It’s always a dangerous place to be in when we don’t see our own value.
I know this all too well because starting at a very young age I struggled with self-doubt and just feeling good about myself. I can recall as early as elementary school feeling socially awkward and completely out of place. My family was my comfort zone and outside of them, I felt very uncomfortable in my own skin. This would follow me through grade and by the time I reached college, the threads of being teased and feelings of self-doubt were woven so tight that I couldn’t unravel them even if I wanted to.
My undergraduate years were definitely a season of being lost and confused about who I was. I certainly did not have an identity rooted in Christ during that time and my attitude and behaviors were a reflection of that. While I went to church regularly and filled up on Sundays, but my day to day decisions were very much influenced by my insecurities and the lies I believed about myself. My inability to see my own worth manifested itself in seeking validation from guys who never had my best interest at heart. I gave more of myself than I could afford to give physically, emotionally, and even financially. Connecting myself to guys who picked up on every single insecurity I had at the time was my poison of choice and it became a vicious cycle that would continue for years.
Typically when I share my struggles with low self-esteem with people, their response is always something like, “but you’ve always been so pretty.” Well, I never looked in the mirror and told myself I was “ugly.” It wasn’t about vanity but rather self-worth. It had everything to do with a mindset that consumed every part of my life. In a nutshell, I told myself that I wasn’t good enough and when you don’t feel like you’re good enough, you settle, you miss opportunities, and you don’t live up to your true potential.
I remember exactly where I was when that light bulb went off. I foolishly connected myself with someone from my past in hopes for a different outcome. Once again I put myself out there emotionally and received nothing in return. I had this epiphany that enough was enough and frankly, my heart just could not take any more rejection. It truly bothered me that I was starring at the same hurt once again and I had no one to blame but myself. I recognized that I was the common denominator in every single pretend relationship I’d ever been in and so I needed to change, not the other person. I decided in that moment that it was time I chose me instead of waiting to be chosen by someone that God did not send into my life.
Over the years I’d have these epiphanies that I deserved better and I’d walk away but eventually go back to accepting relationships that had no substance but this time was different. This time the hurt was so real that I had to really start asking myself some tough questions. I had to stop running from the broken image I had of myself and get to the root of why I was setting myself up for continuous heartbreak. With time, everything pointed to a mindset that would eventually break me and keep me from living my life to the fullest if I didn’t start to think differently. Frankly, my mind was messed up and it needed renewing like yesterday.
The mind is such a powerful thing. It is very much connected to the things we say and the things we do. It has the power to influence how we move through life and that’s when things get a little bit dangerous for us as Christians. Believing false truths about ourselves, no matter the source or when it began, can eventually become a stronghold if we don’t face them. And the longer we allow these false truths to influence how we live our lives, the harder it becomes to train ourselves to think differently. This is exactly where the devil wants us to be and ultimately to stay.
In taking a very hard look in the mirror I recognized that for years my relationship with God was fragile. I came to understand that the only way to combat thinking less of myself was to renew my mind and the only way to do that was to start seeking God and understanding who He is and I am as His daughter (Ephesians 4:23). That within itself is a journey that still continues because changing a negative mindset doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve had to take responsibility for my decisions, overcome personal shame, and even ask God for forgiveness in seeing myself less than. It’s a process and one that requires discipline and a true desire to change.
I’m so very grateful that even in all my mess God was gracious enough to meet me exactly where I was (Romans 5:8) and for healing my broken heart. I understand the value in checking myself when my thoughts start to go left and never being afraid of recognizing those very hard truths about myself that I would otherwise like to tuck away and never address. There is something to be said about intentionally seeing God (and not perfection) so that God can reveal things to us that only He can reveal so that our hearts and our minds are renewed for the better (Jeremiah 33:3).
I’m very different now from that insecure girl who didn’t quite understand all that God put inside of her. I still have insecurities but I don’t allow them to have a significant impact on my life because I consciously affirm who I am and who God created me to be on a daily basis. My truth is that God met me at my lowest and helped me to develop a new attitude towards myself and establish a faith that continues to grow. It’s a daily walk that I wouldn’t trade for the world because it’s brought me peace, purpose, and so much clarity.
To the woman who struggles with seeing herself the way God sees her, I want to encourage you to seek your truth. If you struggle to walk with confidence as I once did, please know that God is within you (Psalm 46:5). With God, there is nothing you cannot do (Philippians 4:13). You were not created to be timid or fearful (2 Timothy 1:7). I want to remind you that God’s word is truth and it most definitely trumps any false truths you have ever believed about yourself. God has the power to transform minds and I can absolutely promise you that if you seek Him, He will fill every void you’ve ever experienced. You are brilliant in your own right. You are filled with a purpose that will reveal itself at the appointed time. You are enough and capable and chosen by God, and THAT’S a fact (1 Peter 2:9).
Tune in LIVE on Instagram at 1:00 PM PST April 5, 2018 to hear more from Krystle on this topic.
Krystle Barrington is a self-published author, writer, and speaker from Houston, Texas. An awkward child who never quite felt like she fit it, she gravitated to reading and writing at a very early age. It wasn’t until adulthood that she realized that her love for writing was much more than a hobby, but rather her purpose. Krystle refers to herself as a cheerleader for self-love, redemption, and faith. She believes in the power of transparency and through her writing hopes to encourage and challenge others to live their best life.