I grew up not knowing I was truly loved. My parents were the children of immigrants. Hard work and status dominated their upbringings. Although these tenets are not necessarily harmful, without the love of Christ on display alongside them, their childhood homes were filled with tension and pressure. And for my dad, that stress led his father to alcohol addiction and physical abuse.
My parents were kind people, but expressing feelings was not something they were accustomed to. Conversations in our home often centered around how I performed at school, in sports, and at my job. Concern over the image I displayed in our small, tight-knit community far outweighed their expressions of unconditional love.
I was not sure I always measured up. When I looked at myself in the mirror, so many questions swirled around inside of me. Was I good enough? Smart enough? Pretty enough? Had I done enough to earn my parents’ and siblings’ love?
My mirror often told me nothing about me was enough. My road to earn my family’s love became marred with deep insecurities, feelings of inferiority, debilitating perfectionism, and eventually a ten-year battle with anorexia.
After many struggles and poor choices along the way, I relinquished my life to Christ and my journey to healing and embracing His unconditional love began. Through an amazing godly mentor and her encouragement to delve deep into God’s Word, I started to see how unique and special He made me. I was valuable to Him.
What I saw in the mirror was starting to change. I was beginning to see myself through God’s eyes, and truly believing what He said about me.
I eventually grasped that my body was not my own, that He had paid for it with a price. I saw that my worth did not come from my appearance, or my performance, or my status. It came from my Heavenly Father who adored me for the person He made me to be, and this love He had for me would never change.
I learned what unique gifts and talents God gave me, and I began to pray and ask God to use me wherever He needed me. I led a women’s Bible study. I mentored a young teen new in her faith. I volunteered in a nursing home ministry and as a youth leader in my church’s high school ministry. Seeing myself through God’s eyes and believing what He said about me enabled me to love others in ways I never could before.
I still battle sometimes with my mirror and what I see in it. But now I go straight to God’s Word and let the truth of Scripture override my insecurities and feelings of inferiority. And I serve. Loving others always gets me back on track and makes me realize how much God loves me.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you seeing yourself through God’s eyes? Or are you struggling with insecurities and feelings of inferiority because your mirror is distorted by focusing on your appearance or your performance or your status?
In Chip’s message, Breaking Through Life’s Biggest Barriers: How to Overcome Inferiority and Low Self-Image, he shows how distorted mirrors destroy lives and gives three keys to unlock a healthy Biblical self-image and identity.
See yourself the way God sees you. Let His view of you flood the distortions you are holding on to. Believe and trust what God says is true. And then spend time discovering the you that is true by unleashing the gifts and talents He has given you. By loving others, you can grasp and experience God’s love in a powerful and meaningful way.
Edel is a busy mom of five very active kids, wife to one very adventurous husband, and caretaker of one very spoiled dog. When she is not homeschooling her kids or accomplishing the many drives on her carpool app, she enjoys workout classes, long walks, a good book, dinner out with friends, and lots of traveling. She and her family have ventured to 31 states in their RV with plans to visit all 50 states and recently they experienced an amazing family trip to Italy. Before writing for Living on the Edge, Edel enjoyed her position as a public school teacher and then principal of a Christian school. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Boston University and completed her Masters of Education at Harvard University.More Articles by Edel