Here we are at Part 3 of my “overcoming” series. FYI for all you grammar people, my “tenses” are going to be way off, so just ignore it, k? I’m gonna try to get through this one without crying, but the tears are already welling up just knowing what the Lord is about to have me write.
I'm going to be completely vulnerable and confess something that I have been holding onto for over 14 years. I’ve only told a few of my closest people about this (very recently), but what freedom I have found in sharing it with some of my community of fellow believers! They picked me up and it was pretty awesome to see firsthand just how quickly the darkness will flee once it’s brought into the Light!
Here it is:
I have 0% self-worth. I think I am worth nothing and have nothing to offer. The way I view myself is unbelievably harsh. I’ve been believing some pretty horrific lies about myself for over 14 years. That is more than half of my life. I’ve been believing the most negative and hateful things about myself down to my core and it has been secretly and quietly making up every fiber of my self-esteem. It’s not secret or quiet to me, though. It’s loud and it’s harsh and it’s hurtful. But I am a really good at pretending it doesn’t bother me.
So, I’ve written about my panic attacks now. Well, those were the springboard to get me to see a counselor. I went maybe 6 or 7 times total, and honestly we didn’t solve anything related to my panic disorder. Lol. Haha. It’s fine. I did, however, decide to open up about how I have always struggled with self-confidence. My counselor pressed in a bit and got some stuff out of me that I couldn’t believe I was actually admitting out loud. She then told me to tell her 10 things I like about myself right then and there. I struggled to get to three. THREE! She stopped me after 5 minutes of “umms” and “uhhs”, then asked me to make a list on my own time of 100 positive ways to describe myself. Freakin impossible, but, necessary. Well, that was in September of 2017. An entire year ago.
So, I tried a little over the next few months, but never wrote a word down. I failed every time. You see, when something has had this intense of a stronghold on you for so many years, there isn’t an easy fix. If I’m gonna make a change in the way I view myself, I’m gonna have to be extremely proactive and work really hard. I’m gonna have to do like Cady Herron in Mean Girls after Regina George gets hit by a bus.
Yep, that. I have been letting a snake bite me over and over again and it’s time to “suck out the poison.” I have been letting the enemy dictate my feelings towards myself and it’s gonna take a while to get his grip off of me.
This past May (2018), I casually said something to my sister, Calli, without even thinking that this would open up a big box of immediate self-discovery and change. Here are the words I said as low-key as possible— “I want to join a community group at church but I need to lose 20 lbs before I do that.” She looked at me in disbelief and said “you’re kidding, right??” I wasn’t kidding and I didn’t see anything wrong with the statement I had just made. Although, if she or one of my friends, or a literal stranger would have said that to me, I would’ve had the same reaction as she did.
She then got pretty real with me because she could see the hate I had for myself in my eyes. There are reasons and examples of times where my self-worth has been knocked down, but the majority of it literally just comes from nowhere, planted entirely by Satan. This deep rooted self-hate stems from all parts of me— physical, mental, personality and spiritual. I could give specific examples in each of those areas, but I know y’all aren’t trying to read a novel right now… so I won’t go into the difficult details.
Are y’all getting frustrated reading this? Because I would want to jump through the screen and grab a girl or a guy who was writing this way about themselves. I would want to say to you “Don’t you see!?!?! You are this, this, this and that! You’ve got this and that, and you can do this really well!” But, when it comes to myself, there is a door made of the heaviest industrial steel that nothing is getting through. It has prevented me from being myself around strangers. It has turned me into a shy person in public settings. It has transformed me into a person who is fun once you get to know her, but other than that, standoffish. Not standoffish because I mean to be, but I hide behind this steel door as a defense mechanism because I am so afraid of someone seeing the real me and not liking what they see.
My sister then asked me a question that totally put things into perspective. She said something like, “Connar, when you say or think things like that about yourself, you are literally telling the God of the universe that you think He made a mistake on you. You think He messed up and did a bad job when He made you. Do you realize that?”
My sister then told me to start praying to see myself through the Lord’s eyes.
I have been praying for God to give me self-confidence for so many years and I’m telling you right now things changed as soon as I stopped praying for confidence and started praying to see myself through the Lord’s eyes. I want to see myself how HE sees me. This is when everything changed.
That night in May was full of tears, embarrassment and confession as I unraveled the inner workings of why I feel the way I do about myself out loud to my sister. Any compliment I have ever received doesn’t absorb into me. I truly cannot take a compliment, yet Words of Affirmation is my second Love Language?
