A few days ago someone asked me, “So when are you due?”
I am not pregnant.
I would love to be pregnant, but in that moment, the desire to be pregnant and the being mistaken for being pregnant were not so compatible. I suddenly felt incredibly conscious of my weight, what I was wearing, and what other people were thinking about me.
I quickly responded with, “We’re working on that, but right now, all I have is a 160 pound, four legged baby.” I often use humor to deflect uncomfortable situations. But as I left that particular gathering, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel less attractive than I did when I walked in.
In that moment, I chose to forget about the several compliments I’d received that night about my curly red hair, including a complete stranger telling me it made me look like a movie star. I was too transfixed on a perceived negative (because the woman who asked me meant no offense).
And that began the inner monologue. You’re probably familiar with it. I started cataloging my faults – crooked teeth, frizzy hair, double chin, too pale, wrinkles starting to show up… you name it, I’ve got it, and now I could add “fat belly” to the list.
But just as soon as the inner monologue started, another voice began whispering to me. That voice said, “Accepted… Beloved… Treasured… Fearfully and wonderfully made…” I realized then that I could only listen to one of the voices.
Our inner monologue has so much power in our lives. For most of my life I have called myself things like ugly, stupid or an idiot. I tried to pass it off as a joke, but deep down I believed it. And the more I repeated it, the more I believed it. I was so intimately familiar with the whispers of failure and imperfection that I could not believe anyone or anything that would build me up. I could hear a dozen compliments and feel a little surge of pleasure, but a single criticism sent me plummeting into self hatred because it reaffirmed what I’d been telling myself all along.
Have you been there? Do you live there now?
Do you spend your days calling yourself things you would never let another person call your best friend? How long have you been believing those lies?
And they are lies.
You may be overweight, but our world has decided that “fat” is a synonym for “worthless.” The same goes for “ugly.” So when you call yourself fat, or ugly, or stupid, what you’re really telling yourself is that you are worthless. And over time, you’ve come to believe that “fat” or “ugly” or “stupid” means you have no value. You buy into the lie that your identity is “worthless” and you allow that to influence every aspect of your life.
If you’re worthless, you don’t deserve healthy relationships. If you’re worthless, you don’t deserve respect. If you’re worthless, your words, cruel or compassionate, mean nothing to anyone else. If you’re worthless, you should settle for having less or being less or doing less.
But you are not worthless.
You were fearfully and wonderfully made. You were carefully knit together, every detail, yes, even the crooked teeth, planned for a purpose. You, exactly as you are, are a gift to this world, because there has never been another person exactly like you and there will never be another person exactly like you ever again. There is something unique inside you that you alone have to share with the world. That is worth something.
You are worth something.
If no one has told you that today, or this week, or in years, let me tell you again:
You are worth something.
You are worth more than something. You are worth sacrificial love. You are worth dying for. You are worth suffering the most excruciating death and abject humiliation for. You are worth it. You.
Right now, in this moment, tell yourself, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And tomorrow, when you look in the mirror, tell yourself, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And every time that litany of lies starts in your head, overcome them with “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Keep telling yourself you have worth until the words of your Creator drown out the lies of the world. And then tell someone else that they are worth something and rescue them from the lies of worthlessness.
I can’t promise that you’ll see the change today, or tomorrow, or next week, but that choice, little by little, will change your life. Accepting who you are (and especially accepting Whose you are), and choosing to see the beauty in that, can open your life to the possibilities of so much more, to peace, to joy, to freedom from the lies of worthlessness.
It doesn’t cost a thing to start speaking truth and value over your life. Don’t live another day under the label of worthless. You’re worth so much more than that.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)