Our hearts can be locked up in a poor self image.  Today’s testimony is from Dee, who I know as a bubbly, vivacious woman who loves people and is well liked.  I had no idea that she struggled to like herself and that she didn’t feel she fitted into the world around her.  This is her story: a story of how God’s love can change us. Michelle

Dee writes: I grew up as a middle child of three girls. As a young teenager, I thought my eldest sister was so pretty and she was popular with the boys at school.  Just what ‘teen–dreams’ are made of!  My younger sister was outgoing and vivacious, with a large group of friends. So as I looked inward at myself, my thoughts were centred on how do I compete, or even begin to fit in here? I can’t!  I’m not as pretty or outgoing, nor do I have many friends!”

With time, this lie that I don’t fit in and have nothing to offer, took root in my life and so my self-image plummeted as I continually compared myself to them.

With all these unhealthy thoughts about myself, I began to dislike myself and it didn’t matter how I tried to ‘dress-up,’ I never felt I looked good enough. As my negative thoughts and experiences fed my bad self-image, I became trapped in my emotions. I withdrew into myself and became know as ‘the quiet girl’ in the family.

A few years later, God brought this ‘thought-pattern’ to my attention and I realised that it was wrong.  God showed me how poorly I viewed myself as a result of my negative thoughts, and how it had poisoned my belief of who I was and my value.  I realised that a healthy self-image cannot come from the world and people around me, it must come from God.

God took me to the truth in Psalms 139 and He said to me ‘see I have made you wonderfully. I knit you together; you are my creation, unique in every way.’

So I started to look at myself through the eyes of my Creator, making peace with myself and making a conscious effort to watch my thoughts and negative self-talk, replacing it with positive truths from Psalm 139.

It’s not easy to change your thoughts, it takes a conscious effort. Each day, I still felt like the ugly duckling, the one nobody wanted. I longed to be loved and I longed to be seen as lovely. In desperation one day, I came before the Lord and asked “Lord, how can you love me?”  The words that hit me in my heart were clear as He said to me “with an everlasting love!”(Jeremiah 31:3)

gods-everlasting-unchanging-loveThis love that never ends or changes, changed me.  With God I fit in because He loves me.  God offers his love freely, unconditionally and what is best, forever. It’s not about us deserving it, being something we cannot be; He simply loves us… for all time.

Through His love and reminding myself regularly about the truth of what His love was like, this love turned this ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

The verse I hold most dear in this experience, is Zephaniah 3:17  “He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love and rejoice over you with singing.”

If His everlasting love did this for me, what about you? Dee

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