She steps out the door, shifts the bag on her shoulder and pulls the door shut. hard.
Key turns in the lock and she breathes: one deep, I-can-do-this breath. Hand to purse and keys in bag and foot swivel and, whew, here it goes.
The sun sends down shafts of golden light which gently fall on gentle face. A face that is beautifully crafted, and yet is creased with dissatisfaction and frustration; its beauty unknown and unseen by self-hatred-blinded eyes.
Trying to cover the ache, she shifts her mind to the tasks ahead – the day ahead. But one glance to her left and she sees it. The reflection. Her reflection.
Dissatisfaction slices inward.
Any attempts at hope stifled.
One glance to the right and she sees the myriads of women she can compare herself to. And the lists tick through her head… of what she lacks.. of what they have… of how much she wishes she could crawl out of her skin and frame and leave it to face shame on its own.
What more can I do? she asks.
What more can I change? How much harder can I push?
Dry, brittle bones begin to crack and creak under the weight of just one more self-hatred thought. They’ve piled on so thick.
Where’s the hope in all of this, she asks herself. Where is the end. Where is the moment that I will ever be satisfied. That I can rest.
What does rest mean?
What does it mean to have peace as your best friend? To break up with shame?
She sighs and breathes. Shaky, inward breath. Just got to keep going.
Hand to bag and foot to pavement and heart deflated, she walks on.
I write this because this topic is a very real struggle for most women. Let’s be real. Most of us cross paths with these thoughts, these emotions, these fears. Often. Daily.
I’ve been on my own journey with all of this. Sometimes feeling like I’m finally creeping towards the victory peak, and other times, feeling like the valley can’t stoop any lower.
I realize that none of this can be simplified down to an easy solution or a one-liner, here’s-how-to-fix-it-all step. No. it’s definitely a process.
I write this not to say I’ve found the answer, but to remind my sisters that you’re not alone in this struggle. And to encourage you that there is hope.
I have been tasting hope. Sipping in sweetness finally, after many years of bitter, thick fear.
I have been tasting this: that what I’m craving through all of this is to be loved. And that in fact, I am completely and 100% loved right now. Just as I am. Loved right now. And that Jesus is not ashamed of me.
I’ve also been learning, though, that Jesus also cares about my physical body and wants to help me take care of it. That there is a holistic approach to working through this struggle.
I’m learning that I can be at peace right now with myself. I can be at peace, while at the same time, be working towards healthy goals.
I’m learning that Jesus is good and i can trust him with this.
I’m learning that I am beautiful.
I’m praying that you can learn these things too. And that they’d sink so deep into the worn, scared, tired places of your beautiful heart.