Freedom, I realized, is a word I've been hearing and thinking a lot about lately, but hadn't really spent any time connecting the pieces. Freedom is something we long for, we cling to. Moments like this one (albeit a movie) speak to the core of our souls, because we long to be free.
Ah... a moment. We had a similar one at our school for Veteran's day this year, when a local Vietnam vet spoke to our students, sharing his reflections and how, when he came home, he was spit on, and mocked, and made fun of.... but that what he cared most about, was this one thing- he stepped away from the podium, away from the microphone, flung his arms wide, shouted Freedom! And we all were moved.
Freedom is a powerful concept.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to share a short testimony at an evening for high school girls at church called, appropriately, Freedom Night. There was worship, testimonies, a question panel, and a time of reflection, and a couple of beautiful ballet pieces to, mostly, Barlow Girl songs. Topics included self-image, relationships, sexuality, and more. It was intense, and so powerful. I was asked to give a brief testimony (like 5 minutes) on self-image and my freedom from my struggles. I was so freaked out about the whole time limit thing (I'm a talker), and there were so many components to my story, that I finally, about 30 minutes before I was supposed to arrive at the church, jotted down my thoughts, which, as I wrote, realized, although not necessarily a narrative, were my story. A friend asked me to share those words on my blog, so here they are.
Insecurity. Meaning I don't feel safe in my own skin. Self image tied to self worth. The video (referring to the Dove Evolution Video) says we have a distorted image of beauty. I knew that, but didn't believe it. Skinny people always taling about the tragedy of eating disorders. Be quiet, skinny people. I wasn't skinny, but I wasn't fat. I wasn't ugly, but I wasn't beautiful. What was my worth? Always comparing myself to others, measuring myself. I look better than her.. oh, but not as good as her. I'm skinner than her... yuck, but fatter than her.
All of these thoughts show some of my disordered thinmking, which lead to disordered behavior. Should I eat today, after all I ate already? Never good enough. A perpetual obession. No control.
I was made by The God who made the goregous mountains, the intricate beauty of flowers, the shimmery diamonds of the sea. I am always in awe of his perfection. He created ALL beautiful things.
And he created ME.
And more. He LOVES me.
He who has all things in his hands
My big smile, my oversized my ribcage, my blueeyes, my doughy stomach.
And if I am measuring myself by any other standar, if my worth is coming from anything, it ought to be that.
That I am loved and I was made THIS way, with THIS body and face, by THE ONE.
It doesn't mean sometimes I don't still compar myself, or that I don't have days I feel fat, or days where I forget, and put myself down because of how I look.
But then I remember.
If I let my identity, my worth, be based in anything else, I will me miserable. I must make a choice, a daily choice, to remember.
I am NOT defined by the world's image of beauty, because I am FREE from those expectations.
I was made by a Master Artist, THE Master Artist of ALL things beautiful.
And He Loves Me.
So I am Beautiful.
And I am Free.
There's more to my thoughts on freedom. This morning I was praying for several people and the need for their freedom kept coming to my heart. We are held captive, the scripture says, and HE came to set us FREE.
"Fight, and you may die. Run, and you may live. At least a while." What kind of life is it when we are captives? Freedom does not come easily, I think. It requires persistence, dedication, perseverance, heartbreak, sweat, and tears.
Yet we crave it. We need it. And He offers it.
I claim that word today. May you also.