The Stories We Believe

I wrote a huge, long, personal post today. You might want to make yourself a cup of tea and get comfy. This is definitely a get-to-know-me-better post, so let’s chat over something to sip on!

What My Kids Read: The Stories We Believe

So, this week, I have been working on my Media Kit for this blog. For any non-bloggers, that’s a page or two that you send to potential advertisers telling them why it would benefit them to advertise on your blog. You sum up what your blog is about, so they can see if their company would be a good fit (and you tell them how many readers you have and what you would charge, etc.). Anyway, working on that kit this week gave me a chance to revisit the “why” behind this blog. One sentence on the “About” page still sums it up the best: “I believe that the stories we experience as children are huge influences on what we believe as adults.”

This has been an amazing year of healing in my life. It started when I rapidly gained an extra 15 pounds last winter, and suddenly found myself weighing as much as I have every pregnancy when I am 9 months pregnant (only I wasn’t pregnant and Stella was weaned and well over a year old). I was 35 pounds over my healthy weight, and I was miserable. I know that others may have a bigger weight loss struggle. But, at my height, 35 pounds is a lot. Did I mention I gain that much every pregnancy?

So, how on earth does this relate to the blog and my Media Kit that I was just talking about? Well, at the beginning of my weight loss journey, I uncovered some stories that I believed as a child that have dramatically impacted my marriage, my family, and my friendships as an adult.

What My Kids Read: The Stories We Believe

For part of first grade, I was in a small public school. I am extremely nearsighted, but no one knew that at the time. I sat on the second row in my classroom, and I remember one day that I could not see the writing on the blackboard. I stood up to get a better view, and my teacher (who was a lovely person – really) scolded me and told me to sit down. She told me that no one wanted to see me, they wanted to see the chalkboard. Then she said “Folks can see through a dirty window better than they can see through you!” For people not from the South, that’s just a Southern colloquialism, and she wasn’t being unkind, but those words stuck with me. I took my seat as a blind as a bat and very embarrassed 6-year-old. That day, I began to believe two things very deeply. One: no one wants to see me. Two: I’m dirty. Of course, as an adult, I know that she did not say that I was dirty, and she didn’t really mean that no one wanted to see me. But that was how the six-year-old me confused it, and from that day until earlier this year, I spent my life trying to be acceptable. I didn’t want to stand out, since no one wanted to see me. I wanted to look nice and keep my stuff nice. I even obeyed all the rules so that no one would think that there was anything dirty about me. I could tell you so many ways that, throughout the years, those two stories (lies though they were) dominated my life, even though I had a loving family and good friends.

Ealier this year, as I was confiding in a dear friend about my shame in gaining so much weight and asking for advice on how to lose it, she asked me an insightful question. I am paraphrasing a little, but she asked me, “If everything else in your life was perfect, but you were a little overweight for the rest of your life, would you be happy?” I had to answer honestly that I wouldn’t be happy because I believed that no one liked me when I was overweight. Of course, my family and friends still loved me dearly, but I could not believe that they wanted to see me or be around me if I was overweight. After uncovering that lie and praying about it with my friend, I was able to see how those stories I believed as a child had totally controlled my adult life. Through prayer, I began to see very clearly how God saw me, and what my true identity has always been. I am not dirty! I am His princess, strong and beautiful even when it doesn’t look that way on the outside! This was an extremely powerful moment in my life, and I have changed from the insecure woman I was to a woman who is (mostly!) confident in her own skin. I’m so thankful for that healing! It has been several months, and the crippling insecurity I lived with for most of my life is gone! Of course, there are still times when I still feel uncertain, but it is the difference between living constantly underground versus occasionally walking under a shade tree.

What My Kids Read: The Stories We Believe

I may share another time about the rest of my weight loss journey (*spoiler* I’ve lost over 30 pounds) because that has been eye-opening too, but I’m really so grateful that I gained that weight so quickly because it prompted me to dig into what was really going on inside of me. Those lies I believed were reinforced not just with actions I observed in others, but also in some of the books and movies I watched as a child. Which is why this blog is so important to me! The stories that I want my children to learn and to believe is that other people’s opinions do not change who they truly are or who they were created to be. That they are important and needed in the Kingdom of God, and that something is missing in the world if they don’t participate in life!

There is a book that I read as a child that I was reminded of in the midst of this healing time. It’s called Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains. It’s a parable of the Christian life. A boy, who is called Scarboy, finds his way into the forest outside of the Enchanted City and learns that there is a King and a Kingdom, but that you have to have eyes to see it. He meets a girl named Amanda who looks like a tomboy, but insists that she is a princess and she asks him to stop stepping on the train of her gown. Of course, he doesn’t see any gown, just jeans and a sweatshirt, but when Amanda meets with the King, the boy sees that Amanda does have a royal gown with a train, and a crown on her head. I should do a review of this book sometime because it is really a great read-aloud! Each chapter is its own story, but it follows the story of the boy learning the ways of the Kingdom. Those are the stories I want my kids to read, and those are the truths that I want to live my life by!

How about you? What stories did you believe as a child that still shape your life today? You don’t have to share if it’s too personal, but I promise to pray for you if you ask.

 

Oh, and if you are interested in Tales of the Kingdom, you can check it out on Amazon here: Tales of the Kingdom Of course, I must tell you that if you buy through that link, it will not cost you extra, but we will get a very small percent of your purchase from Amazon. So, thank you if you do!

 

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Comments

  1. Jen, thanks for sharing and your transparency! I’ve spent a lot of time, the past 2 years specifically, looking into the lies and stories I have believed from my childhood. I believe this is a powerful and good exercise. Thanks for encouraging us to do so more through this post. :)

    • Ang, it has been inspiring to see you grow as you face stories from your childhood. Honored to be able to witness it, my friend. Your example has been a challenge to me to not settle in and accept the lies. Thank you!

  2. Your vulnerability is inspiring and contagious! Thank you for helping us look at our own hearts and the lies we believe. I love this. :)

  3. Aw, thanks, Jessica! :)

  4. thank you so much for opening yourself up to us, jennifer. i think it is so interesting that everything comes back to story. stories are not just for entertainment or education. we actually define ourselves in the construct of story and draw our identity from stories told to us. how vital that we examine those stories for truth and seek freedom from the false stories. thank you for using your own story to teach us that today.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Kristal! You hit the nail on the head – we look to stories to find truth and to turn away from lies. Not always easy to do, but so worth it! :)

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