How do you feel about yourself?
We are bombarded every where we turn with images and articles that communicate to us what we should look like and how we should feel about our self.
Whether we are sitting in front of the television set or standing in line at the grocery store, these messages are constantly coming at us and have a very powerful impact on how we think.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the advertising industry is responsible for creating some of the insecurities women face on a daily basis. They pressure us to maintain a level of beauty standard and success that is unattainable for many.
The models in the ads are thin and beautiful. They have perfect skin, perfect teeth and are proportionately perfect from head to toe. Women and young girls gravitate towards celebrities who appear to have the exceptional and popular body parts.
Gyms and weight loss clinics around the globe beckon us to have flatter abs, firmer butts and sexier bodies. There is plastic surgery for higher cheek bones and larger breasts, not to mention injections for thicker lips. Imagine, you can have buttock implants! Yet these industries make billions of dollars in profit every year as some aim at preying on women with low self-esteem.
I read an article several months ago with the headline “Kate Middleton drops jaws, proving Prince Williams is a lucky man.” It was a slide show of the Princess in some of the beautiful outfits she has worn publicly with her husband. I have nothing against the lovely Kate, she is beautiful. However, it is sad that we are given the impression that our men are ‘lucky’ if their wives are ninety-nine lbs, wear designer labels and look magazine ready.
For centuries now, culture tells us we need to be above average to feel good about who we are. We measure ourselves against the images swirling around us, against the success, the riches and even the popularity of others.
“Do not confirm to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
True self-worth isn’t found in a doctor’s office or in a workout centre. Though all these body improvements can serve to help us feel better about our self, they are only a superficial fix to an issue that runs much deeper. Also if we define our self-worth by the jobs we have, the cars we drive or the neighborhoods we live in, then we already have an issue with our own value.
You can have the ideal body, the intelligence of Einstein and the bank account of untold fortune; the epitome of perfection, and still struggle with your self-worth.
Many of us grew up in unhealthy environments. Ugly words, abuse, neglect and lack of affirmation has negatively impacted how we feel about ourselves. Others of us see our self through the tainted vision of the mistakes and the bad choices we’ve made in the past. Our own critical opinion, along with those engraved in us from past experiences, has become our inner voice. When combined with the tarnished views of society, these are the measuring sticks we use for our personal worth. As a result, there is no better way to devalue who we are.
SO HOW ARE WE TO KNOW OUR TRUE WORTH AND VALUE?
First, we need to quiet the inner voice. That voice that replays in our minds telling us we just don’t measure up; we’re just not good enough. This can be a lengthy and emotional journey as it can include forgiving our self and others. We forgive our self for the mistakes and bad choices we’ve made, maybe even for carrying around false guilt and shame. And, we forgive others – for hurts they have caused our hearts. This is a stage we need God’s help with.
As we are healed from the past, we learn to stop the Comparison, a dangerous game. Discovering our uniqueness can be extremely freeing and empowering as we embrace our God-given purpose.
We have to be the one to reflect our worth to the world. We cannot allow outside influences nor the opinion of others to determine our worth and value for us. This means we accept our self despite our flaws and limitations. It means loving our self for who we are and whose we are.
My next point brings me to another question.
Exactly, who are we?
We are God’s children. Created in His image and loved by Him like no other. I love the Psalmist David’s beautiful expressed awareness in Psalm 139:13-15(NIV)
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
We are God’s masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made! There is no better way to know our worth and value than focusing on God’s love instead of ourself. We need Him in the healing process of discovering who we are and we need Him in the process of living out who we are. To know of and live His unconditional love for us makes us valuable beyond measure.
Can it get any better than this? Yes it can!!
“For God so loved the world (you and me!) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Clearly this love is not based on any conditions. Just a pure love. A Father’s love. Dear friends, can we saturate our minds with this truth? If God can love us so much to give his Son for us, how can we not strive to see our worth as priceless.
In conclusion, I leave this quote to challenge your thoughts.
“Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows but the sea.” ~Samuel Rutherford
Come on dear friends, let us journey together by faith today. God bless you!