Since I can remember I’ve always been a competitive person. I remember in elementary school, there was always a competition between my peers to see who was the tallest, or had the longest hair, or who had the best sneakers. In later years like high school, the girls would compare who had the biggest chest, or the skinniest legs. It seems like our minds have been programmed to have this competitive edge on us as humans and most times, it’s about characteristics that we are born with. All over social media there are ads and internet famous individuals who are trying to endorse their diet plans, work outs, and supplements. They tell us if we make their food, do their work outs, and take supplements that we will be skinny, happy, and beautiful. These dramatic lifestyle changes may work for some people, but I don’t see my thick thighs going anywhere anytime soon.
I have had personal struggles for most of my life with body image. Throughout my high school years, I went through multiple seasons of losing and gaining weight. I truly believed that the definition of beauty was based on the size of my thighs and the number on the scale. I remember spending hours at the gym running on the treadmill while I calculated exactly how many calories I consumed that day. It’s a scary life when your reflection in the mirror is distorted by temptation from the enemy. This on again off again relationship with food and weight loss is what consumed most of my high school years.
At the very beginning of the bible, God tells us the story of Adam and Eve. Two people who were created completely naked and free. Can you imagine that for a second? If sin had not entered this world, we would all be running around with no clothes on. Crazy. Anyways, this story is very interesting because it reveals the first time that human kind felt body image issues and food happened to be the first temptation and sin ever. That delicious looking piece of fruit that looked desirable to Eve, was the beginning of our sin in this world (Genesis 3: 6-7). She shared it with her husband and they both became ashamed of their bodies, just as the enemy wanted.
The enemy loves hearing those awful things we think and say about ourselves. After all, it was the first thing human kind was sinful of.
We admire the beauty of the sunset in such adoration. We take pictures of it, and sit in awe at this Godly creation. If we can sit and admire the colors of the sky that God has hand painted, why can’t we appreciate the beauty of our bodies that God breathed life into? Don’t think for one second that you are worthless, unloved, ugly, or not good enough. You are created on purpose by a perfect heavenly father. The same father who paints the color of the sky, handcrafted every hair on our heads and every curve on our bodies and it’s the same God that is alive in our hearts today. No number on the scale, or hours on the treadmill will take this perfect love away.
In first Samuel it explains that God doesn’t look at the things people look at. Rather He looks at our heart. People of this world will judge your body, including ourselves. But it’s God that will judge your heart, and at the end of this life that is all that is going to matter. After all, beauty is fleeting.
I can only imagine what Jesus would be saying to us if He were still walking on the earth. I can picture Him embracing His daughters with such love and adoration, the words beautiful and worthy would not even begin to describe the love God has for us.
Every single day we struggle with temptations from the enemy. God never said our lives here on earth would be perfect. His ultimate desire is to see us free from bondage. As we lay down our cross every morning, I encourage you to strip away the desires of this world, don’t be envious of the bodies of others, rather learn to appreciate the beautiful structure that God has given you. From the beginning of time, the struggle of body image has been alive in this world. Take a minute out of your morning before you eat your breakfast, before you step on the scale, before you begin your run, and before you scroll through social media, and pray to God. Become in touch with your heavenly father and ask Him to protect your mind and heart from these worldly cravings.
I would be lying if I said I never go a day without thinking about my appearance. There are seasons in my life where I struggle immensely. But it’s that amazing power of Christ that truly pulls me through these time. He is a good father; he guides me through those dark seasons so that I can walk confidently back to the women He created me to be. Your perfect size will be the one you have when living out your life with Christ.
This is a question that I’ve struggled with my entire life. Frankly, I believe that I’ll never not ask this question. I’m gonna make ya'll a deal; if I give you some past scoop and some present dish (four course meal if I say so myself), promise me that you’ll be honest with yourself as to where you stand with this question. These next few things I’ve learned have become concrete to the foundation of my life. It’s a lot to feast your eyes on so choose wisely. When I was a wee lil gal, I was insanely quiet. I would only follow people around and do what I was told. As most people would blame this on being the middle child, I blame it on myself and my bangs (they’re not for everyone, folks). I’ve been ‘5”6 since the fourth grade and was super chubby when I was young. I wanted to be popular and have friends and the only way I found that was through following others footsteps. I took acting as a child. After getting out of my comfort zone that I practically hibernated in, I figured out that I could be whoever I wanted and I loved that. I didn’t like the sad, quiet giant I was in any sense, so I changed. Making friends no longer became a priority in my life. It was a “light bulb” kind of moment. Suddenly the stage was set and I couldn’t care less as to who was watching. I heard this sweet lil line and I’ll never
forget it: Living your life to gain friends is a very lonely life to live. In trying to please others, you will never satisfy yourself.
