Lately, I have spent some time reflecting on my youth. Maybe it is because I realize just how close I am to turning 45 years old and just how close 45 years old is to 50 years old. I have some great memories of my childhood, and then I have some unhappy memories of my childhood.
When I was younger I was so awkward. I was red headed, freckled faced, and taller than most children my age. A lot of my peers picked on me because of those physical features. My long red hair and my height made me stand out, therefore I was a target for their fun and games. I would laugh along with the jokes and name calling. Sometimes, I would get tired of it and stand up for myself. I am sure that no one meant any real harm, but over time those features that made me stand out, seemed like a curse to me. I began to dislike myself very much. When I was around 12 years old, I developed a poor self-image. I wished that my hair was any color but red. I wished that my skin was tanned, not freckled. I wished that I was the same height as the popular girls. I wished that I was more coordinated and less clumsy, so that I would have enough confidence to try out for cheer. I wished that just once someone would notice me for something positive. I would go home from school feeling like I was the ugliest girl at the entire school and like no one liked me. Nearly every night, I would cry myself to sleep.
Then it occurred to me that there was obviously “something wrong” with ME. Instead of seeing the red hair and freckles God gave me as unique qualities, I would have given anything to change them. I highlighted my hair, laid in the sun to get a tan, obsessed over my weight, and wore the latest trends to fit in. Sure, those things made me feel good about myself for a little while, but I still considered myself inferior. I was so focused on other people’s opinions of me, that I didn’t take time to ask God what He thought about me. I allowed the opinions of others determine what I thought of myself. That, my friends, is a very big mistake. People are unpredictable and so are their actions or opinions. When I chose to base my self-worth on their perception of me, it always ended in disappointment.
After a few years of searching- and making some bad choices- I came to know Jesus and His acceptance. Once I understood that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made,” I began to slowly change my self-image. Through reading the scripture, I began understanding that God had a plan for me, even while being “knitted in my mother’s womb.” Through prayer, God began the process of healing my broken self-image. I realized that I would never be able to please everyone, but I could please my Heavenly Father. It’s been my own personal experience that God is easier to please than most people. I cannot tell you that I have completely overcame the struggle of insecurity or poor self-image. However, I can tell you that now when those feelings of inadequacy and inferiority creep in, I remind myself who I am. I am the daughter of the Most High King. I am loved by the Maker. I am loved by a host of family and friends. I am even learning to love myself.
I encourage you today to take the time to see the value others possess. I wonder what we would see if we could look at people through the Father’s eyes…