Choosing to Love Myself | Jeff Frandsen
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hola! My name is Jeff Frandsen. I'm a photographer and designer living in Lancaster, PA. I am married to a beautiful lass named Liz and we just welcomed our daughter Emerson (we call her Emme for short) on January 8th! And of course, it would be wrong not to mention our ever-so-affectionate goldendoodle Frankie. She's the wild card that keeps us laughing.
Both Liz and I run our own businesses, Liz is a fashion designer and I'm a wedding photographer. I do hand lettering work on the side, which went from being a hobby and turned into a side job for me!
Some of my favorite things in the world are Jesus, my family, baseball, Coca-Cola (in a tall glass with lots of ice, preferably crushed) and crushing people in Words With Friends.
Was there a time when you struggled with loving yourself? Why are you so passionate about this topic?
It's important to know that I've struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life. And I would be lying if I said that loving myself hasn't been a lifelong struggle for me. I'm a perfectionist, overachiever, and constant worrier. It's as if I'm seeking a happiness that doesn't actually exist. It's so easy for me to ignore the little things to be thankful for, and constantly pick apart the areas in which I'm struggling. This leads to me becoming fixated on stuff that I know in less than a week I will roll my eyes when looking back at those worries.
In this day in age, it's so easy to succumb to comparison. And that's a large part in why I struggle to love myself. Which affects my mental health. This is what motivates me to speak out and openly about my struggles on social media to bring hope to others who might be feeling alone. Because, trust me, no one is alone in this. By putting God first, we can begin the journey to understanding that we are enough.
What motivated you to change, and how did you begin the journey to loving yourself?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not always hating on myself. I do have good days. But without accepting Jesus in my life, everything would have continued to go downhill. Since I became a Christian six years ago, I can feel His love surrounding me, and I know that peace is near.
We all know that God’s love is what matters most. How do you take His love, truly accept it, and let it change how you view yourself?
Once I became a Christian, I began to see God's work first hand. For so long I was a skeptic, needing something tangible to be convinced to believe. But once you trust, I promise you that His actions become evident. In 2015 I finally read The Bible from cover to cover. By doing that, I really began to grasp how much God really cares about us. There are so many moments that I could feel a connection to what was going on in my life and through His word, I was able to be still.
How do you filter out the noise of media telling you to be a certain way?
Also in 2015, I took the initiative to weed down who I follow on Instagram. It's my favorite social media platform, and I began to notice signs of envy, lust and pure sadness come to me. It's so easy to compare yourself to someone who has hundreds of thousands of followers and gets paid to take Instagrams in magical places. Or that family who has that immaculate-looking living room, or pearly white kitchen. I began to think, what's wrong with me? Why am I not this successful, why am I not this neat? It began to make me overthink my posts, doing them for the likes and not for the sake of sharing.
So I cut my following to under 100 and I immediately began to become happier. And it allowed me to realize how authentic I want to be on social media. I know the norm isn't a perfect life. The norm is a messy house, lots of bills, and so on. And that's okay. Let's all be okay with that and celebrate the mediocracy of life! The simple joys count too.
How do you teach your children, or help other men and women to love themselves?
I dedicated my Instagram feed last year to spreading God's word. To give them hope, motivation and faith. I love breaking up people's feed with some reality. God wants you to know that you're more than enough. And I try to help my following see that.
We all have days when self-confidence is low, what do you do to keep those emotions at bay?
I take three medications to handle my depression, anxiety and lethargic tendencies. And while I'm not proud that I do take them, it's a reality that I want others to know. But they aren't the cure. They are a step. The key is to focus your heart on God, to put all of your trust in Him.
Go back to the simple joys in your life. These are some of the stuff I immediately thank God for when I'm down: my wife, my daughter, my puppy, a roof, food to get fat, my iPhone, Candy Crush, and baseball.
Every morning, I look at my puppy, and I tell her, "Frankie, let's take a second to thank God for another day." I guess I should start saying that to the rest of my family too... haha!
One step at a time, one day at a time.
Trusting that His plan for us is bigger and better than we want for ourselves makes a huge difference.
How do you make God’s love worth more to you than the love or approval of media and others?
Likes on Instagram have no value. I bet you can't remember how many likes you had on any post last week. But I can remember every time last week that God showed up in my life.
Everything is a gift from Him.
Is there a verse of scripture, book, article or person that helps you to know your worth and live it?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
— Matthew 6:26
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Never give up. You are more than enough.
ENOUGH Phone Wallpaper:
NEVER GIVE UP Phone Wallpaper:
Jeff is a Christian, husband, father and artist living in Lancaster, PA. He longs to bring others closer to Jesus and live a more positive life through his art. Connect with Jeff on Instagram @jefffrandsen.