The world we live in has a crazy way of setting this standard of how you should look. From the transformation body pictures on Instagram to the models posted up on Twitter- all of which you look nothing like- it begins to shape your perspective of “enough”. You won’t be pretty e n o u g h until you have abs like her. You won’t be successful e n o u g h until you have followers like her. You won’t be good e n o u g h until you.are.her. All of these lies are whispered into your ears, and you believe them because you have never been told any different, or if you have it’s hard to believe with this standard hanging over your head. It leads to the defeated life. The inadequate life. The life of feeling like you’ll never measure up. The life of insecurity.
It’s exhausting trying to chase after perfect standards we were never meant to pursue. Kind’ve like a swimmer trying to run track. They’re in the wrong field, playing the wrong game- of course they’re always going to fall short… they weren’t trained for that. In this world, we too, have been trained for a different standard. It doesn’t involve comparing ourselves to the person on the side of us because we all stink no matter how rock hard your abs are or how much your highlight glows. It’s about comparing ourselves to our Heavenly Father. The one who created us and labels us as his own. His royal priesthood, His warriors, His jewels. We are precious in his eyes, and he took his time creating every detail of our body, mind, and heart. We were created to live in•security. His security. The security of knowing that all he’s created you to be, is exactly all he expects.
You’re not alone in this battle. In fact, I’m pretty sure every girl I know is fighting along-side you. So today, I’ve decided to give you a glimpse of your team, your army, the girls in armor right beside you while you fight. They’ll speak life over you and truth they needed to find for themselves. They’ll give you wisdom and they’ll give you reality. They’re here to show that you’re not a one man army- you aren’t alone.
To note, every picture you will see here on out is unedited and untouched, and the girls you will see are ALL natural for the purpose of being completely transparent on this topic.
“I have been insecure about how I looked ever since I was a little girl. Getting bullied and talked about through elementary school and middle school was tough. When so many lies are told to you on a daily basis you start to believe they are true. My weight and how I look is something that has been a challenge for me. When you hear lies all your life and you finally hear the truth, the truth sounds like a lie. I didn’t start believing and living in truth until the end of 2017. Once it hit me how much God really loves me, everything changed. I began to speak Life and truth over myself. I have always been an encourager for everyone else. But, when it came to myself I didn’t feel worth it. Once I realized my worth in Christ, I began to live in my truth. Everyday I look in the mirror and I speak truth over my life- “You have a purpose!” “You are beautifully and wonderfully made!” “You are worthy!” “You are God’s princess!”. I stopped comparing myself to others and logged off social media when it was necessary. I still did compare myself with it sometimes. Not always my looks, but if I’m smart enough or capable or if I would be successful. The list can go on FOREVER! I’ve noticed that once you’re over one thing about yourself the enemy attempts to bring something else up. But now I am able to decipher between his lies and my Father’s truths. I had to shift my focus and my perspective to my Lord’s truths. That’s how I find joy in the darkest times of my life. That’s how I’m able to serve even if I feel insufficient. God’s love for me makes my life easier.”
“Before I gave my life to Jesus, my standard on how i should act or look always reflected the world. I use to see other girls who looked almost flawless with or without makeup and I’d compare myself thinking I needed to look better, even if that meant wearing a bunch of makeup. Over the years, as God began to show me my worth, I realized that God embraced my insecurities. I began to see myself through who I was in christ and not who I was to the world. I always use to feel like I had to try so hard to stand out or appeal to others, especially guys. I never felt like I was enough, but now that doesn’t matter. I have realized that yes, I’m far from perfect, but I don’t have to be perfect because that’s why I serve a perfect God. Now, I’m not saying that everyday I wake up and feel beautiful and confident. There’s days I still compare myself to other girls or don’t feel good enough, but even in those days I feel something in me say to myself, “you are enough because I am enough for both of us.” I remember my God and how His thoughts of me outnumber the grains of sand. I remember that He was willing to die for me in the midst of me not loving Him. I remember that He saw beauty in me before I even gave my first breath. The same creator who made the stars and the sunsets and the angels and flowers thought it was necessary for someone as awkward and silly like me to exist. Truths like that keep me going and remind me to stay confident. So in my bad days, where I can’t see the beauty in myself, all that matters to me is that He sees the beauty in me.”
