Ten years ago, I was actually concerned about being too thin and had started talking to a specialist about how to gain more weight. My body looked almost exactly the way I wanted it to. I was diligent to eat right and my very active lifestyle made it easy to maintain an ideal weight.
Then, I had 4 kids in 3 ½ years.
Ka-boom. Everything changed. EVERYTHING.
All of my babies were big, and kids # 3 & 4 were 7+ pound fraternal twins. Add 3 c-sections into the mix, not sleeping for 6 years straight, and not having much time for myself, and what resulted is a much altered version of my former body.
I have a giant, ugly scar that runs from one hip-bone to the other. It’s gotten more pronounced and thicker with each c-section. I walk around in fear that my shirt will accidentally fly up and reveal my misshaped belly-button (moms of multiples will know what I’m talking about), my stretch-mark-laden stomach, or the excess skin (flopping over my scar) that never retained its elasticity after my twins were born.
The last straw was when I weaned my twins (knowing I’ll never get pregnant again) and my breasts actually shrunk to a size SMALLER than they were before I got pregnant the first time. YES! After breastfeeding 4 kids for 15+ months EACH, I was expecting my breasts to stay at a larger size, but instead, I now look like a boy from neck to navel, a weird blob of skin from naval to waist, and like a knife-fight patient from the waist to pelvis.
Needless to say, this was NOT how I pictured my future self 10 years ago when I was running around in my bikini on the beach.
Most of the time, if I just avoid mirrors and pictures, I don’t notice the body changes too much, but this week, as I prepared to be a bridesmaid in a dear friend’s wedding, all of my body issues and self-consciousness suddenly became very apparent.
I was horrified when I looked in the 3-way-mirror at the tailor’s as she altered the length of my bridesmaid dress. I pictured myself walking down the aisle, watching people shake their head and wonder why I’d let myself go. I tried on over 20 dresses at the mall, trying to find a dress to wear to the rehearsal dinner, before I finally gave up. I began having daydreams about the bride’s family wondering why she would chose someone who looked like me to be in her bridal party! It was after I started to feel sick to my stomach thinking about getting my picture taken at the wedding that I realized how twisted my thoughts had really become.
So, as I packed my Spanx, hoping they would help me feel more self-confident, I realized that I HAD to do something about these runaway thoughts. I know that, when I feel insecure, I tend to hide and therefore cut myself off from the blessing of connection with other people. And, I wanted this trip to be a really fun time away, celebrating with good friends, and not a time for me to wallow in self-degradation!
I stopped and asked the Holy Spirit to show me how to proceed and what to do with these thoughts-gone-wild.
You know what He did? He created in my heart a deep thankfulness for this opportunity to stare insecurity in the face and say, “you do NOT have control over my thoughts, my actions, or my beliefs.”
Insecurity tells me that I am only valuable if I look a certain way. Insecurity causes me to shut myself off from connection and from love. Insecurity steals my ability to experience true abundance in my life. Insecurity cuts my legs out from under me and holds me back. Insecurity makes me timid, steals my bravery, and therefore thwarts my destiny.
Listening to the voice of insecurity is as preposterous as giving a thief a key to my house, the code to my security system, and directions as to where my most valuable possessions are located. Wouldn’t I do everything in my power to keep that thief away from my house? So, why do I welcome the thief of insecurity and give him a full-access-pass into my thoughts and beliefs?
After this weekend is over, my body might not look any different, but I hope to be more beautiful on the inside. I plan to continually kick that thief out of my mind and soul and cast down every thought that exalts itself against the truth about what God says about me. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to kick insecurity to the curve and love myself the way God loves me. If He can love me unconditionally, why can’t I do the same?
Ka-boom. Everything changes. EVERYTHING.
He makes all things new.