Self-Loathing: Getting to the Heart of It

9:30 AMHeather

If you've been reading here for the last week to ten days, then you know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.  Bloggy friends, I'm so sorry.  Wait a minute.  You know what?  Actually I'm not.  Because this blog is about my life and what God is teaching me and being obedient to share it.  And, the honest truth of it all is that God is being quite repetitious with me these days.  Which I've come to recognize as a sure sign that He has an agenda that He intends to drive home with me until my stubborn self can grasp it.  Yep.  I can be a bit stiff necked. I just have to submit to the fact that I can never outrun God's long arms or escape when He is pursuing me for His perfect purpose and good will.  This is, after all, what I signed up for as I pray to fall more and more in love with Him.

Contentment.  And gratitude.  Blah blah blah.  Here we go again, folks.  So just accept it.  And pray for fresh eyes to see whatever it is that He wants to reveal to you here today.  In case you missed it, here's a quick recap.  

My word for 2013 is gratitude.  Which I pictured as a deliriously happy year of learning to say thank you.  It's become quite apparent that it is actually more about coming face to face with my discontentment and being broken enough about it to say enough already.

My hair is naturally curly.  Wait.  Is your head spinning from the sudden change of topic?  Trust me.  It all goes together.  Keep reading.

When I was in second grade, my mom FINALLY let my sister and I grow our hair out.  (Yes, as a matter of fact.  We are both traumatized from the years our hair was so short my mother was constantly complimented on her handsome sons.  This lead to my refusal to wear anything but a dress lest this confusion continue.  But, I digress).   Once I could put my hair in piggy tails, I knew I'd reached the pinnacle of cool for third graders.  Because, y'all, they would twirl into little curls like Cindy Brady.  And all of us children of the 80's know that nothing is more adorable than Cindy Brady.  I even had the lisp.  Which several years of intensive speech therapy took care of.

So, there I was.  Those blondish curls bouncing in my younger years living in Hawaii.  But, double digits came along with a move to the mainland.  And, I was over the curls.  The next few years were brutal, requiring big nasty glasses AND braces.  And not just braces but head gear also.  Could my self-esteem be any more damaged?  I sported this geeky look until the summer before 7th grade.  When I got contacts.  And I shed some baby fat.  And the braces were gone, baby.  

The next decade or two involved perms, big teased bangs, and hot rollers.  Don't ask me why.  That's how we rolled in the 80's.  We're so great, we're so fine, we're the class of '89!  I carried the look well into my Baylor years.  And I distinctly remember how ridiculous I thought my little sister-in-law was when she became obsessed with straightening her hair.  Silly girl!  This is Texas.  Where the higher the hair, the closer to God.  

I may have been slow to embrace the trends that she was on top of, but my Chi eventually became my greatest friend.  And, side note--one thing I also learned in those years about hair styles.  When you first have a baby and are filled with crazy hormones and sleep deprivation, do not make any sudden decisions about cutting your hair off.  Trust me here, girls.  Step away from the scissors and put it off until your baby is sleeping through the night for a while.  It took me about 3 years to make up for that impulsivity.  

Back to the Chi.  My cute little pink Chi and I have had a great love affair.  And, I've sorta mastered the fine art of straightening my hair while also teasing it for a bit of height at the roots.  You can't take the Texas out of me.  But, I must say.  The onset of a Pinterest addiction and the challenge to be content have brought me to a decision.  It's time.  Bloggy friends, it's just time to embrace my natural curls.  It's time to retire the flat iron.  It's time to just say, "Hey world, this is me!  I have curly hair.  And I'm good with that."  Even if my naturally curly hair isn't quite as perfectly pretty as I wish it was.  It's more like wavy meets curly but not that cute beach waves you might pin on Pinterest.

I still feel the need to explain this decision to go with the natural curls.  Which only reflects my continual battle with insecurity.  I mean, if I am REALLY embracing who I am and how God made my hair, then I wouldn't feel a need to explain some bigger spiritual lesson from my hair.  I wouldn't think that you all need to understand that when you see my frizzy or still wet hair it's NOT that my hair dryer or my flat iron broke or that I slept late.  It's just me learning to be okay with who I am.  Who God made me.

What about you?  Is there something about your appearance or your character that you continually wrestle with?  Because it makes you feel insecure, which is really just a symptom of some deeper discontentment.   This is the question I beg of you today.  

Let's all get on the band wagon of self-reflection--or really, God reflection.  Who am I?  What natural giftedness, talents, skills, character traits, and physical attributes did God give me that I wrestle against and want to cast off?  Oh, yes. There are rough edges to all of us that we need God to attack with some sand paper.  But, I'm really talking more about things that are part of how God made you perfectly and wonderfully.  Yet, you question them and try to disguise them because they don't FEEL perfect or wonderful.

As I've been reflecting on this, I will publicly admit the other top contender for discontentment in my appearance.  I started on new migraine preventative meds about twenty months ago.  At the time, I had been so sick with migraines that I had lost about eleven pounds that I did not need to lose.  But, the meds make me gain weight.  Wasn't long until I gained those eleven pounds back plus about ten more.  And I'm sorta embarrassed to admit how hard this has been on me.  

Self-loathing.  No other word for it.  Call a spade a spade. I look in the mirror and it taunts me about the new rolls or the fact that I can't fit into my old clothes.  I've had several friends laugh or snicker at this because genetically, I come from a line of women who struggle to keep weight on.  Don't slap me, please.  It's actually not good at all for your health to be underweight, as my mom is and her mom was.  Okay, okay.   I know I come off badly complaining about weight when you see me.  But, it's not the reflection I'm used to seeing.  And, I know things will only progress in the years to come as I'm nearing my 42nd birthday.  

Here's a test to measure if you wrestle with self-loathing.  Do you routinely consider something about yourself, your body, your character, your skill set that you wish you could changeI don't mean in a Polly-ana, "I could really stand to work on this area."  No, more like Eeyore, "I don't like this about me, and I wish it were different.  Ho-hum.  It's gonna rain."

Self-loathing.  You know what it really is?  It's a slap in the face of the Creator God who made you and formed you and loves you.  It makes me think of the time recently when my daughter spend hours making these card structures for her brothers with our Card Works set.  She wrote a little note with each one, and delivered them proudly to each brother.  One said, "Thanks, Caris!  I can see you spend a lot of time on this."  And, it still sits proudly on his dresser.  Sure, he admitted to me privately that it thought it was a little silly.  But, he appreciated the effort and love that came with it.  The other one fell just short of refusing to accept her gift.  He stammered, without an ounce of enthusiasm, "Um, thanks.  I think."  And as soon as she left his room, he tore it apart. 

Which brother are you?  How do you receive the gift that God knit and formed with great precision while you were inside your mother's womb?  How do you respond to the way that God made you, perfectly and wonderfully?  Do you only see flaws that weigh you down?  Are you hung up on something about yourself and it tends to steal your joy?  Or do you say, "Thank you, Lord.  I know you made me just as you meant to.  And help me to use all you gave me for your purposes!  Help me to submit all that I am for your ongoing molding.  Help me to be content in my own skin."

Bloggy friends, I am a perfectionist.  In case you haven't picked up on that.  It's so easy to fixate on things and obsess and waste my energy.  I am trying to avail myself to the perfecting process of becoming more like him, leaving it all on the altar.  Which is why you might see me walking around with runaway waves/curls and wearing lots of slimming black.  If I make some lame excuse about myself, can you just ever so gently remind me to quit slapping my Creator in the face with my self-loathing?  And maybe consider a bottle of frizz--ease for my next birthday gift.    

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