self-worth

Exactly How You Are, No Matter What…

Before I start, I just want to make sure you know that I don’t have this all figured out. I’m scared as hell to share this, but I’m going to share it anyway because it’s good for me and maybe it’ll be good for you too. I realize that everyone struggles with the black hole that is body issues, so forgive me if I slip up, say something insensitive, or just come off as stupid- I’m getting there. Let’s do this together. Be gentle to me, and to anyone else that gets involved in this conversation.

2010 to 2014

The picture to the left was taken on my wedding day in 2010. I weighed my lightest as an adult during this time, having eaten mainly spinach, black beans and brown rice for most of my meals for about six months prior to this day. Yeah, I know…. it was awful. Shortly before I moved to Lake City, Florida to plan my wedding, I was living in Central Florida, working a pedi-cab job. It was the worst job ever, but the one, incredible side effect of riding a bicycle with heavy tourists on the back of it down I-Drive was the awesome amount of exercise I got, and the EXTREMELY toned legs that I managed to keep until I became pregnant.

The picture to the right was taken a few weeks ago, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was speaking/singing at the Launch Out Conference and hanging out with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. When I first saw my pictures posted in our Facebook group, I’ll admit that I cringed a little.

I hate when pictures of me are released into the social media universe that I didn’t take, crop, edit and filter myself. When I have the control, I can manage angles and tricks that make me look a little more like the photo on the left, and not the real me, which is the photo on the right.

You know what’s sad? Even though 2010 Megan was the most fit I’d ever been, I was so unhappy with how I looked. I was at a great weight for my body type and structure, but I still hated myself. All of the “imperfections”- the little belly flab at the front, the butt that just seemed kinda boring, my untoned arms, the reality that I’ll always be tall and I’ll NEVER be petite. They all pissed me off. I don’t think I ever once looked in the mirror and felt ok.

5 years later? Battling the same self-loathing, painful insecurities, but with an extra 60 pounds.

Uggghhhh. That was so hard to type! But somehow I’ve felt like if I never say it (or type it) out loud, no one will know. As if other people don’t have eyeballs and CAN’T SEE that I’m obviously bigger than I was before.

God’s been slowly chiseling at this body idol for three years now. Year after year of starving, binging, work out fads, DIET trends, realizations, weep sessions on the floor, surrendering, starting over, failing again… the cycle on repeat, each time letting go a little more. For those of you who know me or have been reading my blog, you know this to be true. I am up and down and all over the place with my body.

But here’s the thing about that day when I saw my current pictures posted on Facebook- while I had that initial cringe-moment, it went away fast. Something happened (well, a lot of things happened) that weekend that changed the way I see myself. A something that finally exploded my body idol and sent the pieces flying every which way.

I saw through the extra 60 pounds, the mom jorts, and the messy hair and found my eyes. I found my facial expressions. My passionate hands.

I found my story. I found Megan.

The day prior to my presentation, a lovely lady named Amy Thames Latta, a personal fitness trainer, spoke about our bodies and our worth. I had literally met her two hours before she was up on stage, but as she was sharing, I felt like she knew and saw right through me. As she spoke, it dawned on me that this was the first time I had ever heard someone in the health and fitness realm say to a room of people all different shapes and sizes, “I’m going to stand here and tell you today that you are amazing, exactly how you are, no matter what…. I am telling you that you are worthy.” You can see her full talk here (do it- you won’t be sorry).

All of those precise, chiseling blows leading up to that one sentence that came out of Amy’s mouth. Looking at Amy and thinking that she looks perfect,wanting to be envious, those words flew at my gut and knocked the air right out of me (in a good way), flicking the tear switch on. I seriously just wanted to crawl up in a ball at Amy’s feet for the rest of her presentation and cry. That’s just so, SO CREEPY when you type it out, but whatever, you get it.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them. -Genesis 1:27

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:13-16

God- the Creator of the Universe. All perfect. All Knowing. All Enduring. The Weaver and Definer of love and beauty. The Master Potter. The Ultimate.

All of that and more… THAT is the image I get to bare. He is the one who holds, I’m talking LITERALLY HOLDS IN HIS HANDS my beauty.

My worth, in the possession of The Ultimate.

