Luminescent Followers

Be weird.

That’s what I heard from God. 

Thanks God…

But what I think He was truly saying was to be myself.

2 Corinthians 4:6 

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Being genuine means being transparent to the light within our hearts…that was never our own light to begin with.

Matthew 5:16

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Transparency means allowing more light to pass through. It means opening ourselves up to God’s light, His love, and allowing our heart to reflect that love back out to others.

Ephesians 5:8

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Living this way means living as a child of the light. We can’t do that by faking vulnerability or hiding our true self but only by being genuine, by cranking up the dimmer switch we’ve placed on who we are. 

Luke 8:16 

16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

Don’t be ashamed of who you are. Embrace it. Put yourself out there, for all to see, so that the light placed in your heart by the Lord can remind others of the light in themselves. 

Be weird. 

Black Lives Matter.

 

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;

    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

    so that mere earthly mortals

    will never again strike terror.

〜Psalm 10:17-18

The reason I am posting this is because I woke up convicted. Well, really, I had been feeling convicted for awhile. I want to share in this post how I let that conviction change me and my heart, how I was given the words to express my feelings and understand them, and what I have come to understand and now live out as a result. When the Black Lives Matter movement started around 2013 I was relatively young (15) and I didn’t really understand at the time. Over the course of the next few years, as I got a little older and understood a little more, I was kind of bothered. I thought, all lives matter, not just black lives. Why are there signs saying this? But I never said or did anything. Now, with everything that is currently happening my conviction seemed to not only change, but grow stronger. I felt a heavy heart with all the hate and anger festering in America and other parts of the world, and now it was signs that said All Lives Matter that made me angry inside. Why did I feel anger in the first place? Why was my heart so troubled and my soul so uneasy? I knew I needed to give it to God. I also knew that I didn’t want to deny this conviction anymore, and that I wanted to educate myself so that I could release this burden and truly begin to change. So I started with a prayer, and then turned to the greatest source of wisdom I know: scripture. 

June 6, 2020

Dear God, 

      Okay God. I feel your conviction. I am beginning to know Your voice and feel your presence in my life and You have made me feel this conviction in my heart about all the injustices happening right now. About all the people being killed, about all the hate and feuding brought up by race. I want to be educated, Lord. I want to know what to do and say and what my part to play is Lord. But I want Your wisdom, and I want to learn from Your word, and I want to act through Your Spirit and I want it all to be fueled by the Love of Jesus. Lord Help Me. You are sufficient!

〜Amen

So I began the search to see what scripture says about racial reconciliation. Ephesians 2:11-22 is a powerful summation of the massive reconciliation that was made possible and done by Jesus Christ sacrifice for all our sins. It tells of how the Jews and the Gentiles were reconciled through Christ. You have to understand, to be a Jew during this time meant you had access to God’s presence and if you were a Gentile (anyone not Jewish) that wasn’t really a possibility. Sure you could stand way outside the temple gates, or maybe in the courtyards at the very back but to be fully in God’s presence, to be that close, was for the Jews. Naturally, there was opposition and segregation, sadly, in regards to God’s presence. What a devastating injustice to deny people God. Paul writes how the Gentiles were, “foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). After thousands of years of war, oppression, racism, hatred, judgement, and bias we are left asking how can they ever be reconciled. The answer: Jesus. 

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

~Ephesians 2:13-22

 

This is amazing. Christ died so that the walls of hostility could come down. So that the people in the back who felt discriminated, cheated, and unloved could be welcomed to the front. So that the ones who felt left out and wronged had a place at the table and were in. So that we could all be one. So that we could all be family. Aside from Christ already paying the price, Ephesians 2:11-22 isn’t a reality yet, it’s the goal. We haven’t reached that point. Even to this present day in America. We aren’t there yet. Why do we feel the need as people in the front, people in God’s presence, to hoard it for ourselves? With God, there is plenty of space and love to go around. Why are some of us so hesitant to let others come forward? Worse yet, when we should be helping them, we are killing them and rebuilding barriers. The injustice today in America is not denying people God like in this scripture, but denying others are made in the image of God, and therefore we don’t treat them how they deserve to be treated, with equality. Scripture tells us we are all one family, reconciled and restored by Christ. Why can’t we see that today? As Christians, we should be more willing to shine the love on those who feel unloved. When I see a cop, that’s my family. When I see a black man, that’s my family. When I see rich, poor, broken, successful; that’s my family. I love my family. I know everyone doesn’t see the world this way, and I know for certain that we don’t all treat each other this way. What I do know is that if any part of my family is being oppressed, killed, discriminated, or hated that I will stand with them and support them. 

