The struggle for cultural acceptance & the truth that redefines it



My heart was burning (metaphorically) this morning to write a blog post about this topic, a little freaky and probably the most vulnerable thing I've ever posted online, but I felt strongly God wanted me to speak what was on my heart; mainly for my own freedom to be transparent in a world full of masks, filters, and performance, but also for anyone else who wants more freedom to be real with life.

Since this post is all about transparency, vulnerability, and being not only true to ourselves, but for the world to see, I'm going to be uncomfortably honest with you. To add to my words, these photographs are taken with no makeup, no filters, not photoshopped effects, and greasy hair as an added vulnerable bonus! I want to start off by clarifying that makeup, photoshop etc, are not the devil, but that our perspective and intention in doing things can actually be rooted in a big lie the devil has told us, over and over again:

"You are not enough." 


This lie is widespread all over the world and can be deeply rooted in cultures, media, and yes, even churches. Surely, we've all come to the conclusion that this idea of "Perfection/Beauty" is actually impossible to attain through standards set by culture, right?

Well, this is the problem: A lie so deeply rooted in our human nature can actually fog our perspective of what is reality, and deceive us into thinking there is still a chance or a loophole that if we try harder, and change more, we could earn the title of Beautiful and Perfect by meeting culture's shallow standards. Standards like: what you look like, how much money you have, how successful you are, have become more valuable and more glorified than simply being who you are and being transparent about our struggles and insecurities. 

So even knowing it's impossible to reach, we justify striving for it anyways, shutting down being our true selves and increasing in more unfulfillment, performance, insecurity, unhealthy habits, and self hatred along the way... 









I'm sure we can agree that we humans, Christians or not, are certainly not perfect.
Someone's gotta break the ice, so here's to being real and being human.
This "Not good enough" lie translates in my mind to:


  • "I'm not talented enough" 
  • "I'm not fit enough" 
  • "The bags under my eyes are too purple"
  • "I'm too skinny"
  • "My hands are too veiny"
  • "My hair isn't cool enough"
  • "I'm not cool enough"
  • "I'm not stylish enough"
  • "I don't have enough followers"
  • "I didn't get enough likes, therefore people don't like me"
  • "When I smile too big it's too gummy"
  • "My legs are too flabby" 
  • "I need to wear more makeup" 
  • "I need cuter clothes"
  • "I need to take cooler pictures" 


HA! That felt different.

I'm not asking for pity complements to puff me up, I'm just wanting to come out and say that I'm a real human with real thoughts/lies that attack me and I battle with in life. Even if I accept a lie, this never disqualifies me from being accepted and loved, no human is perfect. You picking up what I'm putting down?

Hear me out peeps, there is no shame in cute clothes, cool photos, exercise, creative self expression, (I'm passionate about all those things!) but it's about your INTENTION in doing so. Ask yourself, am I wearing all this makeup to enhance the face I love, or am I covering it up because I'm scared my real face isn't good enough? Am I exercising out of wanting to be socially accepted on Instagram with a hot bod or am I doing it for the benefit of my body/health? Am I doing this out of fear of being accepted or out of a heart that knows it's accepted no matter what. Are acting out of a lie you believe about yourself or the TRUTH you believe about yourself?


SO HOW CAN WE REDEFINE WHAT IS TRUE ACCEPTANCE AND BEAUTY?!

We need the TRUTH, because you can't fight a lie without knowing the truth. Some of you may already know this truth and hold it close to your heart, but I think all of us no matter what stage of life we're in, need to constantly refresh and re-grasp this truth; especially when the lie saying "you are not enough" comes knocking at our door.... My identity is in and defined by Jesus Christ, not by this world, and these are the truths given to me in the bible that I hold onto and declare in fight against the lies.

TRUTHS:

1. You are is ENOUGH:

  • "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 
  • We are far from perfect yet God gave the greatest gift of all, his only son who died for our sins, and through that gift proclaimed that we are forgiven and loved UNCONDITIONALLY. Plus God threw eternal life in the deal, so salvation is freaking awesome, and better than any gift this world can offer. So we are enough for love, NO MATTER WHAT.

2.. You are ACCEPTED:

  • "So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." " Romans 8:15 
  • God literally invites us to be accepted as His children, not because of what we've done or accomplished in life, but because we choose to love him in return and give our hearts to him. Why worry about being accepted to the world's standards when we're already accepted and loved by God himself?! 

3. You are a BEAUTIFUL creation:

  • "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 149:14-15
  • "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27
  • "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8 
  • If God is love, and we are made in the image of God, then we literally are made to represent love in our image. Knowing that I am created to embody LOVE, why would I even bother to pick myself apart and try to meet the image standard of today's culture?! I'd rather praise and thank God for how he so wonderfully created me and continue to honour his magnificent thoughtful work by taking care of my body from a heart of gratitude, not insecurity.



Now after declaring and knowing these truths, remember those lies and insecurities I mentioned before? Well now they seem so insignificant! Now, this little exercise I'm about to do is something I strongly encourage you to do... First write a list of things you are insecure about and any "I'm not good enough according to society" lies (like I did). Then, test those lies against the 3 truths mentioned above, and change the lies according to the truth. Here's my same list of the lies I struggled with before but overruled by truth:


  • "I'm talented because I know fully God's works in me are wonderful" 
  • "My body is fearfully and wonderfully made, and I honour this gift and I take care of it by exercising"
  • "I am fully accepted even when I don't sleep well and I get purple circles under my eyes, I'm wonderfully made and choose to love myself where I'm at physically now and when I reach future solutions"
  • "God knit me together in my mother's womb, I'm thankful for this body type he's designed for me"
  • "The veins in my hands are wonderfully made"
  • "God accepts me as I am no matter what my hair looks like"
  • "I'm cool because I was created in the image of love"
  • "I'm stylish because first and foremost God fashioned me in His image of love"
  • "I don't care how many followers I have, because I already have the attention and unending love of God my father who gave his son to be with me"
  • "No matter how many likes I get on something, it never determines my value because I am always fully valued and unconditionally loved by my Father God"
  • "God loves it when I smile big and my gums show, he was stoked about it when he created me that way!"
  • "My legs are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I will take care of them and cherish them as a gift from my thoughtful creator" 
  • "Whether I wear makeup or not my value never changes because I'm fully accepted in Christ" 
  • "God created me in his image, and I am accepted whether I got cute clothes or rags!"
  • "My Father created me wonderfully, and the creative passions I have he created and placed within me. Therefore, I can express myself through photography with joy and not competition" 




Everyday I am hit with the lie "You're not good enough",  in that moment I have a choice: accept the lie and be defeated by all my insecurities and proceed to fearfully hide myself and perform for society's standards, OR, to fight back with the biblical truths, that being myself, just as I am, I meet all of God's standards. That I am more than ENOUGH, fully ACCEPTED as a child of God, WORTHY OF LOVE, and WONDERFULLY MADE! When we allow these truths to re-define our hearts, and truly accept and love who we are, we can redefine the cultural standard to become "accepted" into the Kingdom's standard to live from being ALREADY ACCEPTED.

A world suffocating in fear, performance, and esthetics, needs a people who are not afraid of living a real and transparent life, accepting that humans make mistakes and that's ok, always choosing hope and community when we are struggling, and loving who we are MORE than what we do or what we look like. I want to be apart of that people and choose to live real life being the real me. Together, living fearlessly embodying love, I strongly believe we can redefine culture's definition of beauty, acceptance, and worth.


Be free,

-Victoria

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson







9 comments

  1. And the first thing you have to do
    Is paint yourself in your true colors
    In primary colors
    As you see them.
    Paint yourself as you see yourself
    Without makeup, without masks
    Then paint your favourite people and animals
    With your brush loaded with light
    And be sure you get the perspective right
    And don't fake it
    Because one false line
    Leads to another....

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  2. Trying not to cry as I quickly skimmed your post. I'll read it thoroughly this afternoon and I'll let the tears flow then. Exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thanks Victoria.

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    Replies
    1. So encouraged to hear that this message has impacted you at the perfect time :) Keep being freely you!

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  3. well and graciously said dahling daughter.....Truth sets us free!! smooches van moo

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use Blogger through Google and I bought a template online that I plugged in and customized. No coding expertise required!

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