Watch: Emily’s testimony
Emily shares about her struggles to appreciate and love herself growing up, and how God led her on a journey of revelation and healing, assuring her that she is indeed worthy of His love because He created her. Praise God! Watch her testimony.
Click here to go to our YouTube channel.
Despite my commitment to Him, I always felt strongly that God should have created someone else and that I was a mistake.
Hi, my name is Emily and I’m 31 years old. I knew God as a “higher power” since my pre-school days. I decided to follow Him and I got baptised when I was 16.
A little bit about my background; my parents got divorced when I was really young. My mum singlehandedly raised me and worked hard to provide for me. Since their divorce, I was forced to grow up quickly to take care of myself. I thought by performing “good” deeds, such as “studying hard,” “being good,” and “doing the right thing,” I would be able to receive and earn the love from my mom, and also cause less trouble for her. I learned to always prioritise other people’s feelings and needs before mine.
Because of such “knowledge”, my ways of relating to people and those around me was that love has always been dependent on deeds and that I should always prioritise other people.
As a result, I lost my identity.
Growing up, I was always described as a “joyful girl” and a “loveable person”. However, deep down, I wasn’t feeling any joy at all, nor was I even happy, nor I was even a likable or a loveable person. Instead, I felt very empty and I didn’t know who I was. I recalled my heart was hardened and I built a wall around it. I did not want anyone to get too close to me, including romantically, in order to protect myself from the feeling of inadequacy. I also wouldn’t believe it if anyone said to me that they loved me. My natural reaction was that, “You’re lying.”
So fast forward to 2016, I went to Africa for mission school. I went because I’ve always been enthusiastic about its animals and the wilderness, along with its people.
It was in the mission school that I had an unforgettable encounter with Jesus, where God showed me His love and healed me.
He corrected me on what love was all about and that I was indeed a very loveable person because He created me. He makes no mistakes and I was important. I felt Him there and He just loved on me, as I cried for hours and hours. It was then that I realised that “God is the only One that can love me more than anyone else can in that one moment.”
I came back from Africa feeling a lot happier, but I was still battling with the lies of inadequacy. Thoughts started to creep in again, of me not being lovable and that I was a mistake.
I continued to battle the feelings for several years until the Holy Spirit prompted me to go to a prayer ministry to understand the deeper context of what I was feeling and be healed.
So during the prayer session, the Holy Spirit led everything and brought back a lot of memories from when I was conceived and in my childhood.
He revealed that during the time that I was conceived, there was a lot of trauma in the womb. He also revealed that my ancestors were a part of a strong cult and had been involved in a lot of evil activities. As a result of the trauma, coupled with strong family curses that has been running in my family’s generations for many years – my feeling of unworthiness and shamefulness was instilled into me from when I was born and it became my doctrine that I firmly believed in about myself for many years.
I confessed my family sin as well as my belief in the lie during the session.
I asked God to also forgive me for judging my family and others. I was led to bless them.
The Holy Spirit then revealed to me that I also needed to forgive myself. It was a surprise to me. He convicted me that I had to stop “pleasing others” and focus on myself, and self-love and self-compassion, rather than trying to get others to love me.
It was a tough pill to swallow as loving myself is one of the hardest yet the most important thing I’ll ever have to do for myself. It means that I need to stop cohering into other people’s views for me and being a harsh inner critic for all things I did or did not do.
Critically, I shouldn’t dwell on my own perceived inadequacies. I needed to start caring for myself and treating myself with the same love that I give to others and most importantly, loving yourself – or myself – isn’t selfish. I realised that I could bring my inadequacies to God, instead of trying to fix them on my own.
I had a flawed understanding of His love and that it was all about trying to do things to earn His love.
He showed me how tired I was making myself in “achieving” His love. I had been subconsciously judging myself for not being good enough, not smart enough, not nice enough, not loving enough, and not being able to say “no”. The Holy Spirit showed me in the session that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves me for who He has made me to be. I am His holy temple and taking good care of myself also glorifies Him.
Finally, through prayer ministry , the Holy Spirit revealed that I am not responsible for anyone’s happiness, because only God can solve their problems and help them.
So through this journey, I finally understood His heart for me and that I am indeed a lovable person and that He values me. I am not a mistake by God. I’ve learnt that saying “no”, it is okay and I can have my own preference. I am freed from the impulse of always prioritising others. I can be honest with myself, treating myself with love, the same love that I give to others as I give to myself.
My burden has felt a lot lighter since. I feel free because I know that I can lay any burden I carry at the feet of Jesus.
This is, of course, an ongoing journey and it is something I need to remind myself every day. I am thankful for God, His love for me, and His patience towards me.
If I could give one piece of advice on my journey, it would be that loving ourselves is not a sin. Loving others and loving ourselves can co-exist. We are a temple of God so taking good care of the temple allows us to be resourceful in loving others.
So, if you are struggling to love yourself, I would encourage you to do three things, and there are three things you should remember.
The first one; know that no one is perfect. Second; it is okay to do things that you love doing. And three; you can say no to anything that crossed your boundaries.
Don’t walk this journey alone, know that Holy Spirit is with you and He speaks to you, and He thinks about you if you pay attention to Him. Also fellowship with Christ-followers that care about you and share with them how you’re actually feeling. After all, when two or three are gathered in His name, there He is with us.
To receive notifications of new posts from Teaching Humble Hearts, please subscribe here .