Shared by Missy Fischer - Content Author
I’ve always been a striver. I can’t pinpoint an exact event that led to this annoying quality that urges me to always do better, but I can see how it has affected so many of my relationships and decisions. As a teenager, I found myself to be awkward and unsure, but I carried a fake shield of confidence to distract me from my uncertainty about never being good enough. Though I appeared to some as being “cool” and “popular,” comments such as “He thinks you’re fat, Missy,” seriously fed into the insecurity that assured me I could never really be good enough.
On a beautiful summer day during my high school years, I was enjoying my best friend’s gorgeous in-ground pool. She was always prettier than I, and her family had recently upgraded to a new beautiful home in a great area (which included a super-awesome pool to spend our summer in). It was our senior year, and I was the most self-conscious I had ever been. With an orange bathing suit that consisted of a tank top and long shorts, I felt like a shadow behind my best friend in her brilliant sparkly pink bikini and long blonde hair. We laid out and “soaked up” one of our last times together before I would leave for the military. Not long into our time together, two neighborhood boys came by to say hello. My friend struck up a conversation so casually, and had naturally found a way to flirt back with them. I stood back, ashamed with who I was and what my body looked like in comparison. And this feeling, of never being good enough, became my driving force of attempting to “measure up” the rest of my adult life.
Some of you are not a stranger to my story: divorce, special needs parenting, cancer, chemo and losing my hair… it all plays a part of God’s story of redemption in my life. And as I age, I must remind myself to look back and reflect on where God has brought me from to see where He has brought me to. Before I had cancer, and while I was starting my divorce process, I had finally achieved (physically) what I had always wanted to look like. I lost weight (notice how that comes first), stacked my wardrobe full of clothing, heels and glitter, discovered millions of ways to style my hair and apply my makeup (thank you Pinterest for giving me a complex.) After all those years of striving to be the perfect Missy, to be prettier than the shadow in the background, I was tired and EMPTY.
Roller Coaster Ride
God knew I needed a wakeup call. After breast cancer and losing my hair and gaining back my weight, I struggled to find out who Missy truly was—especially in a world that promoted the idea that beauty is power and worthiness. I can recall quiet moments of running my palms against the base of my skull, feeling a few soft curls of hair against my shiny bald head and weeping over my long-lost blonde locks. It was then, at my lowest point (cut open, scarred, bruised and bleeding; needing assistance to wipe when going to the bathroom) that I began to recall the familiar feeling of not being worthy of love without beauty.
Shortly after my chemo completion and divorce process began, I met a new man and a lot of things started to change in my life. Rescuing me from those empty, lonely moments, God began to propel my life in a new direction. After becoming a born-again Christian (placing my faith in Jesus Christ as King over my life and living my life for Him) I started to learn and see so many differences in my life happen very abruptly. Where there was hurting, God brought comfort. Where there was sin, God brought forgiveness. Where there was guilt, God brought grace. Where there was hopelessness, God brought new hope. But even then, deep inside I could sense teenage Missy feeling unworthy of love—an outcast in the background desperately trying to understand whether she was beautiful or lovely. And it was on my recent trip to Turks and Caicos to help with hurricane relief efforts, that God showed me the Missy He had created me to be.
A Promise for Samantha
Samantha, a seven-year-old girl with honey colored skin and soft, curly eyelashes, looked up at me from her concrete school building under construction. I ducked to her eye level and looked into her soul as she told me how beautiful and soft my white skin was. I reminded her that she was special too, and that her skin was unique and precious and lovely. She then replied with something I will never forget. “When I grow up, I want to have white skin like you.”
I tried to find words fitting for a small girl who didn’t see the beauty God had given her and who was clearly yearning to feel worthy of love. I realized in an instant that I, too, found myself feeling the same way Samantha was: believing that if I just looked differently (you fill in the blank with your own heart’s desires) that I would be truly beautiful and worthier of love. As I looked back at Samantha with sweat pouring down my forehead after an exhaustive day of rooftop labor, feeling anything but beautiful, I internally made a pact that I was no longer going to hate the person that God had created me to look like.
Stop Chasing the Wind
The world has a way of lying to us: that if we just try harder, just work better, just perfect our flaws or our pictures (thank you Instagram for insta-perfect pictures to falsely portray we have it all together), we will finally reach the level of perfection and happiness that we’ve so desperately searched for. The line of perfection is always just one step further than we can reach, and we spend our lives attempting to be a person we can’t actually achieve instead of resting in the beautiful skin God has created us in. And the striving? It’s just a trick—to make us more distracted, more tired, more exhausted, and less satisfied with who we are. And it’s so beautiful to me that Jesus calls us to Himself to rest. Quit the striving. Just come and REST in who you are and who God created you to be. After all, God doesn’t make mistakes.