where freedom begins

We live in the day and age of false identities. Social media has offered us the opportunity many of us dream we actually had. With the snap of a photo we can alter our world. Nevermind that it's usually over edited and re-touched so we look just perfect. It's interesting; nobody told the human race to post only their best photos on social media, yet we do it naturally. We post out what we want others to see, and in a sense I feel like we are playing this vicious game of 'keeping up with the Jones' that we will never win.

If we are completely honest with ourselves we want control over our lives. It's this natural desire to not only portray a perfect picture but also predict the next shot in the frame. And it leaves zero room for life's interruptions and roadblocks. Instead of honesty about where we are, we trade it in for a perfect photo over social media, masked with a fake smile in public.

I recently had a very real chat with a dear friend of mine. She was having a very real, honest moment about her struggles with self image. As she read to me the recent entry in her journal about these struggles, I couldn't help but cry. But my tears weren't out of sympathy but instead empathy. I know all too well how she feels. Over the past month, I too have looked at myself getting dressed and thought, 'you really need to loose weight.' I've gotten ready for the day and faced myself in the mirror and said 'ugh, I hate my skin so much.' I've spent money on products to mask my blemishes and impurities from the world. Even worse, I've had moments where I've literally convinced myself that 'a guy like that would never like someone like you because you're not his type.'

As much as I would like to say that I never struggle with this type of thinking, I am only human and I too have my moments. I think if we are honest, we all do as women. Sometimes it feels like I can never escape this constant insecurity about my appearance, especially in today's day and age where every woman we see is #flawless. But that conversation with my friend made me see something that was different about me. I may still have these thoughts, but they don't stick anymore like they used to. I began to realize how they don't control my life. That they genuinely are just quick thoughts, that I forget minutes later and don't allow to control my day. Which got me thinking. Why? What really changed in me that these thoughts don't consume me anymore?

As I began to think back on my life and all that the Lord has done, because He has done SO much, I began to ask myself why these negative thoughts seemed to stop taking root. And 100% of the time it came down to one thing. The more I shared these thoughts out loud with safe friends, the less control they had over my life. The more open and honest I became, the more freedom I felt in just being me. Nothing else. I consistently kept going back to the weekly meetings we have as a staff for We Are Unveiled. For the past year I have been in close community with 11 women who have changed my life. We have laughed together, dreamed together, cried together, and most of all, fought for one another. These women from day 1 of meeting have chosen freely to remove the veil. They do not pretend to be something they aren't. Instead, every week, we find that we are confessing sin to one another, holding one another accountable, and speaking truth over one another when we fill like we are drowning in lies. I mean these women have seen me through some of my hardest days. And because of that, I know that no amount of good I do or work that I perform will change their love and genuine friendship toward me. And I know they feel the same about one another. 

Having the gift of friends who I know are for me and who let me be myself is the greatest gift Abba could ever bless with me with. Secrets make us sick. Keeping things locked inside of us, only isolates us. Portraying this false reality to the world only makes us more un-relatable and un-approachable.  So I encourage you today to find a safe person and be real. I promise that if they are for you, they will show you the Love of the Father and only grow closer to you. There is nothing you are dealing with that is too messy for them to handle because you are not defined by your past or current condition. 

This photo was taken on a night that I was brave enough to share with the girls my real struggles with self image fueled by my singleness. These women cried with me. They spoke truth over me, prophesied over me, and prayed that I would keep running to the feet of Jesus when I am filled with insecurity. It's one of many nights I will never forget and my prayer for you, is that We Are Unveiled creates a space for you too to experience His love through genuine community. So as we meet tonight as a staff know that we are working with you in mind. We cannot wait to see what God does through all of us. We cannot do it alone. Together We Are Unveiled. 

If you don't have a safe place, please contact me and I would happy to pray with you. 

xoxo- MonicAmanda


Monica Zuniga