The other day I woke up to my alarm, blaring, as it does every weekday at 7 am. I roll over, pick up my phone, and there it was, the most malicious, cruel message waiting for me in my Instagram inbox. The funny thing is, even though I had no idea who this person was or have never seen their Instagram account before, I knew this was coming…
I had posted a photo of myself the day before. It was taken by one of my photography friends and it was the first photo they sent me before editing the rest of the set of pictures. That usually meant that the particular photos were one of the photographer’s favorite out of the entire set and couldn’t wait to share it. I loved the photo. The lighting was perfect, the editing was brilliant, my hair laid perfectly, and I had even mastered the “you’re taking my photo but I’m acting like I don’t know you are” look. But as soon as I saw it, I knew people would tear me apart over it.
I messaged the photographer telling him how much I loved the photo, but if he could pretty please add a few more from that particular pose. I wanted to see if all the photos looked this way or if the lighting and shadows were playing tricks on me. I thought, “God, am I really that skinny?” I stared at it with a lump in my throat, judging myself. “Why do I look this way?” “What are people going to think of me?”
I looked through all of the edited photos and the photographer was right, this was, by far, the best shot out of the entire set and I wanted to post the best, but was so afraid to. Afraid of the nasty comments, the questions, the judgments. I have actually struggled with this my entire life. I was severely made fun of by my small figure growing up. Girls would ridicule every part of me to the point where I would wait until everyone left the room to change after PE. I wore XL sweatshirts to school to hide my bony frame. I realized how unhealthy it was to function off of how others feel about you, and that I needed to embrace ME.
When sitting at my desk looking at the edited set and feeling worse at my own self-deprecation, I thought, ‘It doesn’t matter what people will think or say because YOU know the truth about your health, your body, your eating habits. Your body has carried and birthed a beautiful child. Your body runs up and down flights of stairs every day, chasing toddlers around. Your body holds, nurtures, and carries two 35lb little girls, all day, every day. Your body has suffered. Your body has healed. It doesn’t matter if they ridicule, because you give your body the best it needs daily so that it can give itself daily. I remember smiling at the screen because I realized just how thankful I was to have good health. Health is something I pray for every day, for my family and I.
So, I hit POST. Breathed. Prayed. And held on to the truth. Which is that I am healthy and I am happy.
When the message(s) came through, I was able to dismiss the negativity. I was able to speak life into my own mind, my own heart, and not let the words of a stranger cripple me. Building awareness of our thoughts and speaking God’s truth in us, helps us disregard all discouragement and lies from the enemy. Worrying about what others will think and say will only lead to self-destructive thoughts. And letting someone’s words dig into your heart, guarantees an unhappy, unfulfilled life. I have found that if I am fully happy and content with who I am, then I should have confidence that the people that most matter, will love me the way I am.