be left alone. Again. And hurt. Again. And feeling worthless. Again. It’s easy to see that I let my insecurities in my worth take control of me, leading to the insecurities I would struggle with (and still struggle with) because of these experiences. It has taken time, and still more time is needed, for me to fully recover from such a long period of being used as I was. Through the fasting and praying of dear ones, and the time spent seeking God through it all, I have come to terms within myself and about myself. I have learned to be content with me. I know I have worth, I know I deserve more, I know I deserve to be treated better, and I am fighting with all the newly found strength I possess to keep what purity, integrity, and honor I have left, knowing that my God is gracious enough to restore all that I had given away.

Today, I’m still in love with learning, I enjoy making people laugh, and I struggle with who I am on occasion. I wear the scars of my insecurities as proof of healing. God did more than put a band-aid over my wounds. He completely healed them. He is the God of restoration, and He fixed what satan was bent on destroying: my self-worth and my relationships. These scars are my testimony, my evidence of a great God who has done wonders within me. I can now face this guy saying I know I am worth more, I know I deserve better. I can honestly forgive him, and I can know he forgives me. I can look in a mirror with confidence and say I am beautiful. If this journey has taught me anything it is that I am more than meets the eye. I am not defined by the mirror I stare in each morning. My confidence and security comes from a God who says the world’s standards of beauty are severely screwed up. I am declared beautiful and valuable by the creator of the universe. No other source can tell me any different for their opinions are negated and considered void by a greater truth. I am Nicole Lynn Finnell and I am secure in Christ.

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