Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who Told You?

An Open Letter To Anyone Who Has Ever Struggled with Self-Esteem:

I have a friend. I know all stories begin that way, but really, it's true. She is absolutely beautiful. She is a beautiful mother, a loving and faithful wife, and a child of God. She has a servant's heart, and her friends admire, respect, and appreciate her. 

What people don't know is that she struggles. 

She struggles to believe she is a good mom. She reads blogs and sees pictures of moms on Pinterest and Facebook that do more craft projects with their kids than Martha Stewart, and she struggles to believe she is good enough- creative enough, smart enough, there enough- for her kids.

She struggles to believe she is beautiful. Her nose is a little bit crooked, her ears a little big, her legs a little long and chicken-like, and her hair a little limp. She struggles to believe she is beautiful enough- stomach flat enough, hair long enough, teeth straight enough - for her husband.

She knows she is a child of God because she has been told so many times before. She knows He loves her unconditionally. She knows there is nothing she can or cannot do to change His love for her. 

Yet she struggles. 

It starts long before we ever realize it. Those thoughts of being creative or smart enough? It didn't take Pinterest or Facebook or even being a mom for her to realize she struggles believing she possesses those traits- it started in the 4th grade when a cute boy in class called her "stupid" or her mom threw away her art project because it wasn't creative enough to hang on the fridge. Beautiful enough? It didn't take her husband or even her first boyfriend for her to realize she struggles believing she's beautiful- it started when she was six and another little girl made fun of her big ears.

These voices inside her head are nothing new. They are real, and they have been there for a long time. Voices that told her she wasn't creative enough, smart enough, beautiful enough.

There is a passage in the Bible that many people would say shows God's anger. It's in Genesis 3, right after Adam and Eve decide to take the plunge and eat from the tree of of the knowledge of good and evil. After they ate the fruit, they heard God walking in the garden and hid. God called to them and asked where they were. They said they were afraid because they were naked, so they hid. 

God then asked them, "Who told you that you were naked?"

Many people believe He was asking it out of anger, but I disagree. I believe His heart was breaking.

Who told you...? 

Who told you...
...you weren't beautiful enough?
...you weren't smart enough?
...you weren't creative enough?
...you weren't good enough?

You are my child! You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:13-15). I see you, I hear you, and I am concerned (Woman at the Well in John 4; Exodus 3:7). I have a plan, and it's a good one (Jeremiah 29:11). My ways are perfect, and I will work everything out for good according to MY perfect will (Romans 8:28). I am mighty to save,  and I rejoice over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3) I am close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), and I am the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1).

Where I truly believe we see God's character is in verse 21. I've missed this a few times. 

"The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." Genesis 3:21

Can you imagine? The God of the universe, sewing together clothes to cover you. Clothes to cover your shame. Clothes to cover your nakedness. Clothes to cover your inadequacies.  

Clothes to cover your not good enoughs. 


He loves us with a perfect love- and it is deep and it is wide and it is more than we can even fathom (Ephesians 3:16-19). Our names are written on the palm of His hand, and before we were even born, He spoke our name (Isaiah 49).  

I am enough because He is enough. Period. My validation comes from Him and Him alone.  

So the next time you go to believe some of those voices- no matter how long they have been there- forget who told you and forget what they had to say. There is only One voice that matters.

And at the end of the day, I want to hear that voice say well done. How about you?