The Not-So-Glamorous Life of Instagramming

Ever wonder how people can look so good on Instagram? How their life, their home, their business, their church, their kids, can look so perfect?

Yeah, I catch myself swooning over and over with all the beautiful and perfect lives I see pictured throughout the week. And then I catch myself comparing my life to their lives. And sometimes that ugly green monster called Envy wants to settle in my heart. No bueno!

Well, I have to admit that as a business owner and creative, I try very, very hard to make my appearance seem perfect, too. We all want people to think we have it all together. The reality is none of us do. We are all struggling with something. We are all secretly thinking why we weren’t invited to that get-together. Or why she always has a good hair day and we don’t.

Behind every perfect picture I post, is all the MESS I made to try to make it look perfect. We only see what’s in front of the lens in a 1:1 frame.

Next time you catch yourself wishing to have a better life, better kids, better whatever, remember you only see part of the story, not the full picture. Cut yourself some slack! (Geez, I need to say this to myself every day!) And as I like to say, chose grace over perfection.

Just for fun, here are some NOT-SO-GLAMOROUS pictures of my work space / home because we are all a work-in-progress and so are our lives:

P.S. Yes that’s me with no make-up and crazy hair. And nope, I’m not sorry. 😉

5 Questions And Answers on Body Shaming & The Struggle for Perfect Bodies

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A few weeks ago we published a blog that was all about The Struggle for The Perfect Summer Body. We resolved to extend grace to ourselves and love our bodies right where they’re at. We concluded that we ARE enough, even when we feel that our bodies aren’t “perfect”. As promised we sat down with my friend Angie Gonzalez, from 29J11, to give us some practical and professional advice on how to love our bodies.

Angie has been in the field of psychotherapy for more than a decade. She is known for her work with adolescents, young adults, adults, families, and groups. The primary objective of 29J11 is to provide Bible and evidence-based therapeutic interventions that can help heal teens and adults with food issues.

So without further ado, here are 5 Answers to Your Question on Body Shaming and The Struggle for Perfect Bodies:

1. How do we overcome our negative body image thoughts?
First, we need to be aware that we are speaking negatively about our bodies. Think of a girls bathroom, what comments do you hear most girls saying about their bodies?  Next realize God knit you perfectly in your mother’s womb.  No one has the body you have and he knows why. His purpose for your life requires you to have the body you have!  Once you identify the negative thoughts about your body, stop picking on yourself, and being your own bully, start replacing each negative thought with a positive one!

2. What techniques do you use with your clients?
One of them is realizing where the negative body image thoughts came from. Who influenced your thoughts about your body?  Then drop these negative thoughts at the foot of the cross and start seeing yourself as God sees you…a beautiful masterpiece. His Masterpiece. Take a post it and post it on the bathroom mirror with positive thoughts about your body. Also, if social media is not helping your image of self because you find yourself comparing to other, stop and take a social media break. Then when you come back, commit to posting only body positive and positive pictures and images.

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3. How do we change our conversation so we stop shaming ourselves and others?
Commit to being a conversation stopper. When you hear body shaming or negative body talk, then start a BODY positive conversation. Start telling others what you like about them that makes them special!

4. Is it normal to feel like we don’t like our bodies?
Unfortunately, Yes. There is something called Normative Discontent where most of society struggles with some body image. However, if your thoughts are consumed with body dislike, and you find that you don’t like the way you look to the extent that it interferes with your daily living, then you may want to consult a professional.

5. What is a personal story or lesson you’ve learned while learning to love your body?
My upper arms have always been a little bigger, and my friends as a teenager used to play with my arms and make them jiggle. I always thought that I really didn’t like them. But then one day in prayer, God spoke to me and let me know to stop hating on my arms because these arms are the arms that wrap around my family and friends, that love my hugs. These arms also hug my clients when they need it, without my fluffy arms, my hugs wouldn’t feel the same.


Thank you, Angie, for pouring out so much wisdom and insight! I know every SBG reader will be changed by your words.

If you would like to learn more about Angie and the services she provides through 29J11, please visit her webpage here.

Citrusy Summer Wallpaper

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Summers in Florida call for very cold, limey, lemony drinks. Am I right?! And nothing makes me feel cooler than a cold drink by the pool or beach. So in honor of the hottest summer EVER, here’s a tangy wallpaper for your mobile and desktop devices. Enjoy!

Download wallpapers below by long pressing or right-clicking on the image:

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The One Solution For Your Struggle For The Perfect Summer Body

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There’s a motto I use quite frequently to describe what Styld by Grace is all about. “Grace over perfection”. I had come to the realization that God wasn’t asking perfection from me. In reality, He was extending His grace towards me. How could I live by faith if everything in my life was perfect? How could I see God’s miracles at work if life was always perfect?

