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Sun 10/8


Through God’s grace, I am my authentic self.
Sun 10/8


Through God’s grace, I am my authentic self.
Psalm 56:3
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”



Week 2 Day 6 Devotion Audio

Jesus’ Strength Is Enough

By: Erin Keeley Marshall



Jesus’ Strength Is Enough

By: Erin Keeley Marshall

It was one of my first speaking engagements to a crowd of strangers. I felt eleven again. Awkward. Self-conscious. 

As I waited to be introduced, I tried mind over matter to calm my heart. Problem was, my mind wasn’t feeling very confident. I scanned the audience of women—my peers—and reassured myself that I was one of them. I fit in fine. Even if that woman to my left looked so together . . . and the one over there looked a bit stern . . . and the woman next to her exuded such casual confidence.  

No turning back, though. I stepped to the podium that was too small to hide behind, breathed a Help me, Jesus, and turned on the enthusiasm.   

Why does insecurity come so much easier than confidence? No matter how old we get or how varied our life experiences are, none of us is ever far from our inner adolescent. Remember that gawky middle-school phase? If not, you’re in the minority.  

But you know what? Jesus loves the inner child in each of us, and He thrills to show Himself strong when we need a boost. In 2 Timothy 2:1 (CEV), Paul speaks of Jesus’ caring nature when he encourages his young protégé, Timothy: “My child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong.”  

As I cast my nerves aside during my talk, I felt spiritually hugged by Jesus. I found myself engaging the audience and even got a few laughs, which were at the appropriate times and—wonder of wonders—not at my expense!    

Jesus’ strength was enough for me that day, and He and I together accomplished the job He gave me to do. Will you let yourself bask in His spiritual hug and watch as He does His work through you?


Week 2 Day 6 Story

Happy to Be Me

By Emme

Meet me today and you’ll probably think, Now there’s a woman who’s comfortable in her own skin. And it’s true, I am. But I haven’t always been. Just because I’m a model—a full-figured model—doesn’t mean I was born with instant self-confidence. No, it has taken a lot of work to develop a good, strong, positive attitude about my body, my size and myself. It still takes work to keep it up. Self-confidence is like a muscle. Use it or lose it!  

In 1990, at the beginning of my career, I landed a plum assignment modeling a line of jeans. A real hot-shot photographer was going to do the shoot. That morning I picked up a box of pastries for the crew and headed to the studio. The makeup artist saw me enjoying my sweet treat and remarked, “This is a first. Most models live on Diet Coke and cigarettes!” Then the photographer walked in, took one look at me and curled his lip. “I’m not shooting that fatty!” he snarled, as he stomped out. For a moment, I wanted to fall through the floor and disappear, but I caught myself. Wait a minute. I’ve worked too hard on my attitude to let somebody ruin it with one negative remark.  

Time to give myself a pep talk and draw on all the lessons I’d learned over the years about self-esteem. These lessons:  

Accept yourself. We are all made in a unique way and the Big Guy doesn’t make mistakes. With the pressures that bombard us daily, it’s easy to forget that.  

I first felt the pressure from my family when I was 12 years old. I was healthy, athletic, a head taller than my classmates (including the boys) and still growing. No surprise I was hungry all the time! One night at dinner I reached for seconds, and my stepfather warned under his breath, “You don’t want to get fat.” I cringed.  

Looking back, I now understand what was going on: My stepfather had serious issues with food and with his own body image, fears that had nothing to do with me. But back then, I was a kid at an emotionally vulnerable stage and the message that started playing in my head was: You’ve got to be perfect to be loved.  

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to tape over that message with a totally different one. If someone or something is getting you down on yourself, think of a time when you felt completely accepted, completely loved. Relive that moment. Let it sweep over you. I think about when I was little and it was just Mom and me. I close my eyes and picture her breaking into a beautiful, bright smile. I remember the warmth of her arms around me and how I wanted to stay inside her hug forever, hearing her whisper, “I love you just as you are.” What bigger confidence booster is there than knowing and accepting that you’re loved?  

What’s your gift? Come on, we’ve all got something, some special talent. Maybe you just need a jump-start to discover what it is.  

In tenth grade, I went away to boarding school. One fall day I was leaving a disappointing basketball practice when I noticed a group of girls rowing longboats across the pond. I’d never seen anything like it. I couldn’t take my eyes off those girls. They seemed so strong, so in command of themselves—something I could relate to as a good athlete. Then I sensed their coach staring at me. “You’re signing up for crew, right,” he said, as a statement more than a question. “You’ll be great.”  

“Me? I’ve never rowed or set foot in a boat before!”  

