Dear Ginger: Uncomfortable in my Own Skin

dear ginger

Hey Ginger!

I am struggling about my self-confidence. I know that I am supposed to love myself for who I am and everything. But I am truly stuck. Some girls at school are calling me names, and it is just bringing down my confidence in myself. I don’t cut myself or anything, but I have tried cutting, but I just won’t let myself do it. I was just wondering what would be the best way to raise my confidence in myself. I have talked to my parents, but I am just too scared to tell them that I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. Have a great day.

-S

S- Thank you so much for your note and for sharing what’s going on in your heart. I’m so sorry this has been such a season of pain and sadness in your life. I want you to know that I’m praying for you especially today.

First of all, I want you to remember that you don’t have to be afraid to share with your parents about how you are feeling. I think they would care deeply about your hurts, just like they care about your successes in school. This is a tough battle for a lot of teens, and especially a ton of teen girls, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal. Bullying is a really big deal and I can understand why it leaves you feeling negatively about yourself.  I want you to really think about telling your mom or dad. I know there have been times when I’ve been scared to share things, but it’s usually because I want to protect someone else, or because I’m afraid that they will be disappointed. Trust me, your parents will love you no matter what.

Secondly, I’m sorry that you feel so STUCK.

I know that I was stuck in a pattern for a long time in my life. I felt like I was a car in the mud and no matter how hard I pushed on the gas, the wheels would just turn and dig me down further.

You see, I’ve always struggled with loving the way that I look – especially when I felt that I didn’t fit in with other girls my age. It seemed like everyone else could eat whatever they wanted and still look the same. I felt like there was nothing I could do to stop worrying about my boday and start actually be comfortable in my own skin.

I didn’t try cutting, but I did make myself throw up. Sometimes we think we can do something drastic to feel differently or make a change, but the truth is I needed something stronger than myself to create change. I needed something stronger than self-esteem, self-confidence, and quick fixes. Hurting myself was only… hurting myself. I was digging my wheels deeper into the mud.

Even now, as a 30 year-old, the lie that says: You aren’t good enough because of the way you look – creeps in and wants to threaten all the confidence I have in the Lord.

So what do I do when that lie knocks on the door of my heart?

1. I claim truth. I read and remember the words that God has said about me.

2. I remind myself the value God has placed on my life.

3. I drop the lie that if I can just raise my self-esteem everything will get better.

4. I keep myself encouraged and grounded by reading the words of others who have struggled just like I do.

5. I cling to WHOSE I am, rather than who I am or how I’m failing.

6. And finally, I remember the hard road that I’ve walked and how I don’t want to go back there again. I’ve got too much to look ahead TOWARD. I want to keep fighting.

I needed something outside of ME to pull me out. In my own story, God has used His Word and Truth, books, accountability, and especially counseling to give wisdom and insight into my “stuck” situation. But more than anything, God has replaced my self-doubts with confidence in Him through a deeper relationship with HIM.

I believe that God does not desire for us to stay in that muddy place. He wants to pull us out of the pit. That’s why I want to recommend some resources for you today.

1.    Lies Young Women Believe (blog and book) by DeMoss and Gresh

2.   The Search for Significance by Robert McGee

3.   Graceful by Emily P. Freeman

4.   Perfectly Unique by Annie F. Downs

5.    2nd Corinthians chapter 10 (especially verses 4-5)

God wants our hearts, and is fighting for them. I truly believe this. And I’m happy to say that He is helping me get free, even in the smallest of ways. That’s my same prayer for you.

No matter what I might infer about my looks or weight… or even what others might say – the TRUTH is what I must cling to, even if I don’t feel that it is true…

“You are a beloved creation of the God of the heavens, that created you just like you are. When you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, you need to remember that the God who remade this sunset right here, He formed you in your mother’s womb, every part of who you are. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing to look at and say,

“It’s not beautiful.”

You can’t look at some airbrushed picture of someone who doesn’t even look like that in real life and compare yourself to that. That’s not the reality of life. But what you are, is perfectly made by God of the heavens and He meant it on purpose.” 

― Lacey Mosley

I’ve found the secret of freedom to be different from what the world says. I haven’t learned 6 steps to higher self-esteem. Instead I am learning to reprogram my mind and know my Heavenly Father MORE. How He sees me is the only thing that matters.

Praying for your heart today, S. Please write again soon.

-Ginger

True You: Self-Esteem

I think self-esteem is broken. I’m not talking just about MY self-esteem, but the concept behind self-esteem in general.

Here’s the definition of self-esteem according to Dictionary.com:
–noun
1. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.
2. an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.

Now compare that with what we read in Philippians 2:3,“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” In humility we are to consider others, everyone else, as better than ourselves. This doesn’t say to have a poor view of yourself, but merely a right view of who we are in God’s eyes. We are His, but we are not better than each other.

But even if we totally ignore God in this equation and what He wants, I believe that we still have a problem!

Here’s the issue I take with self-esteem. Although I often times have zero trouble discovering an exaggeratedly favorable impression of myself, most days my self-esteem fluctuates almost hourly. The way I identify myself is directly connected to my emotions and feelings. Emotions change quickly. What we are feeling for a period of time (unless depression is involved) tends to change countless times throughout the day. That means I can be on cloud nine in the morning because I receive an encouraging text before lamenting a quiz I forgot to study for. And then I might just walk out the door in the morning full of joy only to trip in front of a crowd of people and find myself in the pit of despair.

My self-esteem is so high maintenance that I just decided to ditch it.

Here’s what I mean…

My perception of self-worth shifts and changes all the time. (Wait, it just did again. Awesome.) But God’s perception never will. Self-esteem would have me working hard to feel better, but I now know that until my worth is centered upon God’s redeeming act of love, my feelings will fluctuate like a washing machine out of balance. Our center of gravity must be the truth found in God’s Word and not human emotion.

Truth to soak up this week:

Jeremiah 1:1-10

Psalm 139

1 Peter 1:3-4

Psalm 45:10

We are esteemed and treasured by the King of Kings! I’m praying that truth would be real in our hearts today.

He LOVES the True You.

Following,
Ginger