Imagine a little girl, about twelve years old. She peers at her swimsuit clad body in the mirror and grimaces. She shifts her weight from side to side, trying to find an angle that makes her look skinnier. She critiques every little part of her body, begging it to become the version she sees in her mind.
I was a fat kid. If I'm honest, I still struggle with being the fat kid. I've gone through seasons of weight loss and weight gain, complicated by hormones, genetics and medication. I try to eat healthy, and then sometimes I don't. I tell myself I'm beautiful in the eyes of God I recite the verse from the Bible that says I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. And yet, there are still times I feel like the twelve year old girl who looks in the mirror and wills herself to just get out there and stop worrying about how she looks.
I know some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. The circumstances might look different, but you are familiar with the same horrific feelings. You might have looked in the mirror just this morning and cried. You might feel ugly and worthless.
I know it feels hard to measure up to the world's standard of beauty. You wish you looked like those gorgeous instagram models with their perfectly posed, airbrushed legs. I get it. The contrast is very real in our minds.
We have to get to root of our quest for perfection. We have to come to grips with the fact that we will never measure up. Will you join me today in giving our imperfections to the God who made us and ask for His perspective as we navigate the seemingly endless expectations of those around us?
I want you to know you are not alone.
Every person has believed a lie about their self-worth at one time or another.
Name the lie.
Contrast it with the truth in God's Word.
There is more to you than the frame that holds your beautiful soul. Tend the beauty on the inside and it will shine to everyone around you.
You are a beautiful masterpiece, just the way you are.
I see you.
The one who smiles, but hides tremendous pain beneath the clever facade. You may have struggled to get out of bed today... Maybe you didn't get out of bed. "It's too much work," you thought to yourself as you buried yourself beneath the covers.
You are not alone in this struggle. Every human will face times of pain, moments of fear and seasons of emotional ups and downs. That's a normal part of life. What isn't okay is when we spiral into preoccupation with worry, fear and distress. When we push life away instead of pushing into life.
I'm not pretending it's easy. I won't sugarcoat how hard your journey will be.
Would you take the first step today?
If you're tempted to hide from life, don't.
If it helps, drop the smile, let someone look deep into your fear-filled eyes and connect to the place inside of you that writhes in pain. Say the words you are terrified to say. You think you're being brave by not asking for help, but you are only delaying the inevitable. You will continue to be crushed by emotions you don't fully understand. Take a chance. Push back the covers and step into the day, regardless of the lie that says "you can't."
Every next step is a milestone. Each little victory will turn into something greater as you keep moving. As you embrace the awkward feeling of vulnerability, you will emerge stronger.
I know from experience.
Take the first step today... with or without a smile.