“You’re tall, and you’ve got muscle,” the coach said. “C’mon, get in a boat and let’s see what you can do.” I got in and immediately tipped over. But I righted myself and followed the coach’s instructions. Nice, long strokes with the oars. The boat glided across the water. I couldn’t believe it! I never knew I could move with such grace and power.  

Crew was the perfect fit for my big-boned, strong body and it gave me a great bunch of friends, a scholarship to Syracuse University and, most important, the kind of self-worth that comes from knowing you’re really good at something. As they say, nothing succeeds like success.  

Crew was my thing. I know you’ve got yours. We are all given unique gifts, and it’s up to us to use them and live up to our full potential. Make a list of your positive attributes—things that have to do with who you are, not what you look like. The way I feel on a good hair day doesn’t begin to compare with the way I feel when my daughter says, “You’re the best mommy in the world!” Are you a sympathetic listener? Handy with tools? Maybe you have a real knack with animals. Go over that list from time to time and remind yourself of everything that you are good at. I bet it won’t take long before you find yourself adding more positives.  

Trying is believing. Some people say seeing is believing. I think trying again—not giving up when you hear “no” or have failed—is believing. Believe in yourself and in your own gifts.  

I was a journalism major in college. One semester I applied for an internship at the local TV station. I asked to work in the sports department but was told the sports anchor didn’t want a female assistant. I worked up the nerve to call him directly. “I’m looking forward to fetching your coffee,” I said. He laughed but told me there were no openings at the moment. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll call again the first of the month.”  

And that’s what I did. I called him the first of the month—for the next 10 months! Well, perseverance pays off. I got the job. Sure, rejection hurts and failure brings you down. But it’s through failure that we learn some major life lessons. The best way to rebuild your self-confidence? Try again. Even if you don’t achieve your goal, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave it your best, that you never stopped believing in yourself. Success is as much about the journey as the end result.  

When all else fails, laugh. (At yourself, mostly.) Okay, you might ask, doesn’t that go against the whole concept of self-esteem? Not at all. If you’re self-confident, you have a healthy sense of perspective about the world and your place in it. That’s why I think the ultimate in self-confidence is being able to laugh at yourself. We aren’t perfect. We’re only human, so we’re bound to make mistakes. Why not see the humor in them?  

I was lucky to learn this lesson at one of my first jobs out of college. I did the weather report for a TV station in Arizona. Each day before the broadcast I would put little sun, cloud and other weather magnets all over a map of the U.S. Then I’d stand in front of the map to give the forecast on air. One night I gestured to an incoming front and bumped into the map. Clunk. Clunk. Crash! All my magnets fell down…during the live broadcast! I had two choices: I could fall apart or I could make a joke of it. I looked straight into the camera and said, “I guess temperatures are dropping all over the country.” See? Humor can be a great way to turn a potentially disastrous situation into a positive experience.  

Go for it! It takes real self-confidence to jump in and try something new. But taking risks—by that, I mean stepping out of your comfort zone, not necessarily going on Fear Factor—means learning to trust not only in your own abilities but also in the big picture. And that definitely builds confidence.  

Perhaps the biggest risk I took was leaving TV journalism. After a couple years in the business out West, I was no longer feeling fulfilled. I loved the human-interest stories, but I got a sense that my future lay back East. I moved to New York and reconnected with old friends, including Phil, the amazing man who later became my husband.  

A friend asked if I’d ever considered full-figured modeling. I didn’t know that career path existed, but what a great idea! How many times had I looked at the pictures in fashion magazines and thought, real women have curves. Why aren’t any of them here? Real women come in all shapes and sizes. Including mine.  

Oddly enough, I felt confident when I stopped in at a modeling agency in New York. I didn’t even have an appointment. It was such a long shot, what did I have to lose? As soon as I stepped in the door, the agent said, “Don’t move. We’re signing you. You’re absolutely perfect.” Before I knew it, I was being sent out for shoots all over town!  

Including the one where that photographer’s remark almost derailed my attitude…until I reminded myself of everything I’ve just told you. With all that I’ve experienced I’ve learned that as long as I remain committed to my lifelong journey toward self-acceptance, self-confidence is right there too. This belief has made all the difference and has helped me achieve my dreams. Don’t allow fear to derail you. Life is definitely more interesting when you take chances. Go ahead, live the interesting, full life you deserve!


What will you tell yourself when you worry that you won’t achieve what you want?

Focus on my gifts, not my challenges.

Remember the support I’ve been given and let go of any discouraging thoughts.

Know that God has sent me to accomplish great things, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

May God’s love encourage and guide your steps today. We’ll see you again soon!

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