Many of you are coming to me asking me to lift you up in prayer, that God would give you more confidence, that you would love yourself more. Many prayer requests are filled with words such as, “body image issues,” “hard time with self-love,” “please pray for body acceptance.”
Maybe you’re one of those who messaged me this prayer request, and I want you to know, you’re not alone. Some of you asked for me to share how I find my confidence.
I, too, have struggled with body image issues. Growing up, I was always the tiny girl. Which means I had no chest or butt. I had super curly hair that was usually larger than my body. Although older women loved my hair, the girls my age, and the boys, would make comments.
In a world where size seems to be everything, there’s never a perfect size. You can be tiny and struggle with how you look. You can be healthy with your BMI and yet still struggle when you look in the mirror. You can be eating healthy and taking care of yourself, but still feel discontent with curves. Or maybe you have been finding yourself in a place where you don’t feel healthy so you are working on it, but others comments bring you down. Honestly, body shaming needs to end. And I think you and I are meant to end the body shaming in our own world, with our friends, loved ones, and ourselves. Love yourself, love others the way God created them, and show them your support rather than criticism.
If you’re one size, you wish you were smaller, or you wish you were bigger… There’s never an element of full contentment because we’re all comparing ourselves to something that is not attainable.
If you’re reading this and wondering “how can this girl struggle with body image issues?” That’s another issue. I have asked the same question about many curvy beautiful women who say they struggle. To me, they had what I wanted…which means, yes I was comparing myself to them. So if you find yourself comparing to others, please read on to realize why you shouldn’t be doing that.
Some of us have been bullied as a child which leads us to have insecurities.
I remember words like, “your hair is a rats nest,” “your chest is the size of a 5 year old,” “where’s your butt? I can’t find it,” and honestly many more, way worse, hard comments that have been stated towards me. (Honestly just writing this, I am laughing out loud how mean kids can be? Like are you kidding me…HA, ridiculous).
I had comments made from girls and boys. Which some of those people were my friends and they meant no harm, and they honestly probably never even meant it as anything, but the enemy knew my insecurities and he used those words.
Sounds so dumb and ridiculous, but now as an adult, those same comments made to me when I was 12-17 can echo in my mind and remind me of all my insecurities at times if I don’t remember my worth.
I remember being a senior in high school and a girl told me that I looked like a 12 year old boy when we were on the beach, right after I took my suit cover off. What that girl doesn’t know is that I ran to the ocean and cried. Words are powerful and they are not very nice at times. Those words fed into my insecurities. The enemy would try to use it to discourage me and make me think less of who I am.
I remember one day in high school, I was looking in the mirror and I just didn’t like what I saw. Words of others echoed in my head. I would try to figure out ways that I could maybe change my look, whether that be straighten my hair or eat marshmallows to make my chest grow (hahaha I’m so sorry for any boys reading, but it’s true I heard that would help? HA for real imagine little Tay stuffing marshmallows in my face…)
As I looked in the mirror I remember actually saying out loud, “I’m ugly.” And instantly I felt “off.” It’s like something didn’t check right with my spirit.
I started to repeat it, trying to get comfortable with the words since I know I felt it. But then an analogy popped up in my head that I couldn’t shake. I feel like this analogy is simple and maybe the Holy Spirit has inspired other artists with a similar analogy. At the time I was super into painting and mixed media. I had this vision of my art telling me it felt ugly after I was so proud of what I created. The art work started telling me it wished it had a different creator, more structure, better design, better quality media. The art said that the artist made mistakes and made it imperfect. In my vision I was shocked and hurt because I was so proud of the art I created, and it hated itself.
Well then as I’m standing in front of the mirror, I look at myself realizing:
my curly hair, skinny, flat-chested, no butt, little body was indeed that piece of art. I was calling the Creators work ugly. I was viewing myself as no value. But I then realized, just as it crushed me to “hear” the thoughts my art had about itself, how does my Creator view my words when I say that I am ugly?
I am reading your prayer requests and my heart aches. Knowing that many of you are looking at yourself in the mirror and not seeing the beauty of what He sees. The thing is, the worlds beauty is very different. The worlds beauty quickly diminishes and it doesn’t last forever. The world’s beauty is just that, it’s the world’s, it’s not heaven’s. It’s limited. But God’s beauty is eternal.
I believe once I started understanding my creator I began to understand His creation.
Which means, I then began to understand myself. I started to realize the significance of being created in His image, and how that goes beyond my physical image. It means that there’s something deep in my soul that’s drawn to be like Jesus, to be near Him. And to me, that sounds a lot more beautiful than changing my outer appearance to match what others think is “beautiful.”
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians is such a great reminder of what we are placed here on earth to do. We are God’s handiwork. Which means not only did He specially create us, He created us to go forward and do what we were created to do.
So I decided to change my definition of beauty from the worlds, to God’s. My confidence grew immensely. But not in a way where I’m walking with a strut and flipping my curls, but in a way where I genuinely know that what matters is my heart.
Do I get down here and there about a pimple or a bad hair day, or super sad when I can’t gain weight because of health issues? Sure, I’m human.
But I have a deeper confidence in me because I KNOW the artist, and He created me as a piece of art.
And you know what’s cool? Pieces of art by significant artist have a lot of value, and with age, that art’s value increases.
Which means, with age, with wisdom, with wrinkles, with all that it means to grow, GOD increases the value of His work as He creates in you a heart after HIM. HE sees the value that the art will have with age in the very beginning of creating it, if the art lasts. Which means, the art has to be cared for properly. Are you caring for yourself in a way that honors your worth?
But not only does He sees the arts value, He knows the value because of who HE is.
Now that’s just my little analogy, but it really helped me view myself differently. He saw the value in me before I knew to look for it.
Psalm 139 is the best for this. Because this scripture shows HE knows us better than anyone, HE is there for us any time and any where, HE created us in our mother’s womb and HE intricately knit us together.
HOW can we not see our value when we know our Creator?
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I being kind to myself with my words?
Am I focusing too much on my outer appearance?
Do I know the Artist that created me?
Am I encouraging others by showing them their value in Christ?
Oh please, Jesus open my eyes to see your value in me, and please open the eyes of my friends who are struggling to love themselves the way you created them.
Thank you for reading,