During the summer when there’s an endless amount of pressure to look our best, this motto of grace over perfection kind of goes out the door for me. I don’t know about you but that number on the scale really scares me sometimes. Actually, it bothers me and even makes me feel disgusted. The struggle for “perfect” bodies is real. Skinny is never skinny enough. And having the right amount of curves isn’t enough either.

The struggle for perfect bodies and the pressure that comes with it has caused me to question my conviction about God’s grace. Do I believe grace only applies to my habits, to-do list, and actions? And do I believe it also applies to my identity? Do I believe grace declares “you are enough”? My body, my soul, my personality, my wide hips, my short stature?

Is grace also the cure for my endless struggle for the perfect summer body?

I think so! I believe that God’s grace allows us to be who we truly are without shame. Even the imperfections. And it empowers us to grow and become better versions of ourselves. It gives us favor to be who we are meant to be and strength to keep going in that direction.

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Last 4th of July weekend I knew I’d be out in the sun. I really wanted to be in the water. But I also knew what that entailed. Putting on a bathing suit. Did I feel super confident? Was my stomach flat and sculpted? NOPE. But I made a conscious decision to love myself right where I was at. To love my imperfections. To receive God’s grace and be conscious that I didn’t need to be ashamed. And that I’m a work in progress.

This summer, I give you permission to put a bathing suit on and feel happy. Extend grace to yourself. Love your body right where it’s at. Know that you are enough, even if your body isn’t where you’d like it to be. For all you moms out there, rock that mom bod like nobody’s business! And for the girls who’s hips don’t lie (like me), embrace them and love them. If you’re thin and self-conscious of what you’re “lacking”, don’t believe that lie. You too are enough.

So, here’s to a happy and healthy summer. Embracing grace and loving our perfectly imperfect bodies right where they’re at today.


For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)


P.S. Stay tuned for some healthy body image advice from my friend Angie Gonzalez, who helps young women overcome eating disorders.

 

Grace: The cure for perfectionism

grace_perfection_artwork_2In a world where flawlessness, immaculately chiseled bodies, and baby-smooth skin is the norm, there’s very little room to show weakness or imperfections.

Being a girl boss, a hustler, a workaholic, is admired. I cannot lie. I would love to be able to live a perfect life. A life where I can juggle every single opportunity, event, outing, and project that comes my way. All the while nurturing every relationship, making time for the gym and eating only organic food.

What kind of life would that be, though? Where failure, hang-ups, and imperfections never existed. There wouldn’t be any room to embrace, and receive the benefits of a wonderful and mysterious thing called Grace.

God’s grace is better, more reliable, and more stable than any physical or material thing we may obtain. Recognizing that we cannot do it all, let alone do it all perfectly, helps us understand the beauty and empowerment that come from God’s grace. Grace is looking to God to do for us, what we cannot do for ourselves. 

Following our dreams and working hard to accomplish our goals is not the problem. After all, faith without works is dead (James 2:17). When we embrace God’s grace, we surrender our need to be in control. The idea that our deeds, religious rituals, and resources, are the source, is what gets us stuck and overwhelmed.

If we would shift our thinking and allowed His grace to wash over us, the striving, the struggle, and the hustle would have a purpose. Our calling would take a shift and His grace would be the catalyst to achieve what He’s placed in our hearts. Essentially, our striving would turn to worship.

Even in the middle of being wrapped up by His grace, life will have it’s ups and downs. But when we choose grace over perfection, we become aware of God’s forgiveness, mercy and favor. Oh, how reassuring that is for me. And I hope it is for you, too. Regardless of what we do or don’t do, He loves us and cares for us.

When people see what a hot mess I am sometimes and wonder how the heck it all gets done, I have no reason to boast. It is not that I’m perfect or live by a standard of perfection, it is the grace of God that empowers me, gives me strength, and self-confidence to push through.

How freeing it is to know that I don’t have to have all my ducks in a row to receive God’s blessing. His grace is enough. We don’t have to live a “perfect” life or be the “perfect” person. His grace is enough. There’s no amount of good, pretty, nice, or perfect, we can create or strive for, that will ever satisfy. Only His grace is enough to empower, encourage, strengthen, bless, and motivate us on. 

[Bible verse references: Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:16, Ephesians 2:8-9]


What does “Grace over Perfection” mean to you?

I would love to know what God’s grace means to you so I’ve made available free printable “Grace over Perfection” journaling pages. You can download them below! Share pics of what you’ve written about God’s grace on Instagram using #graceoverperfection. Can’t wait to see what you have to share!


Printable ‘Grace over Perfection’ Journaling Pages:

Black & White ‘Grace over Perfection” Journaling Page

Pale Pink & White ‘Grace over Perfection” Journaling Page

Pale Seafoam Green & White ‘Grace over Perfection” Journaling Page