If I could make some pretty general statements about 99% of people in America today, it would be that I think we all want to feel good about ourselves, and we all want to feel like we’re worth something. We all want to be loved. We all want some freedom from our insecurities.
I’ll tell you right now that that is exactly the way I feel. I need/want to know every day that I am loved by someone, approved by someone, good at something and that I am enough for someone. The thing I didn’t always know was where to look to fulfill all of those needs/wants. I was backed into my little corner of insecurity, looking inn all the wrong places for these needs to be filled by anything that looked or felt good.
I remember times throughout high school school that I was mortified if someone made fun of the shoes that I was wearing, or if my crush made a comment about my big nose, or if I failed a test. Other times, when all of my friends had boyfriends, I thought something was wrong with me because I had never had one. I thought that I wasn’t pretty enough, or funny enough, or outgoing enough for a boy to want to date me. I needed things and people to affirm me, so I started living for those to make me feel loved.
The catalyst in my life that finally turned my eyes toward the thing that could set me free from my constant battle with my insecurity was, drum roll please…a failed romantic relationship. I know you probably all saw that coming. You’re right, it is a common event that almost all of us have experienced, and it usually changes us. Although this change hurt like a bugger, it was a small step in the right direction.
So, here’s the synopsis of my failed relationship. This boy was my first boyfriend, and obviously I was in love with him and going to marry him someday. He improved my life by 110%. He wasn’t perfect, but he treated me like a queen and loved me the best he could. I thought he was perfect for me.
I believe that relationships are a pretty awesome thing, because they give us a small taste of what perfection is. Having someone profess their love for you and shower you with affection and approval and compliments and encouragement is one of the greatest feelings in the entire world.
Unfortunately, human relationships fall short because of the sad fact that we are all human, none of us are capable of loving each other perfectly. After an unhealthy amount of time spent together, I started to think that I needed to earn my self-worth from my boyfriend at the time by acting in a way to attract him with my femininity, and I started to thrive off of his approval above all else. If I didn’t get compliments, I questioned his care for me. If he talked to another girl, I assumed that his eyes were turning away from me. I was hurt if he didn’t say he loved me before he dropped me off at my class even if he had said it one million times before. I was in a major identity crisis and I put my heart in the hands of an innocent person who wasn’t capable of loving me the way I needed to be loved.
One day, my source of self-worth was exhausted when I experienced my first break-up. I was lost. I felt rejected, I felt hopeless, I felt worthless. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I cried enough tears to fill a river. I played over regrets in my mind constantly and longed for the situation to be reversed. I lost a good 20 lbs without trying and cursed God for taking away the one person that made me happy. I did irrational things and made a lot of stupid mistakes. After months of feeling like the most low person alive, I hit a fork in the road.
One night, as I sat on my bedroom floor with a bottle of pills, my kneecaps bleeding from scratches I made as a confused and desperate act to feel a different kind of pain than the emotional pain I was feeling, I asked God to give me a reason to stay alive. Not seconds later, I caught a glimpse of the corner of my little blue Bible piled under a huge (and typical) mess of clothes. I opened it up, read something in Isaiah and started crying. God spoke to me that night and told me that He wasn’t finished with me yet through that little passage in Isaiah even though I can’t even remember what it said specifically. He answered my spiteful and doubting prayer for a reason to live, and in that moment He showed me that He loved me.
From that night on, I turned to the thing that I always subconsciously knew would make me feel better, bettering my relationship with God. I embarked on a journey to learn what it really meant to be a Christian. I chose to attend a Bible College despite the high cost of attending a private school because I was serious this time about learning more about God.
I remember one specific day that I had an epiphany in either a chapel session or a Bible Conference session that we had in my first couples months at Baptist Bible College. The speaker was talking about the Gospel (the story of Christ’s atoning death for our sins) and did something awesome. He pulled out a paper and went down a huge list of common sins, big and small, most of which I had been guilty of and probably still am. He called Christians out on their hypocritical actions. I started to feel really bad about myself when I realized these things displeased God, like a lot. All of my sins convicted me to the core. If I was honest with myself, I wasn’t really what I considered a good Christian. What happened next surprised me. The speaker tore up the list, threw it on the ground and said, “this is what Jesus does to your sin.” I wanted to cry. At that moment, I finally understood the Gospel. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins. Jesus takes my list of sins and tears it up. He gives me a fresh piece of paper to work with every day.
Jesus Christ, God incarnate, loves me better than anyone ever has, and He thinks that I’m worth enough to die for. I don’t have to earn or prove anything to be loved by Him. He’s the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, and He’s always there for me 24/7, 365 days a year. He listens to me and He knows my thoughts. He’s seen the best and the worst of me, but He still chooses to love me, bless me, and He gives me a new reason to love my life every day. I ask Him to provide, and when I wait on His timing, He provides for my needs with even better gifts than I asked for. He has never given up on me, and if you trust Him and obey His Word, He will do the same for you.
I’ve found the love and affirmation that I’ve always wanted in God, and I am truly free.