Growing up in the ’90s, I was bombarded with messages of self-worth 24/7. Almost every pre-teen Disney movie or Nickelodeon TV show bedazzled itself with the same tried-and-true message: Be yourself! Don’t let anyone dull your shine!
By Hannah DeMarco
It all sounded nice, but it seemed at odds with another message I received from well-meaning Christian adults in my life: You’re sinful! Who you are is inherently evil and corrupt!
As a kid finding her place in the world, I didn’t know which voice to believe. I kept wondering, How am I supposed to be myself if myself is bad? I prayed fervently for God to make me pure. I longed to be good and honest and without blame. And I thought praying and reading my Bible would make me worthy in God’s eyes.
But, as I got older, I realized I wasn’t seeing myself at all through God’s eyes. I was actually seeing myself through the eyes of others.
Loved as You Are
Have you ever felt this way before? Guilty? Scared because you want to do what’s right but you know you’ll never be perfect? Longing to be yourself but unable to know what that even means?
When I feel this way now, I try to take the time to ask myself, Who does God say I am?
God in his Word tells us we’re worthy of being known, loved, and celebrated as we are. Jesus says he loves us even though we’re sinners, and we don’t have to hide who we are from the world. He also says he is with us to help us become more like him—and not simply because we are sinful, but because God wants good things for us and loves us.
Goodness isn’t a punishment or an impossible standard God sets for us. It’s a promise of love and acceptance. As we become more like Jesus, Jesus continues to cherish and celebrate us.
If you need a reminder of God’s acceptance and celebration of who you are, meditate on these 5 truths in Scripture:
The Lord rejoices in who you are
The LORD your God
wins victory after victory
and is always with you.
He celebrates and sings
because of you,
and he will refresh your life
with his love. — Zephaniah 3:17
God will never desert you
Even if my father and mother
should desert me,
you will take care of me. — Psalm 27:10
God has chosen you
But you are God’s chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvellous light. — 1 Peter 2:9
God knows every single thing about you and loves you relentlessly
But with your own eyes
my body being formed.
Even before I was born,
you had written in your book
everything I would do.
Your thoughts are far beyond
much more than I
could ever imagine. — Psalm 139:16-17
Because God accepts you, you can share that acceptance with others
Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you. — Romans 15:7