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teenager

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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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