That was the nickname that my family gave me while growing up. And these words, along with similar others, formed my perspective of myself. I had low self-esteem though no one would ever know it. I put on a front that I didn’t care what people thought of me… but I did. Deep down I was hurt more often than not because of people’s words.
This lead to me learning to defend myself with sarcasm. As I stated in a previous post, “The root for the word sarcasm literally means ‘tearing of flesh‘ and this is usually done in a covert kind of way. For instance, when you want to tell someone the truth but you don’t want to come off confrontational, you usually say it sarcastically – in a joking way so as to assume that it’s not a big deal and even worth a laugh or two when what you really want is for them to get the point. Sarcasm can also be pointed at oneself, seen in cutting yourself down or joking about your own insecurities – pretending to be ok with yourself but really you might be fishing for a compliment or for your feelings to be validated. Both are wrong and not what’s intended when God says how we should speak – with love toward one another and words useful for building each other up (Ephesians 4:29). Sarcasm does the opposite.”
After I became a Christian, I prayed that God would help me control my tongue no matter what others said to me (read James 3). I didn’t want to hurt other people with my words like I had been hurt. (read Proverbs 10:31-32; 12:8; 15:4; 18:21; 31:26)
Over time He did exactly that and I became more and more sensitive to sarcasm. But on the other hand, I also became more and more of an encourager. I’ve taken dozens of Spiritual Gift Assessment Tests – Encouragement has been high up on the list every time along with Discernment, Faith & Shepherding. My “love language” is primarily Words of Affirmation. I’ve done a 180° on the use of my speech to others.
But I still struggled with low self-esteem, specifically in the appearance aspect of myself. I have a beautiful twin sister who is fit, trendy, spontaneous, fun & comical. She was never without a boyfriend. Meanwhile, I was told by boys that they only wanted to “date” me in order to be closer to my sister. They were using and manipulating me in order to get the bigger (more attractive) fish. It all played into a serious war within myself of wanting to accept who I was and think I was pretty but the world around me telling me otherwise.
After nearly a decade of singleness, my now-husband walked into my life. I had grown in my individual walk with the Lord and he was such a godly man who shared most of the same convictions as me. From the get-go he has told me that I’m beautiful. Regardless of whether I believed him, he has repeated it over and over again through the years.
He has fought to regain ground in my mind by encouraging me in his attraction to me. He was a warrior for my perspective of myself because God was using him to help me believe that the way God created me was exactly what He wanted & needed me to be. Paul challenged me on not forsaking my worth simply because the “world” shouts at me otherwise, but encouraged a deeper growth in my understanding of the gospel and of my identity in Christ.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
– Romans 15:4-7
It is through this growth, and finally having examples of what women look like when they love God with all their heart that the world’s voices no longer register in their minds, that I am finally turning a corner and starting to accept myself just as I am – size, shape, flaws, and all. I finally get the aspect of my value to God and to my family and that it has nothing to do with what I look like, but instead on where my heart is aimed and how I am living out my faith.
Encourage one another and build one another up”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Let us all be encouragers, drawing people to the throne of grace and to the One who loves them far better than we ever could. He redeems hearts and lives and gives new meaning of the word “worth”.
Also shared at: