Beauty for Ashes
Until recently, I was a slave to insecurities. At each stage of my life I was insecure about something...my stutter, my body image, my face, my teeth, everything! I felt unlovable. If I was speaking to anyone, chances are I'd think that they didn't like me. I built a wall around myself that I seldom let people penetrate; I'd almost always treat people professionally and never initiate friendships unless I was absolutely certain, because I feared rejection. Truth is, I still do a lot of that now, but the difference is I am breaking free of what has become a part of me.
I was told I sounded like a crow. I was told I was fat. I was told I looked like a man. I was told things that I do not wish to repeat. No matter how hurt I really was, I made sure that I would not let the person in question know that I was - if I was to deal with my 'imperfections', I was not going to do it for them! That attitude seems great at first glance, but the hurt I pretended to brush off was being bottled up inside me; I didn't have the courage to deal with it.
The overload of hurt eventually strangled my confidence and fear triumphed over me. Not only did I believe I was unlovable, I now started believing that God would never be able to use me. My delusions impaired me from living out my God-given calling!
At the Open Doors Youth Advocate Training, God spoke to one of the leaders about my insecurities. The truth she prayed over me broke me to tears. She told me I was treasured, that I was loved, that I was fearfully an wonderfully made, that God is faithful and will complete what He has promised...nothing new; I knew that, but when did I forget?
I forgot it the moment I stopped bringing my cares to the Cross. I forgot it the moment I made man's opinion greater than God's.
'For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance but the LORD looks on the heart.' - 1 Samuel 16:7
For a Christian, who has tasted the goodness of God, this memory loss generally happens at the peak of our spiritual life, when we subconsciously turn the focus away from God! When God uses us, it is often a challenge to remain grounded. Who doesn't love compliments! It is wrong however to live for it. If you live to please a human being, whether it be a random stranger or your 'point of attraction', you'll sadly find that you are not only idolising them, but that you can never quite meet their mark. There's always going to be something they'd like to change about you, because we are all imperfect, every single one of us. We are imperfect people serving a perfect God, and that makes all the difference! In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul reminds us that whatever we do, we ought to 'do it all for the glory of the Lord'. The moment we shift the spotlight from Jesus to ourselves, we become vulnerable to judgement, dissatisfaction and hurt...and the cycle continues.
If you question your usefulness to God, remember that it is often not the greatest and glamorous that God uses, but the lowliest - because it is 'in our weakness' that His 'strength is made whole'. Samson, the strongest man of his time, won Israel a great victory, not when he was at his peak, but when he had no eyes and was chained up! It was the Spirit of God with him that made the difference. When Jesus fed 5000 men (and their wives and children), He didn't use a banquet, but 5 loaves and 2 fish from a little boy. The boy could've considered his little packed lunch insignificant (much like we consider ourselves) and kept it to himself - the question is not whether or not God can use us (He obviously can), it is whether or not we are willing to give Him the imperfect, insufficient little that we have! His Spirit can equip us to shake the world, IF we let Him. The Bible is full of unqualified people accomplishing much for God because they stepped out in faith, in complete surrender and trust - are you ready to do the same?
My lovely reader, I want you to know that you are gorgeous. You are loved. You are treasured. You are unique, and crafted specifically for the adventures God has in store for you. There is a God who loves you immensely, He takes great pleasure in you. He died for the very imperfections that are holding you back, so that by His death you can be free from judgement and condemnation. He has 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.' He made you worthy, so stop listening to the lies of this world - does their opinion matter in light of your Creator's? I re-discovered my worth in Christ, and I invite you to do the same!