Wednesday, December 11, 2013

on being me.

"Wow, you have a huge forehead."

"Standing next to her, you can really see how flat-chested you are."

"Well... you need to have a body that's in proportion if you want to model...."

"Your eyes slant down on the sides."

"Look at Jess and her cheesy grin. Always."

"You suddenly became thin and gorgeous."

"You look way older than you are. Its probably the lines around your eyes."

"You are very all-American, like there is nothing very eye-catching about you. Its a surprise that you photograph so well."

Isn't it frustrating how deep the words cut? We can hear all kinds of encouragement and piles of compliments, and yet its the insults, or "back-handed compliments", that whirl around in our minds torturing us quietly.

The other day I looked in the mirror and caught myself criticizing my features. Words that had been spoken over me years ago were playing in my head as I examined my "big forehead", and my eyes that "slant down on the sides", and my overall "not very eye-catching" look. Why wasn't I eye-catching? I have a "cheesy grin"? I thought it was good to be smiling. But then someone else told me I am getting "smile lines" around my eyes. Should I smile less? I even replayed something fresh that a friend said to me several few weeks ago about how I was "suddenly thin and gorgeous." What did that mean? Did she think I was big before? I didn't think I had lost weight. Was I not beautiful before? When was I not gorgeous? I didn't think I was changing, but if I am, is that okay? Ugh...

My mind was reeling and my heart felt extra heavy.
After a few minutes I found myself praying something like...
"Oh God help me to see what you see. I'm losing it over here..."

I waited and kept staring in the mirror.
I began specifically looking for the good things that I might have been missing.

New thoughts began to trickle in...

My eyes.... they resemble my Dad's eyes and my Grandma Mary's eyes. I love that.
This forehead... its a gift.... its probably the same forehead that someone in my family had generations before me. They would probably be delighted to know I look like them.
This face is all-American. How wonderful. It looks like a Wilson face. I like Wilson faces.
My smile. It reminds me of my mom. She is always smiling. How awesome that someone thinks I am always smiling too.
Smile lines. We are all going to get wrinkly. The best wrinkles must be the ones earned through years of smiling. What a gift to have so much worth smiling about.

The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. (proverbs 18:21)
I agree. Words are extremely powerful, especially the negative ones. But thankfully we have an even greater power at work within us, that enables us to take our thoughts captive, and replace the garbage with life-giving truth.

I am not the most beautiful girl we've ever seen. I'm not the smartest or most gifted. I am not the greatest decorator or most brilliant motivational speaker. I am mediocre when it comes to meeting the needs of people I love. I am just okay when it comes to cooking and house-keeping. I won't be cast in a Victoria's Secret runway show, or be on the cover of a magazine for being the world's sexiest woman. I am not a fashionista, I am not a talented baker and I am not really a professional anything. I could use some work in the wife department, and I am not super confident in my future mothering skills either...

But I am me. And I'm the only me there is. I am the only one with this particular array of gifts, skills, passions, background, family lineage, physical features and personality makeup. I am incredibly unique. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have something glorious to bring to this picture, because there is no one else like me. I was created to reflect a piece of God's heart that ONLY I can bring, because I am the only me there is. I am irreplaceable. Someone else may be able to do my work, but nobody else can do my life. I am the only me that can fulfill my calling. There is no one else.

So while I could spend hours picking apart my flaws, and even creating new things to despise about myself, I am choosing another way. A better way. To embrace being me. Wonderful and beautiful me. People will continue to have opinions of me, and thats okay. But I will choose to agree with my Creator's thoughts towards me, rather than looking toward other creations to tell me who I am.
What He says will be the truth about me.

And the same is true for you, you know? There is no one else like you. Those eyes. That nose. Your laugh. Your passions. Your skills. Your family. Your story. Its all unique to you. You bring something marvelous to this story that no one else can bring. We need you. So while you could wish yourself away by mulling over everything that is wrong about you, do us all a favor, and embrace being you. You are needed. You are wanted. You are loved. It doesn't matter what has ever been spoken over you, catch those thoughts as they wander through that sweet brain of yours, and throw them out. Replace them with the truth about yourself and move forward. There is so much life to live, and no one can live your life, but YOU.

Praying for you.

1 comment:

Kristie Mestas said...

Jess, this is absolutely BEAUTIFUL- just like you!!! ❤️❤️❤️ Thank you for writing this