by Valerie Low
Prior to SOW, my identity and self-worth was of that of the world. I constantly craved external validation from others and constantly wanted to prove myself worthy to others; be it my friends, or even on social media. So, you can say that I was not confident of my true identity and purpose in God. This stemmed from a place of insecurity with how I looked due to past wounds from bullying, While growing up, I felt that I was ugly, and thoughts like this constantly came up: “ Why do I have so many moles? Why is my face so chubby? You’re fat.” And because I felt undesirable, I wanted to prove that I was better than others in other aspects.
What made the issue worse, was that I did not get the grades I wanted at school. I constantly compared myself to my peers, and felt that whatever I did was never good enough. “Bad grades?”, I thought to myself. I will prove to everyone that I can beat my peers and become successful one day.
I thought that if I wasn’t smart or pretty then it’s ok. I mean, I knew how to hustle, and I even had a mantra after graduating from poly, “Keep grinding, stay hustling”. It seemed to me that since I knew to make money, that would be good enough. During my gap year, as I achieved the many goals on my checklist, I still felt empty and like there was a void in the depths of my heart.
I continuously felt that I was a mistake, and lies continued to fill my head. I wondered why God made me the way I am. Externally, I was always bubbly around my friends, cracking jokes, but inside, I was deeply insecure, downhearted, and felt like broken, tainted glass that would never be enough for anything or anyone. This feeling of unworthiness stuck with me for a long time, and I constantly felt unworthy or forgotten by God.
In the desperate, deepest desires of my heart, I knew that I was longing to navigate through the maze of this messy world, to find the One who loves me as I longed to be loved.Jesus called me into SOW through the verse, “Nothing is impossible with God”, which spoke resonated with me. Things started to change as the school began.
During one of the ministry sessions on the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus welcomed me back into His house and told me that I am His princess. He told me that He wass awaiting a new life with me. At that point, I found it so hard to believe this. I struggled to fully grasp the truth that I am His beloved daughter because of the shame I felt because of who I am as a person, my sins, and my lack of trust in Him.
But the Lord NEVER gave up on me! To be honest, I felt like Jesus was exasperated at for me still not being able to grasp what He was telling me. During another prayer ministry session, two of the staff memebers mentioned that I was a beloved princess of Jesus AGAIN and that I am cherished and loved by Him. They also mentioned that I needed to claim and find my voice to dare to speak out. It was at this moment when I realised that no amount of external and self-validation will ever fill me because only heavenly affirmation will make me whole.
The strongest turning point came when I had a very strong encounter with the Lord at a praise and worship session where we sang the song, “How great is Your Love”. It was at this moment when I felt immense love pouring deep into the depths of my heart and I couldn’t help it as tears as they fell down my cheeks. As I closed my eyes, I saw the image of Jesus coming into the cave that I was in. I was hugging my legs and crying. Jesus’ face was bruised and bloody all over, and His clothes were tattered and torn. He crouched down to my level, hugged me, and gave me a pat on my head.
It was then when I realised how much Jesus loves me and that I am His beloved. He was never distant, and was all always by my side, He was always my knight in shining armour who defends and protects me. By His wounds and the shame that He suffered on the cross for me, Jesus carries my shame instead of me. This showed me that I am somebody who is worthy of being loved by Jesus. This showed me that Christ would humble Himself to comfort and save me in my state of lowliness and shame, and that His love for me is not based on my perfect performance, or what I do, but on the perfect love He has for me.
I now claim the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the one true King and my identity lies in Him. I am Jesus’ beloved princess, and I’m a child of God! The world tells me: “Fake it till you make it”, but Jesus says: “Faith it till you make it”. Coming out of my shame and into the light of Jesus, I now can feel more confident in my own skin and can stand firm and in confidence of my identity. That it’s not to say that I don’t still struggle with lies and self-condemnation. There are times when I look at myself in the mirror, and still struggle with my self image, but I now hold fast to the truths that God has planted in my heart. I am worthy, made good, and beautiful. I now also realise that Jesus is in the little things, such as a blue bird flying, the smiles on people’s faces, and the joy and peace I feel in my heart.
Psalms 18:30 says, “This God- His way too perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him”. The Lord desires to embrace you, comfort you, and fill your heart with His living waters and hope. He is for you 100%, loves you, and welcomes you with open arms. But will YOU say yes to Him, and invite Him into your hearts?