I spend way too much time thinking about all of the things I dislike about myself.
It takes up so much mental energy and leaves me feeling frustrated and depressed. It’s pretty selfish if you think about it. Who am I to be so critical? I am made in God’s image so isn’t that enough right there?
I was seven years old the first time I started hating things about myself. I despised my pointy toes. I would sit in the bathtub and lament the fact that I didn’t have round, cute little toes like my friends. My toes look more like fingers, and I felt like they were really creepy. I hated wearing sandals because I just knew people were pointing and laughing. When I was nine years old I took swim class each Friday at my school. This was torture because I couldn’t hide my toes inside of shoes. They were exposed for a whole sixty minutes. I spent most of the time trying to curl my toes under my feet so nobody would have to endure looking at them.
And then one day I realized I was fed up.
I was going to take matters into my own hands. I decided to round the tips of my toes down with a metal file I found in my dad’s tool box. I figured they would bleed a little, but hoped they would look adorable after the they healed up. I only made it past one toe before the pain was too much to bear. I went to class that Friday with a giant scab on the end of my toe, which made the girl next to me say,
“What happened to your big toe?!”
Well, that resulted in a circle of kids staring down at my feet, in what I believed to be, pure horror. Needless to say, that toe stayed pointy and never became beautiful. I can’t say I love my toes now, but I no longer avoid flip flops. So what. I have finger-toes. That’s how God made me.
This is a mild example, but it has shares the same root of discontentment.
Our society demands we improve ourselves so we can feel worthy, but the measuring stick is impossible. We have more self-worship in our culture than ever before. We live in the “selfie” age, yet most of us deal with self-hate. That is a bad combination and destines us for heartache. How about we focus instead on what God has done for us? He accepts us, and that is way better than having cute toes, plump lips, or low numbers on the scale.
The only cure for self-hate is realizing the depths of God’s love.
You are here because the Creator of the Universe knit you together, breathed life into your lungs, and handed you a life to live. If you find yourself thinking about all of the bad things that define you, I challenge you to take a step back and focus on something else. Sometimes we make ourselves the main attraction to such an extent, we can’t see what God is doing in our lives. Look outward for a while, and give yourself a breather. Love others, and encourage one another by extending compassion and understanding. Rest in the finished work of Christ, knowing you are loved and accepted. There are days you will feel like a failure, and there are days you will feel amazing—but either way, He loves you the same. The more we realize how loved we are by God, the more our self-obsession fades in comparison.
“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” —Tim Keller