I can look back at photos of a much younger, thinner me and find myself mystified by why I thought I needed to be prettier, thinner and better back then. But I did. I remember feeling insecure and unhappy with who I was.
Fast forward to today. It is still easy to become dissatisfied with myself. It seems there is always someone who seems to have it all together. You know that person with the always perfect hair, perfect body, supermom, and standout person. And then there is me. My hair is still somewhere between that I-lost-my-mind-pixie cut and almost a bob. I loose and regain the same 15 pounds every 3 months, sometimes I give my kids cookies for breakfast, and make life choices that make me cringe.
I could go on for hours about all the ways I fall short of my own expectations - if I allow myself to do that. And somedays I do. I fall into a dark place where I make mental (okay sometimes paper lists) of all of the ways I disappoint myself, the mistakes I have made and the dumb things I have said. Oh, how I loath those days. I am thankful that those days are few and far between. Most of the time I embrace who I am, mess and all, because I know that is Gods plan for me. He made me just as I am. He placed me on the path I have traveled.
I remind myself that I am strong. I have endured pain, loss, heartache, homelessness, mental illness, a suicide attempt, rape, and abusive relationships. That is just to name a few of the challenges in my life. I have made good and bad choices and had the consequences of both. I have learned and grown through it all into the person that I am today. I see the way God has shaped me. I see the way he has used my trials to bring me closer to him. I see his handiwork in the map of stretch marks across my body that resulted from being a 13 year old girl who hid her pregnancy for 6 1/2 months. I see his handiwork in the compassion I have for others who are enduring similar trials. I see his work in my faults and in my strengths.
These are some of the things I try to remember when I start to compare myself to others. I remind myself - that I am Gods creation. Made in his image. Not in the image of this world. When we strive to make ourselves fit the worlds idea of what we should be we risk pulling ourselves away from the way we were uniquely created to be. Oh, and it is a beautiful thing to see yourself through Gods eyes instead of the worlds. Oh how lovely it is to embrace the Grace he offers instead of the criticism of the world. I encourage anyone who feels less than perfect to look at yourself from Gods point of view instead of your own or that of the world.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.