Black Lives Matter. When I say this people think that means I hate law enforcement, or I think that only black lives matter. Not true. Do I want change? Absolutely. Do I want peace? Absolutely. Do I appreciate the police that protect us? Absolutely. I don’t want people to think that this post is attacking police officers. Here’s the deal: All cops aren’t bad because some mess up, just like all protestors aren’t violate rioters. What that cop did to George Floyd wasn’t evil because he was in uniform, it was evil because he abused his power to kill another human being. That’s wrong. Floyd has been made a martyr and even been called a saint by some. I don’t agree with that because he is another human like you and me as well. But we can all agree that what happened to him was wrong and shouldn’t happen to people period. But it happens to black people a lot, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with using this massive injustice caught on camera to open people’s eyes to the faults in some of our systems in this country. So, when people say what about all these other people who have died recently, or why is no one talking about this or that it’s not that people don’t care about these things. It’s that people are focused on fixing and addressing a huge lack of justice for a group of people right now. Don’t get me wrong. Please mourn, post about people you care about on social media passing away or other problems in the world that you want to shine a spotlight on. Every lost life is tragic, regardless of how it happened. Every world problem is devastating. But in response to the Black Live Matters it is confrontational and undermining to the movement. I regard comments like these in the same light as all lives matter comments. I think that this point is important enough to provide two examples, one normal, and one biblical. 

America is a dinner table. After white people have excused almost all Native Americans from the table they sit down at the dinner table ready to eat. The meal is made by black people who aren’t allowed at the table and are only given a few scraps of food. This goes on for a long time. Finally some people realize that this is wrong, and say, “black people should be able to sit at the table with us.” After fights and arguing black people end up getting a spot at the table. However, they still have no food but are happy to just be at the table at first. White people continue to eat their meals and over time, black people start to say, “We deserve food too.” White people ignore them. Every night they say, “We deserve food too.” Still, white people ignore them. Finally they say, “Black people deserve food too.” White people respond, “We all deserve food.” Black people raise their voices, “Black people deserve food too!” White people, “We all deserve food!” 

Why are we so surprised then when black people start pounding their utensils, breaking dishes, and flipping the table? How many times, and for how long must they ask politely before we give them some food? 

I have mixed feelings about the violence and the riots. I feel like I am not really for that, and the first thing I’ll add is that there are a lot of third parties that come in and take advantage of the movement to work their own agendas. That just needs to be understood. Not all vandalism, aggression, and rioting is by activists for the Black Lives Matter movement. However, there are a lot of supporters who are for it and even still there are some who are against it, but understand it. That’s where I am. I will never fully be able to understand where they are coming from but I can to some degree. A lot of it hinges on and is explained by the Martin Luther King Jr’s quote, “And I contend that the cry of ‘black power’ is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” Replace “black power” with “Black Lives Matter” and here we are. MLKJ was never an advocate for violence, but he understood why some would riot. Emmanual Acho also discusses this in Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Ep. 1 (linked below) and brings up the point of this being one of the stages of grieving. He talked about how his mother, when she lost someone, was throwing herself against the wall in her pain and mourning. It was hurtful to herself but she just didn’t know how to respond, how to express the emotions she was feeling. We have a nation processing the recent and tragic deaths of people, as well as the feelings and responses to injustices they’ve suppressed. I think that we are in a time of very high emotions, and it is very easy for these emotions to be untethered to reason and become destructive rather than constructive. I am not trying to justify looting, rioting and vandalism. I do hope however you can at least understand where they may be coming from.  

