****This was a difficult post to write. I have written it several times and deleted it, for fear of what others would think. I do not want anyone to read this post and think I am angry, or that I am bashing anyone. I do want to share with all of you that we all struggle. Just because we appear to be completely confident, happy, functioning women does not always mean we are. I hope this post can help someone realize they are not alone in their struggles.****
The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster for me. I continue to battle a lot of things I thought were far behind me. This has left me to wonder why I allow these thoughts to take control of me. The thoughts are not accurate. The thoughts are not in line with God's Word. The thoughts are absolutely wrecking me, so why?
A little bit of history that I think may be relevant to this post. I have been emotionally and verbally abused for extended periods of my life. The words were spoken by someone I thought genuinely loved me. I trusted this person, and really believed that the words were spoken to help me see my faults and fix them. I have learned since that these words were only intended to keep me bound in chains. There is no anger or hatred in this now, but it used to have complete control over my life. Because of this, I feel that my self-confidence and self-esteem lack severely most days. I only said this because it is relevant to this post. :)
God created women as amazing creatures when thriving. He also created us to be helpers to others. This could include a husband, kids, or friends. We do not focus on ourselves, especially when we have littles that need so much from us. We do not often take time for the things we want or need because there are others that we feel are more important than us. I feel like this could be problem number one. We feel that the people around us are far more important than ourselves. This can be a great thing when used in the right balance. I, as a mom, don't have that right balance. The girls need something, I get it for them. They want something, typically, I put that want above what I might need. My priorities are a little skewed. I feel that because I love them so much, they deserve to have the little things in life they want. So, then my needs start to get a little more overwhelming, and I start becoming frustrated at the things I need and can't figure out how to make happen. I devalue myself. This is scary stuff. If we as women do not see the value in ourselves, how are we going to teach our daughters to value themselves?
Over the last year, I have taken more pride in the way I look than I ever have before. I have had many women speak beauty into me. I do not view myself as pretty. I never have. However, I had one friend talk me into an adorable hair style. I had another friend show me the importance of make-up. I had another group of women let me know my new styles were adorable. I was starting to really feel confident in myself. All of these women were trying to show me that I am someone to be loved, valued, and appreciated.
A few weeks back, I received a compliment from a man. Gasp, I know. :) It was not a you are gorgeous sort of compliment, just a small positive comment, pretty much. I accepted it at the beginning, thinking to myself that I was really becoming someone amazing. As the days have passed, I have torn myself back down. Why do we do this? During the first week, I kept telling myself that the compliment meant nothing, he must've felt obligated to say something. Then, it went from that to I misunderstood the compliment to be something positive, when in fact, it really wasn't. Then, the last few days, it even went one step farther. I felt like I was nothing. That the women God put into my life to speak confidence in me were lying to me, making me feel good about myself because they felt pity on me, that I was really nothing, because if I were pretty, or my dress was cute, or I really looked good in that color, someone that doesn't know me would have said something to me. Disclaimer: I am an over-thinker. I know this. My thoughts go rampant on me quite often. I am working on this issue... :) All of those positive feelings I felt about myself one by one went down the drain.
A very smart woman told the women at our church that we have power in words and to use them wisely, because they can build someone up or completely tear them down. At the time, I was still in an abusive environment and shrugged this off, because obviously, she didn't know me. She didn't realize that the words being hurled at me to discourage and destroy me were true. She must not have understood how horrible of a person I really was. After this event, I really fought myself, because a small little fire was lit inside of me. I kept thinking to myself I never wanted to see my girls having the thoughts about themselves that I thought about myself, but I was nothing, so I deserved the thoughts and words, right? It was horrible. As time went on, I got a little stronger and stronger. I began speaking positive traits into the girls, thanking God for the positive traits of my girls while I prayed over them each night. In the last year, I have seen their confidence build in themselves. And, that makes me so happy. But, I still sit here thinking only negative things about myself. Every positive thing I encounter has to be justified with at least one (or more) negative things. I get on the scale and find myself down a pound. Instead of rejoicing, my mind reminds me I am still 10 pounds away from where I was 6 months ago. I run a solid three miles. Instead of allowing myself to feel the victory, defeat settles in as I remember that my time slowed down 3 minutes.
For many years, I allowed myself to believe the negativity. I allowed myself to believe no man would ever want me. I was lucky to have snagged the one I had. I allowed myself to believe that no amount of make-up would ever make me beautiful, so why even try? Every piece of me was thrown into the fire, and every single piece of me was devoured into flames. I never allowed myself any other choice. I never fought back, because I knew I wasn't strong enough for the battle anyway. I never allowed myself to truly consider what God thought, or that He created me just as I am. This morning, I sit here struggling, but this time, I know that God is going to give me the strength and endurance I need to fight this mind battle. Those words that were used to destroy me forever are going to go down.
God's word tells me I am wonderful. I am loved. I am his. He will never leave me. His words are true. My enemy will come to steal, kill and destroy any joy I am willing to discard. I am choosing to believe life this morning, instead of believing the lies of yesterday. God has an amazingly beautiful plan for my life. His plan will bring joy and prosperity. It will not involve death for me or my girls. I am so thankful that in the midst of this battle, I can be prepared to fight. I do not have to believe the first thing thrown at me, but can fight back with the words that He has spoken over me. I am choosing to believe His word over the words of the joy suckers in my life. This is going to be a horrendous battle, but I am going to have God-given victory.