Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Loved, Special, Made for a Purpose

Yes, that is me. Hair parted down the middle and pulled back with white plastic clip barrettes. I remember that dress with the white Peter Pan collar. It was very sweet. Can I say, I was sweet? I’ve been thinking a lot about this little girl – me as a little girl.

I attended a women’s retreat this past weekend. My friend Bridget did a presentation on how to relax and refresh yourself in simple ways – paint your nails, take a bath, exercise, read a book. However, I was caught off guard by what was at the top of her list and it brought up a well of emotion inside of me. She pulled out a picture of herself as a nine your old little girl, and she said, “Stop the negative talk about yourself. Talk positively to yourself about yourself. Speak kindly to yourself like you are a nine year old little girl.” I wept.

I came home and found this picture of me when I was nine, and wept some more. As I reflect back on what my friend went on to say, I would never tell this little girl (or any other little girl for that matter) that she was ugly or boring or useless. I would not tell her that she was not worthy of love or that she did not have any gifts. I would not tell her that no one cared about her.

So, why do I say otherwise to myself? Do you experience this, dear friend? I spend a lot of time listening to women and hearing their hearts, and I hear insecurities ooze out all over the place. Insecurities like mine and insecurities different than mine. They are all lies, and yet we hear them and repeat them to ourselves. What’ with that?

I don’t know. Something inside of us got contaminated along the way. Maybe cruel statements were heard, either through the words or actions of others, and somehow, someway a poison seeped in and began to destroy. We began to feel like damaged goods. Cracks in our hearts did not heal completely when we were hurt, and insecurities and lies began to distort reality and rot away at the truth that we are created by God, in His image, for a purpose, and that we are beautiful to Him.

So, what do we do?

Well, I am not entirely sure, but I am working on it. I liked what Bridget had to say – talk to yourself as if you are a nine year old little girl. Talk gently. Don’t belittle yourself. Talk to yourself as if you are special – because you are.

And tell yourself the truths of God, not the lies that you may have heard or felt somewhere along the way --lies that stick like leaches. God’s truth is bigger and stronger than the lies. You are His child (John 1:12). You are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). Your are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God has a plan and a purpose for your life (Jeremiah 29:11); you are not a waste. You are a treasured possession, (Deuteronomy 7:6) not junk. You are a friend of Jesus (John 15:15). You are chosen of God, dearly loved (Colossians 3:12), not worthless and rejected. You are never alone (Deuteronomy 31:6). You are loved with an unfailing love (Isaiah 54:10).

Your homework for today (if you should choose to accept the challenge), dear reader, is to find a picture of yourself when you were nine. Look in to that darling face and tell her that she is loved, special and made for a purpose. And then look at yourself in the mirror, and say the same thing. Say it because it was and is true; God says that about you.

(P.S. – I must share with you that I am feeling terribly vulnerable in sharing this story with you today; maybe it’s part of the lie that I sometimes believe that people are going to think I am ridiculous and that I have nothing of value to share, but I feel that God has called me to write this. I am willing to step out and live authentically for the sake of hope. I have prayed for you, dear reader, if you struggle in this area, that God will fill you with the truth and that you will begin to see more of Him and more of the truth about you.)


Juanita said...

Wow! You will not believe this!!! My Spiritual Director has challenged me to talk to my 5 year old self. It was then that my mother was killed in a tragic car accident. It has become apparent that I am holding on to "something" from this experience. Something that is preventing me from being free...from being able to accept my stepmom...something that keeps me holding on to my Mom, in a childlike way. I have my own lies to face. This too makes me feel so very vulnerable...afraid.
Thank you for risking to share your journey. Our journey's have slightly different twists, but similarities as well. Your words clearly had a purpose in encouraging me to press on into mine.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this entry, andrea...
i am so glad you posted it....you are an amazing person who has been created to be a refresher and encourager to those of us who are blessed to know you and call you friend...and those who know you through your blog ministry....keep running the race my dear friend...and keep writing those powerful truths...because you are loved and because you are special and have so much to share!

p.s. thanks for loving me!

Niki Turner said...

