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To the Bride Who Is Not Excited To Go Dress Shopping…


Dear reader,

I can only speak for myself, but I hope if you read the title of this blog, and you identify, that you feel seen. Every body type is different. Every woman is different. But sometimes, our fears of being seen are not so different from one another.

When it was my turn to shop for wedding dresses, as soon as I scheduled a time to go, a small part of me was worried I wouldn’t have a good experience.

What if I don’t feel beautiful? What if dresses don’t fit? What if I wear shape ware and I’m still reminded of the parts of my body I’d like to change? What if no style seems to be flattering? What if my family and friends have to watch me force a smile?

If you have thought any of these same thoughts, you’re not alone and it doesn’t matter how small or curvy you are. These WHAT IF’S are not unique thoughts. Many of us have shared them. I am fairly confident and comfortable with my curvy body, and I still asked all of those what if questions.

The goal is to move away from these thoughts. HOW? To undo a neurological pathway your brain has traveled over and over again (that repetitive thought or thought process), you have to first identify the thing that leads you there.

The Dig:

Here are some questions I worked through myself before going shopping for my wedding dress. It’s always good to guard against negative self talk and be aware of our thoughts! Ask the Lord to help you move through these honestly.

1. If you are willing, I’ll ask that you completely put aside the idea that your weight makes you more or less desirable. Now that you have done that, is the fear of being seen still there?

2. If yes, now put aside the idea that shopping has never been fun for you. Is that fear of being seen still there?

3. Now imagine that shopping for a wedding dress will be so much fun, even if you don’t find one right away, that feels like THE dress.

And imagine what it’s like to have the people who love you most, and will be with you at your wedding, delighting in your femininity and beauty. Does that make you nervous?

I hope your answers to these questions give you some insight on where exactly the fear of being seen is coming from. Here is some reflection, and as you go over these, remember none of these are true measures of your value and beauty, nor should they be:

1. If it is your weight that makes you afraid to be seen then comparison and culture might have an influence. By this I mean you’ve given comparison or culture a voice to define your worth or beauty somehow. 

For example, maybe you’ve thought of other brides who have a body type you think is more desirable, and it makes you nervous to try on dresses in the same room.

In communication and psychology, it’s called the looking glass theory. Part of your sense of self is based on how you perceive others to view you. If it helps, statistically, our own self-perception is never accurate and our perception of other’s perceptions of us, are also not accurate.

It is a lot less work to ask “Abba, who do you say I am?” Rather than “Am I what I think people think I am?”

2. If it is shopping for clothes and finding something that fits has never been fun and maybe even embarrassing at times, the question is, are you projecting those emotions from past experiences onto one that has not yet happened?

If you mentally and emotionally project onto yourself that you will not enjoy shopping, you’ll feel shame when you try on dresses, and then others will see you going through those emotions and that will be embarrassing… you’ll likely live into it. To put it into perspective, don’t plan to have a terrible time. Plan for a day full of joy and time with friends and family who love you!

3. If it is having someone else delight in your femininity and beauty, it might be that you have a discomfort with this yourself.

What does it mean when you delight in your femininity? It means you’re delighting in the way God made you in his image.  God is both masculine and feminine, and when you come together in Christian convenient with your spouse we are a more full picture of him. It is difficult to do this fully when you are uncomfortable with delighting in your femininity.

A man’s masculinity can invite out a woman’s femininity, and a woman’s femininity can invite out a man’s masculinity. This is a choice by both parties. It’s amazing how when we don’t compete, we draw one another out so kindly and compliment one another so beautifully (Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge talks about this more).

To Wrap up:

Based on your answers, take this all to the Lord and let him speak into it. The best advice I can offer is if the Lord is not leading you into a thought process, don’t go there.  This means expectations. Just stay right with him and only listen to what he has to say. 

Here is my prayer for you Bride’s to be,

May the Lord sing over you with joy in the morning, and his sweet song fill your spirit with peace. May a gentle kindness rest in you and empower you to soak in THE DAY with grace and confidence, as you go to try on beautiful dresses!

Encouragement: 

The day I went wedding dress shopping, I prayed often and kept the Lord present in my thoughts. I put away any temptation of an expectation and told the Lord I wanted him to help me pick a dress. I found the dress that day, but didn’t purchase it. The next time I went, I brought my friends and family who were previously not available to make it. I let them pick out all sorts of dresses for me to try on. I had the best time trying on all the styles and modeling, and that's saying something because I don't enjoy being the focus of attention. There was lots of laughter, some cringey (funny) moments, and lots of smiles and tears! To those of you who were with me, I had the best day with you. Thank you for being there. To those of you who could not be there, you were missed and I carried you with me.

Love, Bay.

 

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