This past week marked a pretty exciting day for me and my daughter. It was the first week of cheerleading practice! You have to understand a bit about my history to understand why I was so elated yet, a bit nervous for her. It had nothing to do with the sport of cheerleading- I think its an absolute wonderful sport. It has everything to do with the past disillusioned lies that I believed about myself that controlled so much of my childhood. Let me explain my story in the making….
Middle school through high school, I was a cheerleader. The idea of ‘team spirit’ and being apart of something bigger, something positive & encouraging really excited me. Oh, and let’s NOT forget about the uniforms.. Oh how stinkin’ cute are the uniforms! I remember that feeling walking through the hallways of middle school wearing my uniform, thinking to myself, ” I am so proud, I am SOMEBODY.”… So that time of my life was great fun but there were also painful memories that erupted from that season that I am not so proud of.
You see, I was always a bit heavier and ‘stockier’ than the other girls on my team. I was never the cool ‘flyer’ that did all the cool tricks in front of the audience in the stands, I was the base girl who lifted all the other girls because no one could pick me up! I remember one day during practice, being teased and called ‘big boned’ . To most, this type of teasing doesn’t amount to much- it should have been something that I just brushed off but I didn’t. When you are an insecure young girl in middle school, you certainly are aware of how others see you. In that moment, after hearing those words come from another’s mouth, the lies of insecurity, insignificance, and inadequacy were birthed. These lies changed the course of my life for the next 10 years ( I am so sorry Mom!) . It wasn’t long after that incident where I began I began experimenting with all the various fad diets, eating only an apple and a handful of crackers a day. When I saw how deprivation slowly began to lower the number on the scale, it only perpetuated the behavior. I was seeing changes in my weight but the weight always came back. Not long after that, I ‘tried’ being a bulimic but I just couldn’t do it. I developed body dysmorphic disorder where no matter how think I got, I always saw myself in the mirror as the ‘big boned’ girl- I felt defected. I started to hate myself. I hated myself that I wasn’t the ‘small girl’, that I wasn’t getting the attention I so wanted, and that I couldn’t CONTROL my weight. I found myself struggling with athletic anorexia which is the tendency to compulsively, over-exercise in excess to control every last pound. I was completely disillusioned of who I was. These habits of eating and the self-deprecating lifestyle lasted well over 10 years. Everything in my life was out of balance, off -kilter, and out of order. What is so interesting about this story is that I grew up in church all my life. I remember going to church every Sunday, praying before every meal, and driving around with a fish sticker on my car. I thought I was DOING all these things a ‘good’ Christian should do in order to live the life God wanted me to live so why was I still struggling so much? A problem with ‘religious’ ideas and traditions; they are powerless to truly liberate you.
Fast forward a few years, I can now say that I am free from those very destructive behaviors. It wasn’t until just recently (it took a while), that it was revealed to me by the Lord that it is less about the DOING and more about the KNOWING. Did I really KNOW him? Knowing is more than the mere acknowledgement of its existence, it implies relationship. Where was the relationship? Did I even really have one with Him? What was the truth about me?
What changed for me was my perspective. I began looking at the Father as a
l o v i n g father. A father that cheered me on every day and who wanted the best for me; Not the “big guy upstairs’ who only wanted to shake his judgmental, angry finger at me for all my mistakes that I had successfully made in my past. Through reading His Word, I began understanding how he sees me and I chose to allow HIM to be my audience who cheered me on from the stands, to whom I sought acceptance, applause, and praise. Everything changed.
I look back now and remember feeling SO exhausted of looking to the right and to the left, trying to BE what the world deemed as ‘beautiful’. Who was I anyway? What was my purpose in this life? Was I SOMEBODY like I felt walking through those hallways in my cheerleading uniform so long ago? Sometimes we look to the wrong source to find out how others see us. We look to pleasure, possessions, and people’s opinions that only give us distorted views of ourselves. I know that can be true because I fell prey to that- “Only if I had these outfits, was apart of this group, If only drove this car to preschool, had those shoes, was this size, I would be deemed ‘accepted”. It goes on and on doesn’t it. We are constantly inundated with magazines, celebrities, trends and fads that all try to tell us what’s ‘hot’ and what’s “not”, what’s acceptable and what’s not, and how to have ‘lasting beauty’. We won’t understand our own beauty until we figure out who we ARE in Christ. The better we KNOW God, the better we will know ourselves. The depth of this knowledge is knowing what God’s Word says about us. . His Word, the Bible, is the ultimate mirror. It is His thoughts, his ideas, his love letter to us telling us exactly who we are to Him. Jeremiah 1:5 says, ” Before I formed you in the womb, I KNEW you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet of the nations.” So forget what the world thinks, I focus now on what He thinks of me and that has changed everything; It has totally recalibrated my thoughts.
When Adam and Eve looked away from God and chomped on the big apple, this was the first circumstance where man looked away from God and listened to the enemy instead . The enemy wants us to doubt the position and place God has has for us. The lies whispered in our ears- ‘You’re not good enough” God doesn’t want the best for you” slowly begin to create deep insecurities in our lives. When Eve took her eyes off who God she found herself OFF the path that she was intended to go. God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I KNOW the plans I have for you…” He’s already got this life figured out for us. He is very strategic in his plan for our lives. He wants us to know that the work has ALREADY been done and we are covered by the blood of Jesus. The Cross is the ultimate mirror of sacrifice that was given out of LOVE for us. He is the One who tells us who we are – we are made in the IMAGE of Him. Have we have allowed the image of the world to be imprinted upon us more deeply than the image of Christ?
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
I want my daughters, my son to know that they don’t have to look to the right or to the left to figure out who they are or what their purpose is in this life. They don’t have to worry when they don’t have the right outfit on, the cutest bow in her hair, or the coolest toy on the block that he or she isn’t VALUED and loved. Jesus has already told us who we are. The bigger question now is do we
b e l i e v e ? Do we believe the things he wants us to know about Him?
He wants you to know who you ARE:
-You are Forgivable. No matter what junk you have in your past, please don’t ever think its something God can’t let go and forgive because He already DID! There’s NOTHING you have done that has surprised God. He already knew we were going to mess up, that’s why he sent Jesus to cover us and redeem us..That is EPIC!
-Valuable. God sent his ONLY Son to die so we could be forgiven, rose again so we could have eternity with our Father. I can’t even fathom having a love so strong and so deep that I would sacrifice MY ONLY son. But He did. If you were the only one on the earth, He still would have done that for YOU.
– Lovable. Love has to have an object, I am an OBJECT of God’s love. Loved by the God of the universe Made in His image, Let that sink in for a moment…
– Capable. God has a plan and purpose for our lives and He has equipped us us with a pretty awesome plan but its up to us to understand that we are capable and able to walk in that plan. The question is, are we AVAILABLE for Him to put his plan to work in our lives.
Every day is a choice NOT believe the lies of insecurity, insignificance, and inadequacy that ran my life for so long. Everyday is a CHOICE to believe that God wants the best for myself and for my family. Everyday is a CHOICE to lay down at the foot of the cross, all my hurt and pain that I carried for so many years. EVERY DAY is CHOICE not turn to the world and allow the world to define me. I believe now I am living a much healthier lifestyle both physically and spiritually and this life has never been so fulfilling and so free now that I have found my SOURCE of life.