LIKE ME

Are we living for likes?

Tumblr. Instagram. Snapshot. Twitter. Facebook.

There are so many different avenues to get your face, life, and thoughts out for the whole world to see. There’s something exciting about connecting with so many people, but I think there’s also a hidden drug in the midst of all this “self” content.

Has your day ever been made or broken by likes or comments? Does your self-worth swell and blossom with every new follower? In just five short years we have become a like-obsessed society, myself included.

This week we are going to discuss the pitfalls and positives that social media has to offer… and why it matters.

LIKE

I’m curious. What’s your social media media of choice? What do you check first when you log on each day? (My typical order: E-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flipboard, and then maybe Pinterest.)

Following and hopefully learning,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Words to Read

Friday

To those of you who struggle like M on a daily basis, I wanted to share some words that I believe can challenge and encourage you in the midst of self-esteem challenges. I strongly believe that God does not desire for us to stay in that muddy place of anxiety and confusion. He wants to pull us out of the pit. A huge portion of that journey is believing what HE says about you in His Word. But the words of others can also encourage us and remind us that others have hurt and found victory. Here are some of my favorites. I hope you check out one of them.

1.    Lies Young Women Believe (blog and book) by DeMoss and Gresh

2.   The Search for Significance by Robert McGee

3.   Graceful by Emily P. Freeman

4.   You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth

5.   Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You by Jenna and Max Lucado

6.   Perfectly Unique by Annie F. Downs

7.   Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy

8.   Me, Myself, & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild

9.   2nd Corinthians chapter 10 (especially verses 4-5)

“You are a beloved creation of the God of the heavens, that created you just like you are. When you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, you need to remember that the God who remade this sunset right here, He formed you in your mother’s womb, every part of who you are. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing to look at and say,

“It’s not beautiful.”

You can’t look at some airbrushed picture of someone who doesn’t even look like that in real life and compare yourself to that. That’s not the reality of life. But what you are, is perfectly made by God of the heavens and He meant it on purpose.” 

― Lacey Mosley

Happy Friday, Friends.

Following,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: Self-Perception

dear ginger

Dear Ginger,

I was at the conference this weekend and your story really touched me. I have trouble with self-confidence. I always have trouble trying to find who I am. Or I’m never good enough. I play sports, but I’m never the best. There is a girl who called me a “fat seal” this year and that really hurt me. She’s bullied me since the 5th grade and this year I started cutting. I told my parents but I really need someone’s advice who has also struggled with not likening yourself. The very first night when you talked about how I’m God’s masterpiece. But I still haven’t figured out to deal with her because she constantly likes to bully me. I feel like I’m always worried about something or stressed. I tried making myself throw up, but it didn’t work so I didn’t try it again. I don’t like how I feel or look and I was wondering if you could help me. –M

Dear M,

There is so much packed into your letter. It sounds as if you are really overwhelmed by your world right now, and I don’t blame you. Any ONE of the things in your note would be enough to leave me anxious and worried. But you mentioned self-confidence, finding yourself, being good enough, bullying, cutting, identity, anxiety, self-destructive behaviors, and not liking how you feel or look.

I’m planning on responding to the issues you’ve raised, but I wanted to let you know that I’m going to break up my thoughts into at least two parts. The first will cover your own self-perception and the second response (next week) will concern the bullying aspect of your situation. I am so sorry that you’ve experienced such unkind words.

Self-Perception

Right off the bat I’m hoping you had the chance to watch the video I shared in yesterday’s post. It’s a clip from a recent Dove Beauty Campaign. Here’s the link just in case.

I think this clip is picking up so much steam around social media because it speaks to a feeling we all have. We focus on our imperfections, weaknesses, and flaws. A six-minute video demonstrated so clearly how we can miss the big picture of who we are and how we are really perceived. Did you notice how age wasn’t a factor? These woman, whether 19 or 45, all struggled with this issue.

So first things first: you are not alone. It may seem as though the rest of us have this aspect of life together, but the truth is that all of us have our hard days where we doubt our beauty and worth. We let magazines, movies, and celebrities tell us what is beautiful and valuable. If we take marketing, media, and culture at face value we are left believing that this list is what makes you important:

Clothing
Body type
Sex Appeal
Education
Popularity
Notoriety
Celebrity
Prominence
Talent
Money

Need I go on? It takes five minutes of channel surfing to discover what we are told to value. And that’s why what I’m about to tell you is going to seem so trite and simple, while at the same time controversial.

Trade the list.

I do not live up to the standards set by this world or Hollywood. My teeth will never be white enough, nor my thighs skinny enough to even come close. There was a time in my life when I was willing to trade anything to hit that standard of beauty. I was tanning, dyeing, whitening, dieting, and doing everything in between. But then my life became so inward focused that I was missing out on what would have brought true joy and value to my life. Yes, I could spend four hours in a gym every day and keep up a perfect weight and figure, but then I wouldn’t have time to do so many of the things that I actually love.