The other example is in scripture. It is Matthew 18: 10-14 and is called the parable of the wandering sheep. 

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 11 “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

〜Matthew 18:10-14

There is plenty of scripture that shows the kind of character Jesus had, and ultimately, as Christians, we should model our lives off of Jesus’. I try to think about how Jesus would respond during this time. What would his actions be? Jesus went out of his way for the marginalized, spent his time loving people who didn’t feel loved and made it clear he accepted those who didn’t feel accepted. I love the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18. I just want a society that matches these values that Jesus lived for. The Black Lives Matter movement is like the lost sheep looking for justice, and righteousness. Jesus going to help the one sheep doesn’t mean he loves the 99 sheep any less, or that they don’t matter. He just wants everyone to know they’re loved, and right now we can stand with Jesus in seeking justice for the one sheep. Even when you say in all sincerity, all lives matter, which I and everyone agrees with, it seems like you’re opposing black lives matter. When we say black lives matter we are saying we see you, lost and unheard sheep, and we want justice and righteousness for you, like we have.  

With all that said, it’s clear there is a lot of disagreement with others and a lot of times right now that seems to be expressed through social media. I don’t have any problem with people doing that. But what irritates me is that people so easily forget that the comment they’re leaving is addressed to another human being. It’s easy to feel confident and assertive in your retorts and rejects to others behind a keyboard and screen, but we need to keep in mind that commenting on everyone’s post that you disagree with, and doing it in a very close minded and rude way, is only adding fuel to the fire and does nothing to work towards a solution. We let our frustration from disagreement take over, but “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20). It’s important to express your opinion, but in healthy and productive ways and not in ways that exhaust you and/or the situation. Proverbs 15:1 says it well, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a hard word stirs up anger”. Don’t use your words to stir up anger, don’t go picking fights, but respond and state humbly your opinion. Let’s use our voice on social media to be a place of education, open mindedness, and ideally, positive discussion so that we can focus on change and growth as individuals and as a community. 

I started this quest seeking truth and wisdom, and relief for my aching heart. I turned first to God, and His word. I let Him set the foundation for my understanding and stance on all of this. However, I also looked into so many other sources. I tried my best to educate myself as much as possible. I found material that claims white privilege is a myth, or that there’s no such thing as systemic racism. I have read plenty of material that says the opposite. I have talked to family friends who have a member serving in law enforcement, I have talked to friends that are people of color, black, Christian and non-Christian. I have talked to my Uncle who is a Christian working in law enforcement. Some people say they have experienced racism, others say they haven’t. Some say they can’t get behind Black Lives Matter because they are procop. Some people say they can’t support law enforcement because they are standing for Black Lives Matter. What they all said though was, they were all fine with change, and wanted peace. 

I could sit here and spew out all the facts I have found to support either side, or I could type up an exhaustive list of every single testimony and look at which side of the line they fall on, but at the end of the day I think all of us, including myself, just want people to love one another. We want to be respected, loved, and accepted and I truly believe that it is going to take radical love by all of us to make that happen. We can educate ourselves all day, consume all the social media out there, and keep ourselves up to date on the latest news but it will require living out a transformational love like Jesus to truly make an impact. As Bob Goff says in his devotional Live in Grace, Walk in Love, “The people with the greatest love, not the most information, will influence us to change” (LIG WIL, 194). It is not enough to recognize the marginalized and the lines of division separating groups of people. We need to move into the margin, erase the separation through active acceptance, acknowledging where we are as individuals, and start seeing each other the way God intended, as family.

