by Andrea Chong, 19 years old
Like many teenage girls, I face insecurities about my looks and my body. To make things worse, I belong to a naturally skinny family who jokingly point out from time to time that I’m the “meatiest” in the family. I also started to use Instagram since I was 11 years old, and was subconsciously brainwashed by posts day in and out (#bodygoals and #fitspo) to set myself the goal of becoming skinny. I beat myself up for how I looked. I hated myself and I’d always look at my friends with envy when they could easily connect with others around them. This manifested in my relationships, making me jealous even to the point of avoiding my friends because I was upset that I wasn’t like them.
I was insecure that people wouldn’t like me for who I was, and because of this insecurity, I overcompensated by trying to be funny by insulting others and being really loud all the time. I was unhappy with how God made me, and I obsessively compared myself to others, beating myself up when I couldn’t match up to them. I posted photos on Instagram solely for validation from others. This crippling insecurity was tearing me down, and I didn’t even think much of it.
During the School of Witness, this theme of insecurity kept coming up when prayer teams prayed over me. The first time this happened, the brother praying over me said “Princess – that is who God sees you as”. This shook me to the core. Never had I ever considered that I, such an imperfect, barely beautiful, un-skinny girl was a princess to God. The second time this happened, a sister prayed for my confidence and that I’d be able to see my worth in God’s eyes. Both times, I hadn’t told the prayer teams about my struggle with insecurity so I know that the Holy Spirit was working within them, stirring their hearts to recognise this self-hatred in me. And what God reveals, He heals.
During inner healing week, as I sat before the Blessed Sacrament, I surrendered this crippling insecurity to Jesus. There was an intense burning sensation in my chest and the Spirit enlightened me that Jesus had taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh. A heart that is able to trust Him, a heart that draws confidence from its Creator alone, and a heart that sees the beauty Jesus sees in me. I began to claim my worth in Jesus Christ and realised none of these outward appearances matter if I don’t have a heart for God.
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Although my healing is still a work in progress, I am now able to recognise when my insecurity arises and to turn to Jesus to draw my confidence from Him. I’m able to trust with who Jesus has made me to be. He sees me as beautiful and He asks only for my heart. Being able to claim that Jesus sees me as beautiful has allowed me to appreciate my brothers and sisters for who they are – beloved children of God. I feel more free to affirm and bless others instead of looking at them with envy.
My cell group mates say that a good indicator of whether a person feels free in their body is whether or not their inner child is able to confidently shine through, and I think I can say with conviction that my inner child is very much alive and kicking, I have a greater freedom to just be myself in social interactions, knowing I am enough as I am. I am also better able to accept affirmations and claim them for myself instead of squirming and denying them like before! He is giving me a grateful heart and new eyes to appreciate myself. For starters, I had no desire to post a Chinese New Year #ootd for others’ validation! Jesus has already “double tapped” my life and commented “very cool and beautiful” and that’s all the validation I need! I praise Him for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus has given me a heart of flesh and the ability to see with His eyes. Will you let Him do the same for you?
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