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A lot of my friends have these things called a "bitmoji" that they would use when we would text and being the tech deficient person I am, I humbly asked them where they got them because I wanted a cartoon version of myself too. I downloaded the app and I had to create my bitmoji so it looked just like me. I have to admit, I spent waaaaaaaayyyy to much time creating this thing. It got so bad I took a selfie so I could make sure the eyes were angled just right, my mouth was the right shape and that my chin was angled correctly. The longer I looked at my selfie and the more I obsessed about this stupid cartoon looking "right" the more I disliked my reflection. I became extremely critical of myself and my thoughts became really toxic. "Why do my eyes look like that?" "My stupid tooth messes up my smile" "There isn't a body option for 'I had 4 kids so now I look sad and my body is on strike'" "They don't have a skin color option for translucent" It got ridiculous. So this is my Bitmoji...

As I was obsessing about how much I hated my reflection I heard a small whisper say, "do not despise your reflection, you have been created in My likeness and image. When you despise your image, you despise Me." Um...ouch. I think our culture has gotten into this bad habit of despising who they are. We are told we have to look better, be better, do better, work harder, have more and this has completely removed the joy in who we have been created to be. We are always striving to be something else or someone else when we need to chill and get to a place of peace with who GOD has created us to be. It's swimsuit season so I am sure you have stood in front of a mirror and wept because summer came too fast this year. Or maybe you feel like you are too thin and you are insecure about your body. But for some, this problem is so much deeper then the skin we see. It goes to the depths of who we are. Maybe you were abused as a child and when you see yourself, you see shame or fear. Maybe you were abandoned by family, a friend or a spouse and now when you look at yourself, you see someone not worthy of love. Maybe you are or were once addicted to drugs or alcohol so all you see is someone bound and trapped. Maybe you love the reflection you see in the mirror but under the surface you despise who you are because of what you have done or what has been done to you.

Can I be frank with you? You are NOT what has happened to you. You are not a victim, you are not paralyzed by fear, you are not bound by shame, you are not an addict, you are not worthless, you are not forgotten. You are a child of God, at your very core, that is who you are. I could be sooooo many different things and allow those things to dictate how I act and how I approach life, but I have too much stuff to do while I am here on earth so I don't have time to get trapped by these lies. I have already spent too much of my time regretting, reflecting, wondering and wishing things had been different, but I can't change what has happened to me in the past all I can change is what I do today.

I can't look in the mirror and hate myself anymore because when I look at myself now all I can see is what God has done in my life. Sure I wonder, "where were You?" "Why did this happen to me" but I don't allow myself to stay there because I know God has a plan to take everything that was created to destroy me and He will be glorified through it. He has proven to me time and time again that He is faithful and He isn't going to stop now. He hasn't taken me this far to just abandon me, even if everyone else does, He won't. I have been created in His image and likeness which means I am more than a conqueror, I am an heir and joint heir with Christ Jesus, I am loved just the way I am, I am set free, I am remembered, I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I have a purpose and a reason to live.

God saw YOU and knew YOU before you ever knew Him. He sent Jesus to die in your place because YOU belong to HIM and that is how much YOU mean to HIM. He left Heaven for you, He took the punishment that was meant for you so He could spend eternity with you. Do not despise who you are because God loves you so much. "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full." (John 10:10) There is a thief out there trying to steal your purpose, joy, peace, faith, freedom because you reflect the image of God. One of the ways he will do this is by getting you to hate the very thing God created with intent...YOU. If he can get you to hate who you are and despise who you are, then it's so much easier for him to convince you that you are worthless and unloved. Stealing the purpose and the life God has intentionally designed for you.

For those of you reading this who feel like you are too far gone and you have drifted too far from God for Him to ever love you are take you back, Romans 8:38-39 tells us, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." NOTHING. There is NOTHING that you have done that can keep God from loving you. All you have to do is accept Him in your life, surrendering your brokenness into His hands and letting Him do what He does.

So, this summer, this year and for the rest of this life remember that when God sees you, He doesn't despise you. He sees His son or daughter. He sees a valuable possession. He sees His creation that He loves with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Stop despising your reflection and begin to love who you are because you have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

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