The Hope Diary: Step Eight: Reflecting on Who We Had Hurt

Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.

This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Making Restitution
Exodus 22:10-15

1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.

2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.

3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.

Unintentional Sins
Leviticus 4:1-28

1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.

2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;

Scapegoats
Leviticus 16:20-22

1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.

2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.

3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.

Overcoming Loneliness
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.

2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.

3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.

Forgiven to Forgive
Matthew 18:23-35

1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.

2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.

3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.

a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).

b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.

c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.

The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.

2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.

3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.

Reaping Goodness
Galatians 6:7-10

1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.

2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Two: Only God Can Restore me to Sanity

Step two of the twelve step program was one that did not come so easily for me. I mean, I was raised a Christian and I had always believed in God. However after all of the addiction, abuse, and disordered eating behaviors I experienced for many years, I became angry and bitter towards the idea of God and religion so I turned away from Him and lived my life on my own terms. I spent most of my teenage and twenties examining other religions and spiritual concepts, believing that I could control my life without any consequences.

Without a solid spiritual foundation, and after spiraling deeper into my destructive behaviors, I found myself flat on my face in despair without any way out and no one to help me. None of my alternative spiritual principles could help me out of my mess, and I was confronted with the unshakable truth that God was the only one who could save and strengthen me. I had a big pride pill to swallow, and many character defects to dig out, but man, how much pain and suffering did I hand over to Jesus, the one who had died for me, when I made the decision to stop hurting myself and give it all to Him instead in exchange for a beautiful life. The biggest difference now in regards to God is that I seek a personal relationship with Him, instead of abusing religion. I don’t belong to any religious organization, and if you ask me, God loves everyone!

I had many questions to reflect on as I humbled myself in the recovery process and allowed Him to take away my power. After all, did I create the universe? No. Did I create myself? No. Had I ever been successful in stopping my eating disorders and addictions on my own? No!! So, I had to humble myself and accept that only God could bring about the changes in me that I so badly needed.

But you know, I surprised myself with the issues that came about with step two. I believed in God, but I fell many times in recovery with my pride! I realized that one of the reasons why I had struggled with my disorders and addictions for so long was because I had tried to be my own god! I thought that I could worship my body instead of God and still have a meaningful relationship with Him! It does not work! When I put myself first instead of the One Who Created me, I fell to my own sin and devices repeatedly.

There are countless examples in the Bible of leaders who tried to take the place of God and fell terribly.
Take for example King Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel Chapter 4, we see how the king thought he was the greatest and worshipped himself. He looked at his successes and called the glories for himself. He forgot to be humble and remember that God is the creator and ruler of all and that He gives power and success “to anyone He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). God took everything away from King Nebuchadnezzar and spent a time period with the cattle in the fields, eating and living with them until he humbled himself and acknowledged that God was the only one with power and might.

I lived the same way as King Nebuchadnezzar for most of my life…in pride, selfishness, and thinking that I was my own god! Because of my choices however, I also lived in addictions, pain, and an endless cycle of eating disorders that I could not get out of on my own. God allowed me to live in my own filth until I humbled myself and said, “Ok God, I admit it!! You are the only way, truth and light, Please help me!!” At that moment, my whole life began to change. I started to live according to what He wanted, and not unto my own destructive habits. I started to slowly become free.

Let’s take a look at the corresponding questions on Step two from the Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop.

Persistent Seeking
Job 14:1-6

1. How has life seemed unfair to me in the areas of family?

Trauma/abuse?

Addiction?

2. What are my objections to trusting God fully with my addiction and my life?

3. What emotions and questions do I need to be honest with God about?

4. Am I willing to work through the pain and unfairness of my life in order to find God and be freed from addiction? What holds me back?

Grandiose Thinking
Daniel 4:19-33

1. When in my addiction, in what ways did I display the belief that I was only accountable to myself?

2. How have I tried to have power over the events, outcomes, and people in my life?

3. In what ways did I show that I forgot that God is ultimately in control?

4. How have I avoided acceptance of God’s power over my life?

Internal Bondage
Mark 5:1-13

1. What self-destructive behaviors have I inflicted on myself due to addiction? List and describe them.

2. How has my addiction kept me from living my own life while finding myself more comfortable in “caves” of isolation, anger/rage, or silent judgement?

