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What I know now

“Are you an albino?”

“I was wondering that, too. You know…because of the hair and big lips.”

Those questions? Those comments? They were made about me. All while trying to get through an already awkward middle school gym class.

Those comments told me these things: You don’t fit in. You look different. You don’t belong.

So I did everything over a number of years to somehow look like everyone else. I couldn’t change my lips, but I could at least try to change my hair. So I thinned it out. I tried to straighten it. So I could run my fingers through it like all the other girls could their hair.

Try as I might, I still looked different.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

“We’ve gotten some complaints about your ‘sass.'” You are passionate, but maybe tone it down a bit.”

“Pink hair? Interesting…”

“Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that you shouldn’t have tattoos? And aren’t you a Pastor?”

“You’re so naïve. That’s cool and all, but you’re too naive. Face it! Some people are just jerks.”

Comparison and criticism didn’t stop in adulthood. If anything, it hurt worse.

I wasn’t in middle school anymore. We were all adults. Why were we still picking apart all things? And casting folks into categories?

I wish I knew then what I know now.

I wish I knew that those middle school taunts, though not forgotten, would one day not define me.

I wish I knew that I didn’t need the approval from those adults to fulfill a purpose God had given just to me.

I wish I knew then, because maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to stop straightening my hair. To show my daughter to love and style her beautiful curls. To love my face. All the delicate, and supposedly big parts of it.

I wish I knew then, that even if I didn’t fit anywhere in middle school, that I was accepted.

That if I didn’t fit the mold of what a pastor was supposed to look like, that I was made for a purpose.

That if I was naïve and saw too much good, that I was loved, and could show others this same love.

So others know they are also accepted. They also belong.

I don’t know what middle school lies you may be believing today. What mold you are being forced to fit into. Or who keeps telling you to give up on seemingly lost souls. Or even that you are one of them.

But it’s not true.

You are made for so much more. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are his. You’re beautiful.

He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

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Through his eyes

In my job with students during the weekday, I get to spend my time supporting them in various activities. I have had the pleasure of learning how to play the saxophone. I have sat through many an assembly. Gone on a number of field trips, and completed a number of art projects. This was no different.

The assignment was 20 things. Each student had to turn to a page in their book and list 20 things that described themselves.

I noticed something. So many were struggling with those 20. Needed help even coming up with one. Looked around the room for a word. Even asked their peers to describe them, wrote what their peers said, or some word they over heard. “Oh yes, that’s me.”

It bothered me enough that I sat in the lunch room the next day and did the same thing. I wanted to make sure I was just as distracted. To see if this was the reason it was so hard. If I could come up with my own list of 20, or if I would need help along the way. If I would get stuck. Need to look around for validation. Seek the faces of the people around me for support.

‘Cause you stood right there, And then you broke apart the lies. You told me I had something beautiful inside. You brought to life the part of me I thought had died. ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me; I saw me through your eyes  -Brit Nicole, Through Your Eyes

And I realized why it wouldn’t take me long. And, after seeing my list, why mine was so different than the lists of those preteens in that art class. Because words like forgiven and redeemed would not be on their lists. They were seeing themselves through the eyes of the world. Placing value on themselves based on the opinions of those around them.

I knew in the moment I wrote my 20 things who gave me my value: God. I see myself how He sees me.

But I didn’t always feel this way. I am pretty sure my preteen self looked to the world for approval. I didn’t seek God. I know for sure I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him now. My friends were much “cooler.” Or so I thought.

If I only knew what I know now. No one will love you like He will. No one will accept you in your brokenness like He will. No one will forgive you in the way He will. No one will see all your wretchedness, and look at you with tender love the way He will. No one can  see you the way He does. So stop looking at yourself through the lenses of everyone else, and start looking at yourself through His eyes.

https://youtu.be/WJzaQP1GmEc

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

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