Let’s get a little em… Frank this week, and I’m sorry if this is too much, but women, you will feel me, and men, sorry. Ok!
So there are certain ”times of the month” that well, let’s just say, if my fiercely erratic mood swings, my tears on tap and eating my body weight in chocolate wasn’t a big enough give away, my skin has now joined the PMT bandwagon, and, much to my despair, now for a few days a month I also get a nasty blotchy rash on my face. This is a new development which I’m less than impressed about and I’ve tried every skincare brand out there with no end to my public health and safety warning. So be warned, if you see the blotchy skin you may well be at risk of either tears and snotters or a good tongue lashing ha! Kidding,
Not kidding… It’s a thing I’m working on! (pray for me)
Getting used to this few days skin change has been a bit of a challenge. And I never would have classed myself as someone who put great emphasis on self-image, but there is probably more time spent in front of the mirror over those few days than the rest of the time put together.
And just to be clear here, I’m not there singing sweet nothings over myself. Quite the opposite. It’s more like a form of torture (oh come, Terri, let’s go back to the mirror and examine the blotchy skin up close again. See if maybe staring at it for longer will magically make it disappear!) No, No, in my time in front of the mirror I just manage to convince myself that I’m the ugliest being ever created and my face isn’t fit for public viewing. (I know dramatic, right)
Like, catch a grip, girl! Who has ever looked at someone’s skin and thought, oh no! I don’t like her because of her face blotches. Nonsense, beauty isn’t measured by the texture of your skin. It’s more about what’s in your heart.
So last week as I was overcoming the latest ”episode” and I was thanking God for a house full of boys and not girls (on their moons). There is no way the world could handle three more hormonal me’s. Just saying!
In a moment of weakness, I had gone upstairs to check on Joshua in the bath and caught a glimpse of my make up free reflection in the mirror. As I leaned in closer to inspect the skin I let out an EUGH. Joshua (bless him) immediately jumped in to say, “Mum, don’t say that about yourself, you are beautiful.” Immediately he saw the lie and replaced it with the truth. I’m so proud of his courage to instantly speak against that and call me out on the lie. But, secondly, something that occurred to me, I was not only insulting myself but Joshua also maybe felt hurt by my comment. People are forever telling Joshua he is my double or how much we look alike; was it possible that this was an insult to Joshua? Needless to say, it was a dreadful example to set to my son in whom I invest a lot of energy, assuring him of his value and worth. Yet here I was, standing eughing myself in the mirror right in front of his very eyes. I needed a holy boot to the shin for this one. (side note this isn’t a thing. Like the Holy Spirit doesn’t go round kicking people in the shins, but if he did.. this was the time for it)
I think we all deep down know that to insult another is definitely wrong and we can feel an instant conviction; whether we act on that conviction is completely up to ourselves. We know that compliments build up and we know insults can damage and hurt.
But do we know the danger and harm we can do ourselves with our own insults?
In Northern Ireland, people pride themselves on being ”Humble”, ridiculously so. I’ve lost count of conversations that I have had where I’ve complimented someone’s outfit to hear a reply of, awk this old thing, it’s outta Tesco sale for £2. Or, your hair is nice. Awk away on, I just threw it up. Or, what about you, hey that was really great the way you spoke. And they will full blown argue back that they weren’t and they stumbled through it and make out like it sounded bad.
How can we possibly raise the next generation to be world changers if they are shrouded by this false narrative that they have to put themselves down to be ”real”? It’s not humility, damaging and causes low confidence, it’s low self-esteem.
C.S. Lewis says true humility is not thinking less of yourself but think of yourself less. It’s not putting yourself down to be humble, it’s think of others more than yourself.
Why do we resist so so much when faced with a compliment? What does all that no no I’m not! say to our souls? What does it say to our peers and our children about the value we put on ourselves? when we can’t even say thank you when someone speaks positively towards us? And let the truth sink into our heart. We make statements like, oh No, I’m a mess, or I’m so fat, or I’m so ugly, or I am thick, or I’m useless? And we are believing these lies. And when someone who does not mean well speaks against us or insults us, we are more inclined to believe their lies. All these lies are joining forces and having parties at the expense of your true identity and worth.
It’s not ok! There are enough things in the world today telling us that we need to look a certain way to have value, we need to have particular credentials, we need to have a flash car or big house or six-pack husband or a perfect marriage to be deemed valuable to society. Grrrr, it grinds my gears, how distorted the common belief of what gives us our value and worth.
Scripture tells us we were made in the image of God.
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27 NLT
God calls us his masterpiece “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
And that we are wonderfully made
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.”
Psalms 139:14 NLT
Yet, we speak so negatively about ourselves. What does that say about the value we put on ourselves and put on others? How does that give God glory for his amazing work when we speak so poorly about his creation and workmanship? Yes, this is a hard notion to grasp, especially if we have formed a habit of speaking negatively over ourselves for years, and let’s face it, in this whole “love yourself” business, nobody wants to seem egotistical or big headed, full of themselves. right? You don’t need to. But you do need to stop the lies you speak to yourself. Stop them in their tracks. Take every thought captive ( 2 Corinthians 10.5) as soon as it enters your mind and put it through the truth and lie filter. If it’s true, it will be uplifting, empowering. If not, scrap it. I bet if someone asked us to write down all those statements that we so often speak to ourselves, then speak them over our best friend or our child or our mother we would run a mile. Because there is no way we would want to hurt the ones we love. So why do we find it ok to hurt ourselves with these insults? Imagine how much God’s heart must ache when we speak so poorly about ourselves A few years ago I was challenged to purposely go to the mirror and speak truthful words of affirmation to myself in the mirror every morning. Till then I hadn’t realised how much self-loathing I did until I went to the mirror and struggled to speak a positive sentence to myself. It was torture at first, but I persevered through the uneasiness of the first few days after that it got easier to accept these truths and to start to pin-point the lies I spoke and believed about myself.
After the incident in the bathroom last week, I realised I could do with a wee refresher week in the mirror every day speaking truth. My beauty was in my smile, it was when I speak kindly to someone, it’s in my soul when I could take pleasure in a simple walk on the beach and am mesmerised by something as simple as the sound of the water. It’s was when I lifted someone else up in prayer or I offered help to someone in need. It can’t be measured by the condition of my skin, the size of my waist, my job title or marital status. They are all subject to change. My true beauty comes in the knowledge that my value and worth come from what God says about me, not the world around me.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
Proverbs 31:30 NLT
with this in mind who would be up for joining me in the mirror challenge this week? Take two minutes a day every day for the next week. Speak only encouraging, life-giving truths to yourself. If you’re stuck, ask your best friend or your mum or someone close to write a list of all the great things they see in you. Also,
invite the Holy Spirit to speak into that also. Tape the list to your mirror and read it aloud to your reflection EVERY DAY. No negative, just kind uplifting affirming word of praise to yourself.
Let me know how you get on!
Be kind to yourself.
Speak only truth