3. Have I begun to drop my insanity of living alone and being trapped in addiction? Am I ready to have Jesus visit me in my “caves” and cleanse me? If so, write out a prayer to Him here:

Healing Faith
Luke 8:43-48

1. How have I tried to control my problems in my own power?

2. What were the results?

3. Is there any other way that I would like to try to control and manage it?

4. Am I ready to do my part, as this woman courageously did, by reaching out for recovery in faith that Jesus’ Power will be there? Write a statement of readiness to God.

Restoration
Luke 15: 11-24

1. How have my compulsions and addictions led me to compromise my values, convictions, and principles?

2. How have my compulsions and addictions dehumanized me and brought me to shame?

3. In light of how my addictions and dependencies have degraded me, am I now open to a deeper level of believing that the power and forgiveness of God will restore me to sanity?

Coming to Believe
Romans 1:18-20

1. How have my experiences shown me that my way of living is not a satisfying or productive way to live?

2. How have I seen God’s power at work in other people’s lives?

3. What are the signs that I am on the path and in the process of being restored to sanity?

Hope in Faith
Hebrews 11:1-10

1. Am I becoming able to believe that God can help me live sanely? How?

2. Can I now believe that as I reach out for God’s Strength and surrender to Him, God’s Nature is to be present and ready to help and support sane choices? Why or why not?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

“Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You” by Karla Downing

Christian Relationship Help: Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You by Karla Downing

“Forgiveness is a commandment for Christians (Matthew 6:14-15); yet, there is a lot of misunderstanding on how to forgive. This Christian relationship help gives you six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you:

1. Understand that it is a process.The first step is to commit to that process. Some people erroneously suggest that someone should forgive right away when they find out about a major offense. This isn’t possible. Before you can forgive, you have to know what you are forgiving. It takes time to figure out what has happened and how it has affected your life.

2. Reflect on the facts of the situation, your reactions, and how it is affecting you. You have to count the cost in order to forgive by first recognizing how you have been affected by the offense. This way you know what you are forgiving.

3. Understand what the offender did and why it was done.This is putting yourself into the shoes of the other person. It gives you a perspective that can help you to be empathetic. Hurt people hurt people. This doesn’t mean you excuse the wrong or not hold the person appropriately accountable; it only means that you try to understand the problems the other person had that would have caused him/her to do what was done.

4. Choose to let go of the right to get revenge.You turn the person over to God and allow him to judge in his way and time (Romans 12:19). This can include allowing the person to face the legal, relational, financial and situational consequences of his/her actions; however, you need to let go of your bitterness and resentment and not take pleasure in the person’s pain and demise.

5. Treat the person with dignity and respect.You want to love your enemies and offer them a cup of cold water, as Jesus suggested (Romans 12:20); yet, you can still set boundaries to protect yourself. This requires that you take a step of faith and treat the person well. When you do it, it will help you to maintain the forgiveness and allow God to work in the person’s life.

6. Choose to no longer be defined by the offense.This is where you integrate the offense into your life as another thing that has happened that you have walked through that God has used to shape and mold you. Your identity is not: “The spouse who was abandoned,” The parent who lost his child,” or “The unloved child.” You have a different perspective that involves acceptance, forgiveness, and faith and a self-image that includes how you have been refined through your life experiences and how God is using it for good.

This Christian relationship help offers you these six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you. These tips will enable you to move on from the offense in a way that sets you free and pleases God.”

God Bless,
Nikki

Fall Time Fun Back at Alstede Farms, NJ

Bunnies, cows, pigs, oh my!! I was in hog-heaven this Columbus Day weekend at Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ. Not only was the scenery surrounding the Fall-Festival breath taking, but the “scene” inside the park wasn’t half-bad either! From kiddies to pumpkin fudge (who knew?), animals galore to more Pick-Your-Own activities than you could shake a honey flavored stick at!!

I don’t know about you, but fall time is my absolute favorite time of the year. The beautiful colors on the leaves changing signal that the Holidays are a-comin’ and that the layers on my clothes will be a wrappin’!! I am so thankful for the beautiful seasons that God has created, but fall and winter have always been my favorite! You can be sure I will be blogging much more during this time as it brings back my childhood memories with my family, and I love to create that here on my website.

The Hope Diary: I’ve Found Something Better

I loved acting in school plays. I remember playing in “Peter Rabbit” when I was around nine and loving the feeling of being on stage. After the performance our family had a huge dinner and I gorged myself with all of the fixings and chocolate cake, then ran to the bathroom to cry my eyes out and threw up everything that my tiny hands could possibly manage to get out. I felt ashamed and horrified of my body. I felt judged by everyone in the audience and by my family. I wanted to be perfect; I wanted to be loved and accepted.

