Self-hate. Insecurity. Self-confidence. I’ve been dealing with all these things ever since I was in middle school. Most people have, and will deal with them at some point in their lives, or through the whole of life. I was thinking about these things because I have found a way to at least steady my insecurities. I’ve found a way- through the love of Christ, to conquer the doubts, fears, lies and bullets shot by the Evil One. I think God wants all of us to get to a point where we personally know a little bit of how MUCH God is in love with us. Sometimes it can be hard to hear, hard to understand, and hard to accept. However, God is always there and always waiting for us to invite him in.
My struggle with self-confidence, first and foremost has been a struggle. Everyone has insecurities, and I am no exception. I’ve always been concerned of others’ opinions and worry what they think of me as I’m sure many of you do. I haven’t experienced the depth of self-hate, but the little taste I’ve had has been enough. I don’t want anyone to feel like what I’ve felt before, and again, I know I haven’t gotten the worst of it! Right now however, I feel more confident than I have ever been in my short life. I am 15 years old, and I’m sure there will be many more times to come when the devil will try and block my view of the Lord, combined with my sin and my doubt as well. The key is to learn how to love ourselves. How do we do that?
I was looking back on a few months ago at some of my journal entries. They consisted of a real longing to feel loved and appreciated. I blamed it on the fact that I wanted to impress this guy I liked. The truth was, I didn’t love and appreciate myself. I realize that now. The devil was pushing me into a steady cycle of self-hate that I didn’t even notice was happening until I realized that:
1) My prayer life had fallen apart.
2) I was always nervous, self-conscious and empty.
3) I was putting my identity in my daily appearance and the standards of the world.
Looking back, I realize how much I thought I knew what I was doing. I’ve listened to so many talks and heard from plenty of testimonies at camp and retreats, and in books that reminded me how much God loves me. Just because I knew so many “facts” and principles, didn’t mean I had everything together. I had to go through it, for myself.
So, like most things that anger you for a long time, you just get fed up and decide it has to change. I woke up and decided that however painful it would be to have to change, it couldn’t be more frustrating then the mirror of comparison staring me in the face. A few weeks later, I got myself a new mirror. This may seem counter intuitive, but I wanted to start completely over and look at myself from a new angle. I started sitting in front of the mirror every day. I would speak to myself as I imagined God or someone who loved and supported me to be talking. I chanted aloud of my beauty and I renounced many evil spirits by simply saying, “I renounce this spirit in the name of Jesus my Savior.” I started my prayer time again, although I was very reluctant because of my constant downfall and I thought it would be too much work. Even today, my prayer time isn’t as amazing as I want it to be, but, I know when I feel like not praying, that’s when I need to pray the most.
A few days later, I wrote a list of facts about myself-- truths of who I am. I say them and sometimes look in the mirror at myself, and sometimes I pray them silently. Either way, I ask God to say them with me. I’ve also realized through this process that I should be my biggest fan. People always say God, or your parents are your biggest fans, which can be true…but why can’t I be my biggest fan?! I need to have a love for myself. I know a few people who have a love for themselves, and it’s beautiful. I know I have a little of this love when I walk in the mirror or see myself in a window- and I smile at myself, talk to and encourage the girl I see. I dance sometimes too, realizing that joy is so much more fun than sadness. I hope that if I do this, people will see me and know that they’re just so amazing. They can know that God is what helps me to love the person I am and who I will become. They can know that no one can compare; they are so unique.
A lot of the things I didn’t like about myself consisted of physical things, as in, I didn’t like my nose, or I was rather flat chested, I didn’t like how I looked in this, or whatever. To push myself out of the self-hate, I decided to embrace myself, whoever that was. I didn’t like that I was so anxious, so I told myself I would stop worrying, and I pray still about that! I am making conscious decisions to conquer these insecurities that were actually prohibiting me from being myself, not making me better.
I’ve also come to the awareness that, to know myself, I need to know God first. That he is the closest I can be to anyone else, or to myself. To know the Jesus within people, is to really know them. I was sitting this weekend with a beautiful friend who is a lovely dancer and she walks with purpose. I admire that about her. She has gorgeous freckles and a pure and sincere heart. She told me, “I want to know the parts of people that are Jesus. Whether they know it or not, it’s important to them. Even if it’s a lack of Jesus, it helps me to know them better. I also know myself this way, by knowing God.”
Through this conversation a firework went off in my brain.That moment in your life (I think everyone has at some point) when you have the revelation that a Divine Being full of Love, has created me uniquely and for a purpose. Somehow, I have been given the privilege to know him. I can’t pass that up. I will never be separated from him, because he loves me. Because he KNOWS me. Even the days I don’t want to pray, I try and remember that God wants me. More than I will ever want him. I pray the prayer, “Lord, give me the want, to want you.” That can sometimes be a hard prayer to pray, but to know God is the greatest gift of all.
So, through this appreciation and love for who God made me to be, I have found much peace. There are still times every day, that a lie or doubt comes into my mind. Sometimes I let them get to me, sometimes I don’t. It’s a constant battle and a gruesome war. However, we have to come back to that peace because God has invited us to it! Because no opinion matters as much as the Lord’s.
Why not boast of the greatness that we are able to achieve? Why do we not wear our crosses with pride and show the world our joy? Just as it says in 1 Corinthians 1:31: “Therefore, as It is written, “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
So I encourage you to find your place in Christ. He wants you so badly, and wants to give you unending love. Enough for everyone else, and yourself.