I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of loving yourself and how it's okay to not always be okay. In fact, I honestly think that this is a concept we need to normalize within our society. Last I checked we where not born to have everything together and be perfect, quite the opposite really. We were born to be real, not to be perfect, and I think that is a concept that many of us often forget in our busy lives. We try to have everything together all of the time and we forget that we are not perfect, we are all human trying to make it in this crazy life.
When I sat down to write I got this picture of an ocean, that kept popping up in my mind. Not a crazy, chaotic ocean, but the calm still ocean. Humor me for a minute and close your eyes, now imagine you are standing on a beach as gentle waves wash over your feet and a calm breeze fills the air. There is a stillness that surrounds you as you take in a deep breath of the salty air. Even in that calm sea there is so much power below the surface. Its contained and not going all over the place.
"He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waters." ~Psalm 107:29
Going back to the concept of learning to love yourself, I want to remind you that you are always enough and no matter what you may be walking through you are never alone. Learning to love yourself can be hard and it can take time, but I promise you it is worth it. I'm not saying you need to love yourself to the point all you think about it yourself, not by a long shot. What I mean is that in order for of to love others the way scripture instructs us to we need to also love ourselves. We cannot completely love others if we can't stand ourselves, it just doesn't work.
I wrote this down a few years ago when I was walking through a really difficult season in my life. I had got to the point where I felt like I had to put on a strong, confident face for everyone around me, all the while I was falling apart on the inside.
"It was in my suffering I found true freedom, it was in my misery I found my joy. It was in my tears and the quiet moments I saw the faithfulness of God..."
I think a lot of you likely relate to these words, and I hope you understand that you are never alone. I remember one conversation I had with a good friend during this time, I was asked how I was really doing. It was a week before I was supposed to have surgery and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. There was so much going on and I was terrified, but for everyone around me I put on a mask, saying I was fine and knew everything would be fine. My friend could tell I was scared and wouldn't relent until I told them the truth. With tears in my eyes I told them exactly how I felt, from trying to hide how scared I was to the burden of constantly putting on a mask when I was around others.
The conversation ended with the friend giving me a piece of advice I doubt I will ever forget. They told me, life is not about trying to be who you think others around you want you to be. It is about being real and living your life in pursuit of the things of God. A lesson I don't think I will forget, and I hope you take these words into consideration.
If nothing else, please remember that you are enough and it is okay to not always be okay. You're human and make mistakes, and that is okay. What is important is that we learn from those mistakes and keep going. Don't live in the past. You have so much to offer the world and a story that is still just beginning to unfold!
You have a God-given uniqueness!
- Alianna C.