This may be news to some of you, but outside of this blog, I run a business that is built around helping people find freedom from various types of chains by making better life choices and incorporating essential oils into those changes. It’s been an incredible blessing for my family, and for the countless families that are a part of my organization.
One of the things that I get to do is a lot of education, and my heart is in helping people round out their lives, moving closer to the Truth and to the God that loves them so very dearly. We are in the middle of a series called the Freedom Series, where we are addressing various negative things in our lives. The one I just finished is finding freedom from negative self talk, and I wanted to share it here as well. So here you go, a sneak peak into our crazy, wonderful, robust online community. (Interested in joining us? Find out more HERE, or just contact me directly.)
Can I just start this post with the fact that in the last month, I have finished a triathlon and completed a really brutal trip to the Boundary Waters, where we camped and canoed and trudged up and over boulders WHILE CARRYING A CANOE ON OUR HEADS?
And then I am going to follow that up with the fact that I still struggle with what my body looks like, especially when I look at old photos of my pre-baby self and photos of friends with incredibly high metabolism (or at least who do not carry the same attraction to pizza as I do).
And can I just ALSO say that I have a husband who loves me, three healthy children, have lived overseas, run my own business (and am my family’s main income at the moment), am venturing to start a second, run a mom’s ministry at our church, successfully ran a women’s ministry at our old church… and yet I still feel like I come up short, that I don’t measure up, that there are so many things that I should be doing but am just not skilled enough. IS THIS NOT CRAZY??
Facebook and social media is my jam. I love it because I can connect as an introvert to so many people and help shine some light into people’s lives without tapping out my People-Quota. But, man, it can be nasty. It is constantly barraging us with the GOLD LININGS of everyone else’s life, and our brains do that thing where we stretch and pull it and assume that everyone else is living this ultra-fulfilling and ultra-beautiful life and we are still smuggling chocolate bars in the bathroom so our kids don’t ask to share. Our marriage is falling apart while everyone else is running down the beach holding hands. Our kids are rebelling while everyone else’s are BEGGING to do the rest of the chores before they watch their allotted 15 minutes of screen time (of which they will spend 10 minutes of it watching nature documentaries and the other 5 watching ACTUAL EDUCATIONAL youtube videos). Our eating is out of control, while everyone else just can’t get enough of their salad. We can’t make it through the front doors of our gym while everyone else may as well get their beauty shots taken at theirs because of how good they look bouncing along on the treadmill. We just. Can’t. Win.
So how do we combat this? I believe that most of us KNOW in our heads that this is false, that these are lies we are fed (and are feeding our selves) to make us stretch for more, and to never let us be content with what we have or who we are (which is the unfortunate and devastating by-product of living in a consumer-driven world). But behind the Knowing, there is the hurt soul, the grieving child, the one who longs to believe that someday, if she works hard enough, she can get to the point where the pain stops, where the hurt goes away, where the self-doubt disappears.
This is lie, sweet sisters. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world, and we are broken people. So brokenness is just a part of who we are. BUT. There is Hope in that brokenness. There is a whisper that, should you choose to listen to it, will breathe life into the cracks in your heart. That will make the only promise that can actually be kept when it comes to our eventual wholeness, that it just isn’t up to us. That we cannot do it. That we must rely on one who is Bigger than us.
I truly believe that the only way to overcome our negative self image is to stop trying to fix the brokenness (because we just can’t), and start relying on the only One that can. Jesus has walked this path before, he felt this pain before, and He has done the work to overcome it. The ONLY thing we can do is to release our white-knuckled grip on our lives and KNOW, deep within us, that we are giving control to the only one that can manage the steering wheel.
Easier said than done.
I have been actively doing these things for a while now, and wanted to share in case these small changes can make as big of an impact on any of your lives as it has done mine. Work your way through them, tweak them so they fit your life, and find your grit and your strength (both of which are there, waiting like a coiled spring, should you release them) and just do it.
1) Stay in the Word. Oils are fantastic, but God’s Word is the only way that you can continually remind yourself of the truths that this world tries so hard to make you forget. Never read the Bible before? Start in John. He’s a story-teller, and will introduce you to a Jesus that is so unlike American Doe-Eyed Jesus that it will make your heart squeeze in on itself with a crazy mix of joy and fear, one that only happens when presented with a truth so big that you can’t help but shake at the thought of it. Read a chapter a day, a verse a day, the whole book in one sitting. It doesn’t matter. Just read it.
2) Use oils that connect with your limbic system, which is what controls your emotions. If you are being consumed with negative self talk, try applying oils like SARA, Surrender, Release, Hope, Forgiveness, Inner Child, or just plain Frankincense. Do this while saying, out loud or in your head, I am a unique and valued creation of a God who CHOSE to make me like he did. Say this several times, and understand that you might not believe it at first, but that doesn’t make it untrue. There are TRUTHS, and there are our FEELINGS about truths. They are two separate things, and one does not effect the other. If you do not believe in your worth, please read this: Your Worth is STILL THERE.
3) Carry oils like Joy, Stress Away, Australian Blue, or any others that really call to you around with you. Apply them over your heart when you find yourself following the rabbit trail of comparing and self-doubt. Intentionally think of a person who loves you (and if you cannot think of anyone, please think of me, and know there is truth to this), and think of what they would say to you. Would they be affirming that you are what you are thinking? Or would they be telling you otherwise? Believe their Love for you.
4) Look at your diet and see if there is anything that can be affecting your mental clarity or emotions. Sugar and gluten fog my brain up and turn my thoughts sour, I kid you not. I can tell a difference between when I start my day with black coffee (happy Laura!) versus starting my day with coffee with sugary creamer (mean Laura!). Cutting things out that seem to be giving you joy is ridiculously hard, but if they are preventing you from finding TRUE JOY, are they worth it?
5) Spend some time looking over your current situation. Who are you hanging around with? The more negative people in your life, the more negative emotions you will feel; that’s not a myth. Are you allowing yourself to pursue something you are passionate about, or are you stifling that small voice that will tell you where your heart is if you would just follow it? Even if your full-time job is not currently one you are passionate about, making time to fan the embers of your heart will do so much for you, even if its only 10 minutes of your day. Do you want to write? Then write. Do you want to draw? Then draw. Are you passionate about a certain cause? Volunteer. It will ALWAYS sound more draining, but it will ALWAYS fill you up more than it takes. If you don’t allow yourself to do the things that you are naturally gifted at or call to you, then you will ALWAYS be dealing with not measuring up, because your heart will never be fulfilled by something it’s not called to do. Throw oils like Abundance, Highest Potential, Live With Passion, Brain Power or Magnify Your Purpose in the diffuser while you work to really get the most out of your time.
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list, and it’s one that you will fail at, as I do almost every day. But if we continually seek the Truth, and search out our own callings instead of striving for someone else’s, it will get easier with time. Call on God continually, pray that he helps light your path, and he will be there, arm around you, smile on his face, so ready to show you the great things He has set out for you.