Meet Sophi Mbwala, freshman at John Brown University! Her honesty & transparency are gifts I hope you’ll treasure as walk through your Friday.

Whenever I was younger, I was extremely self-conscious of the way I looked, mainly because my body looked very different from my other siblings. I was considered to be the chubby sibling, and it started to get to me; especially if that was the first thing people noticed.

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As I went through puberty, this only got worse. Throughout middle school and high school, I hated the way I looked, and hated the fact that I was one of the few black girls in a predominantly white school. I started to be ashamed of my body and the fact that I was black, primarily because I wanted to fit in with the other girls at my school.

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I wanted my peers to consider me beautiful despite my skin color being difference than theirs. I was trying to find validation in other people, instead of God.

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It was not until my freshmen year of college, that I started to see my body as a gift of God.

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I have always heard of Psalm 139:13-16, but I never truly reflected on the importance of this verse. This verse reminded me of how much God loves me. It blew my mind when I started to think about God creating me in my mother’s womb, he specifically made me the way I am, and not being satisfied in my body is to not be satisfied in the way God created me.

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Instead of trying to change myself, or coveting other people’s bodies, I should be satisfied in myself and my body because my body is a reflection of God and his love.

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Psalm 139 talks about God creating people wonderfully, meaning we are his masterpiece. Realizing this made me start being proud of the fact that I am black, and that I look different from most of the girls at my school. Since God made me wonderfully, and God never makes any mistakes with his creations, it made me consider my skin color as beautiful.

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I started to be proud of the way I looked, and started to realize that God created diversity, and that diversity is a beautiful thing.

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The other thing that God calls us to do is treat our bodies like a temple, which reminded me that I should take care of my body. This means, being careful of what I put in my body, and making sure that my body embodies the temple of the Holy Spirit!