Accepting Myself

I listened to the first of a new sermon series today and it’s entitled Soul Therapy. The first sermon was all about accepting who you are. I am excited for this series because self-esteem and self-image are things I have struggled with most of my life and I feel I am not alone in that! I believe so many of us struggle with these issues and I hope that my notes and thoughts on these sermons may help someone reading in some way!

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Many times the greatest battles in our lives, both spiritually and physically, are from within our own minds. The enemy (the devil) can do more damage in our minds than anything else. If he is let in our mind, he can slowly gain control and ultimately change our perception of ourselves and hinder our relationships with not only other people but God as well. In the passage above, David was amazed with God’s workmanship. David was someone who was rejected many times in life, yet he often reminded himself that God made him and he has value!

We need to recognize the poison or poisons of self-rejection.

Insecurity-lack of confidence which usually leads to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. This can then lead us to jealousy.

Jealousy-When we are filled with self-rejection we can become jealous of others; what they do, what they have, how they look etc. Jealousy can lead us to anger.

Anger-Occurs when we are always comparing ourselves and believing we got the short end of the stick. This can then lead to selfishness.

Selfishness-Can be a result of poor self-esteem. It can cause us to become absorbed with ourselves and give us I-itis. Everything will be about “I, I, I” which can lead to the last of the poisons of self-rejection, fear.

Fear-We will end up living in fear. Fear of what might happen to us. Fear of trying. Fear of failing.

All of these points will poison our spirit and souls. We are all spirits and we all have a soul and our soul is our mind, will and emotions. If our spirit, and especially our soul is poisoned, the devil will use this against us. The devil will never hesitate to use self-rejection to control how we feel and destroy us.

The place of self-esteem.

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Many people have heard the verse above, yet don’t often focus too much on the last 5 words. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is hard to fulfill when we don’t love ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, we can’t truly love anyone else. We don’t need to become arrogant and prideful, but there is a balance between having too high of self-esteem and too low of self-esteem, and the balance or middle ground is ideal! Too high or too low of self-esteem are equally harmful.

Self image is how we view ourselves and that in turn determines our value. So we’ll never know or acknowledge our true values if our perception of ourselves is off. Self-esteem is how we value ourselves. I think it goes without saying that both self-image and self-esteem work hand in hand. We cannot have one without the other. David, whom we referred to at the beginning of the blog, had a great handle on self-image and self-esteem; often reminding himself that God made him and he found his value in that fact.

Our functional nature is based on what we can do. This includes our talents and abilities gifted to us by God. We ALL have been given a unique gift or talent and even some of us are given multiple gifts and talents. Our gifts and talents can determine our functional nature.

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Intrinsic nature has to do with who we are as a person. In Psalm 139:14 it states, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” David wasn’t boasting in pride but he was biblically and spiritually recognizing God made him. He knew he was special in the eyes of the Lord and that God does not make junk. We would all do good to remember that. When we are feeling down on ourselves in any way, we need to remember God created us the way we are and He does not make junk! We are all made unique and we should be confident in who we are and BE that person. BE YOU!

We need to change the way we think by accepting God’s viewpoint of who we are.

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In “our” image or in “our” likeness. Our or “us” refers to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit! We have been given authority and part of God is in ALL of us. We were ALL made in their image. How then, knowing that, can we view ourselves in a negative light?

We have to stop comparing ourselves to other people. This is both unhealthy and unproductive. No two snowflakes or blades of grass are the same; they’re unique and such is the same with people. We are all unique and no two people are the same or have been equipped with the same abilities or talents. We need to compare ourselves to the Lord and strive to be like Him and NOT like others around us.

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Remember, your weakness doesn’t disqualify you! Moses gave about 5 different excuses to disqualify himself because he didn’t seem to think to highly of himself.

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What Moses didn’t realize is that we ALL have weaknesses but none of those disqualifies us from being used by God! We need to focus more on what we CAN do and less on what we CAN’T do!

We also need to separate our worth from our importance. We should always strive to do our best; try our hardest in all we do! We are never going to win every time and we will never be immune to criticism, but our failure or even our success does NOT define our worth to God!

I fully understand the struggle with self-esteem and self-image; I have never been one who thought highly of myself at all! I often told people if given a scale of 1 to 10 my level would be in the negatives! Many times it’s hard for us to reprogram our brains to see our worth when we were wired at younger ages to believe negative things others told us about ourselves. It will definitely be a challenge for myself, but I have never thought that the way I viewed myself basically insults God. If I don’t love who I am, am I not telling God He made a mistake? We all know God doesn’t make mistakes, therefore I (and you) are created just how we are meant to be created…we just have to nourish ourselves in the right way to grow in the right direction! Reflecting back, I think I allowed some things to happen in my life (maybe not intentionally) but I believe now that my lack of self-image and self-esteem caused my poor judgement in several areas in life. The good thing is that God doesn’t condemn me for any of it, but graciously accepts me and has confidence that I can always grow from these situations. Not all of us view negative circumstances in that way, but I believe all that happens to us equips us to learn, grow and then help others who need help that we once needed ourselves! I pray that everyone reading this acknowledges any poison of self-rejection in their lives and makes every effort to rid it from their lives, especially their minds! May we all recognize our uniqueness, special talents and differences as positives! You are exactly who you are supposed to be! Let us all love ourselves for who we are inside and out and let that allow us to love each other the same!