What seemed innocent and a “quick-fix” to appease my saddened emotions as a child, turned into a journey into hell for seventeen years that just about killed me. Let me tell you, I became SO attached to my addiction, I would have rather died with it, than gotten help. Me, need help? NEVER!! The perfect never need any help!! For we ARE perfect and we just don’t need anyone telling us how to do ANYTHING…right?

Not so! Thankfully in recovery, I have learned that no one is perfect except for God, and that I was made perfect and beautiful in His sight! When I was up there on stage playing “Cottontail” in the school play, I was a character, in more ways than one. I was a rabbit, and I was also playing the in-control, charismatic, perfect girl that I wanted the audience to see. In every day life growing up and in my early and mid-twenties, I tortured myself trying to hide the absolute mess I was inside and portray a “Barbie-doll” on the outside. I really thought that my worth and value was determined by how I looked and how much I could accomplish. My “best” was my beauty, and that scale slid drastically day to day. What a hell-hole to live in!

What an incredible release and power I have from the bondage of addiction to know that my worth and value is NOT based on the weight on the scale, the height, size or shape of my body, how I look, or how others judge me. My worth and value is based on the love of God and how He has molded me into His Image!! I know that I am a Child of Him, and with Him and through Him I can do ANYTHING in this life! I never have to feel down on myself again because I know where my self-worth lies. It lies in my God. I gladly trade the self-hatred and criticism ANYDAY for acceptance and loving my imperfectness knowing that it is God Himself who wants me this way! Who am I to argue with Him? I am but a little child learning in the road of life, and when that spirit of pride wants to argue and try to know more than God, it is the very thing that can cause me to fall right back into the addictive behaviors again.

Bye, Bye eating disorder, I’ve Found Something Better!!

MIA Magazine Cover- October 2012

 

Photographer: Juan Lu Real
Mua: Leo Pereira
Shot in Spain

Thank you God!
Mom, this is dedicated to you, Nana and all the family in Heaven.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Recovery in the Midst of Mortality

Alright, so, yes, I have come out to say that I have suffered for the majority of my life with an eating disorder. But, let me clarify, this is NOT in any way, shape, or form to promote or encourage anyone out there to have or to “wonder” what it is like to have an eating disorder because simply, they WILL. KILL. YOU. They ARE, Point, Blank and simple, an ADDICTION, like every other addictive substance, i.e., alcohol, drugs, etc. They fill the void of deeper emotional and mental issues that need to be taken care of by doctors and therapists, and GOD!! If I had only known then what I know now that I needed Jesus, to fill the hurts that I was using food and later other drugs and alcohol to fill, what a LOT of hurt and pain I would have saved my mind and body from going through. But you know what? I am so THANKFUL that I went through it all, and so GRATEFUL to God that I got help for it at such a young age so that I can hopefully be a voice to help people all over the world.

Because if I am just another face on a magazine cover, pretending that I look this way naturally, or that “I do not have do anything to look like this, or that my life is perfect, then that would be a TOTAL SHAM, not doing YOU ANY service, and my life would be unfulfilled for God. I am a lover and a helper, not a faker and a user. I know that with eating disorders the biggest cause of keeping them is to not speak about them…they are the great big elephants in the room, that people will go to bed with and die with. They are the “magic slimming pills” that I am so sure many people who are reading this want to chop my head off for sharing because their disease HATES the fact that I am trying to shed some much-needed light into the wounded souls of sufferers. But if you keep silent about them, you will keep silent all the way to the grave.

When I first thought about sharing this with the world, of course I was more scared than I have ever been in my life, but then I remembered that God says in Romans 8:31,

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

So, I know I have nothing to fear knowing that God is with me and my sole purpose is to offer my experience, strength, and hope (my ESH) to countless others who suffer all over the world.

Today I would like to share on Food, Addictions, and Mortality

My mom passed away on August 25, 2012 in an automobile accident and she struggled most of her life with many addictions. In the final few months of her life, the whole family had gotten together to help her get cleaned up in a recovery home and while there, I genuinely saw her as I had never seen her before. She was happy, stable, clear-minded, hopeful and radiant. She and I spent what would be, unbeknownst to both of us, the happiest and final two weeks of her life together. I felt hopeful and serene that everything was going to be alright. I had placed the situation in God’s Hands, and I trusted Him, no matter what the outcome.

