I already love Tamara, and we just met. Well, not face-to-face, but we’ve emailed for awhile. She’s a special young lady. From which city, I have no idea. How she found me, I have no clue. But I do know she’s brave, asking a stranger such honest questions. Here’s the message that started it all:
Dear Mrs. Sturgeon,
My name is Tamara, and I love God! I have a question: If I love God’s Word so much, then how can I have low self-esteem? It makes no sense! I try to say I’m beautiful in the mirror, but it isn’t working. In a lot of ways I’m insecure, and these feelings come like waves. (Huge ones.) How can God love me when I have trouble loving myself? Can you give me some advice or list a few Bible verses to help my thinking?
I used to think like you. The Bible said I was special, but feeling it was a whole different ballgame. And just like you, I loved God but couldn’t see how He could love messed-up me. But He does love me and you too, enough to create us in His own image. (Now that’s beautiful!) Here’s some advice on calming those hurtful storms of insecurity:
1) Reprogram your brain. This means crowding out the negative thoughts with what God’s Word says: Memorize it, say it out loud, even text it to yourself (I’ve done this, ha!). The Bible calls it “taking every thought captive.” And when insecurity creeps in, stop and recognize the LIE. Then consciously tell yourself, “I’m not falling for it. THIS is who God says I am….” Then quote that Tamara-loving scripture, girl. 🙂
2) Run from triggers. Figure out what causes the insecure feelings and eliminate all you can. For example, I’m not about to flip through a Victoria’s Secret magazine–too much pressure! And I gravitate toward friends who build me up, not tear me down. Sure, it’s tough to run from every trigger, but you can avoid lots of ’em. Ask God to reveal your weak areas, and then ask Him to steer you from things that hurt your heart.
3) Think about someone else. Sometimes we worry so much about ourselves that it’s mentally harmful. We become self-obsessed, just where the enemy wants us: Ineffective and insecure. The way out is to focus on others. Volunteer at your church, or simply look around the neighborhood or school for ways to reach out. Then do it, not for attention, but to be Jesus’ hands (beautiful, helpful, and capable hands).
You asked for some scriptures to memorize. Here’s a starter batch for you:
- “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
- “Those who look to Him [God] are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
- “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (The word “fear” here means respect, awe.)
- “You are altogether beautiful, beautiful in every way.” Song of Songs 4:7
- “Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil….” Ephesians 6:11-17
- ALL of Psalm 139. (I couldn’t choose just one verse. When you read the chapter, think about how much God loves you. If He loves you this much, does it matter what others think?)
I am praying for you. Please pray as well, asking God to calm the storms of doubt as His bright truth shines through.
May God bless you greatly, beautiful Tamara.
(And all the worthy daughters of this blog.)