Scripture tells us in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We too easily become polluted by the world through selfish agendas, lies on social media, political pursuits, etc. so much so that we get caught up in being right, and forget to look after the orphans and widows. Or our vision gets so distorted by the world’s pollution that we can’t see sin rooting itself in us. “Orphans” and “Widows” are people who need a family and are hurting. Right now, black people need us to stand by their side. Even if we say, there’s no facts, or at least not enough to show that there is systemic racism, or white privilege it doesn’t negate or change the very real cries of help coming from black people in our country. Who are we as Christians, and fellow Americans to say that it’s not real for them? Wouldn’t we be foolish not to look into the matter and help? We cannot deny the very real emotions connected to experiences. However, I do believe that there is evidence, and there are flaws in our system. We live in a broken world and that’s a truth we need to understand. But that’s no excuse not to help those in need and pursue change.  

I want to end on what this whole endeavor has taught me, how it has left me changed, and what happens next. Like I said, I came into this uneducated, and with a deeply troubled heart.  I was so scared of being called a racist, I chose to hide in ignorance for so long. In 1 Peter 4:1-2 it says, “Whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” I realized that my internal struggle and suffering was a spiritual battle between my sin nature and the Spirit God’s given me. I really had to dig deep and ask why is all this clamping so hard on my heart. It became so clear through God’s grace that it was my white privilege pushing back. It was the enemy and sin nature that had rooted itself, disguising itself as normalcy, in my heart. I was uprooting this thing that for so long I thought was a part of me and what I was feeling was the cry of all that being brought to the light. But when I finally let go of my biases, let go of pride, and let in humility and God’s love it was like a breath of fresh air brought by the Holy Spirit. My heart was liberated. 

If you know me, then you know I’m not very political, or one to usually state my political views on the internet. But this is beyond politics. This is a heart posture problem. This is a human problem. I would be lying if I said now I have all the answers and my work is done. The truth is this internal revelation was really just the beginning. I also don’t claim to know all the stats and facts out there, but I hope that this helps convince people there is a problem, and that sometimes all you need as confirmation of that is the twinge in your heart, and the tug on your soul. Lean into that. Please do not sweep your conviction under the rug. Dig into and ask yourself why you might be feeling that way. I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not asking you to have them either. A big step to finding a solution is doing the inner work in yourself first. I took the time to self reflect, process and mull over the emotions I was feeling, and really examined my heart and myself. That’s what I’m asking you to do. I’m striving to be someone who listens to that still voice in my heart, listens to the Holy Spirit and engages it, lets it teach me, and God willing, change me. We cannot be content to ignore the problem, or retreat back into our bubble due to fear of change and exposure. As Christians, we work in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) and I believe that means in these times that we stand by the people who need to be reconciled. That means that we do what we can to fix the systems, but also address the spiritual evils involved in those systems and in our own hearts. I know my writing a blog isn’t going to solve the problem, but I hope maybe my words can help people understand, or put into words the struggle they feel in their own heart. All of this has given me the confidence to stand with people and overcome a war in my heart, despite the conflict that it may cause between family and friends, a say with confidence and pride, BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

 


Please, if you disagree or have any questions or concerns bring them to me. I’m learning and seeking the truth and trying to find ways to help and get involved. If you have information that you want me to read, I’d be more than happy. If you want to share opportunities or different viewpoints, I’m all ears. Let’s talk, because that is part of how we are going to find reconciliation. Then let’s take positive and constructive action! As always, much love. 

I have listed below a bunch of sources I used in composing this. Not all are listed, only the main ones. They aren’t really in any particular order, and they vary from a few minutes to over an hour, from biblical teachings to movies to articles. I will say the first three I found to be relatively short (all around ten or so minutes) and very impactful. 

Sources:

BibleProject: Justice

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Ep. 1

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Ep. 2

Voddie Baucham Teaching on Racial Reconciliation: Main Point

Voddie Baucham Teaching on Racial Reconciliation: Full

Police. Protestors. People: Jocko Willink

The Symbols of Systemic Racism: Ted Talk by Paul Rucker

Systemic Racism Explained

Hope

The Cure for Racism Podcast

Evidence of Systemic Racism in our Justice System

Bridgetown Church Teaching

Churchome Teaching

Transformation Church: Racial Reconciliation by Michael Todd

Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

13th (Film on Netflix)

When They See Us (Film on Netflix)

Ways to Support:

Equal Justice Initiative

Innocence Project

A New Year of Action!

