break off these chains

First off, I want to take the time to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who are here reading this blog. It has been something that my heart has felt pretty strongly about for awhile, so to have your support simply by reading the words I write means more than you know. What means even more is the continual affirmation I’ve been receiving from many of you. It genuinely warms my heart to hear some of you sharing that you like what I have to say, or that you connect with what I’m posting. The encouragement & support has been wonderful & I thank Jesus for this opportunity to share my heart & my life with you all.

Before I post the follow up to my No Make Up Month, I want to share something with you. Last week I was flipping through a journal of mine that I’ve poured my heart into occasionally in the past year & a half, & I came across a few pages that I titled “Break Off These Chains.” I wrote them back when we were still living in Southern Illinois, so many months ago, but they still resonate with me today. They reflect & emphasize a lot of what I have already shared with you, & what I plan to continue piecing together in the future. These words came straight out of my heart in the midst of struggle. They’re raw, transparent & sincere. & yet there’s still hope in them. & hope is something that is most definitely worth sharing.

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“At the age of almost-23 I have been significantly impacted by the materialistic, self centered culture that I live in. In many ways I’ve let my heart & mind become saturated in vanity, comparison, & pleasure. & my heart & mind have suffered because of it. Junior high & high school are typically known as the breeding grounds for self esteem issues & comparisons, but the last year of my life has been the hardest time I’ve ever had in dealing with these issues. I’ve cared about my clothes, my hair, my appearance more than ever before. I’ve looked at my home & life through the lens of Pinterest & wanting it to be picture perfect. & I’ve felt the insecurity as I came to believe it didn’t all measure up. But that’s the thing about “picture perfect” – you only see the small fraction of a second that was captured & think that everything about it bleeds perfection. But you don’t give a thought about everything it took to make that picture. You don’t think about all of the messiness in between the shots. I have been damaging my heart as I’ve compared my clothes, my home, my abilities, my experiences, my marriage, my relationships, my faith, my whole life to everyone else. I’ve bought into the lies that [this] isn’t good enough, or [theirs] is better. & when I do feel like I’ve mastered something, I take pride in it. But the satisfaction lasts about as long as it takes for me to get those 25 likes on Instagram. Why do I do this to myself? I know how toxic it is. I know that confidence in Christ is worth so much more. I know that the things I’m worrying about most of the time are superficial. So why do I do it? Why do I let myself get caught up in it? If I were being blatantly honest, its because those few moments of praise, or accomplishment, or satisfaction I get make me feel good. So I keep striving to get to a point where I can experience that all the time. The thing is, I will never reach a point in time when I have it all together. Things in this world will always come up short. I’ve known this struggle for so long now – the balance between low self esteem & pride. It’s been brutal at times. But I know the solution too: Jesus. God created this world as good. He created it to be enjoyed & admired. But He didn’t create it to be enjoyed & admired more than Him. Time & time again I have brought myself to his feet making the commitment that I will turn away from this world towards him. & in those moments I know what it is like to experience true joy & fulfillment. But then I pull a “Lot’s wife” & look back, & I’m snatched back into emptiness. I’ve tried to obtain more self confidence, & that certainly is pleasing at times – being comfortable with who I am & owning it. But I still come up dry sometimes. That’s because I need to be seeking confidence in Christ. Confidence in the cross. Not confidence as the world sees it. But confidence that I am known & loved by the creator of this world. Confidence that I have freedom in Him because he died for my sins – including my pride & my struggling self esteem – & rose again to defeat them. As I take greater steps towards submitting my life to His will, I hope to fully commit to the freedom I have in Christ by letting go of the things that bind me. It’s about time I do, & it’s about time I do it for Him.”

I’ll leave you with this: Hope can be found in Jesus. We just need to allow ourselves to turn to Him for it.

Is there any part of this that you can relate with? I know I’m not in this alone. Feel free to share in the comments below or contact me by email.

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