“THEREFORE, AS GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE, HOLY AND DEARLY LOVED, CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH COMPASSION, KINDNESS, HUMILITY, GENTLENESS AND PATIENCE.” Colossians 3:12 NIV
Summertime draws out the worst of my body insecurities. Swimsuits and shorts and sleeveless shirts that expose my pale skin and less-toned-than-I-wish arms and tummy that stretched out too many times to ever be flat again.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned to pay attention to my life and I notice a pattern. When I feel insecure, I reach for the easiest forms of self-comfort: comparison and consumerism.
FIRST, I COMPARE.
Who looks best in a swimsuit? Who has better skin? Who has cellulite? Who has skinnier arms? I play this ugly game in my head always looking and assessing and trying to figure out where I stand.
THEN, I CONSUME.
Maybe I just need a cuter dress or sunglasses or sandals or nail polish or coverup or sunhat or tank to feel better about myself, even if just for a moment.
Compare and consume. Compare and consume. On and on, trying to make the insecurities go away.
Cultural wisdom would tell me to stop comparing and instead turn my gaze to how strong and beautiful and capable my body is. I birthed four kids! I can run! My skin will age well!
Cultural wisdom would also tell me to buy the things that make me feel better about me: Self-tanner,this season’s version of cut-off shorts, or little chunks of silicon you stuff into your bikini top!
Trust me, I’ve tried all of these. There is value, of course, in both positive self-talk and choosing outfits that fit. But these tactics alone are insufficient in healing the questions at the root of the insecurity: Am I enough? Just as I am?
One morning a few weeks ago, I became aware of the ugly compare and consume habits that were happening inside me. The good news about God is that He is full of grace. He knows this tender part of me. He’s faithful to pull me out of the pit and realign my heart.
That morning on my bed, I realized just how caught up I was in looking to outward things to heal the inward muck. I was self-focused and self-consumed and kept grasping for a shiny new thing to make the insecurity go away. A new shirt is nice and finding a swimsuit that flatters is reasonable, but my inner dialog was getting out of hand. As I acknowledged and admitted how tangled up I had become, the Lord was faithful to remind me of what’s actually true: He made me and loves me and has far more important things for me to do than obsess over skinny thighs and a closet full of adorable outfits.
All of our insecurities are made obsolete when we remember our unchanging, forever identity as deeply wanted and valued children of God. With His help, we can clothe ourselves with compassion, not comparison. Kindness, not judgment. Humility, not pride. Gentleness, not criticism. Patience, not perfection.
And whether we put on the cutest summer dress or not, we can have all the confidence in the world that we are chosen, holy and dearly loved.
Emily Lex is a watercolor artist, longtime blogger at Jones Design Company, and author. In whatever she does, Emily’s desire is to shine a light on the beauty, goodness, and truth all around us so that we might see more clearly who God is and who we are. She resides outside the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and four children. Connect with her at emilylex.com and on Instagram @emily.a.lex.
The above excerpt is from Emily’s new book Freely and Lightly where she shares the lessons she learned as Jesus showed her how to live a life filled with freedom, real rest, and abundance. Get your copy for 50% off for a limited time here.