“When I was five I started swimming competitively so my wardrobe consisted of t-shirts, oversized hoodies, basketball shorts (because they were modest) my converse, and flip flops for the pool deck. My entire childhood was swimming in the bayou and exploring the woods with my three brothers. Everyone always told me I looked just like my brothers. When I was younger I took it as a compliment. However, when I started getting older, as makeup, fashion and boys came into the picture, it started to sound more like “you look like a boy”. I didn’t think much of myself. I always thought the girls I swam with or the girls in my youth group were so much prettier than me! People would tell me I was pretty and I would just shrug it off thinking “You are just saying that. My shoulders are too big because of swimming. I don’t have cute cloths (because, even in high school, my closet consisted of T-shirt and jeans). My hair is always in a bun. I don’t wear makeup. My legs are too muscular. I’m too tall. I have a gap in my teeth. I’m not outgoing.” And on and on I would go convincing myself that I was not good enough. It wasn’t till I was out of high school when I discovered how to conquer my insecurities everyday, because, I’m sorry, they don’t ever go away. Fortunately, you can overcome them and genuinely love yourself! Number one: I had to understand that my character and my actions were more important than my insecurities. I was a state champion swimmer by the time I was ten years old. I played piano and sang. I was involved in several different ministries. I had incredible friends. But I still felt like a second class person compared to the girls who had boyfriends, cute cloths, big friend groups and outgoing personalities. I had to learn what was important in life before I could place value my life. Number two: give and receive compliments! If someone is going out of there way to compliment you, choose to believe it. Whether it’s about your looks or your actions, God is trying to verbally affirm you through your brothers and sisters in Him. Also, don’t be afraid to compliment others. A lot of times we become insecure because we see someone else succeeding and we feel less about ourselves. But comparison is the thief of joy while bringing someone else joy multiplies it. And number three: develop eyes like Jesus. Begin to read your Bible and see what he says about you. Maybe there are some things that you need to change in order to become the person God has called you to be, but you will never experience true self worth without knowing God and how He adores you.”
“Insecure, unconfident, and self-conscious were the words to describe myself growing up. My childhood was filled with negative words from the people who meant the most to me. My family treated me as if I were invisible. I felt unloved. They constantly made comments about my weight because I was “too skinny”. I started to pick on my self over everything. I was bullied in school. I hated my glasses, height, skin, race and everything you can think of. I started searching, but my security wasn’t found. I felt hopeless. I grew an addiction of trying to find hope in the wrong places. I gave myself to boys. I was confused because I was mistreated by them. I gave pieces of my heart and received nothing in return. I was broken. Then I consumed my self endlessly with drugs, parties, raves and alcohol. Those things made me feel empty at the end of the day. I suffered with depression. One day, I broke down in my room. I had enough. I hated myself. I was ready to give up and commit suicide. In this moment I felt a hand on my shoulder stopping me. It was Jesus. He had seen I hurt myself so many times but He looked at me with nothing but love. When I seen love in His eyes, I felt peace. I gave Him my heart and He gave me His truth and promises. He was my Father. He was my best friend. I started to heal. Walking with Jesus, I saw my worth. I gained so much confidence after I let Jesus invade my heart. I don’t ever want to hurt myself again or go back to those unhealthy habits. I love myself. I am secure in Jesus, made whole, priceless, a daughter of the King, beautiful, pure, beloved, confident, bold, and chosen by Jesus.”
“My name is Carmin. Above is an awkward picture of me that I fought hard to stop from being posted. But here you are… looking at it. The moment I was asked to do this, my mind immediately skipped to the answer “NO”! I’m a photographer for a reason, I stay behind the camera. I cringed at the thought of everyone reading about my insecurities. For a very long time, I have had detrimental insecurity issues. Issues that I have hidden so very well. What people don’t know about me is that for years I couldn’t walk past a mirror without being completely ashamed of myself. Every single day I would wake up and let my appearance control my every action. Some days I’d even knit pick every personality trait of mine. Don’t let me fool you, I am still fighting this battle.