My sister told me to start with 30 words for my affirmation list and that she would be checking. Sidenote: I will procrastinate procrastination so you literally have to check up on me or give me a treat or something like a 4 year old to make sure I’m staying on task. (*Disclaimer to my bosses: this does not pertain to my professional work haha*) Anyway, I needed her to say she was going to check my list in one week because I wasn’t about to ask her to. So in May, I sat down to write the list. I spent an hour and three minutes writing 30 positive adjectives / affirmations about myself. One hour and three minutes to get 30 words. I would look at the Thesaurus and think I found a word, then I would analyze it and say “hmm I’m not really good at that, so never mind on that word.” But, I did it. I got to 30 words.
The day before I sat down to write the list, we had our annual leadership day at work, where we come together and set goals for the year and also dive into the Word with each other. Did I mention I have the best job ever? But, since it was so fresh on my mind, I decided to confess to my 14* coworkers, exactly what I was walking through and the journey of self-love I was about to embark on. I told them about the list and how I had to get to 100, but had only gotten 30 so far. The next week, they gave me a jar. Each of these godly, loving, encouraging and amazing women wrote several words and phrases to affirm me. They finished my list. They were showing me exactly what God sees.
I mean come ON. God is so, so faithful in answering our prayers and He is in constant pursuit of us. He desires for us to truly feel how deep and consuming His love is for us.
Even though I could easily make a list of 500 negative attributes about myself in about 25 minutes, I’m not, nor will I ever go there. I’m gonna share a handful of the positive things written on my behalf, as well as, my list of 52! positive affirmations right now (this is a working list that I am going to be intentional about adding to weekly).
Joyful, Funny, Creative, Kind, Fun, Sweet, Talented, Good hair, Fun and loving aunt, Witty, Caring, Humble, Cute, Encouraging, Loving, Compassionate, Understanding, Hilarious, Silly, Respectful, Imaginative, Merciful, Playful, Positive, Spontaneous, Cheerful, Blessed, Non-judgmental, Loved, Gentle, Upbeat, Youthful, Good listener, Pretty blue eyes, Great friend, Loves easily, Heart for others, Good calves, Photogenic, Cute style, Strong, Faithful, Resolute, Charismatic, Obedient, Awesome, Beautiful, Worthy, Contagious smile, “Extra”, Bold, Brave, Strong where my generation tends to compromise
Those words didn’t come easily to me, but I have worked on myself the past few months and I choose to believe that each word up there is true about me.
One example: I have always been ashamed of being youthful. I thought I needed to grow up and be cool, like most other people. But no! That sucks. Put a trampoline in front of me— I’m gonna jump on it. I can’t help it. I still watch High School Musical and will get up and dance and sing along with every word. I will pull a prank on you the first chance I get. I am all for spontaneous, fun things and I’m not going to be ashamed of being youthful because HOW BORING would life be if there weren’t people like me who record an insta story because they randomly saw a snail on the sidewalk and couldn’t contain their enthusiasm?! I’m owning that now and I’m proud of it.
You have to look at yourself through a different lens and you’ll see just how great that quality that you once thought was negative actually is.
My struggle with self-worth is still very real and present, but the difference now? Now I recognize it and I call it out on what it is: I’m letting Satan have a grip on me. I’m letting him take my thoughts captive. You know what I’m not gonna do? I’m not gonna let him do that anymore and neither are you. We all struggle with self-doubt and insecurity in some way or another, but we are co-heirs with CHRIST. Sons and daughters of the most mighty King, the Lord of all creation. Remind yourself of that truth and then try and not be confident!
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are chosen and worthy. You were hand-picked and given unique characteristics and skills so you are free to live a life full of abundant joy! There is not another person exactly like you and that is the coolest thing in the world. God formed you and placed you on earth for a very specific reason because He knew you were needed. He wants to use you for His kingdom.
I am strong. And I am confident in my unique qualities. Who me? Yep. Oh, and guess what else? I’m thankful for July 20, 2017, because without that day of panic, I would not be writing this right now.
Pray for God to reveal Himself to you. Pray to see yourself through His eyes. The same God who created the universe, who made the most beautiful mountains, billions of galaxies, the oceans, the most intricate, detail-oriented God. He made YOU in the image of Him and it’s time for you to see that.
I also think you should make a positive affirmation list of your own. If you need encouragement, ask me to tell you 3 things I think are great about you and I’ll do it in a heartbeat. I won’t think it’s weird. If I know you well, if we haven’t talked in years, or if I don’t know you at all— if you need 3 things to get started on your list, ask me and we will get that list going right away. God didn’t have me proclaim to the world that I deal with intense insecurities for nothing!
Tomorrow, I plan on wrapping this up and I’m SO excited to share!! Thanks for reading!
*Just realized that 14 seems to be a reoccurring number here. It’s been 14 months since I went to the ER and began living with a panic disorder, I’ve dealt with self-esteem issues for 14 years, and I had 14 coworkers listen to my confession. Anyone with some knowledge on numbers and their correlation to the Bible have anything to add? Because I don’t. Lol let me know.