Who Do You Say That I Am?
When you look in the mirror who do you see? Do you see a woman who
is attractive, competent, valued, and loved? Or, are you more likely to
see yourself as flawed, ugly, inferior, and unloved?
Our internal picture of ourselves begins at birth when we look into
our mother (or caregiver's) face and take into ourselves what is
reflected back to us. Does our mom smile when we coo? Is she attentive
and soothing when we cry? Do people clap when we take our first step?
In a healthy environment, infants see themselves as loved, wanted,
and valued. Being raised by loving parents gives us a solid foundation
for a good self-image, but no one escapes childhood without a few
scars. Those who did not have loving caregivers are more deeply wounded.
When I was a child, I never liked being me. I wasn't pretty enough,
smart enough, or skinny enough. I was never invited to the birthday
parties of the popular girls in my school, and I always saw myself as
Sometimes I tried to become someone else. I'd copy one of the more
popular girls' laugh, or outfit, or hairstyle, hoping that if I could
look or become more like her, people would then like me. But I never
felt cared about or secure in my relationships because I knew that the
person they liked wasn't the real me. I saw myself as a fake.
As adult women, we still battle these same feelings don't we? We
tell ourselves that we're not as pretty, or as together, or as
spiritual, or organized, or loving as other women we see. We compare
and contrast our lives and our thighs and ask ourselves, "Do I measure
up? Am I good enough?" In addition, we're constantly scanning the faces
of those around us, silently asking, "How do you see me? Am I loved,
worthy, and valuable to you?"
The foundation for a healthy self-concept rests in the assurance
that we are loved, but human love (no matter how good) will never be
enough or without some pain. It is only God's infinite and
unconditional love that can correct and heal our faulty self-image.
When I began to take my eyes off myself and my flaws and
imperfections and put them on God, I began to see myself differently. I
stopped looking at myself through my mother's eyes, which told me I was
unloved and unwanted. I stopped looking at myself through other
people's eyes, which sometimes made me feel wonderful, but more often
reminded me that I was inadequate and flawed and never enough.
Seeing myself through God's eyes gave me an entirely different
picture of who I am and what I was made for. I discovered that God
doesn't want to change me into another person, but he does want to
change me. He wants me to be the best possible me so I am free to serve
Him without fear and morbid self-consciousness. He wants to heal and
transform the lies, the wounds, and yes, even the sins that have kept
me from becoming the person he created me to be.
If you're struggling with a negative self-image, the ultimate
makeover isn't done at the cosmetic counter, the gym, in a fancy
department store, or by a plastic surgeon, but by God. Psychologist
David Benner writes, "Genuine self knowledge begins by looking at God
and noticing how God is looking at us. Grounding our knowing of
ourselves in God's knowing of us anchors us in reality, it also anchors
us in God."
The apostle Paul tells us because of what Christ did for us on the
cross, God sees us as "holy and blameless before him, presented without
a single fault." But he cautions us not to forget who we are, because
when we do, we'll feel those old insecurities creep back in (Colossians 1:21-23).
Here are a few things you can do to help you see clearly.
1. Meditate on God's Word. Despite your perceptions, the truest thing about you is what God says about you.
2. Since Jesus is the exact representation of what God is like (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3),
look at how Jesus interacted with people. Notice how they changed the
way they saw themselves when they looked at God looking at them. (For
starters, read the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:2-10, and the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-30).
3. Stop the negative self-talk. When you become aware that
you're comparing yourself with others or putting yourself down or
allowing someone else's gaze to diminish you, tell yourself to stop it.
You are no longer going to be controlled by those habits. Instead look
up and see God looking at you.
P.S. I want to warmly
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