In the beginning of 2018 I asked God what my word for the year needed to be. His response was confident. God told me, “It’s time Carmin. You have been running for too long.” This is for the girl who is still running:
Stop. Just stop. You’ve tried time and time again to fix your insecurities. You’ve tried losing the weight. You’ve tried getting rid of the acne. You’ve tried to be more extraverted. Stop trying to fix something that isn’t meant to be fixed. Do you realize that God hand knitted you? That He took His precious time creating every detail of you. Until you appreciate that, you are going to miss out on so much love that God has for you. Not because He is holding it back from you, but because you are literally blocking it. You keep trying to fix things about yourself so that other people will love you. Just stop trying to fix yourself. Let God teach you how to love yourself just the way you are. Tear down the walls of insecurity that are blocking God’s love.
This is me tearing down my walls.”
“Ever since I was in grade school, I was made fun of about my teeth and how they were not straight. All throughout high school, and even after, I was very insecure about smiling and feeling beautiful. I never thought that any decent guy would want to look at me as someone beautiful because my teeth weren’t straight, like every other girl that I would see. I thought that it made me lesser and insignificant, so for years all I thought about were braces…because I thought that braces would make me beautiful. But when I came to know Christ and I began to understand my worth and I got a revelation of who I am and Him. I realized that no matter what I look like on the outside what matters most is how God views me! I still to this day struggle with smiling in pictures sometimes and wanting to smile in front of other people and laughing with my mouth open, but then the Lord reminds me that he sees me as beautiful, and no matter what I think about myself, or what other people say about me, what the Lord says is always truth!”
“Thinking about the word insecurity. That word has been apart of my life since i was in elementary school. Growing up something was always “wrong ” with me. Being the fat girl in school, being called an imbecile because I couldn’t understand something the correct way, or being too “ugly” to hang out with the popular group at school. The words that people spoke over me crippled me and still has affected me till this day. It affects my thoughts, on the way I take pictures, it affects my work in my calling, it has impacted my interpretation of others actions, all the way to the simplest things. And I can be completely honest and transparent in saying that the reading the “Who you are in Christ ” pamphlet and edifying yourself in the mirror doesn’t help me personally… I think what helps me is recognizing the insecurities and locating that hurt, which is definitely not the easiest thing to do, it’s actually very painful and humbling. But bringing the insecurities to light has helped because it can take away some of their power as you increase your awareness of when and how they come into play and how to manage those feelings that come along with it. Straight up insecurities keep us from living into the full potential God has for us. When we are consumed with fear, because thats the root of all insecurity, it leaves little room for the Lords guidance and direction. It leads us to believe in lies, and it will start to tempt us to find reassurance through comparison with others. But the Lord calls us to a higher standard and desires to truly know our hearts. We have to learn (key word LEARN) how to take every thought captive. Paul urges us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (Rom. 12:21). Confront your disabling thoughts. Turn them over to God and become who He sees you can be. Sometimes we need to lay the way we feel at the feet of Jesus, sacrifice, and choose to believe his truth over the feelings that consume our minds. And please, let’s not get this twisted and think that I am free of insecurities because that is the FURTHEST thing from the truth. This is me working out my freedom from my insecurities. Us as women, because we are very emotional, we tend to go in the same directions that our feelings are pointing to. And I’ve had to learn the hard way that , that’s very dangerous because, yes, feelings are valid and are cared about in the eyes of the Lord, but also are very deceptive. My encouragement to us who deal with insecurities on a day to day bases is to agree more with God’s truth over us vs the way we feel, and let us not forget that there is a real devil a real enemy trying to destroy you and rip you in pieces. But as for us as Christians, let us also not forgot the Spirit that lives inside you- the Holy Spirit- and the authority you carry to put those thoughts to rest. He knows your name and He doesn’t fall off of His throne.”
