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Posts Tagged ‘Child of God’

Sitting in simple seated, I looked at the mirror in front of me. Frowning, I stared at the awkward place where the waistband of my yoga pants landed on my belly.

It took me a couple minutes in this space to realize the lies I was believing about myself. It began with accusing myself of looking frumpy, spiraling down to a space of falsehood comparing myself to women on Instagram. This spiraled even further into believing the lie that I’m never going to be enough for any man.

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Recently in a Matt Chandler sermon, he shared the following from a Brené  Brown TED Talk…

“Brené Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston…She says men and women experience the pressure of achievement in very different ways. Here’s how she says women experience an achievement-based culture:
‘[Women are] expected (and sometimes desire) to be perfect, yet we’re not allowed to look as if we’re working for it. We want it to just materialize somehow. Everything should be effortless. The expectation is to be natural beauties, natural mothers, natural leaders, and naturally good parents, and we want to belong to naturally fabulous families.’ Brené goes on to argue in an achievement culture with perfection as the standard, a woman is forced into impossible either-ors. Here’s her list.
‘Be perfect, but don’t make a fuss about it, and don’t take time away from anything, like your family or your partner or your work, to achieve your perfection. If you’re really good, perfection should be easy.
Don’t upset anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings, but say what’s on your mind.
Dial the sexuality way up (after the kids are down, the dog is walked, and the house is clean), but dial it way down at the PTA meeting. And, geez, whatever you do, don’t confuse the two.
Just be yourself, but not if it means being shy or unsure.
Don’t make people feel uncomfortable, but be honest.
Don’t get too emotional, but don’t be too detached either. Too emotional and you’re hysterical. Too detached and you’re a cold hearted [witch].’
She uses different language, but she’s a researcher, and I’m a pastor, so I edited that quote. This is what Brené Brown says women feel in an achievement-based culture. ‘You have to do… You have to be…’ They feel the weight of perfection, that they have to be perfect. Not only do they have to be perfect, but in that perfection it has to look like they’re not working at it.
Ladies, does anybody feel any of this?”

 

As I sat on my yoga mat looking at my reflection, various statements of the following came to mind: “Naomi, you are only beautiful and desirable if you have a flat stomach, voluminous hair, flawless skin and perfectly shaped eyebrows.”

Y’all, I have to laugh at how self-centered, petty and ridiculous that sounds!

Seriously, those lies are crap.

We live in a society that has distorted God’s definition of beauty and where we find our identity.

Thankfully, God’s Word says otherwise.

~ “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

~ “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7

~ “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” Psalm 8:3-5

~ “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

~ “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139: 13-14

~ “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25

~ “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

~ “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

~ “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10

~ “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:20

~ “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” Colossians 3:12

 ~ “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8

~ “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are…” 1 John 3:1

 

How easily it is to be deceived by the lies of our culture.

Darling, please hear me.

You are intelligent.

You are strong.

You are capable.

You are enough.

You are desirable.

You are captivating.

You are chosen.

You are loved.

Next time you find yourself in a place of unbelief and feeling confused by the lies of our culture, remember what your Creator says about you.

You have a Father in Heaven who is the King of Kings. He gently holds you in His fond embrace,  lovingly looks into your eyes and says, “I chose you. You are mine. And you are loved.”

 

 

 

 

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Camel Pose!

This morning I sat in church tearing up out of awed gratitude.

Matt Chandler interviewed Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs about the testament of God’s faithfulness in their marriage and their story reminded me about how faithful God has been in my life over this past year.

Those of you who have experienced or have had a loved one experience the cloud of clinical depression, you know how dark and grueling the cloud is. The cloud enslaves your inner world and you are trapped inside a shadow of indescribable sadness, where hope seems unreachable. The person you once knew disappears and you wonder if you will ever be yourself again. Days and nights I cried wondering where “Naomi” went? Where did the joy go? Where is God in the darkness? I need saving, because I am confused, scared, angry, and sad.

I can now honestly say that for the past few weeks I have been feeling normal and the cloud of depression is not hovering anymore. My life has been on pause for about 11 months and I am thoroughly excited to have the stamina to begin committing to various activities again. Yes, I am still in counseling, taking two different anti-depressants, eating nutritiously, staying active, attempting to sleep at least 8 hours each night, and trying to keep in mind my social energy so I don’t spread myself too thin. I also do not know what the future holds, and I may have another breakdown in the years to come. However, for now, I feel fantastically Naomi. I feel like myself again. And I feel free. No, that does not mean I am chipper every single second or that all fears have passed away. But, the dark cloud which hovered for a number of months is no longer shading me from the sunny days and new blossoms.

This past Spring I participated in a Bible Study with the women in my home group and we studied the book of 1 Peter. The verses which stood out to me then also continues to stand out to me now as a reminder of God’s faithfulness over the past year.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

As children of God, Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for our sins and brought us into the Light of His Life. Similarly, God has used depression in my life as an illustration of the Gospel, bringing me out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.

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Working on my Mermaid pose!

Even though I am currently feeling fantastically Naomi, depression is tricky and every individual battles with this mental illness a little bit differently. Plus being a human being with lots of emotions can be confusing. Who knows, tomorrow something may occur and my depression is triggered. Yet, Matthew 6:34 reminds me not to let tomorrow be a worry. So, I will end it here sharing with you how free I am now feeling after being under the bondage of depression, something which I never expected to experience.

 God is faithful in the midst of the cloudy and the sunny.

How is God working in your life?

 

 

 

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