What does that mean for me? Well, it means that today I’m beautiful, even with an extra 60 pounds. It means that regardless of my weight, I’ll always have that little belly flab because I FREAKING BIRTH CHILDREN. My butt and my arms? They were fine in 2009, they are fine today and they will be fine 10 years from now. And my height? I’m tall, and that’s amazing. I get to have these long legs that carry me well and always make me a solid 6 steps ahead everyone else, and I don’t mean that figuratively. I’m seriously always walking in front of whoever I’m with. Their three steps to my every one step, it’s hilarious.

Now, I get to change that repeat lie from, “I’ll only be worth something if I eat well, exercise and lose weight” to, “ I can eat well and exercise because I’m worth it a million times!” I’m not under the naive impression that all I have to do is say that, and it becomes easier, because it doesn’t. But at least I believe the truth now. It’s just a matter of  submitting to the truth daily, saying it over and over to myself, retraining my brain to believe what is good.

Oh, and let me make something very clear. This isn’t a “praise the full-figured and shame the skinny” kind of blog post. I will admit- I’ve been guilty of saying some bitchy things about “skinny” girls, purely out of my jealousy and bitterness. As I’ve gotten deeper with a lot of women and have been building great friendships, I’ve discovered that every single one of us, size 2 to 22, struggle. The answer to changing the definition of beauty in our society is not to swing the pendulum to the other side that says, “Real women have curves.” Uggghh- that’s so mean!

Let’s be kind- first to ourselves, and then to each other. And that can only begin when we start listening to the truth.

You are amazing, exactly how you are, no matter what… I am telling you that you are worthy.

This is nothing new.

-MLW

Music Monday: Who I Am

So as I’ve shared recently, running (or trying to run) has been a mountain I’ve been trying to conquer. When viewed with the right lenses and for the right reasons, health is really important to me. Unfortunately, we all know how difficult it is to keep our sights set on why we need to be healthy in the first place.

For me, I am not able to successfully be healthy if my goal is to make myself happy or to please Daniel. I have always and will forever fail if those two reasons are why I do anything. It just proves so hard how human I am. When I am able to believe that striving for healthy living is for God and his glory, then the success comes. Again, it’s difficult.

Some days I’ve truly got it. And some days I don’t feel God and I’d rather sit on the couch and eat an entire bag of Pirates Booty.

An album, and more specifically a certain song reminds me of why I do anything in the first place, and helps me see myself differently.

Life In Your Way’s Kingdoms, which is an album comprised of three EP’s (The Kingdom of Man, The Kingdom of Darkness and The Kingdom of God) , is something you NEED to listen to, especially if you are into melodic hardcore. But even if you’re not, give it a listen.

My favorite EP of the three part album is The Kingdom of God. On there is a song called “Who I Am”… and good grief.

It’s funny, because every time I’m running and contemplating giving up, this song starts playing through my Nike running app. It’s starts off with an intense, “THIS IS WHO I AM…” You know in Super Mario Kart, those question marks you run into that sometimes give you a super boost and you blast by all of the other guys? That’s what happens to me when this song comes on. It somehow gives me the power to believe who I really am, versus who I’ve made myself out to be in my own mind.

He doesn’t see what I see, He doesn’t see what you see.
He sees my destiny and calls me to be a son.

I seriously get teary eyed every time I reach this part of the song. You know why this is motivating? Because it’s true. And even though I don’t quite understand fully what God sees in me, I know He sees it. I’m so grateful because if my worth was solely left up to me, well then I would just be a sad girl all the time.

This is going to sound stupid and girly, but it also helps me get past what I see in the mirror. Like it or not, we all have issues with what stares back at us. You could have a slammin’ hot bod, and still find something that unsettles you. No matter how much physical beauty we think we’ve accomplished, it is just never enough. Most of the time, I feel like the grossest person ever. I could name off at least 20 things I’d have different on my body. Now, hear me. This is not a call for shallow compliments, because that will never be what satisfies my soul. And please don’t tell me how I just have to “love myself.” I refuse to trade in the sin of self-loathing for the sin of pride. It’s a battle most of us (both men and women) will fight every day, and we could blame it on all kinds of things. Media, childhood, food, friends, etc.

But the reality is, He sees none of that crap. He sees what He has made, what He is cultivating, and ultimately what He will finish. That pushes me. That gives me that last shred of energy to go one more mile. That allows me not to look in the mirror and smile, but to walk passed it completely and not even worry about it. It helps me choose to love others, even when they severely piss me off. It gives me the strength I desperately need to be a better wife, mom and person.

This is who I am, by the power of the risen death and what You’ve done.
This is who I am, all I’ve been and who I’ve become.