Saturday, May 12, 2012

Making peace with... me.


 It was an overcast day, with the promise of rain.  I slid my arms into my favorite sweatshirt, and reached for my camera.  I had a date with one of my besties, and a load on my heart.  After pulling in, we embraced like girls do, and started off, in search of lines, and light, and photo-worthy scenes.  We quickly fell into an easy rhythm, talking about things with depth and playing with our cameras simultaneously.  She already knew my story, so it was easy to talk about my feelings.  She knew where they came from and we dove in to the hard stuff challenges are made of.  Ironically, she was working though some similar things so we quickly touched on common ground, and spent the better part of the next hour buoying one another up, encouraging, pointing out truth, squashing lies, and chewing on the topic. 
 The topic was of course... body image.  I've tried so many times to write a post worthy of this topic.  I've even written whole pages, pouring out my own story, but in the end, I can't put all those words out there.  The reasons are vast, but boil down to the fact that my struggles began from the hurt I received at a loved one's thoughtless words, and I can't bear to dredge it all up for fear of hurting them with the re-telling of it.  I did at one time struggle with what I see now looking back, was a control-based eating disorder.  The love of an amazing man and an even more amazing God pulled me back from an abyss that would surely have swallowed me whole if left to my own devices.   I've been released from that place for many years now, and forgiveness of the original hurts further freed me, but I do still struggle with my internal thoughts and have been working hard on seeking healing in that particular area.  I wonder if you can relate to that?  I think I can safely say all women, (especially those of us staring at airbrushed magazines in the grocery store check out aisle) at some point, struggle with not feeling "enough."
 As I talked to my friend that dull, gray day, something  began to take root in my heart and I want to share it, though the message may come out inadequate at best.  In my head, it goes something like this: I want to be the thinnest, fittest, prettiest, funnest, most well loved/liked person on the planet.  I want everyone to love me most.  I want to be everyone's best friend and first choice.  I want it all.  Who doesn't if they are truly honest? And because I can't be all of those things (no one can or should) I tend to feel inadequate, unworthy, insecure and often... like a failure.  But the truth is... what I really want when I want all those things, is to be worshiped.  My friend pointed this out and it about knocked me sideways.  I feel like I'm not good enough, because until I have the worship and adoration of every single person alive, and birds sing to me from my window sill, I'll never feel like I've achieved it and life will always be an empty striving for unattainable perfection.  Because I'm making that a priority by wanting all of those things. 
 After I let that sit for a couple of weeks, I decided to write this post.  It's not a post filled with my personal body issue war stories.  It's not a post filled with my successes, the diet that might work on those last ten pounds, or the jeans that might make you finally like your rear end.  What I'm hoping is that this is a post that will make me (and possibly even you) really chew on the words of my darling and wise friend.  When I'm comparing, complaining, or wishing for something else... will I be able to stop and ask myself the hard question- Am I just wanting to be the best because I want to be a god? 
My prayer is that the second those thoughts of inadequacy, or negative self-talk about thighs, or gray hair, or stretch marks, or any other body part I'm picking apart come up, I can immediately recognize my selfish desire for perfection, and the rejection I'm giving to a God who designed me (and you) as He planned.  As an artist with a beloved creation. And maybe instead of separating all of my flaws out, like ingredients for a soup, I can lump them all in with the good things, and appreciate the whole thing for the work of art it is.  Cause the kind of little old lady I'm aiming to be, is a sweet, caring, selfless, tender-hearted, compassionate, godly woman who embraces all the messy parts of life including a few extra pounds around the middle, and pours out into others, what overflows from inside. 

Only one way to get there.  And it begins here, by making peace and letting God be God and letting me be my intentionally imperfect self. 


30 comments:

  1. Wow! I must admit to feeling exactly the same as you, and having a dear friend tell me that not everyone would like me. I was stunned... I guess I thought if I was "_________" enough, everyone would love me, or as your friend points out, worship me. Was a life altering moment as I accepted that not everyone would love me, or even like me, but that God always will. I love your friends insight, because I would never have thought I wanted to be worshiped, but I think she hit the nail on the head.

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  2. Love this. Thank you for sharing your heart and your thoughts.

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  3. this is so, so relevant in {i think} every woman's life.
    i grew up teased, tortured, and rejected.
    those words stung and went deep.
    they tortured me and still creep up today if I'm not careful, but God has helped me to realize that my self worth does not lie in those unkind words or thoughts.
    He has made me exactly who He wants me to be, in His glorious image, planned before birth with the {BIG!}nose of my grandmother i never met,
    the acne scars that resemble my fathers, and curly red hair and freckles...the initiators of the pokes and sharp unkindnesses.
    while those self worth issues will always be there, I can go to my Father, and He always accepts me. wait. He died for me!!! praise Him!
    of course, like you, i want to be loved and loved some more!
    but His love is so much greater than that of the people on this earth.
    it satisfies my soul and puts a balm over the wounds from the past.
    oh, how I am grateful for that, and for beautiful people like you{inside and out, girl!} that are willing to share these hard things, so that we can all relate a little better and find comfort in knowing that we are not alone in this.

    you are beautyFULL.
    xo

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  4. This is so amazing and so true- I like how you talk about rejecting the God who designed me the way I am.
    I have a part of me that I loathe, that I cannot change that has caused comments from people who do not understand that it is nothing I can physically change and has caused me lots of pain- both physically and mentally, sometimes I imagine a perfect me and wish there was some way this side of heaven that I could have that perfect body part. So now I need to ask God's forgiveness- he gave me my flaws for a reason and ask him to help me embrace who I am and how he made me!
    Thank you!

