I am so excited to have Leigh Ann here with us today! She is a beautiful mommy to the sweetest little girl Charleigh and runs an AMAZING ministry called Staying Forever Young Health and Fitness. Leigh Ann has been a HUGE inspiration to me! She is the definition of a woman that radiates Jesus. I mean that. Be sure to head over to her facebook page for more from Leigh Ann!
“True beauty is being who God created you to be. In that, you know what ‘beautiful’ is because you find it within yourself.”
–Josh Young (my supportive and easy on the eyes hubby)
We are going to time travel for just a few minutes… I want to take you back all the way to my middle school years.Middle School is where “I allowed” all the insecurities of who I “thought” I was really begin to fester. You see, I had always been a pretty carefree person, but once I hit middle school… that changed. I had never realized how different (or should I say how odd) I was because of my beautiful strawberry-blonde hair and freckles compared to everyone else. I was mocked and made fun for these particular features.
The insecurities really started to flood in this one particular day (it’s a time I remember vividly). I had always had a slew of friends and I thought, honestly, that we were all BEST FRIENDS… I was mistaken. This one particular day, I had over heard some of my friends talking about my “orange” hair and freckles and laughing hysterically. They were saying that I was probably the ugliest one in our “click” and I would never be able to get a boyfriend, with “those” features. I was heartbroken! I actually asked my teacher if I could call home because I wasn’t feeling well. My mom came and picked me up… I was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell her the real reason I wanted to come home that day. I had to pretend I was really sick the rest of the day (to be honest, I was… I was sick and disgusted with myself).
After that day, I would sit for long periods of time picking out every flaw that I could about myself. I literally began to despise being born with beautiful strawberry-blonde hair and distinct freckles.
The forgiving person that I am, continued to hang out with those girls that made fun of me. I never told them that I had heard their conversation. They actually began to be more vocal and brave about making fun of me to my face, as well as, to others. Of course, in middle school, I don’t know about you, but I had several little crushes. These girls went as far as to go to each of the boys and ask, “Hey, the ugly duckling (pointing fingers at me) thinks you are cute… you would never like her would you?” A lot of those times, instead of running in embarrassment, I would sit there and laugh about it and play it off like it was a joke. BUT, after a while, if you allow it, those lies become a part of who you are and you really start dwelling on those lies that the enemy uses through simple and naïve individuals to try and steer you away from your purpose in this life. (This is why maintaining a close relationship with God is vital to your life)
Appearance had never been something that I focused on… I literally thought about my appearance 24/7. I grew to HATE everything about myself. Once I started to hate who I was, I started to become extremely hateful with others, those “others” being my loving and supportive family and the “true” friends that I had been friends with since elementary school. At that moment in my life, those people didn’t matter anymore. Sadly, I wanted to be just like those girls that made me feel like the worst person on the planet.
As I advanced into high school, college, and just up to a year or so ago, I carried that insecurity along side of EVERYTHING that I did and everywhere I went. I kept feeding it and feeding it with lies until it got so big I couldn’t take it anymore… You see, I would feed my insecurities daily just like I would feed myself physically. I made sure to treat it and take care of it the way I would my physical body.
I carried this insecurity in to my marriage. I would use my husband’s past against him to tell him that he was the reason I was insecure, but really it was that insecurity from middle school I continued to feed that was the problem. You see, my husband is a changed man… COMPLETELY changed man. I am so proud of the man God has molded him in to. I am proud to call him mine. However, the first couple years of marriage for us was not peaches and cream and we are having to reconnect and discover our love for each other (we will be married 7 years in May). I had carried so much anger and insecurity in my heart that I wasn’t able to give Josh my whole self. The statement, “misery loves company” is something that I hate to have to admit as truth in our relationship. I hurt my family, friends, and Josh along this insecure journey ALL BECAUSE I CHOSE TO SEE THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS THAN THE BEAUTIFUL CREATOR. I am eternally grateful my family never gave up on me, my dreamy husband loved me through it, and most importantly God continued to see me as His beautiful daughter. It has been a LONG journey, but I am victorious. YOU CAN BE TOO!
Now, I have a sweet little strawberry-blonde cutie named, Charleigh. She literally is breathtakingly beautiful. I am so proud and honored that God saw me worthy enough to be this beautiful and witty creation’s mommy. I am proud to say that I have finally released the burden of insecurity out of my life and seeing myself through the eyes of Christ. NOW, I listen and meditate on what HE says about me. Don’t get me wrong, the world is going to have their views on you and try to tell you that you need to look a certain way, BUT I can honestly say that I LOVE WHO I AM. I don’t have to be the skinniest, prettiest, most fashionable individual to matter… I MATTER exactly the way I am… Leigh Ann, 28 years young, strawberry-blonde hair, freckles, yoga pant wearing, go several days without washing my hair, wears clothes from years ago, never really buys herself anything new, doesn’t have to have the finest, wears the same toenail and fingernail polish (chipped for months), book loving, bluegrass loving, hippie could have been, plain jane, silly and weird personality, Jesus loving, LEIGH ANN. I am WAY GOOD ENOUGH because God thinks so… KNOWS SO. He is proud of this creation and I am so excitingly overwhelmed that I finally feel that way about myself.
In sharing this, I want to tell you that society is going to have a specific view of who you should be or what you should look like to make a difference in this world, or honestly to even MATTER. Sweet girl, you are already set apart and made beautiful exactly like you are. Society doesn’t make you who you are. Opinions of others don’t make you who you are. God makes you who you are. And to Him, you are perfect in every way. A God who makes absolutely no mistakes created us. He strategically planned out this life for each of us. Let’s do this thing with confidence, knowing who we are in Him. Let the beauty of your inward parts SHINE!
“That’s the thing about inner beauty; Unlike physical beauty, which grabs the spotlight for itself, inner beauty shines on everyone, catching them, holding them in its embrace, making them more beautiful too.” –unknown
This journey is real, it’s messy, definitely frustrating, but INSANLEY rewarding. It’s time we start walking in confidence and knowing that we are perfect because we are being who God created us to be… a beautiful light shining so bright that everyone we come in contact with sees Christ because He lives within. Beauty is not a physical characteristic but an inward reflection of who Christ is.
Redeemed and Transformed,
Hey Ladies! One thing I am passionate about over here at Fit for His Glory is helping women know and believe that TRUE beauty is found in Christ alone. Nothing and no one else will ever satisfy our hearts like His love! Each Tuesday we will hear from women who are on the journey to true beauty and the beautiful path that God is walking them down. I am so excited to hear their stories or redemption, grace, passion and persistence! I pray that this column encourages you to look more like Jesus every day and pursue His love over everything else!
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