For most of my life, I've felt invisible. The deep-seated feelings of insignificance and worthlessness that have stemmed from being ignored, forgotten, overlooked, have become a constant struggle in surrender and learning to see myself through my Heavenly Father's eyes. It's been a long, arduous journey, and I thought I'd finally moved on from those vulnerable moments when people looked straight through or past me, those moments that left me feeling weak and exposed and floundering for security. However, a few recent circumstances have highlighted those insecurities, and bam! I was beaten down again, left in a wake of discouragement and disappointment. I won't deny that it hurt. I won't deny that the actions of others left me questioning my worth and my significance and my place. But I refused to wallow in what could easily become soil for gossip, or bitterness, or resentment. I know that the enemy uses our weaknesses to bring us down. He hits those insecurities hard, trying to cause us to doubt and believe the lies he creates. But I also know that my God is greater, and I only need to read His word to know the truth.
As I struggled this weekend with those old feelings of insecurity, after several circumstances left me feeling invisible and overlooked, yet again, I was reminded of the devotional I'd written in Thrive, Don't Just Survive - and God's rich, all-encompassing, unfailing love for me.
When the enemy tries to steal my peace, I need to remind myself that I am a beloved child of God who sees me - and that's what matters most.
From Thrive, Don't Just Survive:
I’ve never been one who fits in. I’ve never been one of the ‘in’ crowd. Never pretty enough for the beautiful people. I feel awkward in a large group. I dread any time teams have to be selected because I’m usually one of the last ones chosen. I’m often overlooked because I’m an introvert. I’m spoken over because I don’t speak up. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m too quiet and I don’t smile enough. And I was told never to do anything that would bring a bad name to our family.
Round peg, square hole – that’s me! I’ve carried those wounds and feelings of insecurity through to adulthood, and I could easily be the poster-child for low self-esteem. Which is probably why I feel the need to constantly prove myself – to prove that I’m worthy. Deep down, I’ve realised that I want validation. I want others to notice me, and say, ‘Hey, you’re not so bad.’ ‘We see you. We accept you.’
I’ve struggled with my sense of worth and feeling accepted for most of my life. While I’ve been a Christian since I was a little girl, I never fully understood how God could (or would) choose to love me. I’d heard the whole – ‘If you were the only person left in the world, Jesus would still die for you’ – a thousand times, and yet my head and heart refused to believe it. Why would God want me? I’m nothing special.
I mean, I’ve messed up. I’ve made some pretty poor choices in my life that have hurt not only me but other people. I’ve chosen the wrong path in an effort to be accepted. And I’ve definitely done things that would bring a bad name to my family.
But you know what I’ve learned? No matter how much I try. No matter how much I earn. No matter how many accolades I receive, it will never be enough. I will always be rejected by people. I will never be good enough for others. And I will still be overlooked.
The thing that has taken me a lot longer to learn, is that God loves me. Full stop. There are no conditions for me to be loved and accepted by God. I am His beloved daughter. I am engraved on the palm of His hand. I am loved for who I am in Christ.
God’s love doesn’t depend on what I do or don’t do. His love is not conditional on how much money I have, or who’s in my circle of friends. His love does not rely on me achieving university degrees, or receiving promotions. These things in and of themselves aren’t bad – God wants us to do our best with the talents we have, for His glory – but when our focus is on receiving validation from people and from worldly success, that’s when we start to believe the lie that we’re not worthy.
God’s love is unconditional. He lavishes it on me because I am His child. I love that word - lavish. It means - sumptuously rich, elaborate, or luxurious. God’s love is sumptuously rich. And that’s something that has taken me a long time to fully grasp. I am worthy, because of Him.
"You are precious to me. You are honoured, and I love you." Isaiah 43:4.