M, what do you love to do? Do you have gifts or passions? Do you love singing, reading, playing sports? I know you mentioned not feeling the best at anything, but I think a majority of us feel that way. I am not the best at anything. I have lots of 3rd place ribbons and honorable mentions to my name. I was not the valedictorian or the prom queen. I was never destined for American Idol, Olympic Trials, or the National Spelling Bee. In the grand scheme of blogs, mine has fairly low readership. But I had to decide along the way whether or not being the best at something was really my ultimate goal. It’s just not. I’ve had to let that one go. So instead, I just started doing what I love to do. I took my passion plus a desire to impact the lives of other people and that’s how I live my life. Can I tell you how freeing it is to stop trying to live up to someone else’s list?

Your value, purpose, and significance are deeply important in this life. The question is: where are you looking for those things?

purpose

“…Millions of people spend a lifetime searching for love, acceptance, and success without understanding the need that compels them. We must understand that this hunger for self-worth is God-given and can only be satisfied by Him. Our value is not dependent on our ability to earn the fickle acceptance of people, but rather, it’s true source is the love and acceptance of God. He created us. He alone knows how to fulfill all of our needs.” (Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance)

At the conference I talked about our desire to be known and to know who we are. I truly believe that the source of that answer is found in our Heavenly Father. As the One who created you, He knows you very best. You have worth because He says so. There is nothing you could do to gain or lose His love. That is a promise we can take to the bank every day. I do not have to be successful or pleasing to others to have a healthy sense of worth. My worth comes to me from God. I read in His word over and over how He feels about each of us as His workmanship, His poeima, His masterpiece.

Worth It

In his book, The Search for Significance, (which I highly recommend) Robert McGee walks the reader through these same questions and issues. He makes a strong point in this diagram.

There are two possible options we can choose to determine our self-worth:

-The world’s system: Self-Worth = Performance (what you do) + Others’ Opinions (what others think or say about you)

-God’s system: Self-Worth = God’s Truth about you

M, I can’t make you know this just by saying so. This has been a long journey for me too, but so worth it in the end. I’m going to share some tips and resources through the rest of this week, but I want you to know that I am praying that you would turn to the One who knows you when everything on the outside says you don’t measure up. Please, please tell someone if you ever consider cutting or hurting yourself again. I am praying that your desire to hurt your body would disappear as you grasp the depths of His love for you.

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” (Ephesians 1:3-6, MSG)

For more on this topic check out these posts:

Dear Ginger: Uncomfortable in my Own Skin
Prove It!
Inside and Out
Fearfully and Wonderfully
True You: Self-Esteem
True You: Beautiful
God Looks at the Heart

Following,

Ginger

Beautiful

beautiful

I’ve received many questions and e-mails over the past few weeks from you, Bloggies. I am touched by your vulnerability and so thankful for your honesty in sharing your hearts and stories.

Care to know the most common phrase utilized in your messages?

“I don’t like how I feel or look… help me.”

As I was writing some of my responses, a friend shared the following video on Facebook. And while I do not believe our looks are the source of our happiness, this film by Dove’s latest Beauty Campaign has given me much to think about.

More to come.

Following,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: Uncomfortable in my Own Skin

dear ginger

Hey Ginger!

I am struggling about my self-confidence. I know that I am supposed to love myself for who I am and everything. But I am truly stuck. Some girls at school are calling me names, and it is just bringing down my confidence in myself. I don’t cut myself or anything, but I have tried cutting, but I just won’t let myself do it. I was just wondering what would be the best way to raise my confidence in myself. I have talked to my parents, but I am just too scared to tell them that I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. Have a great day.

-S

S- Thank you so much for your note and for sharing what’s going on in your heart. I’m so sorry this has been such a season of pain and sadness in your life. I want you to know that I’m praying for you especially today.

First of all, I want you to remember that you don’t have to be afraid to share with your parents about how you are feeling. I think they would care deeply about your hurts, just like they care about your successes in school. This is a tough battle for a lot of teens, and especially a ton of teen girls, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal. Bullying is a really big deal and I can understand why it leaves you feeling negatively about yourself.  I want you to really think about telling your mom or dad. I know there have been times when I’ve been scared to share things, but it’s usually because I want to protect someone else, or because I’m afraid that they will be disappointed. Trust me, your parents will love you no matter what.

Secondly, I’m sorry that you feel so STUCK.

I know that I was stuck in a pattern for a long time in my life. I felt like I was a car in the mud and no matter how hard I pushed on the gas, the wheels would just turn and dig me down further.

