I had a sad encounter recently. I was meeting for coffee with a dear friend, and we were in the middle of a great chat when she stopped me and began to share some deep insecurities about her ability, appearance, and worth. My heart broke because sitting in front of me was a strong leader, a beautiful young woman, and a valuable child of God, not someone deserving of any of the titles she gave herself. I spent the next few minutes reminding her of all that I see in her and all that God sees in her. I think we both left slightly more encouraged.
As I was getting ready for bed, I took off my makeup, changed into sweats, and looked in the mirror. There I was, not particularly gifted in anything, definitely not thin enough, and not worthy of anyone’s deepest affections. That was the person I believed to be staring back at me. That was the sight I had grown so accustomed too. Sometimes it would make me cry, but most of the time, like that night, I just accepted it and moved on. Sometimes I would try to prove myself wrong, I would weigh myself, measure my dimensions, check how much activity I logged that day, and sometimes I would feel a little better, but most of the time I ended up feeling worse.
After those thoughts about myself came and went that evening I realized how universal my struggle was. I was in the very same place as that friend I had chatted with earlier. How many times had my friends shared the exact same things that I saw in the mirror at the end of the day? And every time one of those beautiful souls said those things, did it not instantly break my heart and cause me to immediately call out the lies for what they were? My compassion for them was so immediate, so automatic, why couldn’t I extend that same kindness towards myself?
I know this is hard for us young women to do. We see our place in the world as measured by inches, pounds, or compliments. It is hard to change those thoughts immediately, and it definitely doesn’t come automatically for most of us. It’s strange how I can allow God’s view of those around me to become my view of them, yet deny myself that very same grace. It seems easier to extend that unconditional love to those close to us than it is to extend it to ourselves. We see the sin and imperfections so much clearer and give them more weight when it’s our hearts we are examining.
Friends, that’s not what God sees. God doesn’t only see the worth in the ones you see worth in. You are a beloved child right alongside all your loved ones. You aren’t a worse sinner than anyone else, even though you may not see their struggles as clearly as you feel your own. Jesus came and died so that we can be pure and clean and worthy in his sight.
Be gentle with yourselves. I’m not saying we should all be filled with pride or stop trying to serve the Lord more, but we should at least give ourselves the same grace and compassion that we offer to our loved ones. No one will ever be perfect, so stop being disappointed when you aren’t.
words by Breanna Maier and photo by Cate Willis