My parents tell me that I was a happy child in the beginning. Apparently as a toddler I was friendly and outgoing. But somehow, sometime before my memories begin, I was infiltrated with a damaging lie. Sometime in my formative years the idea that I wasn't good enough began to seep into my heart.
I was shy, I was empathetic and I was chubby - a dangerous combination in a public school where kids acted up, teased, and took down the 'little guy' so they could ease their own ache a little. I don't know if the lies started with them, with the devil or with myself - but I believed them. I believed that I was ugly. I believed that I was weird. And worst of all, I believed that I was unlovable.
Of course I knew that my family loved me - but they had to, right? I had a few friends, but frankly they often weren't much nicer to me than my enemies. And the more I believed I wasn't worthy of friendship, the fewer friends I had.
Eventually, we moved to a new state and started a new school (private all-girls' school). Even though I met new friends and got involved in activities, I still felt lonely, still felt like a freak. I felt fat and ugly and awkward and couldn't bear to look a boy in the eyes. I tried to blend in with the walls, because disappearing was so much less painful than risking rejection. I thought of myself as someone with few real friends, who would always be a loser.
Even when I starved myself down to 95 pounds, I still felt ugly, still felt like a freak. I still didn't believe I was worthy of friendship or real love. I always assumed that I'd end up with whatever guy would deign to be with me, who probably wouldn't treat me well because, fankly, he'd be settling.
And then I grew up. I met this guy who treats me like a princess and doesn't feel like he's settling at all. He helped a lot to open my eyes to the truth.
And, oddly enough, I had my biggest revelation while digging through my boxes of old photos. Not only was I not nearly as fat or awkward looking as I'd thought, but I wasn't unpopular, either. I found photos of parties I hosted where 20+ people showed up. I found photo on photo of myself posing in groups of smiling girls, all of whom I considered to be good friends. I recently had a boy I knew a long time ago tell me "oh, yeah, I always thought you were pretty, I just didn't ask you out because we were into different stuff." Wow - boys noticed me? I had real friends? I wasn't a freak?
Everything I've believed for the last 25 years has been a lie!
And worst of all, I was the one lying to myself. Excluding a few (probably not atypical) instances in jr. high, no one else has ever told me I was fat, ugly, or weird. In retrospect, the boys who picked on me were, essentially, dipping my pigtails in the inkwell - they were flirting. The only reason I didn't feel like a part of the group was because I chose to withdraw.
And most importantly, I allowed these lies to fester because I didn't believe the greatest truth of all. God loves me. HE made me worthy. Nothing I do or don't do can change that truth. Nothing someone says, nothing I say to myself will ever change the fact that my worth comes from God. HE will always love me no matter what.
Sometimes the lies come back. Sometimes I still feel like I'm worthless. But those are the moment I decide to change my focus. I stop thinking about how I feel and start thinking about what I can do. It's hard to feel like a loser when you're doing something good for someone else.
So the next time you feel down on yourself, ask yourself this - are my feelings true? or are they just lies I'm telling myself? So often our self-perception is SO inaccurate. We don't know exactly how the world sees us because it doesn't tell us. But we know how God feels about us because HE told us - HE showed us.
Don't believe the lies. Believe the truth. You are worthy, you are loved. You are good enough!