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  5. As someone who has and still struggles with body image and the painful scars of hurtful unkind words from a loved one, I want to thank you for sharing your "story" and letting everyone know that we're all different and beautiful and loved by God.

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  6. I experienced this same revelation recently...Psalm 139 tells us just how perfectly and intentionally we were created. I came to realize that my negativity toward my self was actually sinful; prideful... I was telling God that he was wrong to have made me the way he did, that his creation was lacking, insufficient (again, pride). Ouch! It was a turning point in my life, as it seems to have been for you, as well. When I began to actively rebuke the enemy and his lies, I was able to better accept the love and acceptance that are given so freely by my God...there is such joy in dying to self! Thanking God today for your boldness and openness! You are so not alone, and neither am I. ~Kyra

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  7. Love this post Sasha. And it's so so true. You just put into words what a lot of ladies what to say but can't. And just for the record, I think you rock. It just hit me the other day when I was reading blogs and "pinning" away on Pinterest that yours and Becky's (Farmgirl Paints) are my favorite blogs because I LOVE your honesty and I LOVE your style!!! Happy Mother's day and may God Bless you Big :) xo

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  8. Eye opening, Sasha. Negative self talk is so very damaging and the fact that it is actually just criticizing and complaining about what God made us into is the kicker. Wow. Thank you, my dear.

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  9. This is one of the most powerful and poignant posts I've ever read. We haven't met but I wanted to tell you, as someone who is not a church-going girl, that your writing is beautiful and your message has touched my heart. ~Leanne

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  10. Beautiful words and pictures! God is great to give us friends who keep us grounded in the truth. Thanks for sharing not only a glimpse of the scars you have, but mainly the GRACE that is at work to help you walk not by sight but by faith. This is truly the stuff that a life well lived is made of. Keep pressing forward. We are on our way to becoming those little old ladies who help those around us see that Christ really is all in all. :)

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  11. Aging helps with this some, but nothing helps more than a loving husband and our loving God! My dad used to call me Bertie Fat Butt and I have long had 'issues', but peace is coming as I learn to take care of the body God designed so that it can be all that God supposed it would be....it's coming.

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  12. I've had hurtful words said to me too about this very same thing. If you don't let it go, then you are doing to yourself the same thing that thoughtless person did to you long ago. It also speaks to the fact that when someone makes that kind of judgement, it reflects on their need to judge, it doesn't have a thing to do with you. You've got to let yourself off the hook. And remember that you are a spiritual being having a physical experience, not the other way around. You have a lot to be proud of, inside and out. Just think about how you want your kids to think of themselves and then keep that expectation for yourself. You deserve it!

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  13. Can I echo what Leanne has written above. I shall read your post over and over. I am struggling big time with my body image at the moment and have done for years as a result of comfort eating after my Dad died and now whenever there is a problem I turn to food and consequently hate myself. And I think others wont like me either, yet people do talk to me and I know deep down my family/friends/acquaintances value me as a person. Yet my self esteem is still low. I so want to be perfect but I can't ever get there and I realise I am wasting so much energy and life trying to pursue this. Thank you Sasha. Now I shall read your words again. Hope you have a lovely week.

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  14. I love your post and helping every woman see how beautiful they are, just as they are. I don't like my gray or the ever-increasing wrinkles around my eyes, and did I mention my very pointy elbows? Hey, those grays and wrinkles are like experience indicators (at least that is what I tell myself) and 15 years ago when I didn't have them, I didn't have my children, my husband, nor all of the wisdom that I have now. And those point elbows? Well, I haven't found a use for them yet, except maybe to knock someone out in self-defense! :)

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  15. Great thought. Humble reminder. Thanks for posting.

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  16. beautiful words, sasha. i think you hit the nail on the hand. inner beauty is what matters. isn't it funny how we see photos of others and think, "what do they have to worry about?" when it comes to self image. well, i am looking at these shots, thinking, "she shouldn't be worried about a thing!" you gorgeous girl, you.

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  17. Beautifully said Sasha. Thank you for sharing this - we all need the reminder. Um, can you re-post it everyday :-)?! LOVE that first shot. You are such a beautiful lady my dear - inside AND out!

