far from perfect
Let me first tell you that my husband is not a huge fan of social media. He sees how destructive it can be for women (& even men) with the area of perfection. Many of us (including myself) put up perfect little pictures of everyday life which may come across to others that we have life figured out & live in a perfect little world. I know with myself, that is not the case. On one hand, I love art & design (always have) & love seeing beautiful pictures because it helps me look at life in a new way. Secondly, I am not one to take pictures of my growing laundry pile or the dirty dishes all over my kitchen counters. I don't know if I will ever take pictures of that because my personality is somewhat a clean freak when it comes to people seeing my home. I did, however, want to write to you all a little about my personal life growing up. It was far from perfection, filled with insecurities, depression & the need to want to please people. I have debated with myself if I should even write this. This area of my life I have hardly shared with anyone & it is terrifying to tell you all. It wasn't until yesterday, when we went to a new church (we are currently church hunting...sounds weird) & the Lord spoke to me. The message was perfect for me that day & I knew I had to write this. So, please don't look at this as a woe is me, but instead, I want to share a little bit about me so that it may help others or I guess, just to show you that I am far from perfect.
Growing up, I was an energetic & loud little girl. I always wanted all the attention & whenever there was a camera around, I wanted to be in front of it. I was born & raised in Hawaii (both parents are from California) & have two younger sisters. We were so imaginative & creative & played outside whenever we could. Life is always good when you are little. Both my parents are Christians & raised us in a loving, Christ centered home. I vividly remember the day I asked Jesus into my heart. I was four years old & could remember my dad saying that angels were throwing me a party in heaven! I was so excited! My parents really wanted the best for us & they prayed for us daily (they still do).
As I grew a bit older, I started experiencing cliques. As a young girl, not being invited to sleepovers or other activities, it really starts to affect you. At such a young age I started to wonder why I was never included. I started asking God what was wrong with me. I started to hate going to school because of the isolation I felt when I heard the other girls talk about their weekend plans (that didn't include me). I would go home, do my homework & then late at night when I knew everyone was asleep, I would just sob. One of those nights, my dad heard me & I knew his heart ached & he prayed with me. I couldn't understand why I was never invited places & that is when I started to view myself as nothing. I started looking at myself and thinking, maybe I am too ugly or not funny enough. I was usually picked last in gym class & no boys ever asked me out. When I was invited to a sleepover, I was overjoyed, only to find out that afterwards they made fun of me behind my back. We all went to the same church, yet I felt excluded.
When high school arrived, I wasn't looking forward to it. I was going to a public school because that is where all my other "friends" went. I tried so hard to fit in. I changed my personality, but in the end, the only thing that was changing was my heart. I felt it hardening. Slowly, I was excluded again & ended up hanging out with my younger sister and her friends because when I was around my age of friends, no one talked to me. It was hard. In my mind I portrayed myself as fat, not attractive and boring. I became depressed & wanted to leave & move away. Those four years were torture. I remember, graduation was nearing & I was adamant about not wanting a graduation party because I knew no one would come. I was so hurt because a group of girls that I had known since I was young, all had a graduation party together & I was not included. No one (besides some family) came to my graduation party. I kept thinking, well if this is what Christian people are like, then I want nothing to do with it!
After high school, I attended a community college on Maui, which I also hated because I just wanted to move away. I was so disappointed because the art university I wanted to attend in California, was going to be too expensive. I remember going to college & thinking that I was going to give up loving God because I felt like what was the point. I am so glad that He was faithful & did not give up on me when I had on Him! My parents knew I wanted to move away & so they said I can move to California, but only if I attended bible college. I was so upset because I knew I wanted to be an interior designer and go to art school. Little did I know, God had better plans for me.
The first semester at bible college, the Lord gave me an abundance of friends (we are all friends STILL to this day). I finally felt accepted & loved by my peers. My relationship with the Lord was restored & I was happy. I know that sounds so cliche, but it was true. For someone to have no self worth & to finally be accepted because of who I was, I was genuinely happy. I didn't have to change myself for anyone, yes, I still had problems, but God was restoring my hardened heart. I started to forgive in my heart & I felt free. Those two years in bible college were two of my happiest years. The Lord was so faithful & loved me so much, despite all my insecurities or flaws. I started to realize that I was made perfectly by Him.
After college, I stayed in California & got a management job at Hollister. I loved it, but I started placing work above God. My role was the hiring/training/people manager. I had to hire a certain amount of good looking people a week & would get rewarded if I hired an exceptionally great looking person. My views were becoming skewed on how people were supposed to look. I worked about 50 to sometimes 65 hours a week & even worked on my days off. Work was definitely first in my life. My insecurities started to all come back and I started to view myself as fat (even though I wasn't). As I crept farther and farther away from the Lord, I was ultimately living for myself. When my dearest friend came to visit, she noticed how tired and drained I looked. I didn't think I looked any different, but when I saw pictures of us all, I definitely noticed. I ended up quitting that job and was hired for an assistant manager to a big brand bookstore, but just a few days before I started, the Lord changed my plans. At this time, I was so broken & knew that the Lord was the only one that can fix me. That same friend that told me how tired I looked, was visiting from Oregon. She was an old roommate from bible college & we became really close since then! Just a few days before she was going to fly back to Oregon, she asked if I wanted to come with her. She knew I was struggling. I debated & even called my dad to hear what he had to say. Ultimately, the Lord led me to these verses that became evident I was supposed to move to Oregon...
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:25-26
So, my bible college friend & I drove up to Oregon to a little town (where she was from) & that became my home. Her dad was a pastor at a Calvary Chapel & immediately I got involved with the church. I felt myself free again. Free from pressures of looks, personality & being depressed. People took me in & loved on me. I felt joy & acceptance. There I met my husband & he never tells me I am fat or not beautiful, but always the opposite of that!
I am so sorry this is such a lengthy post. My purpose was to say that even when you are struggling, when you give it to the Lord & let Him take care of it, you are set free. Does this mean that I still don't struggle with my weight or looks or sadness? Of course not, I am human, but it is when we give all our insecurities to Him, then He can use us for His purpose. I wanted to open up about a part of my life so that way you all know that I am not perfect but have been saved by the only perfect one which is Christ. He loves you so much & wants to take care of you! I also want you to know that each one of you is perfect! It is hard for us to see that when media and the world tells us that in order to be perfect, we have to be a size 0. The struggle to live this life is so hard and if we are just doing it on our own will, we will ultimately fail. I am so thankful the Lord was always watching over me & He never forgot about me, even in times of trials. So the next time we think that someone has a perfect life, just know that they maybe struggling with something that they might not want us to see. I know that is how I am ;)
Thank you for reading my blog... I know that there are millions out there & I can get in the habit thinking that mine is pointless, but at the end of the day, I see this as a great way to interact with you all and come together to support one another in tough times (& even in the joyous times)! I hope you all have a happy monday & if any of you have any questions feel free to write below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org