In January of this year I saw a photo of myself that was taken professionally for an interview. I remembered the day perfectly. I was wearing my favourite shirt, a cardigan, and my make up and hair looked good. I felt like these photos were going to be the bomb.
And they were… in that destructive, and dreaded kind of way.
When the photos were edited and sent to me I was in shock! Do I look like that? When did I let this happen? My eyes looked empty, my smile was fake, my clothes were sloppy, I carried my shoulders full of insecurity, and to top it off I was at least 65lbs overweight.
I’m 25. I’m still young.
When I saw the photos I looked at myself differently in the mirror everyday. Is that REALLY what I look like? With 40 photos taken on the same day it couldn’t just be a bad angle, surely it was real. I decided it was time to make a difference. This wasn’t a weight battle – it was a life battle. I refused to sit around and look empty. I have an able body, and mind. I have a life to live. I have an adventurous and spontaneous heart – where was it?!
I started making changes, that day.
I didn’t set up a diet and work out plan, and I didn’t try to make big changes all on “Monday”. I didn’t indulge on all the junk food in my cupboard before starting a crash diet. I didn’t join a gym and buy a bunch of workout clothes. I did however decide that I was going to take my life back again. I stopped working 60-70 hours a week, and started reading more. I stopped complaining about things, and started being thankful. I stopped trying to fill my time with useless things, and started being intentional. I stopped going for “walks”, and started doing things that brought me life. I put myself around people who I could see living a full life, and I decided that I wouldn’t wait for that to just happen to me. Today, I will enjoy my life and make the most of it.
I realised there were a few things missing in my life that I needed to embrace more, and I thought maybe, just maybe… you might need to hear them too.
I used to spend so much time around other people that I forgot what I was like. What are the things that I like, what do I like to do, what are my opinions, beliefs, dreams? No music, no TV, no reading… just be. Focus on yourself and focus on being proud of who you are and loving yourself. There’s balance in everything, and I’m not talking about isolating yourself from everyone around you. I’m talking about learning about yourself, loving yourself, and taking time to embrace the time you have alone – you’ll essentially be loving others, by learning to love who you are and being that person!
A lot of us have forgotten what it’s like to have fun! Getting older doesn’t mean losing your youthful spirit and giving up having a good time. It’s recommended to have 8 hours rest/sleep, 8 hours work, and 8 hours of something that brings life! There’s a season for everything, and there may be times where you’re working overtime and putting in the long yards but don’t let that become your normal. If you burn out then you wont be effective. Allow yourself to live, do things you enjoy, and laugh!!! Be intentional to have fun, and embrace it in your life – what do you have to lose!
Humans have accomplished incredible things on this earth. Like running a mile in under 4 minutes, climbing everest in just over 8 hours, or landing on the moon – just to name a few. Understanding that people are the most important creatures that walk the earth, and that we are made to have great relationship with those around us is incredibly life giving! Embrace the people around you, hear their stories, share life together, and I promise you wont have any regrets. 🙂
I know, most of us hate this one. Admittedly… so do I. I will say that living mundane, habitual, and predictable days is what got me into a 5 year “slump” without even realising it. Keep life interesting, accept and embrace change, and never get bored. Boredom is an excuse to be lazy, don’t let it creep up on you!
Letting myself get comfortable almost cost me my faith. I started operating out of my own strength, with my own vision, for my own desires, and my own purposes. I forgot to live for the One who gave me life, and that’s exactly why I felt empty and lost. When I started spending alone time with myself, I realised that God was there too. When I started having fun, I remembered that God created my adventurous and spontaneous spirit. When I started embracing the people around me, I was reminded that his creation is beautiful. When I accepted change, I was able to see that God has new things for me each and every day. Embrace your faith and remember that it comes first. After all, what is it to gain the whole world but lose your soul!!!
I never want to look back at another photo of myself and see that person I saw in January. I want to be full of life, love, and energy – making my life count, and making a difference in others. Last week (10 months after seeing that horrid photo) I saw another photo of myself. This time I saw a healthier, happier me. I looked familiar and it felt good. I’m 30lbs lighter, my eyes are full, my smile is genuine, and my life is richer.
It’s good to be alive. Let’s start living like it.
*If you’re looking for a place to take time out of your life, focus on your own faith, develop in character, grow, and be challenged then we encourage you to check out doing a Discipleship Training School! It’s a great way to impact the nations, embrace life, and focus on building great foundations for the future. Enquire below for more info!
Lea Emerson joined us in 2011 for her Discipleship Training School from small town Paris, Texas.
Lea serves in many different areas but plays a main role in Marketing and Communications. She’s an excellent leader, teacher, story teller, and never short of an idea. She enjoys coffee, being with good company, and watching documentaries.