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  18. Love the epiphanies that come to you. Girlfriends are great at opening our eyes sometimes. I have one in particular that does it for me a lot! ;) I felt icky about myself this weekend. Too much fun with treats. Hate that my good days can be less than because of how I feel I look. Silly. Love you.

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  19. Bravo...for the guts to put it out there...for the guts to forgive the loved one whose thoughtless words hurt you about your weight (something that also happened to me and continues to haunt me)...for your girlfriend's powerful insight...and for your heart to give to all over to God. Great post Sasha and much appreciated. love.

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  20. This is so lovely!!! How wonderful of you to share such intimate feelings! I think we all struggle with this. Thank you for sharing! And you are beautiful by the way:)

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  21. Gorgeous first image, and lovely words. It's such a hard topic. Ever since I was a teen struggling with these issues (and I believe I always will to one degree or another) I've wanted to do something to help others see their beauty - I never thought that would lead me to photography, but I hope I use it as a tool to help others.
    Great message here.

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  22. in the middle of captivating right now. have you read it? it is RIPPING me apart. like bathroom midnight sobbing ripping. it's all about this. i've debated sharing on my blog, but it still feels too raw. go buy it today of you haven't yet read it. just have some hankies near.

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  23. What a great post, Sasha! Your thoughts, fear and worries are in the hearts of many women across the world. Those same words have run through my head countless times, usually stemming from someone else's words that hurt. Having some one as loving as your husband really does help to fight the demons inside.

    Keep holding your beautiful head up high and realize that everyone is beautiful in their own way. Who cares if you don't fit into what others think you should look like. Be what you want to look like and be happy!

    :)

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  24. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and your heart. I've always been surprised when I hear other women worry about body image. I think the reason for me is because at 5'8 and 290 lbs I'm always the largest in my circle of friends, family, church members, etc. It was this way growing up as well (although I didn't weigh that much as a teenager). But I remember the first time I heard one of my 100 lb friends complain that they were too fat, I was shocked and at first angry.... it took me awhile to understand that many women are not happy with who they are on the outside. I think part of it really boils down to self esteem and learning to give those concerns to God (which I haven't quite managed yet).

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  25. I was reading this months Redbook I think it was. (i'd have to get up to check and too lazy at the moment..it's 2am and I can't sleep). Anyway, They hada bathing suite spread and the model was well...average looking. Not skinny and not over weight. Just average weight. I was amazed and reread the pages to make sure I saw what I saw. I then shared this with my tween daughter and my hubby. How nice I told them to see a model in bathing suites and I can actually relate to the body. I suddenly felt good about my own body , like it was good enough. At 40..I shouldn't let a magazine make me feel that way. I hope this happens more & more. How wonderful for young girls.

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  26. So very true.I totaly get what you are saying. I am OCD about myself.At a stop light I'm thinking well if I eat this or that or walk or do the lawn blah,blah blah.In shape enough or kinda in shape.Look and strive to be fit.Oh I'll never look like I want.Dont even try.Organic all natural food or throw in some french fries.Wear up to date clothes or t-shirt and jeans. Hair long or short.My BMI is way too high. Secong guess EACH AND EVERY DECISION I MAKE!!!!Over and over again. Act like I want to or like someone expects me too.What exactly does God want me to do in life? Is the door closing for me to push harder or to open a new one.Could ya just text me God.I'm not to bright.At a huge crossroad in my married life right now.Husband left,back to his family in another state.Very sad.His family has alot of influence.Didnt even let me know. I thought we were ONE.Ya know how God intended.Yeah I get what you are saying.Life.Sometimes tooooo much going on in our heads.Oh supposed to take it one day at a time.OK I'll try Lord.Anyway I'll get back to work.Thanks for letting me rant.I feel better now.

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  27. Wow! all i can think of is psalm 139:14
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

    we have to believe that!

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  28. struggled in college with under eating and over exercising......
    God has freed me in miraculous ways, but thoughts still plague me at certain times.

    NOW is one of those times for me....not exercising for 9 months due to this back/hip pain has been really hard on my thought life in regards to this former bondage that held me so tight!!!

    it boils down to worth and value to me and if I'm honest....it absolutely boils down to wanting to be the thinnest, the prettiest, the smartest, the bestEST at everything...which is absolutely self-worship.

    We're all sick, aren't we? IN DESPERATE NEED OF JESUS and his truth that sets us free. :)

    love you so much for posting this post about real life struggles/issues that most women struggle with, whether they know it or not.

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  29. Wow. This has touched me and I am looking forward to mulling it over. I never ever, ever thought about it like that. That I wanted to be worshiped, but it is so true. I have always struggled with a weight issue. I am in the best place I have ever been, but it is work...a process. How humbled I feel to realize I have wanted the same thing our enemy wanted...to be worshiped. I never thought I wanted to be like God, but that is what wanting worship is. I am honestly blown away by this post. Dear Sasha, I thank God for allowing me to find and follow your blog. Thank you for being real!

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