Why is it so easy to believe the worst about ourselves? We so readily encourage other women, tell them that they are beautiful, intelligent, and special, but when it comes to ourselves, we find it challenging to do so. The problem is that we judge ourselves according to the ideals of the world and yet forget about the opinion of the only One who knows us best.
Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and scanned yourself? You look at your hair, your skin, your weight, your body shape, the features on your face- pretty much anything that you can compare to others. Many of us start the ‘if only’ conversation with ourselves, tearing down our confidence bit by bit. If only I was curvier and not so straight, if only I had a smaller nose, if only my eyes were a different colour, if only my skin were lighter, if only I was taller, and the list continues. Our comparisons do not end with our physical appearance but go into our character, intelligence, and how people perceive us. We might see someone else being praised for their kindness and helpfulness when you believe that you have done far more than that person, and you take it to heart. You might feel unappreciated, and slowly but surely you become bitter about it. It is human nature to wish to be recognised for the good that we do, and for our accomplishments, but when it does not happen, it angers and hurts us.
There is this self-love movement that has taken over the media, but it in some ways it does more harm than good. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself, but it should never be at the expense of your faith, your health, and your self-respect. There is a healthy balance to self-love, and it does not include thinking of yourself far more than you should (vanity), choosing to be unhealthy and not taking care of your body, and believing that all things are acceptable as long as you love yourself while doing it. Wearing figure-hugging clothing that shows off your body is not respecting yourself, especially when we know that modesty is a woman’s garment. We have to tune out what the world thinks and begin to focus on what GOD says.
The best way to combat negative thoughts about yourself is memorising what GOD’S Word says about you. However, I will stress that you cannot expect to overcome self-negativity without some mental work. Just as your negative self-opinion developed over time, so will it take time to see yourself as GOD intended. I will raise my hand and say that I can verbally and mentally beat myself down until I despair of ever being worthy enough. I can take it from ten to a hundred in a matter of minutes, especially when I have heard a negative comment from outside sources or feel that no one seems to care about what I say. The self-pity becomes rather cringe-worthy at this point. But isn’t it wonderful to know that GOD’S Word covers any and every bad thought we may have about ourselves? It is as though He is saying: you may think that about yourself, but this is what you must believe about yourself as My child. For example:
You: I can never be enough!
GOD: And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power (Col 2:10)
You: No one truly loves me
GOD: But GOD, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us (Eph 2:4)
You: I am an idiot
GOD: But we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16)
You: I am just a nobody
GOD: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet 2:9)
You: I always just feel so scared about things
GOD: For GOD hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)
Do I need to go on? The Word of GOD is endless in countering every terrible thought that we can have about ourselves. But there is also the problem of self-image. We get so caught up on what we see and think we should be, but the Bible is clear about it:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (1 Tim 2:9-10)
All that extra stuff doesn’t matter, what matters are the good works that you do for the kingdom of GOD. You must take care of yourself because you are the temple of GOD, but it is not to take over what is truly important.
I tend to repeat a verse over and over to myself until it drowns out that ugly voice intent on bringing me down. The truth is that as women of GOD, we are all worthy because He has made us worthy. Not by our own works, but by what He has done. We don’t have to strive to achieve what we believe we should be, we can simply obey Him. Jesus does not want us to focus on ourselves, but on Him, because He knows that when left to our own devices, we tend to make a mess of things. Let’s choose to focus on His Word and live joyful lives, and leave our own opinions and the worlds at the door.