<----That picture over there...it's one of my favorites of me. It's from about 15 months ago, and it shows me at what is probably my highest weight. (I mark that as 328 pounds, even though I guess it could have been higher and I just didn't measure it!) But let me tell you honestly what I see when I look at that picture. I see a great smile...and some killer shades! I see one of my favorite tops...cobalt blue is a great color for just about everyone. I see a happy lady...who was getting ready to turn 43...who just bought a SWEET new car and was enjoying a tremendously warm mid-spring day with the top down on her convertible. That view of myself, however, took me a long time to get to. I haven't always been that kind to me. Not at all.
Take this picture, for example. This picture of me is from a few months before the picture we just looked at. It is one of the pictures I used as a Facebook profile picture for a long time...and I received some great compliments about it. But do you know what I saw when I looked at this picture? Great hair...but what a HUGE face I've got! Goodness...look at how many chins you can count there! I took that picture on my cell phone. I remember deleting many, many pictures before I caught and kept that one. I deleted the others because I looked even more fat in them than I thought I did in this one.
Here's my point in sharing these pictures. I'm not trying to bash myself. I'm not beating myself up because of the past decisions I made in regard to eating and exercise. Those days are gone. They really are...and they're never coming back. I'm a new and different person now.
But really...I have to remind myself about that every day.
Every single day.
It's so easy to see in myself everything that I dislike. Everything that I want to change. Everything that is wrong. If I allow myself, my mind easily filters out anything good and wonderful that these pictures show, and I focus on every single negative thing I can find. I can easily, easily beat myself up with this stuff...and I'm not alone. We all do it...all the time!
It's so common to berate and belittle ourselves, that sometimes, we really don't even see that we've done it. Comments like, "I'll never find time to exercise," or "I can't stick to a diet." They sound like simple sentences, and I know that you've heard them as often as I have. You've probably even said them. I know I have! But when we do this, we are making that our reality. We are accepting as fact something that was NEVER how our Creator made us to be and intended us to live our lives.
Do you know how God sees you? Do you have any idea of the depth of His love and affection for you right now...just as you are right in this moment? He knows who and what you are...and He chooses to call you His beloved! He's not tempted to bash you down...He's trying to build you up! He's not aiming to redress your failings...He's about the business of redeeming your spirit! Who are we, really, to say something is wrong with what God says is so, so right?! He thinks of me as His greatest creation...how DARE I think less of myself! (He thinks about YOU that way, too, btw!)
Does this mean that I should just overlook the things that legitimately need "fixing" in my life because God created me and thinks I'm wonderful?? Far from it! I need to view myself with a bit of a critical eye or else I would fail to understand what God wants to do in and through my life. We are each works in progress, from the moment we take our first breath until the day we take our last. If I think that I am "perfect" just the way I am, I am not leaving myself open for God to lead me, guide me, and grow me..and gain glory for Himself by what He accomplishes in me.
I need to see my opportunities for change and improvement or else I won't take advantage of them. What I can NOT do, however, is beat myself up with negative self-talk, snide comments about my failings, or predictions about my lack of future success. In short, I don't get to be mean to me!
I'm talking to you about this today in particular because I've been struggling with it for the past day. A lot! The past 24 hours I have largely spent sitting on the couch in my house because of my left knee. In that time, I've seen some incredible successes by some of my friends...and celebrated them...all while beating myself up because I'm limited right now and not making those same gains toward my goals. I've looked at myself in the mirror and have seen every single thing that's wrong with my complexion, my hair that desperately needs to be cut and how less than lovely my face looks without makeup on. I've put myself in a vulnerable position and have been rejected by someone who consistently causes me to question my self-worth and look at myself critically. I've been in a very, very bad thought pattern for the past day! I'm not helping myself at all...and I know it...and I've been fighting hard to get back where I know I need to be in my thoughts.
When I tell you that I know how hard it is to not beat yourself up with everything you hate about yourself, it's because I live this struggle...every single day.
But I know this...NOTHING in the past 24 hours has changed how God sees me. Nothing. The only thing that needs to change is MY view of myself!
What about you? If you can't look at yourself and see what you love about you, how will anyone else? Please, friends...please try to see in yourself what God sees. He loves you just as you are...love yourself, too! No more beating up on ourselves...seriously! We've got to be done with this so we can move on to better days! Who's with me?!?!?!!!!