You’re not good enough. You’re ugly. You’re not thin enough. You’re not smart enough. The voices get so loud that I can’t focus on anything else. As I stare into the mirror, the feeling that I’m worthless plagues my mind and suffocates me. My joy is gone.
That familiar scene is so fresh in my mind. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with a negative view of myself. Being an achiever, it’s easy for me to see the things that I don’t have and then obsess about how I can improve and become a better person. My focus is distorted, and I forget where my worth lies. I deceive myself into thinking that somehow I am worth more if I become “better.”
Our standards are too high to reach
As a culture, we set unbelievably high standards. In order to be beautiful enough, we feel like we have to compete with the airbrushed models. To be smart enough we have to score a certain number on the SAT. To be healthy enough, we have to buy 100% certified organic and non GMO ingredients. Since we are always surrounded with such messages, how do we combat the unrealistic standards that are set before us?
This may sound cliché, but it isn’t until we understand our value in Christ that we can truly find our worth. Everything that we do is based on performance. If we work hard, we get a good grade or a paycheck. When we mess up, there are consequences. What if I’m not perfect? What will that make me? We fail to realize that in God’s eyes, we don’t have to perform or achieve in order to find value.
‘“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
God doesn’t look for our perfection. We can’t be perfect. That’s why He sent Jesus. He was the only one who could live a sinless life. When we find our worth in what we accomplish, we are robbing Jesus of the sacrifice He made. He gave everything so that we might be free. He stepped down from His heavenly throne, took on our imperfection, and laid down His life for us. Now we can be perfect in Him. When we attempt to find worth in our own strength, we are telling God that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.
So often I have bought into the lie that my worth comes from how I look, how well I perform, or how smart I am. However, God has been making it clear to me more and more that it’s not about me. When I place my worth in what I have done, life becomes all about myself rather than about what Jesus did. My true value doesn’t lie in myself. It lies in who I am in Jesus. That may sound like a Sunday school answer, but trust me. It’s so true.
We need perspective not perfection
We exhaust ourselves. We can never be good enough. There’s always something that we don’t have. We spend our energy on a worthless chase. We never go anywhere. Once we meet that goal, guess what? There’s something else out there that we haven’t achieved.
My entire life I have struggled with negative self worth. At the age of twelve I began struggling with an eating disorder. However, no matter how thin I got, it wasn’t enough. I still didn’t feel beautiful enough. I believe that I felt this way because I had such a here-and-now perspective. I failed to realize that in eternity, my beauty wouldn’t matter. The mirror can block out all other voices. Our image stares us right in the face. How can we avert our eyes and block out negative thoughts? It’s by gazing at Jesus. It’s by communing with him. It’s by realizing that the world is so much bigger than ourselves. When we start doing this, our perspective changes.
This is a battle I’m still fighting. I constantly need to remind myself where my worth comes from. I still need to spend more time with the Lord. However, as I’ve been on this journey, I’ve experienced freedom in letting go… in giving it to Jesus… in saying, “Lord, I feel worthless. Help me to truly know your love. Help me to savor it. Help me to give that love to others.”
When I’m focused on how worthless I feel, I forget to look to the needs of others. I forget that there are people out there who have the very same thoughts that I do! This year it has been my goal to look outwardly. When I release my own selfish thoughts, I find freedom. By seeking out others, I am able to share the love Jesus has poured out on me.
It is my prayer that we will be women who live in light of Jesus’ work on the cross. He gave up everything so that we might have value. My sister, you are priceless, but not because of what you have done. It is simply because Jesus put His mark of approval on you. Now you are free to live a life free of the bondage of negative self image. The enemy will try to use it to enslave you. But Jesus died so that you might be free. So live the life He called you to live. Live a life of freedom and purpose. Sister, you are free.
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:12-17).”