Remember, you were not made to be the same as anyone else, so don’t attempt to be!

Much Love and God Bless ❤

A Tough Topic

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It’s very early morning, but I’m feeling led to venture down a certain path most people would choose not to talk about…

Suicide, Suicidal Thoughts and Suicidal Tendencies.

I get it, it’s not one of the most upbeat subjects to discuss, but not every conversation is meant to make you feel comfortable; some are meant to stir up your emotions and be thought-provoking and hopefully inspiring. Sharing our most vulnerable moments in life will likely be what other’s need to hear most.

As most of you probably have figured out by the majority of my posts, I am, in fact, a Christian. I obviously do believe in God and I was raised in a loving home. From the outside looking in, most would wonder what would cause someone with a life like me to even come close to having to deal with this subject matter. Let me say this first, Christians definitely aren’t perfect, much like everyone else. We all have our flaws and we all deal with problems and hardships differently. Being a Christian doesn’t make any if us immune to any kind of problems in life, but it can change our perspective and how we approach our own issues. We definitely fall, and many of us over and over…but we’re all on a unique path and on different maturity levels when it comes to our faith. So with that said, I’ll share my own personal experience on the topic.

As previously mentioned, I come from a loving intermediate family. Two parent household and my parents have been together for many years and still are. I grew up with two older brothers, so being feminine was never really an option 😂 I had to keep up with the boys and being rough and tumble wasn’t an option, it was necessity! 😝 We went to church on a regular basis; every Sunday and almost every Wednesday. Our small church felt more like a family than anything else. It truly was one of a kind. I also went to one elementary school, one middle school and one high school, never changing schools, so I had that stability too. I even had friends who went through each grade with me from the start. I was always close with my parents, a handful of other relatives, some teachers and I had friends…so why did I get to a point where I felt alone and misunderstood?

There’s been a few instances in my life where this topic of suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies has been most prominent. First I start with a middle school aged me. When we’re younger, we’re led to believe adults are rather truthful. They tell us things that will help us out and they are there to guide us in life, but not all adults are good spirited and not all have the best intentions. I don’t want to seem as if I am bad mouthing my family, but I am being honest…parts of my extended family are very harsh critics. There are some whom have always been negative and hateful, not only about other people they know but towards each other too. They magnified your “flaws” yet conveniently forget to ever acknowledge their own. I was often compared to someone else in my family, whom I love dearly. As all of us know, every person is built different. I remember as early as 8 being ridiculed for how I looked in a swim suit just swimming at my grandmother’s house. Now when I was 8 I was about 57 pound and really wasn’t a “big” person at all. At 8, I didn’t have that thought process though, I trusted that I was being fed the truth by an adult who should have loved me, but obviously did not. We would have holiday meals and even meals together after church on Sundays at times, and you’ll even be criticized for how much you put on your plate and if you get up for seconds, “you’re gonna get fatter eating that!” Yes, fattER as in you’re already fat now and more food is just going to add to your “problem”. I think of how different it would be had I been the person I am today back then; but I was still young. All of this criticism was constant and repetitive and at such a young age you foolishly start to believe the words being said about you. You now grow up believing you’re fat, ugly and you are left with zero self-esteem. Broken even before leaving elementary school. Fast forward to middle school me. Many children I know all go through that awkward stage where they’re in the middle of growing and their bodies are fluctuating and maturing and that only further aggravated the issues I already had. Siblings tease you on a regular basis, although not trying to add to your pain intentionally, they can mimic some things you’ve heard for years now and the self esteem has no chance. I don’t believe my brothers to have meant to hurt me with their words deeply, but their words stirred the echoes of the ones who did mean to. After years of hearing so many things wrong with my appearance: my weight, my skin, my teeth, my hair etc. one day (in 8th grade I believe) I felt like I had enough. I thought to myself what’s the point of being here; being alive to be the punching bag for others? It seems so trivial, but look at how bullying has come to the spotlight. Bullying happens not just at school or by classmates but by family members at get togethers or even worse, for some it happens in their own homes by their own parents. I felt alone, I felt hurt, I felt confused and I felt like a burden. I somehow convinced myself that lives around me would improve if I took my own life. We grew up having guns in our house and being around guns, and our parents always kept the guns put up. Being in middle school, you are kind of old enough to find the gun and maybe even sneak it off. Now, a gun I got a hold of may not have killed me, could have hurt me bad but who knows if the handgun would have done what I intended it to. I found it, brought it back go my room and crying I held this gun to my temple with my finger on the trigger. All these thoughts flooded my mind instantly..a mix of insults and comparisons. In one moment, I felt a tug at my heart. I felt a presence with me and my mind went to people close to me and I could see clearly how they would be affected. What if it hurt more people instead of improving their lives. In an instant, finger still on the trigger, I had this moment of clarity and I didn’t feel alone in that moment. In my heart I 110% believe it was God stopping me because He had better plans for me and my life. So after more tears, I gathered myself and snuck the gun back and never spoke of that incident. I felt ashamed.

Now onward we go into high school years. I was definitely not a “school spirit” type of person. Wasn’t part of a popular group nor did I desire to be. I was very much my own person and I wasn’t afraid to let my differences show.  Still had friends, made good grades yet I fell down the same rabbit hole again. In my opinion, high schoolers are still confused on who they are as a person, but I was already there, I knew who I was and I had for a long time. You meet people who try to convince you that you would be better if you were different from how you are. I always had confidence to tell those types of people to take those conversations elsewhere because I was stronger than that. Why as a teenager do we let people we think we “love” alter our perceptions of ourselves. Our willingness and eagerness to change becomes annoying. Trust that we rarely give is suddenly freely given and then shattered into a million pieces. Previous friendships we believed we may have had before dating are betrayed and broken beyond repair. Here we are again, rejected, criticized, hurt and alone again. The story repeats itself. I let some people into my life and my heart that never deserved it. I was essentially that 8-year-old girl again, hanging on every word this person(s) said. Trying to fit into their image of what “pretty” or “beautiful” was. Little changes here and there and before you know it, you’re not yourself at all, but the person you believe you love is now more interested. That should be a red flag telling you to forget all of this, but sometimes we are simply ignorant. Persuasion and pressure, they cause you to find yourself in situations you have no way out of. You can be told “if you do this, then I believe you like me” “if you so this I probably will date you” “if you don’t do this I’ll never talk to you again”…yet, either way, you end up alone so it never really mattered. I know I am somewhat vague on this specific circumstance, maybe I will open up about it further in the future because it is something others go through as well. This situation led me to lose all care about myself and my well-being. I began being reckless and stupid. I would get sloppy drunk and find myself unable to lift my own head out of my vomit. I would once open my eyes and be laying in the middle of a road at night, anyone could had hit me and been unaware I was even in the road. I once went to climb off a 3rd floor balcony, but luckily was stopped in the process. I believe my lowest point was being so drunk and sick that I was shaking and unable to get up, so I had to crawl to the bathroom and no one would help. I remember laying there and thinking what am I doing? I was so scared and again, felt alone. All I wanted to do was call my parents to come get me, but I didn’t want to disappoint them because I had already disappointed myself enough. I prayed, CONTINUOUSLY, for God to let me survive that night; let me get out of here and I promise I’ll never drink again. To this day, I choose not to drink.

At some point in high school, I would start with the self harm. What would be categorized as “suicidal tendencies”. I started down the cutting route. It got to a point where I could walk in a room and see all the options of sharp objects I could use. I always cut in places you couldn’t see or that would be easily concealed: Bottom of the foot, palm of the hand, upper arm and hip. I used items like: seam rippers, broken pen shafts, scissors, broken cds, just whatever I could get my hands on really. Luckily, for me, it never went too far. It was many times about numbing myself. Feeling the physical pain would help me escape the emotional pain I felt at the time, thus the appeal. An escape. An easy way out. I met my now husband not long after that period of time and I credit him for opening my eyes and making me realize this could not continue.

The quote at the top of the blog represents advice I would give my younger self. There will be very dark times in most everyone’s life, but knowing that the darkness will eventually fade and the pain that’s consuming you today will ease and even subside, that information can make all the difference. Even the people you find to be the happiest and funniest, the ones who thrive on building others up and making others laugh, the ones who come from great homes…those people struggle too, in fact, they may just be some of the ones who are struggling the most. My story did not end and now I can be that light in someone else’s darkness. The beacon that leads them out of the water and onto the shore. Your story doesn’t have to end and it DOES get better. You are worth more than you believe.

Go out and speak with love. Go out of your way to let others know they are loved and cared for. Do something nice for a stranger. Ask someone if they need help, if they’re okay. You never know the profound impact one simple caring act can have. You may just restore hope in someone who believes there is none left.

My prayer for everyone today is that you have confidence in who you are on the inside and out. I pray that when you’re facing difficult times you find someone and confide in them. My hope is that you pray and know your prayers are important enough to be heard. I want all of you to acknowledge your strength, courage and importance. We all have a purpose for being alive. Each one of us has a unique gift and we can’t give up before even finding out what it is. Our gift will help so many others as well as ourselves. You are loved. You are important. You are cared for. You are seen. You are heard, even in your silence.

