On my birthday, my husband hacked my personal Facebook page and left the most beautiful, uplifting post about me. It was a message that probably gave the impression that I am a perfect woman. Which I am not! Regardless, he went on describing how I am this “superwoman” doing all these amazing things. As I read his post I kept thinking, “How is this me? I am in no way the woman he is describing!” Although his message was sincere and sweet, I had the hardest time reading it. My judgmental radar was up and I began to criticize every word he wrote. I wasn’t looking for any errors on his part, rather it was I who was on the surgery table to be scrutinized.
When I read his post, all of my failures seemed to stare at me in the face and they countered every one of his compliments. Even though he was doing his best to make me feel special, I was experiencing feelings of overwhelming defeat. I felt like he was describing the woman I desperately wanted to be but struggled terribly to become. How could he see all these good things in me, when I wrestled to obtain a glimpse of his description?
About four years ago when I was holding my newborn son, I became vividly aware that my self-esteem was damaged. I didn’t understand why I felt judged and criticized by my baby boy. When he would gaze upon me as I nursed him, I felt uncomfortably vulnerable, empty and simply not good enough. I can remember having absurd thoughts about my postpartum body, my naked face and uncombed hair. I wondered what kind of judgment would my son have of me. In reality, my feelings of insecurity had nothing to do with my beautiful, innocent baby. It was the first time I realized I had a seriously damaged self-image.
Growing up I was bullied and teased throughout my school-age years. I often found myself being told I was not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not light-skinned enough, not tall enough, not smart enough, and simply never good enough. Unfortunately it seemed like I never escaped the verbal abuse because I battled it wherever I went. Negative words were received even from those closest to me. Despite my experiences, I thought I did a great job of preventing the antagonism to cause any serious damage in my heart. Little did I know seeds of a poor self-image were already rooted in me, they were watered and had fully blossomed to an ugly weed. I was broken, tainted and poisoned.
Again I unraveled another part of deep hurt before my first daughter was born. I began to deal with the anxiety of having a girl. I knew I could handle a boy but a girl left me in question. I immediately began to examine my life. Every relationship I had with other girls throughout my childhood and adolescence flashed before me. I remembered the struggle I had with so-called best friends, my mom and other female acquaintances. For some reason I seriously doubted my ability to be a “good” mom to a daughter because of failed female relationships. I sought after God and desperately prayed that I would have a better relationship with my daughter.
When God spoke to me about writing on poor self-esteem, I admittedly didn’t know what to blog about. It’s pretty evident I’ve dealt with a low self-esteem and still do! Yet like with any weakness or temptation I battle, I go to God. It’s in His word that I can find the confidence I need to be who He made me to be. Let’s dive into the word of God together. We can be more than conquers!
1. When I question my self-worth, I need to see myself through God’s eyes. In Psalms 139, it describes God’s attentiveness toward us. It’s amazing how the God of this universe is not only aware of our existence but has as many thoughts of us as the number of grains of sand. According to researchers at the University of Hawaii, there’s about seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains of sand on the Earth. When I feel unloved, alone or not enough, I remember how valuable, how precious, and how loved I am by the God of the Universe. I love this excerpt from a 10-Day Romance & Intimacy Challenge my husband and I recently did by Dr. James Dobson from Family Talk:
“…we should always remember that true value is granted by the One who created us in the first place. There is no greater sense of self-worth than knowing that He is acquainted with me personally; that He values me more than the possessions of the entire world; that He understands my fears and anxieties; that He reaches out to me when no one else cares; that He can turn my liabilities into assets and my emptiness into fullness; and that He has a place prepared for me–one where earthly pain and suffering will be but a dim memory.
Indeed, the Lord of the universe places so much value on us that He gave His life to save us. What a fantastic message of hope and encouragement for those who are broken and discouraged! This is self-worth at its richest–dependent not on the whims of birth or physical attractiveness or social judgment, but on the decree of our loving Lord.”
If you ever question your self-worth, I encourage you to read Psalm 139 for yourself and remember the price God paid to be in relationship with you – His son! There’s nothing you could ever do and there’s nothing that you could have ever done that could change how much God loves you (Heb 13:8). You are incredibly valuable to Him.
2. When I’m dissatisfied with my appearance, I need to remember my body is not a reflection of the “true” me. It’s so easy for me to look in the mirror and find something wrong with what I see. I could effortlessly be overly critical of my body-type, size, or proportion. Sadly that’s exactly what the enemy would have me do: tear down my self-esteem by comparing myself to the definition of what our society deems beautiful. The truth is my body is not the “true” me. I’m not defined by the color of my hair, the measurement of my waist or the length of my body. I have been made in the image of God (Gen 1:26) and that means the “true” me is a spirit, not a physical body (1 Thess 5:23). Furthermore God makes everything beautiful (Eccl 3:11)! So the next time you feel judged by what you look like, value the opinion of your creator far more than his creation. When it comes down to it, His opinion matters most!
3. When I lack confidence, He reminds me I can do it because His grace is sufficient. God’s grace gives us the divine ability to conquer every mountain in our lives. If I ever feel overwhelmed or if I question my ability to handle the task at hand, I remember who am I️ in Christ and His promises. 1 Corinth. 10:13 tells us God will never allow us to go through things He KNOWS we cannot handle. That means if I’m up against what appears to be a giant and I️ feel like I’m going to lose, I️ remind myself, God would never have permitted the giant to enter my life if my victory was in question. God knows I️ can handle it! He knows I can win! He knows me better than anyone. He is well aware of my capabilities and my weaknesses. Does this mean I️ take down the giant alone? No! He doesn’t want me to do it all alone. 2 Corinth. 12:9-10 reminds us, it’s in our weakness that God’s power can really shine. He makes up the difference! So I boldly proclaim, “I can do ALL THINGS THROUGH Christ who gives me the strength!” (Phil 4:13) I can mother my children. I can get that promotion. I can make a public presentation. I can achieve my dreams. I can reach my goals. I can believe for my healing. I can lose the weight. I can be the wife God has called me to be. I can. I can! I CAN!
The enemy will always distract you from the truth. He will overemphasize your frailties, magnify your weakness and exaggerate your mistakes. He will leave you paralyzed with fear, deep into depression and doubting your significance. How do I know? Because he tries to do it to me. If he can keep us focused on criticizing every part of our body, gifts, talents and skills, we’ll never become what God created us to be. Our potential and it’s influence will die with us. In this way Satan not only damages us but also those we could’ve potentially helped.
We have to change the way we think! Although this kind of transformation doesn’t happen over night, we can develop a healthy self-worth, image and overall self-esteem with time and consistency. Let’s make the effort of exterminating all of the lies of the devil by meditating on what the Bible tell us about who we are. God’s word is truth! No matter what others say, you are beautiful, smart, valuable and needed.
Praying for you.