by Michelle Narciso
My name is Nathania Michelle but everyone calls me Michelle and I will be 22 this year. I am a cradle Catholic and grew up in a family of four. Before coming to School of Witness, I struggled a lot with negative self-image and anxiety. Growing up, I was always compared to the people around me. I faced many comments and criticisms in all that I did, and felt like I needed to meet the high expectations set by others. The constant comments and criticism led me to believe that I am not worthy, not good enough, not perfect and soon I started to claim these as truths. Because in my head, if everyone says it, then it must be true. I began to strive, to do better, to be perfect so that I can meet the expectations of those around me, so that they won’t have anything bad or horrible to say. The need for perfection led to a lot of self-condemnation and anxiety. I was so scared of being rejected, and of being abandoned once everyone saw my imperfections. I constantly repeated the mantras of, “I need to do better”, “I need to be perfect” and “I need to make everyone proud”.
Soon I was entrenched in my own self-condemnation and anxiety. I felt unworthy and ugly before God. I could not understand why and how he could love me so much. No matter how much I surrendered or offered it up to him, I still felt the same; ugly and unworthy. I began to lose trust in God’s ability to heal me because nothing changed. My life remained the same, a cycle of striving, self-condemnation, and anxiety.
Coming to the school, the negative self-image, the self-condemnation and anxiety followed me in all that I did. Being surrounded by people who I deemed more perfect and better than me, made everything more difficult. It was a struggle to really believe the words and truths said during the sessions. Everyday was a constant battle between all the truths that the Lord was revealing to me and all of the lies that I had claimed in the past. In this constant battle, the Lord constantly reminded me to be patient and gentle with myself and to trust Him in the healing process. I kept bargaining with God, to heal me immediately, to get this over and done with because I just did not want to deal with all of these emotions and anxiety anymore. However, he had other plans for me.
This went on until the inner healing week, when feeling so overwhelmed, I experienced a panic and anxiety attack. On the same day, during worship, there was a time of prayer ministry. It was at that moment, when I was at my lowest, that the Lord worked His healing through me. Feeling so overwhelmed, I broke down in tears as I was ministered to. All the feelings of anxiety, insecurity, inadequacy and despair surfaced. I have never sobbed so much in life. At that moment, I fell to my knees, cried to the Lord, to save me, to heal me, to be with me and to just love me. I then received an image of the Lord hugging me as I cried. He reminded me again of how he loves me and takes delight in my being. He told me of how I am never a burden and a mistake, that I am perfect in His eyes and there is no need to strive tocplease the people around me, for He is already pleased with me. In this moment, the Lord took my hands and brought me out of the darkness and into the light, where I came to accept and bask in His healing and overwhelming love.
In stepping out into the light, I began to see myself in the eyes of God, uniquely and intentionally made. All of the lies and negative scripts started to lose their meaning and impact on my life. What others say and think about me does not matter now, because what the Lord says about me is what matters.
In experiencing and encountering the healing love of the Lord, every time I felt like I am stepping back into the darkness, I remind myself of the beauty of stepping out into the light of the Lord. Every day, I choose to stay in the light. As it says in Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”. So brothers and sisters, will you take the hands of the Lord and step out from darkness into the light? Will you walk as children of light with the Lord?