Also, as Allie is now a year old, I'm no longer nursing her. That means my body has gone through yet another adjustment and I'm working on accepting this new me. I think, in pregnancy your body goes through adjustment #1. Then #2 comes at birth. #3 comes around month 6 when things start to settle some and become more "normal". Then the final one comes after you wean your baby (if you breastfeed) and your body is now 100% yours again - not connected to the baby in any way. It's all quite a bit of change for a woman to adjust to, yes?!
I've been trying to get words together for a week or two now to share with you, because God's pressing it on my heart that another women out there needs to hear what I've been learning.
Lysa T. talks a lot about social media in "Uninvited". She says "I'm not against social media but we do have to be careful how we use it. Is it to bless others with encouragement and love or are we really just boasting on ourselves and feeding others' unhealthy comparisons to us?" This is so true isn't it? I LOVE social media. I think it's genius. I mean, I do run an online faith based fitness ministry that relies heavily on social media. I've met some amazing women through Instagram and Facebook. I've cultivated friendships and made new ones. God has used it in some pretty profound ways in my own life. However, it can still be a struggle.
The theme in "Uninvited" is to "live loved." Not invited to something? Feeling left out or less than? LIVE LOVED. Remember that God is your audience and He loves you no matter what. That was a really great reminder for me. I struggle a lot in relationships. I don't talk much about it because it's pretty personal, but I have come to learn over the years that I have high expectations, and when they aren't met, I feel unloved, left out, and just crappy. Remembering to live loved has been HUGE for me. In fact, just last week I was in my car telling myself "No Becky, don't go there. Live loved!" I literally said "live loved" over and over in my car (out loud) until I could feel it taking root inside me. Reminding myself my worth is in Jesus, not what somebody else thinks of me or the way they treat me.
Lisa-Jo Baker talks a lot about the comparison game in "Never Unfriended" and I've been so guilty of that as I've become a Mom of 2. Of course I did it when I only had 1 child, but it's like birthing Allie also birthed on this new insecurity of mine. This comparison game I do of myself to other Moms of more than 1 child. To other Moms who workout. To other C-section Moms. It's gross really. And it isn't always physical comparisons like "ooh her tummy is tighter than mine" or "breastfeeding didn't effect her body like mine". It's also things like "how does she have a smile on her face right now? I'm about to lose my mind and she's smiling?" or "how does she do such fun and creative things with her kids when all I want to do is lay on the couch while my kids watch cartoons?" Anybody else relate?
My Pastor once said "Comparison is comparing our insides to somebody else's outsides". I tell myself this often. When I compare myself to others, I'm comparing the yucky, disgusting, selfish, sinful parts of me to what somebody else has polished up for public viewing. It's not their dark and yucky insides. Simply put: it isn't an apples to apples comparison.
NOT BEING A STUMBLING BLOCK
As I adjust to this new Mom of 2 body, who has had 2 C-sections with scars, stretch marks, and extra skin to show for it, it's a struggle for me. Just being honest. When I read that quote about social media from Lysa T. I circled it in the book and wrote "Shape Her" out to the side. I never want to portray myself in a way that causes anybody else to doubt themselves or hate something about themselves. I'm sorry if I have. I know I can't control other people's thoughts or actions, but I can control how I portray me.
I may be a "Health Coach" and somebody studying for a personal training certification, but I'm still a 30 something year old Wife and Mom of 2 kids just trying to love herself and live loved. I'm trying to keep my priorities in line and not let my body or my health become my #1. It's important, yes, but it isn't the end all be all. God is #1 and gets all my heart first. Then, Ben and my kids. I'm just like you. I, too, look in the mirror and think negative thoughts. I, too, have days when I want to just eat whatever I want. I, too, compare myself to others. I, too, count down the hours until it's the kids bedtime and I can finally shower and just lay in bed with Netflix or finally have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband. I struggle too.
What I hope you see in me is a woman who loves the Lord with everything inside her. A woman who is passionate about sharing His love with others. A woman who prioritizes her health, but also isn't obsessing about it. A woman who loves her husband fiercely and prioritizes her marriage over her kids. A woman who loves her kids and values being home with them and soaking in every day I get with them. Simply, a woman who chooses to LIVE LOVED. A woman who is choosing JOY.
I've got some triggers that I've learned to identify and avoid, which is helpful. I challenge you to identify yours and come up with a game plan for combating them. Something as simple as blocking/unfollowing/hiding from newsfeed/etc. on social media is easy to do and keep your heart in the right place. Avoiding things that trigger that in me, is key for me. I'm not perfect in it, but I try my best with it all.
Let's stop comparing. Let's remember we are all unique individuals made to be exactly who God made us to be. He made me to be ME. Not you. Not her. ME.
Let's portray grace and joy and hope, but let's also be real and honest in hopes that it can encourage others and not fuel any comparison game that may be going on.