Three weeks after I left her, she died. What I have experienced is something like I could never write down in a billion books. I don’t even know the depth of my own sorrow for her.


Photo is of me and my brother spreading some of my mom’s ashes in the Mount Pleasant River.

Addictions kill if left untreated. If you think that a food addiction will not kill you, please think again. I remember growing up that before my mom developed her other addictions she had had a terrible time with bulimia. She openly shared about her bulimia with me and some of the family before she passed away while she was staying in the recovery home. I know that my mom was trying to connect and help me in any way she could with my disease. You see, at the root of any addiction, is an addictive behavior, which tries to cover deeper emotional issues. It is the emotional and mental issues that need to be dealt with properly, but you cannot do that until you stop the addictive behaviors. If you stop one addictive behavior it is likely that you can pick up another easily, just like I have and just like my mom did.

I have had my fair share of addictions in my past. If it wasn’t for the food, it was smoking or the other. Until I sought help two and a half years ago I was a total mess! The food has far and between been my biggest problem, and when my mom passed away it made me face my own mortality. It was tough enough to go to her funeral and know that she died way too young at 45 years old, but myself, at 27, well, I wasn’t too far behind! If we have suffered with the same problems then it made life and dying all too real and that reality stung colder than the iciest, black winter night on my naked soul.

How do we cope with an eating disorder especially when faced with our own mortality? How do we deal with our addictions when going through life and the loss of a loved one? One Day at a Time. By accepting every day that we have a life-threatening illness that, if left untreated, will lead to our untimely death, and that we are powerless over our disease. We must turn it over to the care of God as we understand Him, and seek to do His Will in our life, not our own. The 12 Step Program has been my one of my lifelines as well as journaling my thoughts, reaching out for support, and being that support system for others. One of the greatest enemies addictions have is a life lived for helping others. Getting out of self and living for a life of selflessness is Step 12 of the 12 Step Program. Once I adopted these behaviors and ways of life, I saw my Spirit rise to a whole new level. I no longer lived to eat, I ate to live. I lived to serve God and found myself asking God, “What can I do for You today? Who can I help and encourage today through You?”

With these new-founded ways of life, I have learned that even in the midst of my mom’s death and facing the reality of my own, I have a guide on how to get through it calmly and with a stable Spirit. I do not have to go through life another day depressed and defeated. However long God has me here on this Earth, I will live it with confidence, Faith and to the fullest, knowing that He has an incredible journey left for me to fulfill and help others through the lessons I have learned.

One Day at a Time, you can defeat your disease with God.
God Bless,
<3 Nikki DuBose

In Memory of my mom, Sandra Theresa Cargile

A funny thing happens when you put your life out on the internet. Irony kind of shakes it’s fist at you and the worst openly invites itself in for supper.
On August 25, 2012, my mom, Sandra Theresa Pierce Cargile, known to most as Sandy Cargile, was killed in a drunk-driving accident on her way back home with an acquaintance in South Carolina. I will spare the details because my brother and I are requesting full respect and privacy at this time.

We have created, however, a Facebook page in her honor.

My brother and I have received an outpour of love and support during this time and we just want to say thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. Even in the midst of this unspeakable tragedy and beyond difficult time, we are reminded of God’s never-ending Love and Comfort during the world’s trials and tribulations. God always provides unlimited comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Psalm 46:1-2
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

We love you mom,
Gone too soon.
Heaven is a place we will all know forever.
Until we meet again,
Here in our hearts we hold you close.

January 22, 1967- August 25, 2012

The South of France, Where I go to Rest my Soul.

Out of all the places I have visited, none have compared like the South of France. From the dreamy lavender fields and Midsummer Night’s Dream-like air of Provence, to the way that every aspect of nature looks like it it carved out of a painting, my soul is truly refreshed when I come and stay here. The quality of the food, the smell of the fresh, uninterrupted air, and the rare, precious quiet time I have in the countryside is something that I encourage all of you to treasure wherever you may have it! Here is a peak of the way I see life in the many cities on the Provence region.

So there is a full complete rest still waiting for the people of God. Christ has already entered there. He is resting from his work, just as God did after the creation. Let us do our best to go into that place of rest, too, being careful not to disobey God as the children of Israel did, thus failing to get in. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

In my action-packed life, I thank God for the opportunities to rest and relax!!