Fast forward to kind of having my life together…??? (That’s a lie, will explain later.) Anyhoo, I’m in college now so I definitely know what I’m doing and who I am (again, sarcasm heavily intended). Being completely honest, I went through a process called “Rush” or “Recruitment.” It’s basically a week where I get to know all the sororities on campus and they get to know me. At the end of the week, I choose my top favorites and they choose a select few girls that they want in their sorority. If they choose me, by God I made it, Mom. Its low-key like matchmaker for groups of girls. I walked into Zeta thinking, “Wow, these girls are all beautiful and know what they are about.” I was terrified and insanely insecure. At this point, I wasn’t about to change myself to fit the mix so I was undeniably Audrey. They were loud and fun and I
loved it because that’s who I am (mostly, loud). Then, I got my letter from them. They chose
me… ME. Wow, I was not ready for that. There I was comparing myself to everyone physically
and yet they chose me along with all the other sweet, beautiful girls I know have to privilege of
calling my “sisters.” People try to stereotype us in many ways. We are all similar and yet so
different and that is why we are beautiful. From the outside looking it, I could’ve sworn it was
because of their Instagram feeds. From the inside looking out, let me tell you, it is because
those girls aren’t afraid of being vulnerable and broken. The exact reason why you needed to
hear these stories.
Let me repeat myself, I will probably never not ask myself the question of “Who am I?” In
a world that is constantly changing, I am constantly moving and molding, too. I will never be one
person. There is always so much to learn. If I ever believe I have my world together, it’s
probably because I’m the farthest from that. I quickly realized that I’m a mess and there’s
nothing I can do about that. I’m loud. I talk even more when I’m nervous or I don’t talk at all. I
like to be alone sometimes. Sometimes, I’m insanely needy. Ultimately, I’m super duper broken.
I have so many health issues and I’m the clumsiest person on the planet. Somedays I’m a
morning person. Other days, I refuse to speak to people prior to 10:00AM. I’ve been frequently
called a Jesus Freak and learned to freaking love it. My personality really cannot be pin-pointed.
There’s one reason and one reason alone why I’m content in not having a definitive answer as
to who I am. If I know who my King is, I know my name.
I know Whose I am.
I am a daughter of the One true King.
We must find solace in the sense that God is and always will be strong enough, brave
enough, and mind-boggling well… enough! I was made in His image to be like Him. We are
striving ever to be like-minded.
Not to show Christ to the world but to be Christ to the world.
It’s not “playing God” when God came down to live within you. There Holy Spirit is alive in you,
friend. A living breathing flame of God is burning inside of you. Read the scriptures. Learn the
fear of the Lord. When God brought Heaven down, He tore the veil and came to call you
“friend.” He dwells inseparably within us. This Love is who you are. This Love is what makes
being broken so beautiful. This Love is the spotlight of our lives so play your part. This Love is
undeniable. This Love is the composition of your very being. From your hair to the work of your
hands, from everlasting to everlasting. This love is mine and I am His.
You are a product of your Creator.
This Love is yours to have and to hold, forever.
This Love is your life. This Love is you. You are the light & salt to the world.
Who are you?
I am continuously overwhelmed by the goodness and grace of our Father God. Recently, I overcame something. And by recently I mean like last week recently. I struggled with the idea of comparison and wasn’t even aware of it. I am in a totally different season and place then I thought or imagined I would be. Instead of finding the joy and embracing the season, I was comparing myself to those around me who were where I wanted to be or God was already using in incredible ways. Needless to say, it’s been a very joyless time full of anxiety and tears. The old saying goes “I’m not sure who discovered water but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the fish,” sometimes when we are in our own bubble we don’t realize what is actually happening in us. We get so used to our own struggles and trials that we neglect to see our circumstances as they truly are. This was my case. I didn’t realize the problem of comparison and the way in which it was springing up a root of pride or envy within my own heart.
