I am a special breed. I have a weird sense of humor. I don’t look like the average person. I have to study really hard and still don’t have the best grades. I was unwanted as a child and was put in the foster system. I am very sensitive and cry easy. I have rejection and abandonment issues. I have to try somethings several times before I get it right. I struggle with self worth. I have done some really bad things in my past. I am fat. I drink too much alcohol. I talk about people really bad so that i feel better about myself. I snore really loud. I don’t trust people. I have a nasty attitude. The list goes on and on with the kind of flaws that we all have. Are they something that we love to go around and tell people about us, probably not. Matter of fact, most of the things on the flaw list are things that we put a lot of energy and effort into covering up. They are things that we are not proud of about ourselves. And sadly for many of us they are things that we are ashamed of.
But I would like to say to you that God made each and every one of us uniquely and wonderfully. Sure we have things about us that need to be changed as far as our behavior, words, and actions, but that is in God’s timing. As far as our looks, our character, and those quirky things that we do, God made us that way and we should embrace it. We were all made differently so that we would have qualities that we can offer each other. We were made differently so that we can all have something to bring to the table. We were all created to look different because God likes variety. And just because you may look, smell, think, or act different than someone else does not make you any less valuable. If you come from a really rough and jagged past, that does not make you any less important than the next person. If you spent the first part of your life on the wrong side of the tracks, that does not mean that you are a lost cause. We are all important, valuable, and worthy to God.
I spent so much of my energy, time, and life on trying to cover up or change who I was for the first 30 yrs of my life. Looking back on it now I can see just how much energy it does take out of us when we are trying to cover up something or trying to fit in somewhere. And the weight that we carry from the shame, regret, and embarrassment of either the action, event, or ourselves is debilitating at times. I can now completely understand how someone feels when they say that they are not comfortable in their own skin, that they feel like an outcast, or when they say that they can never measure up. I understand how a woman feels when she says that she feels dirty, like used merchandise, broken, dead inside, or unlovable. I understand what it is like to hate yourself because of what someone else did to you and for something that you did.
My journey covering up who I was created to be started at a very early age. At the age of nine or ten My mom put me on my first diet. I was chunky and of course I got bullied a lot for it. By the age of twelve I would wear spandex and tummy control tops to try to make myself seem a little bit smaller or I would wear super big clothes to try to cover up my fat. One of my front teeth stuck out a little bit more than the other so I would never smile showing my teeth and most of the time I would try to shield my mouth with my hand so that no one would see it. I loved the water. I could have lived at the beach or at a pool. As a young child I would splash and play, laughing and carrying on, without a care in the world. By the age of twelve I would not wear my bathing suit in front of anyone without a t-shirt on to cover myself up. Then, by the time that I was around fourteen I wouldn’t even get into a bathing suit out in a public area. Because of my self image I could not do the one thing that I had so much fun doing and it sucked. Because of some events that took place between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, as well as some words that were spoken to me at a younger age, by the age of sixteen I had developed a self view that I was worthless, fat, would never amount to anything good, was stupid, was only good for one thing, there was something wrong with me, I did not fit in anywhere, and what did I do so wrong that God was punishing me my whole life. That is a pretty poor image to have of ones self. And because of that poor self image and my lack of knowledge, and understanding, of the love of God, that poor self image set me on a destructive and shameful path for the next several years. What dignity that I may have still had at that time was definitely gone by the age of twenty. I did things and I had things done to me during those years that left very deep scars and put me in the darkest place that I had ever been. I had thoughts of ending it all a couple of times. I was in a place that had no hope for a better future.
But no one could know that! No one could know that I was really a weak, vulnerable, sad, broken mess. I had to be on top of my game, always looking the best, walking like I had great purpose and confidence, even though I was dieing inside. I had be be unbreakable even though I was already broken. I had to adjust my smile, my walk, my speech, my opinions, my truths, to whatever type of group of people that I was around. I had to act like I knew about things that I knew nothing about. I had to act like I liked things that I hated. I had to act like I knew how to do things that I did not know how to do. I had to do all this acting to try to cover up the real me. And because I was constantly trying to cover up who I was, I didn’t even know who I was. I did not know things that I liked to do. I did not know what interested me. I knew nothing about the person that God created me to be because I was afraid that I would be rejected, hurt, disliked, not approved of, or made fun of. And because of that I would be whoever I thought someone else wanted me to be or would approve of me being.
Once I got ahold of the truth of who God was, and started reading His word, I began to gain strength to learn who I was created to be and to be that person. The freedom of the truth that we were all created to be different from each other and that God created a masterpiece. The freedom that we were created uniquely in our mothers womb and that God, knowing exactly who we would be and what we would do throughout our entire lives, still chose to birth us and love us. The freedom that God does not see me as the mistakes that I have made, nor does He see me as the disgusting things that have been done to me. The freedom that I am not expected to be perfect and that God loves every part of me, flaws and all. The freedom of knowing that God does have a good plan for me, even though I come from where I come from, even though I have done what I have done, even though I have had done to me what was done. He still loves me very much and he created me to be who I am, not who someone else wants or needs me to be.
There are many others truths of who God created you to be in the bible and my hope is that you will read them and own them as your truth. Don’t hide behind your flaws and your truth. I am not saying to go around and tell every single person you meet your deepest darkest secret. I am saying to be true to who God created you to be and love yourself in a balanced way. Don’t use your time and energy on trying to hide who you are out of fear, shame, guilt, or embarrassment. You are who God created you to be and you are special. You are not what has been done to you, nor are you what you have done. The past is the past and the future is what matters. Embrace your flaws and be the fearless, flawed, perfect hearted, beautiful, and strong human being that God created you to be. Know that you are forgiven, that God has mercy on you and he sees you for your heart and not your actions. Know that you have been given the grace that you need to overcome anything and to be everything that you were created to be. Hug yourself and say I am loved, I am desired, I am wanted, I am special, I am okay, and I am going to be me!!!!
Because I have learned who I was created to be and stepped into that position I now love myself. I can actually walk tall with true confidence now. I can admit my flaws and feel no less valuable than the next person. I now know that I am just as important and just as worthy as the best person there is in this world. I now know that I am equal to and never less than the next person. I have also been freed to love others just as they are. I do not expect anyone to be more or less than I am. And I no longer have the stress and misery of trying to be someone that I was not meant to be. You too can be free to be you, with flaws and all. You too are equal to and not less than. You too are loved deeply by a mighty God that already knows everything that there is to know about you, plus, everything that you will do or be in the future. Embrace who you were created to be and fall in love with that person.