Often times, I wake up in the morning eager to change something about myself. Yesterday, it was the color of my hair, today, it’s the tone of my skin, and tomorrow, it could be the size of my thighs. As uncomfortable as it is to admit this to you all, I choose to, because I KNOW I am not alone. To say I LOVE every part of my body, would just be a lie. I am thankful and appreciative for my healthy and working body parts, but I still struggle with loving every part of me. Sadly enough, sometimes, these thoughts overwhelm my mind. They throw complete shade over who I am, future goals, good things in my life, or even what I have planned for that day. It’s like I can’t even remember the good things about myself as I dread the things I am so displeased with. I am such a human, huh?
Well this post (fortunately) is not where I throw myself a pity party and talk about everything I hate about myself. Thank da Lawwwd. At the end of the day I really do have so much to be appreciative for, and I know that! But, this post is about my journey to loving myself: every inch, every wrinkle, every stretch mark (ugh), every (new) fold of skin, from every angle. I’ve trained for marathons, spent weeks in dangerous parts of Africa, and been an entrepreneur for years, and let me tell ya, loving my body is by far, one of the hardest things I’ve EVER tried to do.
LOVING MY BODY IS A DAILY STRUGGLE
Before I get into my points though, I want to preface by saying, I’m sorry but, I just don’t know if I believe in the whole “I’ve learned to love body and now everything is great” fairytale. I do believe there are good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, but I don’t think conquering body confidence is a one time deal. I believe this is a struggle that I deal with daily, weekly, or at least seasonally. So, how do I deal with this on the reg?
The more I get to know God, the clearer things become for me. I stop checking out my own image and discover more about Him. That helps me see the bigger picture. The more I get to know Him, the more others see me through His reflection. In conclusion, I start to appreciate how beautiful God says I am.
SHIFT MY FOCUS
The days I feel most depressed and displeased with my self image are the days I focus on me. What can Dani change about herself? Is Dani pretty enough? Does Dani look good in that photo? Does Dani make people happy? I get caught up in this storm where my own expectations lead me to this impending doom of insecurity.
The mornings I spend time with the Lord first, I shift my focus from Dani, to my Father. I am reminded of His grace and that he LOVES every bit of who I am. Words cannot express what a relief it is when I remember what God has already done for me. Dani, you are forgiven. Dani, you are my daughter. Dani, you are not alone. Dani, I care about your heart. Dani, I care about how you love people. Dani, you are all I care about. Dani, I know you hate that bump on your nose, but I love everything about you. You are beautiful. I made you exactly the way you are. Realizing this love story, takes a lot of pressure off of me and the self-criticism that robs me of my daily joy.
MY DEFINITION OF BEAUTY
So yes, if I see one more seductive picture on instagram of some chick with half her clothes on claiming to ‘love her body’ I might scream. I hear this a lot in our modern day culture, “Girls should be able to post pictures of themselves and their bodies if they love and feel confident about their body.”
My issue is, God does not call us to be seductive. The words “beautiful” and “seductive” are not interchangeable. Seduction is when we intentionally act, pose, or dress in a way that draws attention to our bodies and glorifies ourselves. That is not God’s definition of “beauty.” We see this in Proverbs 5 where a woman abused her beauty to draw attention to herself, rather than God.
NOW, GET THIS! GOD IS OUR CREATOR. He also created BEAUTY! (AKA, I think He knows what He is talking about…) So there is NOTHING wrong with being beautiful, but our beauty should be used in a way reflect Him and glorify Him.
What does that mean for me? Ugh, TBH, this was really confusing for me because I mean, I am a fashion blogger. I take selfies, film videos, and post instagrams 3-4 times a day of myself and the clothes I am wearing. I love fashion. I love style. I have fun with hair and makeup. So how could I use my images and content in a way to glorify God?
So, this is what I remind myself daily.
- True beauty is having fun with style because I find my confidence in the Lord.
- True beauty is posting instagrams of outfits and clothes but respecting other girls and guys who may see them, in hopes that no one compares or feels lust.
- True beauty is using my platforms and pictures to love other people.
- True beauty is caring more about my relationship with the Lord than how many likes I get on a photo.
- True beauty is avoiding sexual styles in clothing to protect men from lust.
- True beauty is remaining pure before God.
- True beauty is using my life to encourage people to seek the Lord above ALL else.
- True beauty is avoiding poses and clothing that draw attention to my body in hopes of attention and affirmation.
Questions to consider:
What is my standard of beauty?
Am I surrounding myself with people who appreciate beauty the same way I do?
How are we to know what beauty standard we should be following?
We know it must be God’s standard. But what exactly is God’s standard?
IT’S OKAY TO UNFOLLOW!
This topic get touchy. You guys, it’s okay to unfollow the accounts on social media that cause you to compare yourself and feel bad about yourself. We should follow the people that truly care about our hearts, our inner beauty, and encourage us to become the best versions of ourselves. THIS is what social media should be all about. Although following accounts that teach me how to wear skinny jeans in 10 different ways is a lot of fun, what about the accounts that teach me how to love my friends in 10 different ways? Fashion and style is such a great outlet (I mean, I am a fashion blogger…) but it’s important to realize clothes and trends are temporary. Acts of kindness, your relationships with people, the way you love them, and who you are, impact someone forever and are truly pleasing to the Lord.
I am the first to admit. I had to unfollow a couple of girls on instagram. I found myself obsessing with their outfits, their hair, their bodies, just dying to be like them. I was left utterly disappointed after looking at their content, ridden in comparison and dissatisfied with how I look. I will go as far to say, if I am that girl for you that makes you feel less than, UNFOLLOW ME. I care about your heart and I don’t ever want to make you feel that way. I won’t take it personally, I want you to follow girls that inspire you to chase after the Lord. I want you to follow people that remind you have how beautiful you are.
Question to consider:
Is this photo I am looking at encouraging me in my walk with the Lord?
How do I feel after looking at this photo?
GOD LOOKS AT MY HEART
My worth is not defined by other people. My worth is defined by what the Lord says about me.
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
I encourage you to google this story about King David and familiarize yourself. I’d get into it, but it’s kinda a whole other thing.
Photo credit: Angie Garcia Photo