Heather Bellamy spoke with author Lincee Ray about overcoming shame to be free to be who we are, and how she recovered after her husband's affair.
Lincee Ray is an accidental blogging superstar from Texas with her popular website Ihategreenbeans.com. In her new book 'Why I Hate Green Beans', she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all of our imperfections and trust that God knew what He was doing when He made us.
Heather: So, first of all, what imperfections have you learned to love about yourself?
Lincee: Oh my gosh that is a great first question! I think the older that I get, the more I realise this is who I am and this is how God made me and quite literally my DNA is unlike anyone else's in the world, so I need to be ok that my hair's thinner than my sister's, who has this big thick, luscious head of hair. I think it's ok that as I get older I get these little crinkles around my eyes because everyone does. I think it's ok that although I still have issues with this, that I'm a little thicker around the thighs and around the hips than some people, and that's just the way I've been made and I need to be ok with that.
Is it hard to be ok with that? Absolutely it is, but I constantly have these whispers, as I think the world whispers in our ears. We have media distractions and we have book distractions and Netflix and everything social media that tells us this is how you should be, and if you're not then you're not good enough. That is completely opposite of what the Lord teaches us, that we are good enough and that's the end of the sentence. If we keep our eyes on Him then we should be ok.
So the days when I feel like I'm struggling with this insecurity and that insecurity, it's because I'm looking at myself; it's because I'm looking at other people and comparing myself to other people. Therefore if I just keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, this is going to make the process a whole lot easier. Is it as easy as a snap of my fingers that I can all of a sudden be great with myself? No, but again if I keep my eyes centred on Jesus and His truth and what the Bible says about me, that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, then life's gonna be a lot easier.
Heather: You must be a much happier person from choosing to love your imperfections, would you say you are?
Lincee: I think that yes I am. I not only am happy with myself, but I extend grace a lot easier because I will see, for example, my mother struggle with something, and whereas that used to annoy me, now I just extend grace because I'm thinking, she's going through exactly what I go through every single day. My mother is very tall and very thin and it's hard for me to hear my mom say, "I just wish I could lose a little weight," because I look at myself and think, well I'm 30 pounds heavier than you, what do you think I am? And that used to annoy me and used to grate on my nerves and I would roll my eyes. Now I just think my mom is suffering the same kind of body issue image as I'm suffering, and so I extend grace a lot more, which in turn is exactly what you said, makes me a happier, joyful person, because you choose joy. It's something that we are given, whenever we receive the Holy Spirit in our lives. We are filled with joy and we're the ones that stuff darkness all over it; we just stuff it way, way down with all these other layers of icky-ness. Once we're able to peel those layers back and clean ourselves out, that joy comes out naturally and grace extends naturally and it's a wonderful feeling. Again, not every day do I feel that way, but it is certainly something that I'm aware of now and I can stop myself and go, "Wait, what am I saying? No, that's not the truth, let's back it up and fix our eyes on Jesus. Ok now we're headed down the right path."
Heather: I like your idea in your book of sharing what you know now with your younger high school self. Can you share with us some of what that advice would be?
Lincee: There's some funny ones and there's some serious ones, for example wear sunscreen. I was a kid who never wore sunscreen at all and now I'm dealing with some freckles and skin discoloration, funny things like that. Also funny things like: be proud for loving New Kids On The Block, or be proud for loving Broadway musicals, it's fine, don't worry about it.
But also, I would tell my younger self to serve well, to serve others. I would tell myself to travel and get out, not only just to have fun and see what the world has to offer, but to serve people in other parts of the world; to see what poverty looks like with your own eyes instead of through a television, or instead of through a monitor, or a picture. I would tell myself to be truthful; to be in the Bible more.
When we're young we're invincible; we have the whole world at our fingertips, so it's great for me to think back and hopefully, if younger girls are reading this book, there are little seeds that are planted where they think, ok well I'm gonna do that, and there's this whole mentoring process that can go on where we can transform the nations.
Heather: You share very honestly in your book about a number of things, but one of them is your husband's affair and the breakdown of your marriage. What effect did that have on you, because we're talking about body image, or we're talking about your hair, but this is a much more serious life-changing thing isn't it?
Lincee: Yes it was. It was a game changer. I think it was life-changing because I had followed the rules my whole life. I had been a good Christian girl my whole life, I hadn't done anything wrong and I married my high school sweetheart. We did everything right and then two years into the marriage I found out that he was having an affair.
What astounds me the most is thinking what did I do wrong? How could he have ever done this, because he's a strong Christian too and what could I have done differently? Take away all of that and what I'm left with is, well this isn't fair God, I don't understand why you let this happen to me when I've done nothing but serve you my whole entire life. I think that a lot of people deal with that; a lot of people don't allow themselves to get angry. I did and I shook my finger at the Lord because I was gonna stay throughout the entire marriage even though he had an affair, because I believe whenever you're saying your vows for better or for worse, this is the worse part and you mean it and you're gonna love this person until the day you die. The sad part of that, was that he did not feel that way. So one day he stared me in the face and took me by the shoulders and said, "I am choosing her, I am not choosing you. I am choosing to walk away from you." I was hanging on like a leech, and so that day I thought, this is a two-way street, he is going to walk out of this marriage and I'm gonna be alone. I was very angry at God for doing that.
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