“I remember how my life was a little girl. I had a beautiful family life! My parents loved each other; my siblings and I (although we would bicker at times) grew up having memories of laughing and playing together… It was the perfect life to me. I knew that I was loved. I knew that I was cherished. I was absolutely secured because I knew that my parents loved me and that they would cross the ends of the earth just so that I could know that I was theirs. I was SECURE and there was nothing that I had to fear, until elementary school came. The girl who was once so sure of whom she belonged to and what she was worth, was called ugly for the first time. Although at once she believed she was beautiful, she now began to believe the voices of somebody else. I can remember walking down the hallways at school with my head held down because every time that I looked up, I was afraid that people would make fun of how I looked. To make matters a little worse, I would go home and compare myself to my sisters at home. I would spend days, even hours, as I got into middle and high school, straightening my hair and covering my face with makeup. I became hungry for love and attention from other people and I was lost and broken, until a man name Jesus Christ knocked on the door of my heart. When Jesus Christ came into my heart and into my life, He began to restore the things that the devil had stolen from me. This once very insecure girl, became secure in Christ. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 139 (specifically verses 13 and 14). It talks a lot about how God is aware of every, single detail of our lives. He not only knows us intricately, but He loves us relentlessly and passionately. I want to share with you one of the things that God has helped me to learn through this process of overcoming insecurities: You were FORMED by God INTENTIONALLY. He made you WITH A PURPOSE, ON PURPOSE (His wonderful purposes), and FOR A GREATER PURPOSE than you could imagine. You are not a mistake. You are not a regret. When God created you, He knew what He was doing. He looks at you through the eyes of love. He looked at the dust on the ground, picked it up with His hands, formed you out of it, and He breathed His breath of life inside of you. He makes things that are broken beautiful, and He is absolutely in love with you. Your worth is found in your Creator, not in what others or even yourself may say about you. BELIEVE IN HIS TRUTH. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even though God has revealed this truth to me, there are still days where I struggle with insecurity, but I know that God’s grace is sufficient and that He will continue to show me who He is and who I am in light of who He is. We are all works in progress, but God loves us the same. We can rest in Him and have assurance that He is with us every step of the way. He is greater than any insecurity that we face, and we are indeed precious in His sight. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Isaiah 43:4, God can say it better than any of us ever can.”
“Since I was young I always had acne. Seriously, I can remember getting my first pimple in first grade- it was kind’ve ridiculous. Since then I have accumulated black heads, pimples, scars, and scabs all over my face and back. It’s something I’ve always been insecure about, and honestly still am. There are days when I just HAVE to put on concealer, for fear that someone will be grossed out or want to look at it while I’m talking to them. I tend to think that I’m saving them from some sort of trouble if I just cover it up. It’s crazy to say I feel more confident that way. I cover up my acne, and most times I cover up my personality as well. I have the “too much” syndrome. The one where I always think I’m “too much” for a room to handle. Too emotional, too sensitive, too obnoxious, too awkward. So I keep to myself most times, afraid that if I am the way I am or look the way I look, then someone won’t like me. It’s been a hard process- especially because social media S U C K S at uplifting people. All you need to do is go to the popular page and you can find 10 reasons why you aren’t good enough the way that you are. For me, my process has been painful. It’s about doing the things you don’t want to do until you want to do them. It’s about choosing not to wear makeup on the days when I look like a pizza even when everything in me wants to pick up my foundation brush. It’s about choosing to take a break from social media even when I want to stay ‘up to date’. And it’s about choosing to look in the mirror and speak life to the darkest places, even if you don’t feel it. You are beautiful. You are special. You are unique. You are enough. You will never be too much. You are secure just being you. God created me to be that way, and when he did, he said, “It is GOOD”. Every part of me I hate and every part of me I wish I could change- it is good. It is good. It is good. Sometimes you just need that reminder that you are exactly who you were meant to be in every way, and your struggle with this doesn’t make you any less significant.”
Today is the day that you stop living the life of a swimmer trying to run track. Pick up your sword, put on your armor, and let’s go to war together. As one army, against one enemy. The only person who can stop you is you. The you that believes the lies and chooses to live in insecurity. Look at yourself in the mirror today and tell yourself truth. You are secure. You were meant to live in•security of who God has made you to be. You are beautiful. You are unique. You are enough.
1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.