Bit of a dramatic title right? But I guess it's totally perfect for this too. See the thing is, my self confidence and esteem has been improving slowly but surely over the last few weeks since Lent because I've been reminding myself quite fervently that I am made in the image of God, and that – yeah, you guessed it – I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
One of the things I've realised in the last few days is that comparisons really aren't of God – at least, not the Jesus I know and love anyway. He tells me I am unique and good and enough. Hey, I'm even worth dying for. I don't know whether you believe that for yourself or not and I'm not about to embark upon some happy clappy Christian gloop but I believe He feels the exact same way about you, and that He loves you and thinks you are worth it.
Why do we compare ourselves? Like really? Apparently, our fingerprints and even our tongue prints (or patterns, I don’t really know the technical term) are totally unique and NO ONE has the same print to us. NO ONE. In the womb, our genetic code was formed and exploded (not literally but funky word, eh) from a small bunch of cells and NO ONE else has that genetic code. I know how it feels right now if your confidence is at an all time low. You’re reading this thinking, I know Annie, but really, who cares? I don’t like my genes. I wish I looked more like this person or that person, less like this, more like that. God must have made a mistake with me.
Honestly? It’s words like this that break my heart, and if you’ve ever said or thought these things I want to assure you you’re not alone in this. For a good few years I constantly compared myself to everyone else. Even now at uni I still feel rubbish when I see someone gorgeous and I feel like the back end of a badger or when someone is so on fire for God or doing really well or they have something I don’t – comparison happens. It happens to all of us – and I’m not saying for a second that I’m immune from that. But recently I feel a sort of release from that I guess. It still happens, don’t get me wrong, but the more I feel comfortable in my own skin the less I feel like I need to compare myself to others. The more confidence I have in myself the less I will seek assurance and acceptance and affirmation from the opinions other people have about me.
Truth is, the only opinion that matters is God’s, and I already know how He feels about me, I can read about it in the amazing love letter He’s given me found in the pages of the good old bible.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
“And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses. I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. (Hosea 2:14, 15 MSG)
God LOVES me. Just as I am. He didn’t make me to be like anybody else because He made me to be like ME. He knows I get disappointed when I look at my friends and feel sad I don’t look like them or sound like them, that I couldn’t fit into their clothes or look good with their makeup on. But, in all fairness, how much does my sadness disappoint God? He made me and spent time on me. He has plans for me and ordained days for me and jobs for me to do. And I’m disappointed in how he made me? In what He’s given me?
God, I’m sorry.
I’m more valuable than birds apparently. I’m worth looking after when I feel worthless. I’m worth being loved when I feel unloved, and I’m worth feeling beautiful and whole and pure when I feel the complete opposite. He turns my heartbreak and disappointment in myself into hope and joy and strength to carry on. Self worth is a big issue – if depression is teaching me anything then depression has taught me that. When I’m sad I’m disappointed in my inability to be a normal human being like everyone else. When I’m sad I hide away; I cover up and I lock the doors. I pretend I’m not there.
But somehow, Jesus helps me to unlock the door and show myself to the world. And it’s in these times I remember I’m living for Him, not the world. Not a weight loss plan, not a boy. Not a grade, not a wage, not the acceptance or affections of other people. I’m living for Jesus. THAT is what gives me purpose and THAT is what puts me back together when the damage of comparison tears me apart.
You’re beautiful. So so beautiful. Okay? Just the way you are. If you need help remembering that, write down these verses even if you’re not sure you believe it or not or if it sounds alien to you. Write a list of what makes you, YOU. Whether it’s the fact you like to keep the tea bag in your tea or you love polka dot skirts and shirts and socks. Be YOU. Comparisons are dangerous; when we look at others we lose sight of who we really are.
And guess what? You’re worth so much more than that.
“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular. (Luke 6:26 MSG)
Peace and blessings x