Peace, Love and Light,
God Bless the World,
Nikki DuBose

My Reflection In the Mirror

My nine and a half year old niece *Colette loves to sit with me in the bathroom and watch me fix my hair in the mornings and put on my makeup. The other day we were spending time together while I was doing just that, and I frequently stopped to dance around the room with my hairbrush and sing songs on the iPad that she knows almost every word to. We just laughed and laughed until a hour and a half had passed and she was half silly and I had half of my hair and makeup on still, ha ha! These are precious memories and ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
After we had finished our mini concert in our jammies, Colette became pretty quiet and started to stare down at the floor. “Are you ok, Colette?” I asked. She didn’t really answer even though I knew she had understood what I was saying, and instead she went over to the weight scale that was over by the sink and promptly put her two feet firmly on the face of it. I carefully but discreetly watched as her face fell and she immediately became disheartened. Again, I repeated to her to tell me what was wrong, this time in French to make sure she understood. “Qu’est-ce que c’est ?”, I asked her beautiful, tiny face. After one enormous huff of a breath, Colette pointed to her belly and implied that she was overweight, and by her face, that she felt horrible about her body and appearance because of the number on the scale. I was shocked! A nine and a half year old child!! A child, so concerned about her weight and appearance already! What in the world is happening to our society?
Right away I took her and looked her straight and lovingly into her saddened eyes. “Colette, you. Are. Beautiful. Jolie. Do you know?” Obviously my French is terrible, but I could see in her expression that she understood because she peaked through with a microscopic smile. “Bon, now I want you to come to the mirror, look straight into it at yourself, all of you, and repeat after me, I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.” Well, my first attempt failed. She could not even look at herself, let alone repeat the words. This was a total learning experience for me, and I was just so heartbroken that this incredibly gorgeous, inside and out, talented, bright, sweet, charming, gracious child was deep down full of intense self-esteem issues because of a number on a scale. And where in the world did she pick this up? How did she even know to go and weigh herself and what these numbers mean? Ooh, I was just so infuriated!! And then subsequently all of the feelings that I had as a child came flooding back to me all at once. I had the same emotions, fears and knowledge of myself and body at her age and had already developed serious, serious body and food issues at the age of eight! Eight! Imagine, the psychological effects and damages that society can have on a child, with all of the messages it sends on what it is to be acceptable. This is plum ridiculous!
I gently repeated it to Colette over and over until she said it to herself in the mirror. “I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.” And you know what? She finally had a smile on her face, and she had a face of confidence where she could at least say it and look at herself in the mirror at the same time!
It is so important the words that we speak to children, and the words that they say to themselves and how they see themselves. Growing up, I did not really have any encouragement directly at home. Abused in my childhood in many ways from some family members, I had zero self confidence and in fact I hated myself from as early as the age of eight years old, when all of the abuse started to take on a more serious turn. There is so much power in our thoughts, our mind, our actions, and the words we say to ourselves and others. Just the kindest and most gentle sentence can help to change someone’s life. I often wonder what would have happened if instead of constantly hearing words of discouragement and disapproval, I would have been raised in an environment of positive reinforcement, encouragement, kindness and concern for my well-being, as every human being deserves to hear and know from childhood.

me, age 4.

Believe it or not, I struggled for seventeen years of my young life with body issues, self esteem, weight control, and loving myself, the real myself; and in fact, I don’t think I ever even knew who I really was because I never started my life with any kind of a healthy foundation on which to grown on or to have guidance from. When you are eight years old and start having deep-psychological food issues and base your worth and value on how you feel when you look in your kid jeans in the morning, there is a serious, life-altering mindset that takes place; And child, it’s not pretty.
Needless to say, when Colette started to talk negatively about herself in the bathroom and play the “blame game” with her body and the weight scale, I knew that I could not and would not let her leave there without trying to get her to see herself and speak to herself loving, caring words the way that God sees and loves all of us. It is important to share with you all how I was treated as a child and the problems I went through, but it is much more important and exciting to shout from the rooftops what God has done for my life! God took a messed up, broken, abused and helpless woman who had a hurting, angry little girl still living on the inside of her; a victim of her own perfectionism. He took me, when I had finally had enough of living like a victim and decided I wanted to live a victorious life, and in fact, He came running with open Arms to me, picked me up, carried me, and gave me a totally New Life that could only be found In Him! When I surrendered every single area of my life to God, it was not easy, it was very challenging, in fact, but I began to see myself the way that God saw me, as I first learned from His Word. In the Bible, there are four key adjectives that are used to describe how we are seen in God’s eyes, and although there are many more I want to share the following with you, and invite you to repeat these powerful phrases in front of the mirror, and to yourself throughout the day whenever you need a “pick-me-up.”

