Growing up, I had such low self esteem. I really doubted my worth, because I was not of normal height, weight, appearance, demeanor, or anything else really. I was a tomboy because I didn't think I was pretty enough to be a girly-girl and feared dabbling with nail polish or glitter or typical girl's dress-up and makeup, because I knew other girls would judge me as unworthy of such things. Not that I say this to fish for compliments, because that is not my intention and I am not complaining- but I was quite sad at the time. Now it provides me something to look back on and serves as proof of how much I have changed. I had few friends, and the ones I did have weren't always true friends (more like bullies who would invite me places because their parents said they had to). Though I was carefree enough to be open about my interests at the time (mainly Pokémon...), I still hid inside the shell of a chubby girl with thick glasses, mangled hair, and crooked teeth. I wasn't shy- in fact I was quite loud- but I wasn't open. I wasn't free. I would come home from school and cry, knowing no one at school cared if I existed or not. It hurt, a lot. As I reached middle school, I was determined to fit in- so I changed myself to better fit the cool kids. I gave up the things that I really liked and adopted an entire new set of interests, though I still secretly held onto my affinity for Shirley Temple and PBS Kids. This facade continued all through Jr. & Sr. High school, though it never really worked- it never drew people in to get to know the real me. Few could really appreciate me, because I wasn't transparent. I was just a struggling girl who battled an eating disorder, an addiction to social networking (as people seemed to like me better over the internet), and a terrible habit of skipping school every other day. All through this time, I remained a Christian in the worldly sense, but sought no comfort in the arms of Christ. I was a captive to the opinions of my peers- a captive of the world.
It has been a long journey, but the most rewarding adventure I could have even imagined. In the past few years, as I have been entering adulthood, my Lord showed me His great love for me and His perfect intentions for who I was made to be. Though I still struggle from time to time about what I see in the mirror, I have never been so comfortable with myself, inside and out. God has freed me from the chains of self-defeat, and I can now boast of an abundant freedom that has come only from learning that by being myself I am glorifying God through the celebration of His creation. What an encouraging truth! I now consider myself valuable because I know my Father considers me His precious daughter who He desperately wants to show off. He loves who I am because He made me that way! And therefore, I love who I am!
"'I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity'" - Jeremiah 29:14
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well!" - Psalm 139:14