Dress: Thrifted for $2
Necklace: 31 Bits
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Always laughing when I take pictures with my mama. It’s probably more along the lines of her saying, “Katie there’s cars coming, get out of the road.” And there I am, laughing away as always, not even noticing or being slightly embarrassed that my neighbors caught us, once again, taking photos of what I am wearing in the middle of the street. I’ll go with laughing and being oblivious to the environment around me.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, you are your own toughest critic? If you haven’t, well you must be an alien (only kidding…sorta). That phrase resonates with me oh-so-well. For as long as I can remember, I have always been my own toughest critic. I knew I was extremely critical of myself but I honestly never realized how critical I was until God started revealing it to me through some of my dreams months ago.
In several of my dreams, I kept shooting myself down. It’s like I was mocking and poking fun of myself constantly, which I admit I do. The definition of critical according to the Merriam Webster online dictionary is expressing disapproval or judgement about the good and bad parts of something. Critical is just another word for judgmental. When I am self critical, I am finding all of the faults and weaknesses in myself.
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2
The Bible clearly tells us not to judge. If we are not to judge others, we are surely not supposed to judge ourselves. We can acknowledge our weaknesses but that’s as far as it has to go, there is no need to dwell on it, which I am the master of. God actually likes our weaknesses because when we are weak, we tend to not rely on ourselves. We must rely on something bigger and more powerful, which is God. When we do rely on ourselves, we just dig deeper into that hole of self-hate and self-pity. It’s a hole I have dug for far to long.
Not judging myself is so much more difficult than it seems. Actually, it has been a tough journey turning lies into truths. It does not happen overnight. It’s like grinding my teeth together trying to tell myself a truth when deep down I don’t truly want to believe it myself. It’s extremely easy for me to encourage my friends but it’s difficult for me to encourage myself. For me, it’s easier to believe a lie than a truth, because when we believe a truth, we are fighting against those lies. With a lie, you just keep digging and digging and eventually believe you have no worth to move forward. That hidden, “I’m not good enough and never will be” keeps you trapped. It suffocates you from ever truly moving forward.
Some mornings I wake up, wobble over to the bathroom, take a glance in the mirror and go “WHOA, I don’t know what happened to you during that peaceful night of sleep but I though I looked pretty good before I fell asleep”(c’mon, you know you’ve done it before….haha). Our thoughts might be slightly different but our reactions are the same. From the moment we wake up, we are criticizing our looks. Self hatred can go further than just looks and we must learn to find the root of that.
Learning to be kinder to myself is much harder than it seems. Negative thoughts about yourself are not from God, they are purely from the enemy. It’s hard to counteract those thoughts, but once you start to become more aware of them, the easier it is to distinguish between the two. Here are some common examples of truth vs. lies:
“Who do you think you are?” – the enemy | “You are my beloved son/daughter.” – God
“Ew, you look gross this morning.” – the enemy | “You look beautiful my beloved.” – God
“Your doing a terrible job.” – enemy | “I love you for trying.” – God
“You are worthless and can never accomplish anything.”- enemy | “You are worth so much to me, with my strength, you can do anything.” -God
This journey has not been so much about looking inward as it has been looking upward. When I focus inward, I am fixating on my self-perceived flaws and weaknesses but when I focus on God I start to see myself in a different light. I start to see my true identity. I am a beloved Child of God. He made me perfect the way I am. He loves the way I look, my personality, my strengths and weaknesses. He loves me as I am, not because of what I do but because He is love and he wove me together in my moms womb. Like, for real God, “there’s not flaw in me?” I LOVE THAT TRUTH!
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Soloman 4:7
My criticism comes in many forms besides just my outside appearance. I have always been extremely judgmental of my own work and personality. When we tell God we hate his design, it gives the enemy a foothold and eventually we bury ourselves in a hole so deep, only the tender love of God can pull us out as he calls us up and shows us who we truly are.
A few months ago, God showed me I had been believing lies my whole life and that I did not have to live in a constant state of self-hatred. I stared to truly believe I am confident, not shy, I am bold and not wimpy, I am beautiful, not ugly. It’s literally been a total 360. I actually like the way I look, I like the way I dress, I like talking to people and meeting new friends, I love my crafts and my creativeness and I like my quirky personality. I truly love the person I am in Christ. I like the person I am! I could not stand in a mirror and say that statement to myself years ago, because I believed the lies. You must realize though, it’s through the identity that Jesus gives me that makes me confident. Without His strength, I am weak, without his truth, I believe I am not worth much and therefore believe the lie I can’t do much with my life.
When we believe the lies, we ourselves are crushed and can never get back up. When we truly step out and believe the truth, we crush the lies of the devil and can truly begin to walk in our God given identity. It’s not a one time deal though, it’s a lifestyle. I must speak truth to myself everyday for the rest of my life, because once I stop, I give the enemy that foothold. Once you start proclaiming truth over yourself, those lies start to melt away and it becomes easier and easier. It’s awesome to walk into that truth and the freedom that comes with it!