Fearfully Fashioned: A Journey to Self-Love & Confidence
Overweight. Insecure. Low-self esteem. These words describe how I viewed myself during my high school days. Never pretty enough, never popular enough, and of course I wasn’t skinny enough. Day in and and day out, I would analyze my flaws. It was apart of my routine. Get up, go to school, then come home to bash myself in the mirror.
From elementary school until high school, I had always been critical of my appearance. Not necessarily because I believed I wasn’t beautiful, but because I believed the lies that everyone else told me. I always knew something was special about me. Although my self-esteem was shattered, I knew that I had something to offer; I just wanted everyone else to see what was inside of me too.
From freshmen to junior year, my weight fluctuated up and down. I was engaging in unhealthy eating and exercising habits during the summer, working out after every meal hoping to burn off what I was eating. I ended up losing 30 pounds, but because I couldn’t maintain the frequency of exercise, I gained it all back.
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At the end of junior year, you can say I reached my breaking point. I was so tired of being unhappy and unhealthy. I just wanted to be happy and confident in my own skin. With a heart full of desperation and eyes full of tears, I searched for my Bible. I knew that in order to be healed, I needed to run to the Healer, the Comforter -- Jesus Christ. I’m so happy that He met me right where I was at. He directed me to Psalm 139:14, where He replaced the enemy’s lies with His beautiful truth:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well [Psalm 139:14 (NIV)].
My soul was wrecked and restored in that single moment. I’ve read that scripture over and over again since I was a young child, but it never resonated with me in such an awakening capacity. He whispered and gently and affirmed me, “Janelle, don’t you know you are so beautiful to me? Your beauty goes way deeper than your physical appearance. You don't understand the depths of my love and my thoughts toward you. My thoughts are so wide and vast for you. Every time you tear yourself down, you are bashing my beautiful creation. I made you in my image, and everything that I make is beyond good. Won’t you start seeing yourself the way that I see you?” In that my moment, He wrapped His loving arms around me, and I felt an overwhelming sense of love and conviction from the Holy Spirit.
Who was I to tell God that what He made wasn’t good? At that point, I knew that I couldn’t continue to go on tearing myself down. I no longer cared about what I looked like. I just wanted to honor my body, God’s temple. In that moment, I made a vow to myself that regardless of what I looked like on the outside, I was going to be happy and healthy on the inside. That’s when my personal development journey began. I reached for my iPod and let the Word of God and India Arie’s song, “Private Party”, coach my thoughts. The lyrics perfectly conveyed the self-love journey I was embarking on --
“I'm gonna take off all my clothes
Look at myself in the mirror
We're gonna have a conversation
We're gonna heal the disconnection
I don't remember when it started
But this is where it's gonna end
My body is beautiful and sacred
And I'm gonna celebrate it.”
As India Arie serenaded me with her lyrics, I made peace with my body. I decided that I was going to learn how to love it and take care of it the best way I could. I started to think differently towards everything from my diet to exercise. I wanted to feel good, so I started to incorporate healthier foods and eliminate any unhealthy habits that would support those feelings. I got up at 5 am Monday through Friday so I could squeeze in a workout before school. I wasn’t focused on losing a certain amount of weight or being a certain size. I just wanted to be healthy. It wasn't long until the fruit of my labor started to show.
Not before long, people started to approach me saying I looked slimmer, but for some reason I couldn’t notice it, because I wasn't focused on the weight loss; I was focused on the healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t until I hit the 30 lb weight loss mark, when I noticed that my school uniform was sliding off my body that I realized I was losing weight. I continued to love myself by eating healthy and exercising, and the weight just kept coming off. Six months later at senior prom I weighed 65 lbs less and was happier and more proud of myself than I ever was before-- not because I was smaller, but because I finally learned how to love myself.
Throughout that school year, the Lord showed me how beautiful and valuable I was to Him. That encounter with Him led me to create a long-lasting, healthy lifestyle and even encouraged me to stop hiding behind my natural hair texture. He wanted me to embrace it and every part of me that He created.
Because I had learned His thoughts toward me, I was able to find the confidence, discipline, and strength that it took to love myself. Through His Word, He showed me that strength was sown into me all along. That same confidence and strength is what has propelled me to continue to fashion my life according to His plan and purpose. He used Psalm 139:14 to transform my life, so he could transform others through me. That verse is what inspired Fearfully Fashioned. It led me to coach women, so that they could understand the value and weight of their beauty, worth, and purpose through Him.
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and He has created a fearfully and wonderfully made plan for our lives. It's up to us to embrace it. It's up to us to have that mindset shift and understand that through His Holy Spirit, we have the power to fashion our lives according to His purpose and plan.
If self-confidence, purpose, and identity is something you struggle with, I'd like to encourage you to join my Fashion Your Life Coaching Program. It's a six month program where we dive further into mindset and we develop a plan for you to gain greater confidence, affirm your identity in Christ, unearth your purpose and so much more. As your coach, I'm there to serve as your purpose cheerleader, cultivating your God-given gifts and talents to help you gain the clarity and confidence you need to pursue your God-given purpose and goals. It's time to take your life back. Let go of insecurity, cultivate confidence, and fashion your life.
Has self-love and confidence been a battle for you? Tell me your story in the comments below!