So just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, and you’ve missed the InstaStories and the Facebook feeds… It was Valentine’s Day, y’all. Now here’s a fun fact—Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday of all the holidays. More than Christmas. More than Thanksgiving. Certainly more than Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day.
VALENTINE’S DAY. Ahhhh. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic, I suppose. And I have loved love for as long as I can possibly remember.
But this year, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. ::insert all the eye rolls::
I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that this might be the case, but this week it was confirmed. You see, I’m part of this Squad of sorts… it’s hard to explain really, but suffice it to say that we are an online community that is quite possibly the most loving, supportive group of ladies imaginable. And this week, part of our group work was to make a video about something we love about ourselves.
After quite a bit of effort (because CHILDREN), I made the video and posted it to the site. I was showing my mom later, to let her see how my youngest interrupted my video making by sneaking out of his room TWO HOURS after he had been put to bed (Bless it, Jesus.). She watched the whole video, and then said, “You did a great job, but I still don’t get what you love about yourself.”
Oh, you caught that did you? Because there in the midst of my three-minute video, I had done my best to hide my ambiguity in pretty packaged lessons learned and well-articulated facts about who I am… but something I love about myself? It was missing. It was missing because after nearly a week of thinking about what I might say, I was hard pressed to find something that stood out in my mind.
Not ONE. SINGLE. THING. I mean, I know that God has given me gifts and talents. I know that I have some good to offer the world. But to be able to say, this… this, THIS is what I love? I wasn’t able.
Now I don’t say that to elicit compliments or compassion. Because even though I thrive on words of affirmation, hearing encouragement is not the underlying problem here. No, I say this as a confession that I feel certain will likely call out a confidant. Why? Because I know that I am not alone.
Because I know that women people all around can be lavished with encouragement or praise or kind words and still be drowning in their own feelings of self-doubt. They can receive the highest of accolades only to find themselves crippled with the memory of their past failures. They can stand with their heads seemingly held high while feeling within them the paralyzing fear that they are not good enough. They can smile at the stranger walking by while feeling the excruciating pain of dreams unfulfilled.
I have always lived with the irrational fear and obsession over what other people think of me. A born people-pleaser, I have reached and stretched to maintain perfect composure at all times even when my true heart may have been crumbling. I have perfected the art of poise and worn it as a badge of false courage.
But I am beginning to unearth the paradox of a wisdom attained through much life lived—it’s not what they think of me, it’s what I think of me. Flattery is fleeting, but a foundation of faith in the identity I am intended for… well, that is what will stand the test of time.
Will I learn to love myself as I should be loved? Will I dig deeper than the cliché truths I have memorized of who God says I am? Those words recited so often that I have forced them to fall dull and flat rather than allowing them to permeate every part of me? Will I begin to break the monotony and actually let those truths root themselves deep inside of me—that I am redeemed, restored, beautiful, adored, loved, called and equipped?
This call to love—it is important. But let me dare to challenge you as I challenge myself… Begin to believe that you are the person that God says that you are. We must love others, but we must begin by loving ourselves.
There is an old (OLD) song by a group called Audio Adrenaline (90s kids, where ya at??). It had a very simple verse that I often find myself humming, “I wanna see the world through Jesus eyes, see through Jesus tears. I wanna see the world through Jesus eyes, my vision’s not as clear.” And I have always sung that verse with a reminder to have a compassion for others. But what about me? What if I saw myself through Jesus eyes?
What about you, friend? Will you look to see yourself the way He sees you?
When we can grasp the love that He has for us, when we can allow Him to show us that we are truly worthy of that love, when we can embrace the identity He has called us to…
You may be broken, but you are beautiful. You may feel lost, but you are loved. You are not perfect, but you have great purpose. You are not the sum of past mistakes, but rather the collective hope of His potential for your future. I hope you can see it too…