Tag Archive | inspiration

What Are You Afraid Of?

I used to be afraid at night. Afraid of the dark. Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking. Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up…as if darkness were anything more than simply the absence of light.

I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am, and that who I would be might be someone who I didn’t like very much at all…as though there was no such thing as being made new.

I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams…as though I started doing this for the approval of many, rather than the glory of One.

I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid, because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than the laying down of stepping stones on the path to success.

I used to be afraid.  Used to.

But then I did a little research.  And by that, I mean I re-searched, and I re-searched, and I re-searched, over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:

What room does fear have?

What room does fear have when I cling to TRUST? What room does fear have when I lean on HOPE? What room does fear have when I search for something more, when I discover and realize what’s good, and when I stand in AWE? When I run with PERSEVERANCE, when I walk by FAITH, and when I rest in COMFORT. What room does fear have when I sing with PRAISE, when I take hold of INSPIRATION, explore the POSSIBILITIES, and step into FREEDOM? What room does fear have when I discover STRENGTH, EMBRACE COURAGE, REMEMBER PEACE, DECLARE TRUTH, CHOOSE JOY, EXPERIENCE LIFE and CONQUER DEATH? What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look? In weakness, when I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes. By grace, when I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine, as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again: what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light? When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit. When they can talk all they want, but their opinion doesn’t matter! And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time: what room does fear have when in His Word, He tells me three hundred and sixty-five times DO. NOT. BE. AFRAID. As if I needed to hear that every single day. And as if that’s how many times I needed to hear it before I finally believed it.

What room does fear have when I make room for LOVE?

What are you afraid of? 

 

-Jon Jorgenson

 

Here is the video if you want to watch him speak it.

To The Mom Who Taught Me Everything: A Body Image Breakthrough

 

I saw this on a blog post on Beauty Redefined. It says a lot about our wold and how we see our own bodies. I found it worthy to share.

 

To The Mom Who Taught Me Everything: A Body Image Breakthrough

The mother-daughter relationship can be either incredibly helpful or dangerously harmful to a daughter’s body image. We stress the message that we are all more powerful than we realize and our influences matter. When a mother, grandma, sister, friend, or teacher speaks negatively about her own body or the bodies of others, she is teaching those under her influence more than she knows. The lesson she reminds others of is this: We are all bodies to be looked at, fixed, and judged. And while we cannot shame or blame anyone for perpetuating that profit-driven lie that surrounds us our whole lives, we know there is a better way. For every girl or woman, please you know you are capable of much more than being looked at. It’s a message that will change your life and allow you to do and be and live in a world that needs you. Once you believe it, you will radiate that truth to those around you.

One of our colleagues across the world in body image advocacy, Kasey Edwards, is radiating that truth and sharing it with so many moms and daughters that need it. So many of you shared her message with us that we had to ask her permission if we could share it with you here. She said yes (and that she’s a big fan of Beauty Redefined!!), so here you go. It’s perfect. Below are her words:

 

Dear Mum,

I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful — in every sense of the word. I remember flicking through old photo albums and staring at pictures of you standing on the deck of a boat. Your white strapless bathing suit looked so glamorous, just like a movie star. Whenever I had the chance I’d pull out that wondrous white bathing suit hidden in your bottom drawer and imagine a time when I’d be big enough to wear it; when I’d be like you.

But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ”Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.”

At first I didn’t understand what you meant.

”You’re not fat,” I said earnestly and innocently, and you replied, ”Yes I am, darling. I’ve always been fat; even as a child.”

In the days that followed I had some painful revelations that have shaped my whole life. I learned that:

1. You must be fat because mothers don’t lie.

2. Fat is ugly and horrible.

3. When I grow up I’ll look like you and therefore I will be fat, ugly and horrible too.

Years later, I looked back on this conversation and the hundreds that followed and cursed you for feeling so unattractive, insecure and unworthy. Because, as my first and most influential role model, you taught me to believe the same thing about myself.

With every grimace at your reflection in the mirror, every new wonder diet that was going to change your life, and every guilty spoon of ”Oh-I-really-shouldn’t,” I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty.

Just like you, I have spent my whole life feeling fat. When did fat become a feeling anyway? And because I believed I was fat, I knew I was no good. But now that I am older, and a mother myself, I know that blaming you for my body hatred is unhelpful and unfair. I now understand that you too are a product of a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves.