However, God lovingly revealed to me my issue a matter of days ago when I was having coffee with two very good friends, one of whom I had not seen in awhile. This friend excitedly told us all about her new job as a youth director and how God had been teaching her a lot about running the race set before her and chasing the life God had given her. In John 21:21-23 Jesus reveals the way in which Peter will glorify God and the first thing he does is ask “what about John?” Immediately Jesus basically says, “what’s it to you? You walk in your calling.” That hit home for me. For the next several days this passage, along with others about finding joy in trials and not losing heart showed up everywhere. The final driving point for me was while reading a daily devotional (Arise by Melodi Hawley).
One particular day was all about being faithful in the little and finding joy in normalcy. Why chase the glamorous when God calls us to the normal? Why pursue the calling of another when our sweet Father simply whispers, “be faithful in the little things for now (Luke 16:10).” I came to realize I wasn’t exactly doing that. Instead I was prideful and questioning the path and season God had placed me, basically telling the Savior of the world that I needed to be doing something else or living a different life. I wasn’t choosing joy or letting my light shine. I wasn’t being faithful in the mundane and the normal, working at everything as if I were working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23 & 1Timothy 4:15).
Today I want to encourage you to do the same. Find joy in the mundane. Remember that we are called to be faithful in the seasons God has placed us. He is good, loving, and cares far more about you than you ever could. He sees you. He knows you. He is lighting your path. Be faithful and let your light shine wherever you are.
Written by: Kristen
Ever since I could remember, I have struggled with worrying too much. I worried so much that it began to take a toll on me. I became anxious, nervous, and I had trouble catching my breath. It started to affect me until I started placing my cares and my burdens at the feet of Jesus. Once I began to do that, the less and less I was anxious or worried. Every so often, I do have nervous breakdowns and struggle with anxiety, but when I do, I realize that it is because I have not fully surrendered it to Christ. I can fully say that because of what happened to me this year.
It was the day after New Year’s and I was in deep distress. I was sitting on my couch watching TV, but I couldn’t focus on the show in front of me. I was so overwhelmed, anxious, and nervous about the situations in my life, and the idea of going to school the next day, was absolutely terrifying. My dad was beginning to have trouble seeing in one eye and the idea that he could possibly lose his ability to see in that eye was scary. My mom was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and it was starting to affect her. She was, in a sense, depressed and as her daughter, it was so sad and awful to watch her joy dwindle down. On top of that, I had friendship troubles, and we did not leave on good terms before Christmas break. I was afraid of what people would say about me, or how they would treat me. I did not know what to do. I was worried, and on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. I was pacing back and forth; my heart was beating faster and faster with just the thought of going back and facing all these people. I struggled with these emotions almost half the day, until I stopped and took a deep breath. In that moment, I realized I was going about this the wrong way. I closed my eyes and I prayed. I prayed that God would fill me with His peace, and give me guidance on what I was supposed to do. When I started to worry, I prayed. When I began to feel anxious and nervous, I prayed. I prayed every second of the rest of the day because I felt that one prayer wasn’t enough. I did not think that God was listening to me, so I prayed again and again. But God did hear my prayers that day. As I was sitting on the couch, waiting for dinner, I opened the Bible app and you wouldn’t believe what the verse of the day was.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I felt as though a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I read this verse. I cried tears of joy because God heard the cry of my overwhelmed and troubled heart.
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
The more and more worry I found within my life, the more I began to doubt God. Worry can be compared to a tire stuck in mud. You can try and try to spin the wheels to get out of the mud, but it’s useless. You will not get anywhere unless someone comes in to pull you out of there. Ladies, the more worry you have, more “stuck in the mud” you will be because you are not letting God help set you free from the stress of life.
The minute you take your eyes off of your situation and place them upon The Lord, the smaller your problems become.
When the disciples were in the boat in the raging storm, they were afraid. But when the disciples saw that Jesus had the power to calm the storm, their fear diminished. When the troubles of life are overtaking you, know that God has the power to calm the storm and He will give you His peace to endure.
Worry, stress, and anxiety are all sins. Why? Because it makes you doubt in who God is and what He is capable of. I encourage you to give it all to the Lord. There are so many situations in our lives that are too big for us to handle. In fact, when these problems get so huge and out of control, it’s because it isn’t meant for us to solve. God cares and loves each and every single one of you, His beautiful daughters. I encourage you to read Luke 12:22-28. My beloved sisters, the Lord has you in the palm of His hand! He carried all your burdens to the cross and crucified them, so that you don’t have the slightest worries. Whether its financial issues, family, friendships, God knows. He will give you exactly what you need.
He is always faithful!
If you ever find yourself worrying, stressing, or doubting God…..
Written by: Kimberly