Life's circumstances have a tendency of making us feel inadequate. Competition is always advertised, and popularity has become a trend. If people don't know your name, you must not be important... at least that's what society portrays. But what happens when you have what you thought you needed to be happy, yet you still feel inadequate? People seem to love you, but YOU can't stand you... So you put on this facade and pretend that everything is okay, despite the fact that you're so broken inside.
It's sad that much of the world lacks true identity. Growing up, many of us weren't taught how special, beautiful, important and unique we are, and chances are, this lack of truth was because the people who raised us had no idea of how important they were. So all that was left to do was for us to mimic those around us and the people on TV.
As a child and even deep into my teenage and early adult years, lack of identity greatly affected me. I always compared myself to my cousins and friends. They seemed to have much more than I had, and to be happier than I was. I wanted to experience those feelings so badly and because I didn't, I built up a lot of negative emotions. There were times I questioned why I was born into the family I was... it just wasn't fair to me.
You would think that after experiencing so many disappointments, I would become numb to the pain, but I never did. Every single time a new situation arose, it was like the very first time-- the pain cut just as deep and caused me to become even more damaged. I would cry in private and smile in public; this is what my life became. What was considered a nightmare to some, became a reality for me.
I grew older, but the insecurities were still fresh. I was jealous of people I didn't know, I was envious, I was constantly comparing myself to other people, and the outcome was usually me finding a way to make them seem lower than me, or me believing that they were better, for whatever reasons. This is how I lived my life. I'd make bad decision after bad decision, in order to feel validated or accepted by others, but these choices only made me feel worse.
I went on and on and on, trying to be good enough for everyone else-- yet in my mind, I wasn't good enough for me. I reached a point where I was facing death head on, but that wasn't the end for me. I would say that some way, some how, I had a change of hearts... but it wasn't by chance, it was by the grace of God. I had been praying and crying, and praying and crying-- and He stepped in and saved me from me. This is because I'd come to a place where all I could do was have faith that something in my life would change, even when all of the "signs" said otherwise.
So here I am now, learning to love myself for who I really am--for who God continues to show me I am. The most difficult part thus far in understanding that I am a new creation, is learning to be good enough for me. I have always been one to worry about what other people thought about me, sometimes more than what I thought about myself, but I'm learning that the most valued opinion about me, aside from the Father's, is my own. I am at a place of embracing my flaws. All my life I've learned to hide my flaws because I believed that revealing them would reveal that I was "less than" what I was supposed to be. Now I know that imperfections do not mean inadequacy. My flaws are not always negative either, in fact, many flaws are what help define a person as unique--as an individual. I have learned that imperfection is not always a weakness, and imperfections leave us room to grow.
In this process, I am learning to listen to God, because as He is, so am I. As He uproots the lies and speaks truth into the crevices of my heart, I mimic Him. I have found that self-encouragement is very imperative, but in order to encourage yourself, you have to know the truth about who you are, which comes by spending time at the feet of a perfect Creator, God. Let Him speak identity into you so that you can embrace that identity.
I want to forewarn you: there WILL be times where you fall, but a fall does not equal failure, so don't beat yourself up. Simply get back up and continue to move forward, pressing toward the mark and leaving the past behind you (Philippians 3:13).
Identity is found only in I AM, and because He is, so are you (1 John 4:17).
I recently read scripture about validation and it has softened my heart even more, and I believe it is necessary to share it. Despite what we go through, our strength and validation should always come from the Father.
2 Corinthians 6:4-14 (Message)
"Our work as God's servants gets validated - or not - in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all. Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That's not partnership; that's war. Is light best friends with dark?"
Also, here's a youtube link that I think you all will enjoy!
Father, we thank You for truth. At times, it becomes difficult to hear the truth about who we are because the lies are so loudly replaying over and over again in or minds. We pray right now that the lies be quieted so we can really hear from You--so we can know You, thus learning who we are because of You. God, we thank You for Your unconditional, unwavering love, that is constantly changing us from the inside on out and compelling us to be more like You. I pray right now that we let go of anything that is tainting our perspective of You, as well as of ourselves, and that we cling to what is good--You and Your ways. I pray right now that our validation not come from anyone but You. Though we will face many tough situations, I pray that we trust You with all that we are. God help us to know truth. Help us to walk in truth that we may never turn away from it. I pray that we learn to embrace our imperfections, which make us who we are... different. individuals!!! I pray that we stop competing and comparing, and that we start uplifting and encouraging one another. Father we know that Your ways are better than ours, and I pray that we learn to allow You to take the lead. Thank You God for all that You are, and all that we are because of You. Thank you that You have exchanged Your beauty for our ashes; we are beautiful. In Jesus' name. Amen!