The Chaos

The Chaos

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Radiance over Shame

I am a 28 year old pregnant woman.
It goes without saying that I am extraordinarily self conscious of my body weight.

Unfortunately I cannot attribute my issues with my self-image to pregnancy alone. It is something that I have struggled with since early adolescence. In fact, I remember as a young pre-teen seeing other young ladies and immediately comparing myself in size, shape, and beauty. I never felt that I measured up to the standard of beautiful or skinny. As I grew my issues with self-esteem seemed to grow as well. Even at my "smallest" when I weighed next to nothing as a senior in high school and later in college... I still looked at myself and was not satisfied with my appearance.

Now, three babies later and pregnant with my fourth, you can only imagine the critical analysis I give my looks and morphing body shape. It's shameful really. To think how often I have put down myself, ridiculing the way that God has designed me and judging myself against the likes of other women.

My husband never fails to remind me how beautiful he thinks I am and he hates to hear me put myself down or speak negatively in anyway of how I look. Even still, it is hard some days to feel worthy of his compliments.


Because I have allowed myself to accept the shame of my own judgements.
I have given myself permission to measure "who" I am, compared to others.
I have purposed myself to finding faults and ignoring all else.

To make matters worse, lately I find myself critically judging my energy levels and ability to mother my children. I mentioned in a blog earlier today that "boredom" has begun to set in at the Gaffner household as I have had to adjust to a new "normal" of not working outside of the home. It's amazing how much self-worth I had wrapped up even in my part-time ministry position. The last several weeks have been a sort of identity struggle for me on top of my already difficult-to-manage poor self image.

For that reason, my dive into God's Word today spoke in a profound way. Coupled with the aid of my devotional "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young... the scripture I read this afternoon truly blew me away. Allow me to share some of today's devotional with you.

"I want you to experience the riches of your salvation; the Joy of being loved
constantly and perfectly. You make a practice of judging yourself, based
on how you look or behave or feel. If you like what you see in the mirror, you feel
a bit more worthy of My love... When you feel discouraged, you tend to look
inward so you can correct whatever is wrong"
Jesus Calling, page 204, (Sarah Young)

This devotional is written from the perspective that Jesus is speaking right to you, so the "I" and the "Me" is referring to God or Jesus Christ. I had to reread that particular section a few times to really let it sink in. It's true. I measure myself... and on days when I feel "good" then I feel that I deserve "good". On days when I feel ugly or "bad", I feel that I deserve "bad". It's silly to think how we measure ourselves as humans. We see only what is temporary and we feel that we have the right to compare, judge, and ridicule. God sees what is eternal and yet we doubt His purpose, intentions, and most of all His love. Our perspective is so limited and yet we measure as if we could see the whole "big picture" right in front of us.

I have admitted that I am horribly judgemental of myself.
But what do I do about it?
How do I change the way I have allowed me to treat... me?

"Instead of trying to 'fix' yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul.
Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me."
Jesus Calling, page 204, (Sarah Young)
(scripture references include: Ephesians 2:7-8 and Hebrews 3:1)

It was this particular paragraph in today's devotional that made me stop and say "WOW".
This is me!
This is the way I behave in my relationship with God and others.

I feel that I am not worthy, not pretty, not "good enough". So I spend hours in self-pity, looking to myself to see what I can change or do differently to be considered "worth it" in the eyes of others. How foolish of me to fix my eyes on myself when I have a Savior (a Jealous God we learned this week) that longs for me to fix my eyes on Him! It is in Him that I will find my true self-worth and in Him that I will find my true beauty and my true purpose. Why waste so much of my energy complaining and ridiculing when I could be praising Him and accomplishing the purposes that He has for my life?

It makes perfect sense when you read it.
The hard part is putting it into action.

Psalm 34:5 (also used as a reference in the devotional today) says, "Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame".

I have covered myself in shame for years because I felt that I was capable of being a better judge of myself than God. But looking to Him for my self-worth makes me radiant... beautiful... His.

How can you judge negatively WHO you are when you realize WHOSE you are? 

It would seem that putting my self-worth in God's hands is a much more capable place to put it than in the critical hands of myself or my culture.

Do you find yourself in this same place?
Are you entirely too judgemental of who you are?
Maybe you are too busy trying to "fix" yourself that you have forgotten to fix your eyes on the one that made you and loves you immeasurably.

May we both be reminded today that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) and we are fiercely loved by the God who made us and desires to spend time with us.

And may we be comfortable with WHO we are in HIM.

Pregnant Katie in all her "glory" comfortably enjoying a nap. ;)

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