With this text from heaven and a desire to keep competing, I entered the Mrs. Texas Plus America pageant again in 2011. I also began to start taking care of myself. I began learning about pageantry and what makes a winner. I got an interview coach, JJ Smith from the WinnerViews.
JJ is fabulous! He helped me realize that my opinions counted and how to share them with others. He helped me find a good dentist. (YIKES! Now that is another story, my teeth were a wreck!) He encouraged me to build my strength and get healthy. JJ even sent me to a professional photographer, Arthur Garcia from Select Studios, for some fabulous pictures!
I decided that a U * R * E * NUFF Campaign would be my new platform to encourage and support girls like me who had come through the fire of low self-esteem and depression. It was important to me to let folks know they are enough because God made them that way – PERIOD! He is no respecter of persons and if HE said I was enough, then, He says that about you too!!!
The Texas State Miss Plus America pageant came and I was 2nd Runner Up. YIKES!!! What happened? I was pretty much in shock because I really believed I was going to win! Now it was all over.
I was holding it together on the outside; but on the inside, I was just a wreck. Leaving the auditorium, I ran into Nanette Watts, the Texas state director. She was very complimentary and shared with me that I should really consider being an at-large delegate to nationals. What was that? I didn’t know anything about being an at-large delegate. (See, I had lots more to learn!!)
I recognized that this was my next step. Nanette also told me if I was going to have a platform established on self-esteem issues, I had better research the issue, learn all about it and know my facts and figures before getting to nationals.
I started researching. I found several studies on women and girls with low self-esteem related to weight. Did you know:
- 75% of women do not like what they see in the mirror
- 50% of women are on a diet on any given day
- By age 9, 50% of all girls surveyed reported that they have been on a diet
- 80% of 8th grade girls say they are on diets everyday
- While 75% of girls who are 8 or 9 reported that they like their looks, that number dropped to 56% among girls ages 12 – 13
The more I read on poor self-esteem, the more I down spiraled. I was a wreck! I told the Lord that if I did win Mrs. Pus America, I could not go a whole year sharing about poor self-esteem with people across the nation. I wanted to share about being an overcomer, and to share with others the victorious place HE was leading me to.
As I prayed and sought HIM, the Lord brought Robert Gerst to mind. Robert was a Marine Corps Captain in Vietnam. At a workshop for prayer warriors, he had shared a strategy the Marine Corps uses when their troops are ambushed by the enemy. Robert related this strategy to prayer, how to overcome when we come up against the enemy of our souls and feel as if we have been ambushed.
We all come against ambushes in our life. Just like my mother’s bitter disappointment of “Can’t somebody fix you?” Or, maybe a call late in the night that a child has been in a car accident, or a prognosis from a doctor that you have cancer – so many situations.
As I continued to pray and seek the Lord, I recognized that this strategy was not only BRILLIANT as a prayer strategy, but even more so of how to overcome everyday situations and circumstances in our life. So, the Lord continued to hone and tweak and apply. And this five point strategy emerged as:
SELAH! A Woman’s Guide to Overcoming
Limitations in Life.
At one time in my life, I worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental and developed an educational volunteer program that was 400,000 members strong. During this period, I came to love acronyms. So, the awesome thing is that SELAH is actually a Hebrew word used about 74 times in the Bible, mainly in the Psalms. It means, pause, think about, weigh a matter very carefully. Apropos acronym for the strategy to overcome, don’t you think?
S – Stop running
E – Enough, U * R * E * NUFF!!
L – Learn All You Can
A – Action, Make a Plan
H – Help Another to Complete the Healing Process
One of my favorite books is the The Art of War. It is an ancient Chinese military text attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician. Commonly known to be the definitive work on military strategy and tactics of its time, the text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, such as spies, terrain, knowledge of your enemy, etc.
We have to know what we are coming up against to know how to combat it. Go to the library, research, go to a mentor, pastor or elder you trust. However you can, get a higher sense of understanding about the situation. Whatever your circumstance may be, learn everything about it you can. That way, your victory will be quicker and easier. Knowledge is power.