Before Dad left, he provided no balm for your body-image torment either. ’‘Jesus, Jan,” I overheard him say to you. ”It’s not that hard. Energy in versus energy out. If you want to lose weight you just have to eat less.” That night at dinner I watched you implement Dad’s ”Energy In, Energy Out: Jesus, Jan, Just Eat Less” weight-loss cure. You served up chow mein for dinner. (Remember how in 1980s Australian suburbia, a combination of mince, cabbage, and soy sauce was considered the height of exotic gourmet?) Everyone else’s food was on a dinner plate except yours. You served your chow mein on a tiny bread-and-butter plate.

Mother’s Day card from Rifle Paper Co.

As you sat in front of that pathetic scoop of mince, silent tears streamed down your face. I said nothing. Not even when your shoulders started heaving from your distress. We all ate our dinner in silence. Nobody comforted you. Nobody told you to stop being ridiculous and get a proper plate. Nobody told you that you were already loved and already good enough. Your achievements and your worth — as a teacher of children with special needs and a devoted mother of three of your own — paled into insignificance when compared with the centimetres you couldn’t lose from your waist.

It broke my heart to witness your despair and I’m sorry that I didn’t rush to your defence. I’d already learned that it was your fault that you were fat. I’d even heard Dad describe losing weight as a ”simple” process — yet one that you still couldn’t come to grips with. The lesson: you didn’t deserve any food and you certainly didn’t deserve any sympathy.But I was wrong, Mum. Now I understand what it’s like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves.

But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now. We deserve better — better than to have our days brought to ruin by bad body thoughts, wishing we were otherwise. And it’s not just about you and me any more. It’s also about Violet. Your granddaughter is only 3 and I do not want body hatred to take root inside her and strangle her happiness, her confidence and her potential. I don’t want Violet to believe that her beauty is her most important asset; that it will define her worth in the world. When Violet looks to us to learn how to be a woman, we need to be the best role models we can. We need to show her with our words and our actions that women are good enough just the way they are. And for her to believe us, we need to believe it ourselves.

The older we get, the more loved ones we lose to accidents and illness. Their passing is always tragic and far too soon. I sometimes think about what these friends — and the people who love them — wouldn’t give for more time in a body that was healthy. A body that would allow them to live just a little longer. The size of that body’s thighs or the lines on its face wouldn’t matter. It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect.

One of our body positive sticky notes! Click to see more.

Your body is perfect too. It allows you to disarm a room with your smile and infect everyone with your laugh. It gives you arms to wrap around Violet and squeeze her until she giggles. Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ”flaws” is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back.

Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs. When I looked at that photo of you in the white bathing suit all those years ago, my innocent young eyes saw the truth. I saw unconditional love, beauty and wisdom. I saw my Mum.

Love, Kasey xx

Moms and daughters can work together to recognize and reject the harmful messages they have internalized about themselves and passed on to others around them. For practical steps to get started on redefining beauty in your own life, please see this list of strategies. And a message for any confused readers that will — undoubtedly — respond with some line about how we’re perpetuating obesity by telling people not to care about their appearance or their health, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Research shows body shame gets in the way of healthy eating and physical activity and leads to resorting to extremes like very sedentary lifestyles, disordered eating, diet pills, etc. Research also tells us that girls and women who learn to respect their bodies as more than objects to be looked at take better care of themselves — they make healthier eating choices and are more active.

A Letter To ED — Time To Break Up!!!

 Well…. I’ve written the draft/letter…. now I just need to live it. If I’m going to break up with Ed, I need to make it official, right?

Dear Ed,

It’s time that we talk. There are a lot of things I’ve wanted to say to you, but I haven’t found the right words.  For a long time things have seemed rocky between us. We seem to have different goals and we seem to be going two separate ways. I thought I would address the fights we’ve been having back and forth.

I would like to start by thanking you for all you’ve done for me. When I needed you the most, it really felt like you were there for me. There were times when I felt like I needed to get away, and you helped me do that. When things felt stressful, scary, or too hard to deal with, you helped me avoid them. When things felt like they hurt too badly, you found a way to make them not hurt so much. When I felt like I couldn’t handle the world around me, you gave me something else to focus on and your encouragement made me feel stronger and stronger each day. The harder I worked, at first, the stronger I felt. Your avoidance tactics were priceless!