I am created in the Image of God. In the Book of Genesis 1:27 it says that, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Well, this verse really changed a lot for me. If I am created in the very image of God, and God is supposed to be All-Seeing, All-Knowing, All-Capable, All-Powerful, Always in Control, just PERFECT, then right here and now I should understand that I should NEVER, EVER, EVER say another bad thing about myself ever again! If I know that I am created in God’s very image and He did so ON PURPOSE because He loves me, and He has an amazing future for my life, then speaking and thinking bad things about myself would be just like slapping Him in the face, never-the-mind all of the damaging effects it would continue to do to myself. So the next time you feel like you are ugly or not worthy just the way you are, that is total crap and hurtful to God because He. Made. You. Unique. And. Precious. In. His. Sight.

I am accepted. Ephesians 1: 3-8 says, “I have been chosen by God and adopted as His Child.” Wow! You mean all of this time I did not have to have feelings of abandonment, loneliness, unworthiness and shame for not having my family there for me? NO! As children, we tend to idolize our parents, and see them as being perfect and incapable of making mistakes. When we become adults, we tend to blame all of our problems on our parents and our childhood, but what we really should be doing is accepting the fact that all our parents really did was give us life, bring us into this world, and raise us the best that they knew how to with the resources they had. The only One perfect is God, therefore, we have to learn to forgive our parents, even if we never even had any, even if they mistreated us, even if they left us as children. Why? Because we are not perfect either, and we can never point the finger because that is being hypocritical and God is not a hypocrite. When we understand what God says above in Ephesians 1:3-8 then it takes all of the pressure off ourselves having to constantly live in regret for not having the “perfect” childhood that maybe we would have liked to have. For we can discover that having a personal relationship with Christ gives us something far beyond and better: a Loving Father Who is with us Eternally and Who has a Home for us on Earth and in Heaven, and Who will never Leave us Nor Forsake us. So it does not matter what your childhood was like, the next time you feel sad about your family, feel comfort in knowing, “I. Am. Accepted!”

I am secure. 1 John 5:18 states, “I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.” Safety is critical to a child’s wellbeing mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. How many times have you seen a child act out in anger or frustration or how many times have you done this yourself, all the while knowing that the root of the action was fear? Fear is a joy-killer because it is not something that is valid, but it is something that we tend to believe. Fear is the opposite of faith, and when we live in fear, we can act out in all kinds of negative emotions on ourselves and to other people, places, and things. Deep rooted fears of gaining weight, past traumas, fears of not getting approval from others, etc., can be a main cause of eating disorders that start in children, and can develop into more severe problems if left untreated. Perfectionism and People Pleasing are very common “disorders” that, myself included, hundreds of millions of people struggle with, and it all really stems from childhood, the lack of feeling accepted and secure, and trying to make up for it all as adults by doing way too much for the sake of everyone else, when on the inside you are dying. God gives you unlimited security, safety and rest in His Arms, when you begin to study His Word little by little you will find that you do not ever have to feel afraid to take another step in this life and beyond alone. You are valuable and you have unbreakable security bank in the Kingdom of God. When fear starts to creep up on you, you pray, “Devil, shut up! I know who I am and what I have with God. God is with me always and I will not fear. I am secure. You cannot touch me, fear.”

I am significant. 1 Corinthians 3:16 clearly says, “I am God’s Temple.” Our body is God’s Holy Temple, and how dare we disrespect, destroy or disregard what God made! Whatever size, weight or shape your body is, you need to embrace or love that! The number on the scale should be left there, and should not follow you throughout your day, determining your value and significance. Your significance is found in Jesus, and what He says about you, that you are HIS Temple, His Body, and You are FREE to love your body! So you should not go by the world’s standards of “measuring up” and obtaining worthiness from a certain dress or pants size because you are important enough in God’s eyes just the way you are!

So throw away all of your worries, take deep breaths and release them, go and look in the mirror, and I mean really look in the mirror. Now see yourself the way that God sees you.

Perfect.
Accepted.
Secure.
Significant.

Aaahhh. Now say, “I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.”

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.