I was gonna start this off gently saying I feel unattractive, but can we just be real....I feel ugly today.
What's funny is yesterday I felt fine. The day before I was actually feeling myself, thinking I was pretty cute. But today a wave of insecurity, envy, unworthiness and depression have washed over me and I feel ugly.
Have you ever experienced this?
Nothing has changed from yesterday to today. Nothing outwardly, but something changed in my spirit. This has happened to me before. In grade school, high school and college there would be times I would suddenly feel that my outward appearance didn't measure up to my peers. They were beautiful and I wasn't. What "beautiful" meant shifted over time and with the trends of our culture, but whatever the standard of beauty was, I never measured up.
I distinctly remember a season where I felt the most beautiful and confident in my outward appearance and looking back, I now recognize the things that chipped away at that confidence I had in my natural God-given beauty. But I digress....
Today, I feel ugly.
The key word in that sentence is feel, because nothing has changed from yesterday to today.
In the past, this feeling would have completely overwhelmed me and sent me into a self-loathing and depression cyclone. But by God's Grace I have learned how to be more self-aware and identify these negative thoughts and lies of the enemy.
So today I started with prayer. Just a simple one, asking the Holy Spirit to touch my mind and lift this weight of depression I felt pushing down on me.
Then I went to the word and reminded myself of the truth.
Do not let adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of he heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but he LORD looks o the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
Reading scripture helps me take capture my thoughts and bring them into alignment with what I know to be true, but I'm struggling to truly believe in the moment.
Once I've done that I can go deeper and examine what I'm actually feeling and what might have triggered it.
The enemy is throwing his darts of attack at us all the time. Sometimes they bounce right off and other times they pierce us and stick. Today is one of those days that for some reason his dart was able to pierce my armor. My struggle today is not with the way I look. My struggle is actually with the spiritual forces that are trying to weaken my God confidence. My belief in who I am and who God designed me to be.
The enemy is trying to use my insecurities about my outward appearance to weaken my inner spirit. But.I won't let that happen and you shouldn't let it happen either.
So what triggered this?
What weakened my armor and allowed me to get hit? After praying and reading I was able to clear my mind and think. I pulled out my journal and started to work through my thoughts. My favorite tool to help me in moments like this is a guided thought journal. When I'm struggling, sometimes a blank page allows me too much room to allow my thoughts to get worse. Instead of challenging the lies, I start to expand upon them and write them down. So using a tool that prompts me to challenge my negative thoughts and remind myself of the truth that contradicts them is key. So I pulled out my Worry For Nothing Journal and started writing.
And as crazy as it might sound, I realized that a documentary I watched on TV last night made me envious of another woman's life, her beauty and her confidence. I didn't actually feel envious while watching it. I even identified with some of the struggles she's experienced that are similar to mine. But subconsciously a thought of "I wish I looked like her," "I wish I had her hair," "I wish I had her figure," "I wish people saw me that way," bubbled up in my spirit and I looked in the mirror and thought, "I'm ugly."
The truth is, I'm beautiful.
I know I'm not ugly. And by the way, neither are you.
Identifying the lies and scheme of the enemy helps me to get back in my right mind.
God has given us a sound mind, but just like with our physical body, we need to take care of our mind. Mental health is important not just for those who've been diagnosed with a mental illness, but for everyone, because throughout normal daily life, the enemy will try to attack your thoughts in order to discourage you from being able to fulfill God's good and perfect will for your life.
Today he attacked my confidence in my outward beauty. Tomorrow he might try to attack my faith in God's financial provision or my feeling of safety or my trust in a lifelong friendship. Who knows, he's got all kinds of schemes.
But the way to find victory in your daily life is to be self-aware, pray immediately, meditate on God's Word and challenge your thoughts in light of the truth you find in it.
It's not always easy. There are times when that self-awareness isn't immediate and I go a few days before realizing that the enemy is attacking my mind, but I've found that God is always faithful when I go to Him and seek his help. He has already given us victory over the enemy's schemes, but we have to put our belief into practice by walking out our faith and fighting with all the armor that God provides.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11
P.S. If you want some friends who will walk alongside you and fight for your mind, join me inside our online community. Hope to see you there!
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.