I can’t help it…I like me. I like everything about me. Everything that is right and wrong about me. Everything in and out about me. I just do…and if you got a chance to know me, I think you’d like me too. I didn’t mean to sound so Dr. Seuss about it all. I spend time evaluating myself every so often. Some gals spend time primping and poking, injecting, plucking and painting and all that is great and necessary most times…no judgment — I just tend to look in cause for me if I’m right on the inside, it transfers to the outside…at least that’s the truth for me.
I’ve prayed with and for women who do not feel valued or valuable, validated or viable; who are led astray by their emotions believing whatever lies have been fed to them; women who have not been affirmed; have compared themselves to and competed with the lies shown on the cover and in the pages of magazines; women who have not been what I call loved from the inside out and as a result don’t love themselves; don’t feel worthy of any good and their choices in life sometimes expose their misguided “truths.” I’ve often wished that I could open these women up somehow and pour into them all that I know about how much He loves them, how He has great plans for them, but none of that would stick, I know, until they learn to like themselves first!!
It’s a wonder that I never fell into any of those traps. For how supportive and comforting my mother was as I was growing up, I never once recall her encouraging me in any way other than to tell me how pretty she thought I was. After my first major heartbreak (I was 22) she tried comforting me the best she knew how by telling me to eat because I was too skinny, even though I still was beautiful and would find someone else, of course. I’m not slamming her. I don’t hold that against her at all. When you know better, you do better. She didn’t know any better, having been raised with a stable of beautiful sisters, I’m thinking her mother probably comforted them in that same manner. In fact I clearly recall, for instance, when my mom would ask one of her siblings how “so and so” was, the response always began with how “so and so” looked, usually followed by some sort of tragedy. My sisters and I joke about that. That’s my mommy! I love her and from her I did learn how to demand respect!! She was tough! My mama didn’t play!!
I made a conscious decision when my daughter was a baby that I would minor on the outside and major on the inside, meaning that I wouldn’t focus on her looks…I figured the world would tell her how cute she was in due time. Instead, I would focus on the real her. Her spirit, who she really was. She had to learn to love herself first, to be content with who she was and how God made her. During one of our recent walks, I spent a great deal of time telling her the amazing young woman I saw her becoming. I praised her by telling her how kind and generous she was, how thoughtful and encouraging she was, how trustworthy and genuine she was; how creative and talented she was. I tell you, I thought she would float away by the time I finished encouraging her. Her head was held high and she was so gonna keep up with me in order to hear every word.
I’m determined to build her up from the inside to the outer…to love herself well enough to eventually like herself… and everything about her..the right and wrong about her; everything in and out her!
“What matters is not your outer appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes – but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” 1Peter 3:3-4 The Message Bible