“But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7(NKJV)
Our focus must not entirely be on one’s physical appearance but also what a person possesses in the inside. In our world today we have become so engrossed in how we look physically that we forget to nurture who we are spiritually. We all desire to live up to society’s expectation and this has caused more harm than good. A common theme among young people in our generation is the prevalence of “low self esteem.” We measure ourselves up to society’s standards and when we don’t reach the “required standards” we begin to doubt who we are thus limiting ourselves from reaching our full potential.
I am very guilty of measuring myself up to society’s standard, it has not always been this way for me; as I was hitting my late teens and almost everyone I knew was sprouting up or looking like full-grown men and women, I still looked the same as when I was 14. I began to doubt myself and I began to feel not good enough. It didn’t help much that friends, family members and random people on the street would pass comments on my stature or my weight.
About a week ago, I had a conversation with a dear sister who mentioned that she does not understand why I don’t see the great qualities she sees in me. Jokingly I replied, “I must have low self esteem;” deep down I knew this was true but she doesn’t know that because it’s not very evident. Her statement struck a chord with me. I thought about it, and while I was trying to convince myself that I am good enough no matter what everyone else thought, I decided to look up a few bible verses that became so encouraging for me. I will share the bible verses below and I pray it brings comfort to anyone reading this that is experiencing a similar situation with their self-esteem.
- Do not let your adornment be merely outward, arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3: 3-4 (NKJV) - What Joy it is to know that God does not care about your earthly possessions but rather he is more concerned with the beauty within that cannot be destroyed. I am in a stage in my life that I am beginning to do things that are liberating to me, like leaving my natural “nappy hair out” because I feel comfortable doing that; walking out with my “chicken legs” showing because I am comfortable with the “chicken legs” God has blessed me with. I still struggle to embrace the things I see as my flaws but I would not let such minor things crush my spirit.
- “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” Hebrews 11:35 - Confidence, a word we all throw around claiming to have “confidence” but if we examined ourselves thoroughly, most of us actually lack confidence. We tend to talk ourselves into believing that we do but deep down we doubt our abilities to do the things we want to do. The sooner we begin to realize that God has deposited unique gifts into each and everyone the sooner we will be able to build our confidence and eventually reap our reward from the work that came through our confidence. We live in a very judgmental world and the more we are exposed to it, the more we get “ifs” and “buts” dumped into our heads. We must groom ourselves into accepting who we are and also come to the realization that your appearance does not determine your success or growth in life.
- For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will Praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139: 13 -14 (NKJV)- These verses bring a smile to my face because it is a reassurance that God does not make mistakes. He created you in his image, which therefore means he created you into perfection. The world might not see that but He does and you must learn to see that too. If God wanted you to look like what the world wants you to look like or expects you to look like he would have created you that way because He is God and he knows what is best for you.
I encourage anyone that is in a season in their lives where they feel as though they are not good enough or feel out of place among their group of friends to know that you are not alone. The Lord sees you as his jewel, a crown of glory (Isaiah 62:3) and the apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8). You are not a mistake because you were created for a purpose and stand firm and speak positive things upon yourself so that the world does not drown out your confidence. It is only by affirming who you are in Christ that you would begin to love yourself withholding nothing.
Anna Sylva is currently majoring in international studies with emphasis on development. She is a firm believer that we are God's hands and feet; and through us the world will get to experience Christ and his amazing love. It is her dream to use both her career and gift of writing as a platform to reach people from all over the world for Christ.