Woman in the Mirror

Remove the mascara and highlighter. Take off that waist trainer. Take off those designer jeans, and that in-style shirt, and put down your designer handbag. Take out your weave and change your hair to its original color. Take off those heels. Remove the gel polish or acrylics from your nails... Now.  Tell me. What do you see? Who do you see?

Chances are it's not your fault if you don't like what you see staring back in the mirror at you. You have been held to a false standard. To look a certain way. Are makeup and lashes bad? No, but when you start despising the woman underneath it all, it can become detrimental to your self-esteem. My favorite part of going out used to be when all my friends and I would get ready together. We would turn on our music playlist, try on outfits, put on our makeup, and get ready to slay for the night. It felt good to "transform" for the night. Those nights were always fun. But on the days when I run out of time in the morning or don't feel like getting dressed, should I feel less than beautiful?? Should I feel like my face doesn't match my body or my body doesn't make my face or that my appearance doesn't match my potential?  Or is it your weight? Does your family or significant other often make sly comments about your weight?  (Sidenote:  Know that weight maintenance is a lifestyle change. It is a practiced skill, a change in mindset, and a gradual process.) So if you need to lose a healthy amount of weight, you must commit to it, but be gentle with yourself.

But just like hiding under makeup, hiding under clothing has one root issue… self love.

One thing I learned later in life, was that I couldn't love anybody else until I learned to love myself. When I was in a relationship with my ex-boyfriends, I cared about them (somewhat) but most of the time I cared about what they did for me. I used them to fill a void of loneliness. I needed them to give me compliments to enhance my self-esteem. And the mere fact that they were with me at all boosted my self-worth. I was good enough to have someone like me back. And more times than not I kept them around for longer than I should have because I was determined to keep them. I avoiding leaving them because I didn't want to face the fact that I had wasted a lot of time and money. I feared that I would never find anyone else who would “love” me. I feared being a failure and having to tell my friends, family, and coworkers that we broke up. Well... if it's not working, don't force it! They don't make you great.  And if you don't love yourself, adding another person to love in your life is like attaching a trailer to the back of a Prius. God makes you great. He has already accepted you just the way you are and just the way you have always been.  And God can make you whole.
When I went shopping I absolutely had to wear designer jeans (Hudsons, Joes, For all Mankind) and a designer handbag (Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, LV, Prada), as a way to say to people as I shopped, “Yes hunny, I make good money, I’m worth something, and I look cute”. But who said people looked at me and said “No boo boo, you're broke, you aren't worth anything, and you're ugly?” Nobody said any of that to me. Well,nobody but my own self. I was trying to look and feel better to other people because I looked and felt inadequate to myself. And that's not to say I didn't have my “better days”, but my better days always included hair, makeup, and designer accessories.

After giving birth to my daughter, I used to stand in the mirror and wonder who the woman staring back at me was. She looked more tired, larger, and less put together than the me that I once knew. Sometimes I would look and see no resemblance of myself. I would say to myself “who have I become and what is this life I'm living?”. Rewind 2-3 years prior and I was too cute, turning heads, and unstoppable. This lady staring back at me is at least 20-50lbs heavier ( and it seems like she the weight fluctuates every week) and she looks tiiiirrrreeed!!! My feelings about myself, this new life I lived, and lack of sleep led me onto a path to postpartum depression. I despised myself. And the less love I had for myself, the less love I had for others. Although my daughter brought me joy, I began to absolutely hate my puppy. And the husband I used to go out of my way to please got left behind in the shadows of my day. It wasn't until I started to get more rest and embrace the fact that the woman in the mirror was a new me that God still loved, that I was able to love others again.

So where do we begin? What I had to do was get used to looking at myself for who I was, without the makeup, without the designer handbags and glasses and shoes. I then had to embrace who I saw. I had to remember that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) Then I had to not care about what other people thought about the REAL me. And then I had to realize most of the things I thought people were thinking about me were really self-reflections of how I felt about myself. Now this is a process. It can take months and even years to accomplish.  But the more you submit yourself to following Jesus and being concerned with pleasing Him, the easier this will get.  Don't be afraid to reach out to someone to discuss the root issue of your self-reflections and self-identification. 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

So for 7 days, I challenge you to write a romantic love letter to yourself each day. Tell yourself what you like about yourself and really butter yourself up, because you deserve it. Also, add in one scripture per letter about who you were made or plans that the Lord has for you.  Anything that hints that you have value.  There's no shame in Googling "scriptures about...."

Remember, do not let the people of this world be your standard of beauty.

Stay Braless.

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