sad woman

For as long as I can remember, I used to lay in bed and think about ways to improve the way I looked. Sometimes it was how I could work out more or change my hairstyle. Sometimes it meant eating fewer calories per day, or counting them on some stupid app so I could look like what I perceived to be a better me.

And, sure, yeah, there is nothing wrong with eating healthy and exercising. But for me, in a messed up way, it made me feel like I was somehow in control of something, and gave me a superficial purpose and peace.

That’s hard for me to admit. It’s devastating–knowing that’s how I used to spend evenings in my head.

Being a hairstylist throughout my twenties, I was constantly surrounded by perfecting outward beauty in others and myself. What I didn’t realize is that it started to define me. I joined forces with the aimless and worldly race of chasing a version of myself that didn’t exist.

It snuck up on me like a subtle yet devastating disease. Before I knew it, my existence was led by this other version of myself that would feel momentary instances of satisfaction, but in all reality, my cup was left unfulfilled.

I felt alone and stripped bare of any feeling of purpose. As I began to look more and more like what I perceived as better, my insecurities grew.

Now, mind you, in the midst of it, I was no more aware that this was me than a gazelle is of a lion that’s about to have it for lunch.

I think many of us, women especially, suffer a loss of enjoying ourselves, all because we believe a devastating lie that a snip here, or a lift there can somehow make us happier or accept ourselves more.

The worst part is, the majority of us don’t even realize we go through our day thinking such awful things about ourselves.

I mean, what do you think when you look in the mirror?

Do you admire all the qualities God gave you? Or do you turn around and look at your backside, and wish you hadn’t eaten that ice cream the day before?

It becomes normal to us — to think negatively about ourselves.

And the thought of letting go of those lies might mean losing control.

Letting go might mean accepting ourselves – body, mind, and soul. It might mean feeling joy, even if our butt is more like memory foam instead of a bouncy ball.

Here’s the hope, ladies.

Around when I turned 30, I realized that those frivolous thoughts were dissipating and that they had never brought about anything good or beneficial to my life in the first place. It wasn’t some epiphany that I knew took place, but rather a gradual and beautiful realization that instead of comparing myself to others, or that version of myself I dreamed up in my subconscious, I should admire and be grateful for who I am.

The older I get, the more I realize how little I care about my decaying body. It’s funny, though — in my twenties, I thought the opposite.

I dreaded growing older.

I feared that my marriage would grow apart because our attraction for one another would fade. Instead, our love and attraction to one another have never been stronger.

I was almost preparing myself for this huge letdown in life as I arrived closer and closer to thirty, and all the while, I missed out on enjoying my youth.

Why do we do that? Why do we ruin our present by worrying about our future?

We create for ourselves an environment that stubbornly settles for itself, instead of seeing our lives for what they are — a blessing from God.

We tell ourselves, “well, that’s life. It’s mediocre. It’s hard.”

And while life may be hard, I’m increasingly convinced it doesn’t have to feel hard, especially all the time. In fact, it shouldn’t. Because the hope we find in Christ should never leave us feeling empty, but rather full, knowing He will fulfill the promises He made.

We CAN experience joy. Not because everything goes the way we think it should, but more so because we can become aware of how blessed we are. That even when things don’t go our way, our reaction to it can bring about joy.

Here’s the hope. And if I didn’t end with this, this article would be meaningless. Your worth is found in the simple truth that God finds you desirable, beautiful, perfect, and all the lovely things you are trying so desperately to set aside so that you can have a little bit more control.

Well, what if you let go of the more skinny, better skin, less butt version of yourself, and instead believe the truth. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Author

Hillary Gruener is a wife, mother, writer, and musician. If she's not at her desk writing content on family life, she's adventuring the world with her husband and two boys.

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