You see, I’ve always struggled with loving the way that I look – especially when I felt that I didn’t fit in with other girls my age. It seemed like everyone else could eat whatever they wanted and still look the same. I felt like there was nothing I could do to stop worrying about my boday and start actually be comfortable in my own skin.

I didn’t try cutting, but I did make myself throw up. Sometimes we think we can do something drastic to feel differently or make a change, but the truth is I needed something stronger than myself to create change. I needed something stronger than self-esteem, self-confidence, and quick fixes. Hurting myself was only… hurting myself. I was digging my wheels deeper into the mud.

Even now, as a 30 year-old, the lie that says: You aren’t good enough because of the way you look – creeps in and wants to threaten all the confidence I have in the Lord.

So what do I do when that lie knocks on the door of my heart?

1. I claim truth. I read and remember the words that God has said about me.

2. I remind myself the value God has placed on my life.

3. I drop the lie that if I can just raise my self-esteem everything will get better.

4. I keep myself encouraged and grounded by reading the words of others who have struggled just like I do.

5. I cling to WHOSE I am, rather than who I am or how I’m failing.

6. And finally, I remember the hard road that I’ve walked and how I don’t want to go back there again. I’ve got too much to look ahead TOWARD. I want to keep fighting.

I needed something outside of ME to pull me out. In my own story, God has used His Word and Truth, books, accountability, and especially counseling to give wisdom and insight into my “stuck” situation. But more than anything, God has replaced my self-doubts with confidence in Him through a deeper relationship with HIM.

I believe that God does not desire for us to stay in that muddy place. He wants to pull us out of the pit. That’s why I want to recommend some resources for you today.

1.    Lies Young Women Believe (blog and book) by DeMoss and Gresh

2.   The Search for Significance by Robert McGee

3.   Graceful by Emily P. Freeman

4.   Perfectly Unique by Annie F. Downs

5.    2nd Corinthians chapter 10 (especially verses 4-5)

God wants our hearts, and is fighting for them. I truly believe this. And I’m happy to say that He is helping me get free, even in the smallest of ways. That’s my same prayer for you.

No matter what I might infer about my looks or weight… or even what others might say – the TRUTH is what I must cling to, even if I don’t feel that it is true…

“You are a beloved creation of the God of the heavens, that created you just like you are. When you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, you need to remember that the God who remade this sunset right here, He formed you in your mother’s womb, every part of who you are. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing to look at and say,

“It’s not beautiful.”

You can’t look at some airbrushed picture of someone who doesn’t even look like that in real life and compare yourself to that. That’s not the reality of life. But what you are, is perfectly made by God of the heavens and He meant it on purpose.” 

― Lacey Mosley

I’ve found the secret of freedom to be different from what the world says. I haven’t learned 6 steps to higher self-esteem. Instead I am learning to reprogram my mind and know my Heavenly Father MORE. How He sees me is the only thing that matters.

Praying for your heart today, S. Please write again soon.

-Ginger

No Comparison

Jennifer Roth

 

 

When I attended the She Speaks conference in North Carolina this summer I met hundreds of passionate, talented, and driven women. Jennifer Roth was one of those women! But more than just another face in the crowd, Jennifer was refreshingly friendly and engaging and I am so glad to say that I know her!

I received an e-mail from her last month asking if I would contribute a post to an on-line Bible Study she was hosting on her blog. I happily agreed and am excited to say that the post is up today. So I would love to encourage you to do three things. Here they are…

1. Check out Jennifer’s Blog and her “Stress Point” series from it’s beginnings. If you are looking for a great study this fall, this just might be the one for you!

2. Check out Sarah Francis Martin’s blog and book, “Stress Point”!

3. Check out the guest post inspired the self-image chapter of “Stress Point.”

Here’s a taste…

In the last verses of the gospel of John we find another interesting story about my favorite disciple, Peter. Peter the “speak first, think later” disciple was given a unique and individual call.

“Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

I don’t know how I would have responded, but Peter makes me wince.

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:20-21, NIV)

Keep reading HERE.

Thanks for following, friends!

Ginger

Prove It!

How many times have you thought or heard the following: it doesn’t matter what THEY think, it only matters what God thinks!?

It’s easy to turn that truth into a trite little saying, but here’s the thing… How God sees us should be the only opinion that matters – after all, He made us. He made us! Since we are His children, our identity should only be found in how He values us. He made us and loved us enough to give us free will, the choice to love Him or leave Him.

Let’s go back to the very beginning and get the story straight. God created us. It started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. He gave them everything and told them simply to “Enjoy!” Sin entered the picture and because of that, Adam and Eve (and the rest of us from there on out) were exposed to death. We were separated from the God who created us. The penalty for Adam and Eve’s sin… and our sin is death; the payment is blood. Thankfully our Father considered us valuable enough to buy us back through the death of His son, Jesus.

