Have you ever felt this way? I know I have--on countless occasions! I can't even begin to count on one hand how many times I felt this way this past week! It is so easy to feel inferior, not good enough, unworthy, and insignificant. Why?! Because we allow ourselves to dwell on what is not true. Yeah, yeah, yeah---I know you are thinking that I am probably about to sound like your mother right now, "Oh honey, but you are beautiful! From the inside-out!" (It never seems to help when our moms say this for some reason...it just makes us feel more ugly! I mean...she's our mom for crying out loud!) Well, I am not going to go there! (Yes, you are beautiful because Jesus says you are, not because your mommy says it!) It is very normal to feel just "blah," but those feelings are literally dwelling on what is not true. Why? Well, the Bible says so!
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9, the message remix
God's Word says to think on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious, the best, the beautiful, praiseworthy, and excellent. Do these words describe any of the thoughts above? I don't think so. The thoughts above reflect a girl who sees what's missing, ugly, unsatisfying, unnoticed, and definitely not praiseworthy. Yet, it moments of weakness, when you and I do feel inferior, what in the world can we do to begin thinking according to Philippians 4:8-9? We have to choose to shift our focus.
- First Priority. Jesus must be our first priority. He created you and created you beautifully! You are a work of art! Psalm 139:13 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Song of Songs 4:7 says, "You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless."
- Open the Communication Lines. Begin praying NOW! The awesome part about God is that He is accessible 24/7/365. He is never hard to get a hold of. He wants to be invited in on your deepest moments of pain so He can fill you with His breath of confidence.
- Choose to Shift Your Thoughts Immediately. The word choose is a verb--verbs require action. Choosing to shift your thoughts is not a feeling. If there is any big paradigm shift at all in this principle it is right here. You may not feel gorgeous or confident, but you can choose to actively walk in God's unending beauty and confidence. Why change our thoughts? William James says it perfectly, "Why should we think on things that are lovely? Because our thinking determines our life."
- Understand the Shift & How to Guard Your Heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." So we realize that God is our first priority, talk to Him & ask for His help, choose to shift our thinking.....then what?! We need to realize, truly realize, what this shift in thinking means. Trust me, this is hard stuff! I am learning to live it right now, in this very moment! As we shift our thoughts, we must rely on God and guard our hearts from those same lies we allowed into our heads in the first place. I know for me, this means not reading fashion magazines. Hard? Oh yeah. I love going into Barne's & Nobles, grabbing a cup of coffee, and sitting down with a stack of the latest mags. They are fun for about fifteen minutes until I feel like a fat, ugly whale. So what are my action steps? Don't read fashion magazines. Then I will be guarding my heart from falling prey to untrue thoughts.
- Stay Locked into His Gaze & Never Let Go. Philippians 4:13 says, "Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." Jesus makes us who we are. If we know that, why would we not want Him in our every minute? Philippians 4:4 says, "Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!" Simply put: worship Jesus. Sit at His feet and worship Him. In my own life, I do this by singing my favorite praise and worship songs, talking out loud to Him as I drive, reading His Word, and sitting on my back porch looking at the stars. He leaves me speechless in His presence--just in awe of His beauty and majesty. I can never walk away from Him depressed or feeling ugly. He makes me feel exquisite.
This stuff easy? Not really. Changing our thoughts is probably one of the hardest things we could ever do. And you know what? We can't master it either. This is a day-by-day choice to shift our focus.
You attention amplifies everything. Focus your attention on a moment, an event, an emotion, or an aspect of a person’s personality, and whatever it is you’re focusing on will become more detailed, and this detail will attract still more detail, and all of this detail will come to dominate your thinking. Marcus Buckingham