For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do - Ephesians 2:10
I think the assumption is that most people know their worth and if they don't, then someone saying, “know your worth” should automatically teleport high self-esteem into their psyche. But what if you genuinely don't know your worth or how to build it up? Well, the good news is you’re not the only one!
I can honestly say before I had my son, my self-esteem was on the floooooor! Let me give you some background. Growing up, it seemed like I had the perfect family, then almost overnight, I didn’t. It was during the summer holiday of 2006, that we realised my dad had a double life, and another family living literally minutes away. As a ten-year-old girl, it shattered me, I thought I must not have been a good enough child, because my dad didn’t want to be around me anymore. He divorced my mum that summer and stopped talking to us for a few months. During that time, we struggled haaaard with debt as it was also discovered he wasn’t paying for bills, rent or anything else in the house.
At night, when I thought about it, all I could remember was my dad arguing with my mum about her weight, he would say he was un-attracted to her and that she was dull and boring, so in my naive mind, I came to the conclusion that in order for a man to never leave you, you must be attractive always, you must be fun and affectionate always, and never ever a bore.
So that's what I tried hard to become as I grew. I tried to always look like I had it all together, even if I didn’t, I tried to always be interesting and tried to always make people happy - in the hopes that they wouldn’t leave me.
Did it get me far? Nope.
The biggest problem with that mindset is that when it came to boys, I would often be overly affectionate too quickly and seek to please them in the hopes that they would never leave. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that that's a recipe for disaster. I didn’t see it that way though, I just saw it as ensuring I wouldn’t end up alone.
Whilst I was pregnant, I had loads of time to pray and think, and that (along with actually being pregnant), allowed me to see my worth. I feel like the lenses I was seeing myself through were cracked by my dad leaving me, and motherhood was the tool that God used to allow me to see myself in the way He sees me.
Any woman that carries a whole baby is a badass, that excludes caring for and raising a child along with all the other things life demands. Mothers are worth double their weight in gold!
Even if you’re not a mama, or even a woman, the price God paid for your soul is mighty. Listen love, I could never slay my son for a stranger. Never. So for God do to that for me, tells me I am worthy!
So how do you build your self-esteem and know your worth?
1. Know who you are in Christ.
It sounds really obvious, but a lot of us don’t really know this. We know the scriptures and the sayings, but has it really entered your heart? If not then use this quarantine season to meditate upon them, google scriptures relating to self-worth, instead of spending hooours on Instagram. Besides meditating on them, I often commit these scriptures to memory. When I get up in the morning and I look at my puffy face, or whenever I see myself I say those scriptures to myself. That's how scriptures enter you. The words that are spoken are spirit and are life (John 6:63). Knowing them isn’t always enough. It feels forced and awkward at first, but soon enough, you will feel what these scriptures say and really believe them.
2. Understand that your trauma doesn’t define you.
For some reason I honestly believed being from a broken home made me disadvantaged. And it was that belief that made me broken. My parents being divorced didn't damage me, by the grace of God, I completed uni, got a first-class, did well at work, went on to complete my masters...and honestly, I’m not bragging, I’m just trying to illustrate a point, in some opinions, I did better than people who were from two-parent households, buuuut I let the fact that I came from a “broken” home make me feel like I was always at a loss and needed to achieve more, have more people around me and have more love and acceptance in my life. When the truth was I was doing just fine. Both my parents loved me, they just couldn’t work things out between them. That had nothing to do with me or anything I did. Aaaand even if they didn’t love me, I am loved by the maker of the heavens (Psalm 27:10), for me, that’s more than enough. You may have been sexually abused, physically abused or abandoned as a child, you didn’t do anything wrong, and it’s unfortunate that those things happened to you, but you have the maker of the heavens on your side. He formed you with love, with care and is jealous for you (Jer 29:11). He literally brought you here so you could realise how loved you are. What's happened to you, or is happening to you doesn't define you, or make you may less of a person, if willing, God can use that very thing for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
3. Acknowledge yourself
It sounds odd, but as Christians, we looove to play the humble game. I’m like that, if I get a compliment I automatically disregard it. But, sometimes you have to acknowledge who you are, what you have done AND what you have overcome (all by the grace of God, of course, lol!) You are a young, black woman who is full of love and light, you are in love with Jesus and are busy seeking Him! You’re trying to better your life, even though your foundations weren’t great, you’re trying to do better for both yourself and the next generation. You’re educated, you’re fashionable, you’re beautiful, you’re healthy, you’re glowing, you’re kind, you’re compassionate, and if you’re a mama, you pour yourself out every day to another whilst doing life! If that doesn’t sound like a queen what does?
4. Do not compare - at all.
Once you’ve realised who you are and Whose you are, then you will understand why the comparison is of no use. Comparison is a thief of joy, so try hard not to do it. If that means logging off social media, muting that person's story, or praying over some jealousy or envy your heart has acquired then do it. God created you to be you for a reason. There is your own personal lane that is destined for you to slay in and nobody else! There are some souls that are going to respond to only your voice and nobody elses. There is a call with only your name on it. So be secure in that. Whatever job, husband or whatever else you desire is for you, and if you are praying woman it will be yours. So don’t fret. Don’t worry. Be still and know that He has got your back, front, sides, head and toes covered.
5. Accept yourself, but don't be afraid to grow!
Accepting the way you look and the way you are can be one of the hardest things! I've always believed my nose is crooked, don't ask me why lol, and I honestly believe the volume at which I speak and laugh is tooooo loud for a lady. I've tried to change both, but I can't. They’re parts of me that God made for a reason. I remember Joyce Meyer saying that growing up, she always believed she had a deep manly voice, and she could never understand why...she also deeply believed it was a turn off for men! It wasn’t until she started preaching that she understood why her voice was the way it was, millions would come to know Christ because of it, and when she speaks, it is clear and easily understood due to her tone. Awesome right? So yes you’re not happy with yourself but God is! So learn to love what makes you unique.
With that in mind, I would say, love yourself enough to know when its time to change. Do not love yourself to the point of error. If there is a behaviour that is dishonouring to God, toxic or unhealthy, change it. Because you love yourself enough to know that you deserve better! It may be hard at first, but force, stick with the new plan or habit and include God in the decision to change. He will honour you asking for His strength.
Now before I leave ya, I’m actually going to give you a gift.
This devotional changed my life, it completely changed how I saw myself and gave me a deeper understanding of my worth. Its eleven weeks long and its fun to do - it gives you activities and things to think about and has honestly transformed me as a person.
It is perfect for quarantine season! You can even do it on your phone.
I hope you cherish it as much as I did. I still do it again when I feel old feelings rise up in me.
- m x
p.s if you start this devotional and you found it useful, let me know! <3