This was a precious post, Andrea.
In my 9-year-old picture I'm not smiling, I'm sort of listed to the side like a sinking ship. Not a happy camper. I was unhappy with my appearance that day... the way my mom fixed my hair, the shirt she told me to wear, etc. Thirty years later, I'm still learning to like myself.
Thanks for the reminder to treat myself the way a 9-year-old SHOULD be treated... with love.

Cass said...

That's one of your best yet (as my eyes fill with tears)! Love you Andrea, and you are SO sweet as a nine-year-old!

Kathy said...

You are NOT "ugly or boring or useless"! You are loved and admired by so many. You are a wonderful mother to 5 beautiful children and an amazing woman in so many ways.

If only we could all live like we were still 9 -- happy, no worries about the future, living in the present...

Love, Kathy

Wendy Blight said...

Hi, it's Wendy Blight, author of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. I saw your comment on Adding Zest and wanted to thank you for leaving such sweet words of encouragement about the interview. Your words truly blessed me...sharing my story is hard, and I love when the Lord uses precious women like you to encourage me to keep on sharing the story He has given me.

I am also thankful I stopped by your blog today because I love your post. From your blog, I can see God has given you the gift of encouragement. My prayer for you today is that God will bless you as you walk in your giftedness, encouraging and refreshing His daughters as they walk this journey of life!

Cherie Hill said...

What a wonderful "homework" assignment! I could hardly control the tears as I read through your post. I have reflected on myself as a little girl before and had many thoughts...but never in the way your friend has suggested. I can't help but wonder how my life would have been different had there been SOMEONE to speak those words of love and praise over me. Would I have been less likely to believe the "lies." Childhood for me was filled with inner pain and more tears than I thought possible. Emptiness, brokeness, lack of self worth...they took over, as they do for many of us. I am so thankful that I have a Savior that heals all wounds and covers all sins. I'm convinced that your post is going to have a dramatic impact in my life. It is hard to hold back the tears...just saying that.
Thank you sister...for your heart.
In Him, with joy,

Andrea @ Unfailingly Loved said...

Dear Ladies:

Thank you for sharing your stories and your words. I really struggled with writing it; so glad that I did and that God used it. Thank you for your encouragment in my ministery, as well.

You are loved!

mamabear said...

My littles keep me so busy I don't have much time to reflect on my self-esteem. I'm just a worker bee right now, in this season. A beautiful season though--I'm not complaining.

I wanted to pop in here and say how lovely I think you are. I love your posted picture. A classically beautiful woman!

Very nice post!

Debbie said...

Andrea, thank you for sharing! I actually have two pictures of me as a little girl in my office. I'm about two in one picture - my grandmother is holding me. I'm about 5 or 6 in the other. I will never look at these pictures, or any other of me as a little girl, in the same way again. Thank you my friend!

Bridget said...

It is amazing how God works in our lives. Andrea, you have found a wonderful vehicle to express those experiences and teachings.

The impact of this "9 year old girl image" is overwhelming. I have my 9 yr old picture next to my bed and literally, when I look into her eyes I AM looking into my eyes as a 40 year old woman. I love that girl. I need to try to love me as much.

As my 6 and 9 year old daughters have already begun to doubt their appearance and self worth, I have pulled out their 3 year old pictures. I have asked them, "Aren't you adorable?" Their first response is "Is that me?... I AM sooo cute." To that I say, "you are adorable, remember that image of you. You are special in God's eyes (and mine) and you always will be. Be nice to yourself" I hope these words sink in and stick with them.

I ran across an assignment that asked my 6 yr old to describe herself... she simply wrote "I'm speshal" (I'm special) Enough said!

Andrea @ Unfailingly Loved said...

Thanks, Bridget. You're wonderful, and I love how you are pouring truth in to your daughters (and in to yourself)! Hope you are encouraged as to how God used the message you shared one Saturday morning in May! You are loved!

Violet said...

My husband found and told me about your blog, and in turn, I found this post. It is AMAZING! I have been experiencing inner healing for the past 18 months and my inner little girl is learning that she is deeply loved by her Father.
I am going to dig out two pictures today and post one to my bathroom mirror and the other one in my car.
No longer will I treat myself the way the evil one has treated me!


Anonymous said...

Andrea, you were never "ugly or boring or useless." I know this is a women's blog, but here's a man who will oppose by any means those who would debase you this way. You know what I mean. So please don't do it to yourself. Your value far transcends such negativity.


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