How We See Ourselves Versus How God Sees Us
Mirror: a device created to see the imperfections of our bodies, which in return forces us to try and alter how God created us. Most women look in the mirror and find something wrong with them; whether its acne, a large nose, a small mouth, that mole on her cheek, or the few extra pounds on her frame.
We all struggle with our insecurities. However, God did not create us to scrutinize every inch of our bodies.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” -Psalms 139:14
Don’t get me wrong though, those words used to mean just that to me, words. I would skim past any part of the Bible that would talk about how we were created uniquely, believing that it did not actually pertain to me, but to others. I know, looking back it sounds silly; however, when you feel so worthless, nothing seems logical.
Growing up, I always struggled with friends: trying too hard to get the attention, bossing them around to control them, and then eventually running from them for fear that they would toss me aside and hurt me, which in the end, most did anyways. This began the downward spiral of self-hatred, driven by how I thought others perceived me. I would get this pre-conceived idea that if I talked too much or said the wrong thing, people would automatically look at me differently. After years these self-depreciating thoughts, my doctor's simple words altered my very existence for years: she said I was overweight.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]I thought the only way people would like me is if I had a thigh gap or a flat stomach, when in reality, few people notice these things, especially God who sees your very heart. [/pullquote]
Now, I had never thought of myself as overweight. Being only 5’3” and weighing in at 120 pounds should have made me average, but for some reason, my doctor thought of me as overweight, and from that day forward I took a downhill turn, counting calories, working out 1-2 hours a day, seven days a week trying to become what society labels “thin.” I thought the only way people would like me is if I had a thigh gap or a flat stomach, when in reality, few people notice these things, especially God who sees your very heart.
I got to the point where I thought God only existed when I needed Him. I had put Him in my own little box, pulling Him out when I was desperate. And when He didn’t respond in my timing, I began to lose hope and all faith in Him, which soon led to my depression.
I began to disassociate myself from everyone I knew, closing myself off from the world, my friends, family, and even myself. I felt alone and thought that the only way out was to end my life. I began to plan how to complete the task and even the letter I would leave to my parents. As I continued to analyze the best way out, something kept tugging at my heart, telling me that this was not right. I couldn’t do this to my family.
But, at that point I had no idea it was the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention and bring me back towards God. Weeks went by and every time I thought that it was the right day to do the deed, my heart kept holding me back.
Finally, after this continuous back and forth, I did the one thing my pride had restrained me from: falling to my knees in complete and utter desperation, asking God what He wanted with my life and if He would take ahold of my heart and make me new in Him.
Just because I finally surrendered my life to Him doesn’t mean it was all peachy from then on. I continued battling my self-hatred, depression, and anorexia for years, forcing myself to never give up and continue realizing that this world has so much beauty to offer. I would progress one step to only fall back two steps, landing myself in bad relationships that eventually led to self-harm and a lower self-esteem.
However, enough was enough when it came time to make a college decision. I had no idea what I wanted, so I asked God to lead me in the right direction so that this decision would honor and glorify Him.
I eventually found myself at Iowa State University and by day two I hated it. I couldn’t make friends, I felt alone, and I wanted out of there. Now I know what you’re thinking, only two days? You have to give change more time to settle in, but it all went back to my childhood roots of thinking that I was not good enough for anyone.
For weeks I felt alone and went home whenever possible; however, during this time I got involved in a campus ministry called Chi Alpha. Within that organization, I would force myself to go to every activity, craving a true relationship with anyone. When the fall retreat came around, so did one of the best weekends of my life.
We spent a lot of time in worship, praising His amazing works and asking Him to come into our lives, revealing Himself to us. While in a moment of praise, I had this overwhelming sense of peace come upon me and I felt God speak to me with His still, small voice:
“I have created you, yes you, uniquely and specially for My works, you are not what the world says, you are more. I have created you in likeness of Me. You are beautiful as you are.”
And in that moment I realized I was so focused on how the world saw me that I had forgotten that I was not created to please the world, rather I was placed on this earth to glorify God.
As a result of these difficult days, He placed on my heart a calling to encourage women: to encourage you to look in the mirror, even if you have always avoided it and say, “I am beautiful because God created me. He loves me, even with my imperfections. He knows the plans for my life and knows my innermost thoughts. He loves me as I am.”
It is no easy task to look in a mirror and say these words after so many years of avoiding that piece of glass. However, each time I see myself and say those words, I begin to see myself as God created me.
“Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, we are His, we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” -Psalms 100:3
God has created you unparalleled to anyone else, so don’t let society influence how you feel about yourself. Instead learn to love yourself and the One who created you. And then, just watch Him move in your life in incredible ways.
// image via.