Hello everybody, and happy New Years Eve! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I have been on Christmas break spending time with family and friends, and I also went on a trip to California (if you want to see what I was up to in Cali, I have linked a video below). I have been busy enjoying the holiday season, resting, and living in the present. I hope you have been doing the same! 

Going into this new year, I want to dive deeper into storytelling and relationships. I have a lot of projects in the works and a lot of people I want to connect with, and I want to give both things more of my time. With that said, I am no longer going to hold myself to posting a blog once a week. Ideally, there will still be a new post each week because I really do enjoy sharing here with you all, however I am giving myself some leniency to work on other things. From now on, I will post sporadically as time allows. 

So that is one new thing happening going into 2020. But what I really wanted to share with you is what I’ve been learning in Bob Goff’s new book, Live in Grace, Walk in Love. The last two days of the devotional have really got me thinking about how I want to live this next year. One quote that really stood out to me was “God hopes we’ll develop a greater fear of inaction than of failure.” I think for a long time, my mindset was to not be afraid of failing. All of us strive for that goal, to embrace failure and understand that it is how we grow. I have made it to this place, but God has more for me and you. I am more afraid of not trying than of failing. I’m afraid of inaction because I get nervous about change, I’m being lazy, I’m being antisocial, I’m listening to the enemy and believe that I don’t have what it takes to make it to the end so why start. Now, there is a place for rest and recovery which is different than inaction. But God calls us to people and to go on an adventure, and I want to embrace that in 2020. My prayer for you, and for myself, is that this next year we are able to differentiate between rest and inaction. I pray that we lean into God and just start; Just begin whatever adventure He has for us, with no fear of failure, or how we are gonna do it but just trusting that if God wants us to pursue this path that His validation is all that we need. If He has called us to this journey then we must believe that He will equip us to handle it. 2020 is going to be a great year for us. It will be full of amazing experiences and people and a year of action!! As always, much love!

My Trip to Cali Video 

One of My Biggest Struggles

There is something that I struggle with that has impacted my life in lots of terrible ways and is something that I feel a lot of people deal with to some degree. I want to share with you my experience with trying to respect my body. Body image issues can be extremely devastating and have so many grueling impacts on life. In writing this, I want to be open and real with you about how it’s affected my life, and the ways I have dealt with it.

Appreciating my body was hard. Everyone can always look at themselves and see something that is “wrong” or “ugly”. I used to look at myself in the mirror in the mornings and my eyes were drawn to all the imperfections of my body. I focused on the negative things and this influenced the way I thought about my body for the rest of the day. Over time this led to so much insecurity. Constantly worrying that one day others might look at me and see what I saw in the mirror. Stress would fill me when I thought about having to take my shirt off or change in front of others. Body image issues led to comparing myself to everyone, and when I would do this, I would find everything I didn’t have in other people; The way their clothes fit them, their height, their slenderness, always ignoring any of their imperfections. This drained me of any confidence. I became timid because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Participating in things was a real challenge. I couldn’t live my life comfortably. The biggest thing I felt, and the most devastating affect of negative body image, is shame. Part of the definition of shame is “a painful feeling of humiliation”. At one point I believed that the way I felt about myself was no longer just my own opinion, but a confirmed understanding of everyone; a fact. So that’s how I lived for a while. Going through school shy and scared. I lacked confidence and like the definition says, it was painful. I was on the outside of life looking in at others enjoying it. Something inside me knew this wasn’t how it was supposed to be, that I shouldn’t feel like such an outcast. To be honest, I wasn’t at my worst when I was at school or outside the house. Things were the worst when I was home by myself, just me and the mirror. All those negative feelings escalated to new degrees and I started eating a lot. I guess at the time I didn’t realize why I was eating, or maybe I did, and I just didn’t care. I can’t remember. But I do know that it made me feel better and my mindset was that if they see me as this nasty, imperfect blob already, then why not eat and enjoy. I found sanction in food, in books and video games, and in solitude where I could escape and didn’t feel judged. It was around the end of middle school and beginning of high school that I started making more of an effort to make a change. I’m not sure what inspired me to start working out, but that’s where I started. I had one dumbbell at home, and I would use that to do mostly curls. Along with those were the occasional sit ups. I had some friends that I felt comfortable enough with and we would play outside a lot as well. I was active and working out, but my diet stayed the same, and I remember feeling discouraged because I wasn’t changing. Some of my friends and those around me never really worked out and here I was feeling like I was busting my ass and really trying to get into better shape but results just weren’t showing. So I decided that I just wasn’t trying hard enough. My workouts got a little more advanced, I ran more, but still the consistency and proportion of my diet was ridiculous, and I still wasn’t seeing a difference. I remember one time running on the tread mill for what felt like forever, and then getting Taco Bell on the way home. I was stuck in a torturous cycle. Nonetheless, it was right around the middle of high school where I really felt like I started seeing some differences. I had gained some muscle and got a little taller. I was still working out 6 times a week, which is exhausting and no way to live your life, and didn’t really have a clue about nutrition, but things were starting to look up.

