One thing that I realized while going through my divorce was that I had lost myself in marriage and after having my daughter. I did not know who I was anymore. I was doing things that I really did not want to do. I had gained like 30 pounds from my pregnancy and it really made me feel insure about myself and how I looked.
The following year I had to have a left total hip replacement for a bone disease that I did not know even existed. Trying to figure out how did this even happen, knowing that no one else in my family had this before was really confusing to me. So that was another thing that I had to add to my plate. The fear of the unknown. Fear of what my body was going to look like after the surgery. At that time my weight was at a stand still because I could not really move for 8 weeks. I had to learn how to walk again which left me handicap and depended on other people. I have always taken care of myself so that was something new for me. And I just felt lost.
For most of my life, I sought the approval of men who always surrounded me with attention. Who always bought me things? Not knowing deep down I was searching for love that only God could give me. So, my need for validation followed me into my marriage. I loved being a mother and wife, but I constantly felt insecure. I did not like going shopping for clothes because I did not like looking at myself in the mirror anymore. But I always tried to look my best. Taking care of my daughter became my life. I devoted all my time and energy to her. Caring for her. Loving her. Trying to fill that hole became my new identity.
When your friends have not seen you in a while say:
-Shaletha what happened, you used to be so well put together; with a slim, thick figure, always dressed nice, and you always had your hair and nails done. That’s when you know that you have let yourself go.
-You began turning down invitations to hang out with your friends.
- All you want to do is go straight home from work, because that’s where you feel most comfortable.
-Months and years go on and you don’t even recognize yourself anymore.
While separated I decided to go on a self-love journey. I changed the way that I ate. I started working out. And I began to read the Bible more, seeking God for the plans he had for my life during this season. I started making time to just sit in His presence. And when I did God began to transform my way of thinking about myself. He began to reveal to me that my identity is found only in him and that I am a child of God who loves me. His love is different from what you can ever experience. His love is honest and true. His love will never choose someone else over you. His love is not circumstantial.
God started to show me how to love myself. And to see myself how he sees me. When you stay rooted in your identity as a Queen of God, you don’t need to look for love and validation from others. God will never fail you; He will never let you down, and never leave you. He will always be beside you in a gentle, and lovingly manner. Reminding you that you are His—and that you are enough. Knowing who you are in Christ will give you the power you need to be your true authentic self.
I will leave with you four things to help you to keep striving to love yourself. And remember no matter what your circumstances are right now, know that those lies aren’t true!
1. Stay connected with family and friends – you don’t have to go on this journey alone.
2. Set up boundaries – don’t allow someone to make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
3. Invest in yourself – figure out some of your hobbies – what are you passionate about? And go after them!
4. Get rid of all negative thinking like – YOU’RE
· Not good enough
· Not pretty enough
· Not smart enough
· And that you’re not worthy of love
Healing is a journey and holiness is a destination. You have to do the work. Have peace while going through your storm and have hope for the future.