I remember crying myself to sleep in high school because of a joke some boy I barely even knew had made about my weight. I was about seventeen at the time, but my struggle with the way I looked had begun much before that. I had always been a “normal-sized girl” growing up, until I hit puberty. That, plus all the junk food I consumed when I went away to boarding school, caused me to put on a lot of weight. It wasn’t until people began to notice that I realized what a large part of my identity was formed around the way I looked and even more so around the way that people saw me.
Wouldn’t it be more caring to pray for someone instead of worrying for them? I find the difference between worrying and putting my trust in God to be this: when I worry, I draw more into myself, allowing my fears and anxieties to spread. When I instead turn and give my worries over to God, I draw more into His peace and trust that He’s got me no matter what the situation may be. The crazy part is, God loves our families and friends way more than we ever could. God doesn’t want His children, you or me, to live in the fear of not knowing what the future will hold. But instead to have faith in knowing that He holds our future and will never leave us.
I have two siblings, and one statement I think I can fairly confidently make is that siblings are far too often compared and contrasted to each other. “Oh, they’re the funny one,” they say, or “They’re the shy one,” the list goes on and on.
Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of having a prestigious career. There has always been something in me that has desired to have the status of a successful career woman, a woman who has done something with her life. Intelligence and prestige had become so important in my life. Being a wife and mother didn’t really appeal to me all that much. Honestly, it was pride in my heart that told me that being a wife and mother wasn’t good enough. Sure, eventually I wanted to have kids. But in my mind, the end-all goal was to be successful and to make a name for myself.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the “Good Girl.” The kind one. The honest one. The encouraging one. The happy one. The good one. I knew the right things to do and say: what my family wanted, what my friends wanted, even what I thought God wanted. I was polished on the outside, doing all the “right” things, but on the inside, I was selfish. I was angry. I felt inadequate. I was driven by performance and perfection.
Sometimes, saying we can’t overcome sin is an excuse to avoid the hard work of sanctification and enjoy living in it a little longer. But more often than not, laziness isn’t the problem. We are scared. Scared of what lurks in the dark corners of our heart. Scared that if we dig too deep we will discover something about ourselves that we don’t like. Scared of being vulnerable. Scared of being found out. Scared of the shame of our own shadows.
For as long as I can remember, my biggest insecurity has been my quiet personality. I’m not overly talkative, I’m not super outgoing, and I’m not the life of the party by any stretch of the imagination. Don’t get me wrong - I love to have fun. And the friends who know me well have plenty of stories. But I remember coming away from so many parties and get togethers beating myself up for not saying enough. I felt like I had nothing to offer in group situations and wondered if people really wanted me there.
I am strong. I am not one to shy away from conflict. I am outspoken. I like to ask people to be friends with me. I like to tell people the things I like about them - even if I don’t know their name. Although this might sound like a good thing, sometimes this trait can be perceived as too strong. When people point this out, I tend to shrink into my turtle shell and shut down, believing the lie that I need to change, that my personality is too much for others to handle.