The world tells us who we are, but is what the world says true?
With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a lot of panic and uncertainty. Because of this, I decided to come stay with my mom and siblings for the week. I want to be close to them during this world crisis. This afternoon, I walked up the stairs of our house and saw my 15 year old sister standing in the bathroom brushing her teeth. She lifted her shirt and turned a few times, looking at herself in the mirror at different angles. I asked her what she was doing. She looked at me and said, with spit and toothpaste in her mouth, "my tummy." I asked her why, but after the question left my lips, I realized I already knew the answer. Us girls look at ourselves in the mirror and want to see what we think defines beautiful. We want the mirror to make us feel better. If our tummies look flat, we allow ourselves to believe we are not fat. If our tummies look big, we tell ourselves we need to eat healthy, lose weight, or exercise more. Then, I realized I do this ALL THE TIME. I analyze the way I look as a way to give myself affirmation. I decide the way I talk to myself and feel about myself based on what I see in the mirror. Realizing I do this, thinking of how it makes me feel, and then realizing my little sister does the same thing, broke my heart.
Ladies, I'm being raw, real and vulnerable here.This post is as real as it gets. Some girls may not struggle with self-esteem as much as others, but I am willing to bet that pretty much all of us struggle with it in some way and at some point in life. I have struggled with self-esteem my whole life, and still struggle with it now. I'm entering a new journey where I am searching to find who I am and rebuild my confidence. I am on a journey to find out what God says about me, and not what the world says about me. Whether you are a Jesus follower or not, there is so much truth and encouragement from the Bible that tells us our worth.
Let me tell you a little bit about my life thus far. Over the last few years, I have been searching to find myself. I was in a bad relationship that definitely bruised me. I started believing I was not important, I was not deserving of love or respect, and that it was my fault that I was so unworthy. I allowed someone else to make me feel this way because I did not have my self-worth rooted in something that could stand strong. I put my identity in what someone else said about me. When they said good things I felt great, and when they said bad things, I felt lower than low. I finally picked myself up and walked away from something toxic in my life. I then thought if I could just get in really good shape that I would love myself. So I took two pilates classes a day, went to the gym, and beat myself up over all the food I put in my mouth. In addition to that, I had to post it. I had to post a picture of my two pilates classes and gym session to snapchat and instagram. I had to post a picture of my healthy meal and my devotion for the day. If everyone saw that I was fit and healthy, they would think I was happy, and if I was happy and doing well I would seem more desirable right? And in doing all that I thought I'd mask my insecurities and pain, when in reality I was keeping up this false image and created even more of a need for approval from other people. Then I added some God into my life, made some friends, and worked towards moving forward. But I still had no self-worth, and definitely relied on what I thought was acceptable to the world. If the world accepted me, then I'd be worthy of love right?
Since then, I have made progress, regressed, made progress, and regressed again. Over the last year, I had still been looking for my identity and confidence in boys and fitness. Just recently, a few days ago, I went to a women's conference at church. I finally heard the truth. It caused a lot of tears, but it was eye opening and what I needed to hear. I believed for so long that I am not worthy of love and will never be a priority to someone because a boy has never given it to me. I was confused with the fact that because I have never gotten it, that I did not deserve it. Ladies, if you can relate to this in any way, hear me when I say it is a total lie.
Again, whether you're a believer or not, be open to hear this. Who has the authority to give us worth and identity? Who do we GIVE authority to give us worth and identity? I realized I sure do not want it to be a boy, or the world. I want it to be the creator of the world. I want it to be the One who knows me, not for my body or what I have to offer, but for my heart. The one who created me has authority to tell me who I am. The world tells me I am not worth it, God tells me I am so worth it that he died for me. The world tells me I am not worthy of love, God tells me I am loved and chosen and friend. The world tells me I am incapable, God tells me He is with me. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" is what I read in Philippians 4:13. The book, the Bible, that has never been disproven and never disappeared throughout all the years is what I choose to believe.
If you find yourself feeling incapable, unworthy, unloved, you're not alone, but you are wrong. It sounds harsh, but it took some harsh words for me to believe it. You are wrong. You're loved, worthy, and capable because God says so. Someone recently told me that there is no way to find who we are until we go out and find who we are. Do the hard work, decide what you stand for, what you believe, who you want to be, and stand strong in that.
So how do we find who we are? Stop searching for affirmation from the world. People can tell us a million times how great we are, and it may make us feel good for some time, but it does not last. Get your affirmations from a reliable source. My reliable source is God and his word. Maybe yours is a self-help book, empowering podcasts, encouraging music, etc. Also, stop talking to yourself so negatively. Tell yourself the things you want to believe. It sounds so simple, and yet it is so difficult to do. I do not want to look at myself and tell myself I am beautiful when I do not believe it, but I want to believe it, so I have to do the hard work.
With all of this being said, this is a journey. It is not an easy one, and it doesn't happen overnight. God knows we are not going to get it perfect, and that we need his help. He wants to help, we just have to take the step towards answering to the names he calls us: friend, loved, chosen, etc. The fact that I have just come to this conclusion a few days ago, shows I am not far in my journey, but it is a start. Ladies, let's do this together. If you need support, prayer, someone to listen, etc. comment below.