Jesus restores teacher’s self esteem
P grew up struggling to love herself due to constant pressure to perform. This blocked her from understanding God’s love. Here is her testimony of seeing how God sees her and being able to embrace her own qualities for the first time. Praise God!
I grew up in a Christian family, and have heard of God ever since I was a child.
Yet, there were areas in my life that I struggled to surrender, areas that I clung to desperately. Quite often, I wondered if I was experiencing the full joy and freedom that God has promised
One of the core values I had trouble embracing was God’s unconditional love. Growing up in an Asian culture, I was used to performance-based acceptance and acknowledgment. I remember that as a child, my older brother often outsmarted me at school and church. Many of my childhood friends were also more quick-witted and confident than me. Because I loved them and could not harbor resentment towards them, I turned the blame to myself and positioned myself as always, the less capable one.
Because of this insecurity and lower self-esteem, fear, jealousy, and comparison were constant visitors in my life.
In my head, I knew that God loves each of us, but that knowledge does not connect to my heart.
During a renewal prayer, I confessed to God that I wanted desperately to experience His unconditional love, yet I could not truly comprehend it. My prayer counselors told me to ask for God’s wisdom, to reveal how He views me.
As I prayed, an image came into my mind: it was God holding me as a baby, with a row of laboratory test tubes behind him.
In each test tube was a quality that could be added to each baby. In that image, I was giggling in God’s arms, and after a smile, God decided to experiment with me. He reached back and took a number of test tubes that were less commonly used and sprinkled the contents on me. Afterward, He looked at me, pleased and amused with His creation.
Somehow the image comforted me more than anything. It was as if God told me that I was unique in His eyes, that He consciously hand-picked my qualities, and that my personality and character – while not considered the most “yearned-for” in the worldly sense – pleased God immensely.
Knowing that He delights in me brought a new perspective to my self-worth.
God might not have created me as a fighter or an intelligent mathematician, but He enjoys seeing me. At the same time, it reminds me that all along, I have been chasing the wrong things. I was too busy worrying about what other people think, rather than focusing my eyes on what God sees.
Another area that we prayed about is my relationship with my mother. While my mother is a Christian and loves me, I always feel an invisible expectation from her. I always observe her keenly, anxious to figure out what she wants, and fearing to disappoint her.
Thinking back, I had idolized my mother, seeking to fulfill her wishes rather than God’s.
I felt like I was never good enough to satisfy her idea of a perfect daughter. At the same time, I cannot blame her because she truly loves me. Therefore, I had no one to blame but myself, my imperfection and failures. This constant treadmill run to please others drained me.
Before the prayer session, I had to write about my mother’s upbringing and pray for her as a person. While I was doing that, I realised that all my mother’s expectations were the ones that were imposed on her by her own parents and siblings. God reminded me of the Parable of the Sower; my mother’s seed was struggling to grow and blossom, yet bounded by various thorns. Those thorns were from the past and they were invisible, so no one, including herself and us, was aware of it.
I felt this sudden wave of mercy from God, aware of how my mother also struggled with the same feelings of inadequacy and fear.
I repented for not empathizing or trying to understand my mother, and from then have been praying for her relationship with God and her own identity. It has changed my perspective of her, not only as my daughter but as God’s daughter who also needs God. I pictured this giant sword from God, cutting through all the thorns in a flash. The thorns may be invisible, but nothing can stop God.
Fast forward to a few weeks after the prayer: There are still times that I feel inadequate, wishing I could be more like someone else. Whenever I doubt myself again, I call to God “Do you still love me?” and the image floods back to me to comfort me. My relationship with my mother is not all roses, but I know that we are on the same boat, striving to be more intimate with God and receiving His perfect love. That with God’s perfect love, we no longer have to fear.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
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