From then until now (my sophomore year of college) I can assuredly say that the three biggest things that helped me to get control of my body image problems are; my strong support group of family and friends, fitness, and my faith.  Everyone around me gave me kind words and loved me for me, no matter what! My mom was always willing to get me good foods and paid for a gym membership and workout equipment. I learned so much more about working out in a healthy way and how to eat in a way that is enjoyable and nutritious. I learned how to give my body rest. And my faith, man my faith taught me that no matter what I am loved by the God of the universe. He sees me as perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. I have stopped searching so hard for other’s opinions of me, stopped listening so much to my own opinions of myself, and have been constantly reminding myself of the opinion of the only one who matters. My faith has led me to become surround by so many people who love and support me. These things have helped me to feel happy in my own skin… for the most part. Honestly, I still struggle at times. When I look in the mirror, I still sometimes see things that need improvement, but I also understand who I am in the eyes of friends, family and God.

I believe that social media, film, and advertising are just a few of the things that set the standards for what is considered “beautiful”. Unrealistic expectations are constantly being portrayed in multiple ways and platforms which are accessible to everyone, including children, so that from a young age it is very easy to get the wrong mindset on your body. The truth is, there is no mold that can contain you, no model that could mimic you, and that is something that you should cherish. Your body is perfect in its imperfectness. You should be proud and respect that your body is yours, and yours alone. One thing I have learned is that part of dealing with something like body image, is enjoying the journey and understanding and accepting the ups and downs. Some things aren’t in your control when it comes to your body. Life happens and if you focus on the things out of your hands it will drive you crazy. Also, working out can be tricky if you struggle with your image. It can easily turn into an obsession and quickly become unhealthy. As long as you don’t let it get to that point and don’t let it control your life, then I think that exercising is one of the best things you can do. Not only are you working on your body, but you are helping yourself to become healthier and it is a great way to relieve stress.

Not everyone has access to friends or even family that are there for them. You may not have that support group that encourages you and reminds you that you are loved despite your body. You may not have the ability or resources to pursue fitness. It may just not be realistic for you to find time and finances to eat a certain way or work out. Maybe you’re even dealing with a hindrance in some way that limits your body in physical ways, or mental issues that leave you too fatigued to exercise. But everyone, everyone, has access to a God that loves them just the way they are. I really hope that you don’t live in shame and insecurity, battling this on your own. Don’t give up on yourself. The fight against body image negativity is one that may never end, but you don’t have to do it alone. I am more than willing to be someone that you can talk to. It can get easier, and it will. It is a journey and it’s super important that you realize that because if you keep trying to reach some end point of perfection you are going to be constantly disappointed. I really encourage you to reach out to me if you need, and if you are at the end of your ropes, I can’t give you any better advice than to try reaching out to God, the one who made you out of love and sees you as beautiful.