A lot of the avoidance had to do with feelings. With you, feelings were non-existent, unless they were present for others to make them happy. When those scary negative feelings reared their ugly heads, you were there to “save” me! You came in so fast and you helped me feel so strong like I was in so much control. I didn’t have to feel them at all!! You convinced me to trust you, and I did. I’m not sure I was ready to feel the feelings at that time, and I think I needed your distraction, so for that, I thank you.

Thank you for trying to make me feel powerful. You definitely convinced me to work hard and that things would get better if I lost 5 more pounds, and you helped me get to a dangerously low weight. Thanks for putting that kind of effort into me. Your motivation gave me a strong work ethic; I know now that I can work very hard and handle quite a bit! Thank you for making me feel powerful and like I was good at something.

I’m writing this letter because I think we should go our separate ways. I’m sorry if this comes as a shock to you, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I think it’s what’s best. Things haven’t been adding up as we’ve been spending more and more time together and it just doesn’t seem to come out even. I don’t think we “belong together” anymore. I’ll go ahead and spell out the inconsistencies.

One problem that I found is that while you helped me avoid anything that was scary, I was never able to actually “deal” with it. Some things didn’t have to be there, but other things really had to be dealt with! Had I not been distracted, there is a chance I could have made better decisions about how to handle things. You had me so engrossed in your workings that I made decisions at the last minute and those weren’t the best choices. If we were working as a team, you wouldn’t have continually done that to me.

I found that you have helped me work so hard to shut off the negative feelings, and while you were doing that, you didn’t really allow the positive ones come out. I was able to put away all the “bad” stuff, but while doing that, I wasn’t allowed to experience any of the “good stuff” at all. When it felt okay to keep the bad stuff out, it didn’t feel okay when I was missing the good stuff. Now that I’m seeing the good stuff, I know it’s what I want. I can’t have the best of both worlds here, so I am choosing to take the positive feelings even though it means I have to experience some negative feelings too. I know what you’ll say, and you are right, the negative feelings will be terrible, but I think they are worth going through for the positive ones!

As we were together, I worked very hard to please you. As I worked, I was never good enough and I truly believe that I won’t ever be good enough. I hit every mark you asked me to hit, but you continued to change the rules and raise the bar. No weight was ever good enough. Each time I hit the mark you asked for, all you did was scream about how it wasn’t good enough, I was still fat and how I needed to lose 5 more pounds or everything would fall apart and I would lose control of everything. I’m finding that, in our relationship, it wasn’t 50/50; I’m finding that I was giving and giving to you, but you just took and then abused me. I need to tell you that you are full of lies. Each time you instruct me to get to a goal, and I reach it, you simply tell me that wasn’t good enough. The bar is always changing. It took me a while, but I want you to know that I noticed.

I gave up a lot for you, and you asked a lot from me, and I will not continue to give anymore. One of the things you took from me is my physical health. You almost put me in the hospital. I trusted you each time you told me to trust you and you could have killed me. When my first set of blood work came back and I had liver damage, I still didn’t realize your lies. Not only did you damage my liver, but you gave me massively irregular heartbeats, you paralyzed my intestinal track with gastroperisis, damaged my bone density, and you have completely screwed up my metabolism to the point where I am still trying to figure it out. All of this happened while I was “trusting” you.

As we part ways, it’s important that you know that I really don’t need you. I found better things to do with my time. I have also found that I’m stronger and happier without you in my life. Truthfully, it was impossible to be happy with you. There may have been times when I felt like you were helping me feel in control, but I slowly noticed that it really wasn’t control that I felt. There was an allusion of control, but all it was all a lie. It was a lie because I found myself running to you more and more to feel control, but it never felt complete. You’re a liar. You always have been, and you always will be.

So, as we say goodbye I would like to reiterate that there is nothing that I want more than this relationship to end. I think this is the most positive thing I am doing for myself and I’m sure you will disagree. I just thought I’d leave you with the nice message that I don’t care what you think, or what you say… the less time I spend with you, the better I feel. Even though this breakup might seem so new, I know it’s the best choice. I hope you burn in Hell.

Sincerely,

Rachel

Have you written a letter like this before??? Does this even work???