Think about it this way: we determine the value of something by how much we are willing to spend. If I walk into a store intending to buy a flat iron, without having done any research on flat irons – I’m limited to two things: what the box says and how much the flat iron costs. Of course the box is going to talk up the product. I have yet to see the company gutsy enough to print: “Fairly decent flat iron. Let’s face it. You’re paying $20 for this. Don’t get your hopes up.” So if I can’t trust a box to tell me something more than the voltage and information about a warranty, I have to go by price. I immediately rule out the cheapest brand and if I have the money, I will probably take the top of the line. Why? The price indicates that this flat iron is worth the extra money. The value of the flat iron is indicated by the expense. While I may not be willing to spend $185 on a new flat iron, I certainly might be prepared to pay that amount for some new photo editing software. I place a higher value on my photos than a flat iron. (Let’s face it; my hair is already straight as a stick.)

Do you know how frustrating it is to lose something you just bought? I seem to do that with new pens. I have a certain kind I like – chosen for grip, writing ease, and ink flow. I get a package of three and sooner than I would like – they’re gone. I’d like to believe I’ve misplace them, but I know that my co-workers sometimes just need a pen and they reach for one off my desk. I don’t think anyone intentionally steals my pens, I just think they forget to put them back. But imagine my frustration if I watched someone take and use my pen and then only agree to give it back if I paid them a fee. I already paid for MY pen once; no way I’m doing that again… especially if they raise the price.

I’m notorious for shouting the phrase, “prove it!” to my friends when they make a bold statement. Usually I’m joking around, but sometimes I want them to put their money where their mouth is. “I can run a five minute mile!” My response? “Prove it!”

God proved how much He valued us by what He was willing to spend. You can shout “prove it!” all you want and He will always have the best response ready for you. Remember, He already owned us once before. He bought us again with the life and death of His only son, Jesus. Jesus had done nothing wrong to deserve punishment, and yet He died in our place. He died for me. He died for you. The cost of that sacrifice shows that you are a priceless treasure of the King of Kings. The gift of His son Jesus demonstrates God’s great love for us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

You are valuable. I am valuable. He’s proven that fact once and for all.

Following,
Ginger

True You: Beautiful

“As people who have been created by God, we are infinitely precious to Him because we are His creation. Regardless of our outward appearance, we are all made with that spiritual potential to relate directly to Him, spirit to Spirit…

You may not look so favourably on your outward appearance, but when God looks at you, He sees His beautiful daughter. While God cares deeply about our own personal struggles with our outward appearances, whatever they may be, He cares even more for you.”

― Corallie Buchanan, Watch Out! Godly Women on the Loose

“Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
    Forget your people and your father’s house.
The king is enthralled by your beauty; 
    honor him, for he is your lord.” (Psalm 45:10-11)

We are continuing to explore the work of the Master Craftsman this week. I hope you’ll join the conversation…

Following,
Ginger

Inside and Out

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 
      you formed me in my mother’s womb. 
   I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! 
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 
      I worship in adoration—what a creation! 
  

 You know me inside and out, 
      you know every bone in my body; 
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 


   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; 
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
   The days of my life all prepared 
      before I’d even lived one day. 

 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! 
      God, I’ll never comprehend them! 
   I couldn’t even begin to count them— 
      any more than I could count the sand of the sea. 
   Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! 

Psalm 139:13-18, MSG

Challenge for this week: Write your own Psalm of praise thanking God for how He made you! Be specific, be honest, and be thankful – for every single part of the True You He created.

Following,
Ginger

Fearfully and Wonderfully

Psalm 139 says that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. It tells me that God formed me and wove me together in my mother’s womb even before she knew that she was going to have a child.

He chose my green eyes, and my frustrating eyebrows that seem to have a mind of their own. He chose my dishwater hair color, my body type, and my height. And yet too often I carelessly comment about how He formed me.

We are all quick to lament the size of our thighs, the length of our noses, and even the shape of our toes! The words “fearfully” and “wonderfully” express the gentleness and tenderness with which we were created.

Have you ever held an infant before? Better yet, have you ever seen someone who is reluctant to hold a baby? It’s generally not because they dislike babies. They usually refrain from holding the baby because they fear hurting it. They recognize that something so fragile requires tender care. God showed ultimate tenderness as He formed us. David wonders at God’s care when he says in Psalm 8:3, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.”

Why mention the stars when talking about how God created us? Read it again. The universe is the work of God’s fingers! There is no part of us that was casually or thoughtlessly formed. If He perfectly placed flaming balls of gas and magma into the sky, what does that say about how He created you and me? He declares you to be His poema, His poem, His masterpiece. Not only that, but He continues to think on us even after He created us!

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”

(Psalm 139:17, NLT)

God not only created you as the crown of His creation, but He thinks innumerable precious thoughts about you!

I hope you will treasure that thought and promise today.

Following,
Ginger