It does get better…that’s a promise.

Much love and God Bless

The Fruit Loop In The Cheerios

I have been lurking around my own old social media posts, to dig up some gems that I could build upon on here. I found a few promising topics and I may just use one now! I haven’t been blogging much in the early morning, although with the kids sleeping it would be a more opportune time, I tend to wait to see what inspiration the day and God hands me. Today, I feel this topic works for so many people, although it’s widely perceived as more of a female issue, I am confident more males deal with it than is admitted.

Self Esteem.

Most of my life I would have deemed myself someone with zero self esteem…I would have even ventured to tell you a negative number! It’s unfortunate how many people in this world don’t recognize their own worth. It’s very sad and I don’t see that issue getting any better, if anything (in my opinion) it’s gotten worse with all the “rage” there is around the cosmetic industry and not to mention society’s ever-growing expectations of how one should look. I am very much a person who doesn’t care how I am viewed by others (if you could see old school photos, you’d understand more lol) but even being a person who doesn’t let people under their skin as I have gotten older, I didn’t always shrug off the words of others. I believe, subconsciously, we hold on to much more than we realize. We hear the words of others in our own heads but it’s in our own voice and not theirs. Somewhere down the line we gave a person or persons the power to enter our thoughts and alter our perception of self.

I’ll share something I have previously written on a social media post, and then continue on from there. Here’s what I wrote, “It’s been an extremely long journey for me to look at this girl in the mirror and say, “eh, you’re aaaiigght!” I literally used to avoid anything that showed a reflection whenever I could.
Getting ready for school I’d brush my teeth to the side of the mirror. I remember any time I’d catch a glimpse in my bedroom mirror, I’d break down in tears because one glimpse would reveal at least 15 flaws I saw with my appearance. One glimpse and the echo of all the negative words I had constantly been fed would overwhelm my mind. No matter what, I always seemed to JUST miss that boat; that boat which offered a cruise upstream through a plethora of compliments that would nourish self-esteem and self-confidence, yet I always seemed to be left in the wake.
Left in the wake in rough, choppy water…always struggling to stay afloat amongst the never-ending negative words which forever consumed me. Trying to always keep my head held high, but only ever keeping it just above water…just enough to survive, just enough to simply be.
I now am at a point where I realize the rough choppy water was never a reflection of myself, but a reflection of those whom the hatred often flowed from.
Today, I am FAR from confident, but I can look at myself and see more than the negative words. More than the comparisons. I can say maybe you’re alright, and to say I’m alright to myself may not seem like much, but it’s a pretty big deal. It may seem as if I am exaggerating, but trust me when I say I wish these words were an exaggeration. Unfortunately hateful words from unhappy and cruel people starting a young, impressionable age (just 8 years old) can ultimately affect you for a lifetime. I’ll always hear them in the back of my mind, I am just hopeful they will drown. 👐🖒 Drown out hate and let the love always flow. 💋❤ I pray that every last person reading this knows how beautiful they are, inside and out and how much they are worth. Never let the words of others define who you are, especially who you are to yourself!”

I didn’t feel that I could have written it any better than that day, thus sharing the actual post. I’m sure not everyone can relate to this topic, but I am very sure there are thousands out there (at least) who can and hopefully they can start to heal. I do want everyone reading this to know their worth and believe they are more than any negative comments that have ever been made about them. Some of us, at one time or another, may not have understood that hateful and unhappy people want nothing more than to bring others down to their level of unhappiness. Misery loves company; but we control whether we sink or swim. It’s a difficult process to overcome those thoughts, especially when so many comments were constantly fed to you. I wouldn’t say I personally have amazing self esteem, like I mentioned previously I would have said zero or some negative number…but today, I could say I’ve made my way over to the positive side of the number line, even if it’s a 1, it’s still a step in the right direction.

My challenge for you today would be to stand in front of a mirror and think or say something positive about yourself. Something that I often found confusing is that I had confidence in who I was, in my character, yet it was the outer shell I believed didn’t match. So, when I tell yo to think or say something positive about yourself…it can be appearance or even something about who you are inside, or both! Write 5 positive things about your appearance/character on a piece of paper and keep it somewhere that you can easily find it; heck, post it on the mirror! 😊 Our differences/uniqueness is where true beauty comes from. The world is full of such diverse beauty, yet everyone strives to look like each other or act like each other.  Find confidence in yourself and don’t compare yourself to others or let others compare you to someone else. You have a beauty that no one else has, use it!  May you come to the realization that all those comments you were ever force-fed were and are a reflection of the person who said them or says them; they were/are never about you in the first place. Much love and God Bless!romans12_2