Sometimes we are looking outside to find the beauty on our journey...when all we really need to do is look within.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
~ Psalms 139:14
It has taken me almost thirty years, aka, my whole life, to sincerely believe that this scripture could possibly be talking about me. I think in the "Andrea's Sulking Version", it says something like "...I am fearfully and wonderfully made, BUT...". Or "...I am fearfully and wonderfully made, EXCEPT FOR MY...".
You can fill in the blanks.
My story of climbing out is about a search for the beauty within.
Growing up, despite coming from a loving home and being deeply involved in church, I struggled constantly to believe that I was important, that I had value, worth, and don't even get me started on these “lies” people were telling me about me being beautiful!
No matter who tried to convince me otherwise, I always felt like the ugly duckling and I were kindred spirits - except there was no way I was going to turn into a breathtaking swan at the end. I just knew that I was different somehow, and that difference made me stick out like a sore thumb, from my perspective anyway.
Fast forward past middle school and high school, (because let's be serious, there is no place on earth that made me feel more like the ugly duckling), to my college years. There, I thought I found the opportunity to reinvent myself. I was sure this was my chance to finally be a part, to belong!
Only, while I thought I was escaping my negative perception of myself, I was instead running head first into its iron-grip, bear hug, imprisoning embrace.
In college, I made extremely poor choices because of those same insecurities that continued to plague me. Including a drunken intimate moment with a man I had no intentions of sleeping with. Twice.
I allowed my need, desire, my desperation to belong, to blind my judgement, cloud my vision, and crowd out any indication from the Holy Spirit that I was heading in the wrong direction. That I was heading down a path of destruction.
Eventually, I moved past my reckless behavior. However, my low self-esteem and lack of self-worth continued to overshadow my potential, with a growing pile of failed classes, failed relationships, and failed friendships threatening to topple over and bury me. I found myself, once again, cloaked in shame and doubt about my worth, my value, my beauty. I had defined myself by all the wrong things, and my inability to live out and live up to those definitions shook the very foundations of who I thought I was. It felt like my world was turned upside down.
Yet, little did I know, that along with the earthquake was coming the stirring wind of change, to be followed by the still, small Voice, speaking peace, identity, wholeness, and worth into my very soul.
I was looking to find my value, and my beauty, in all the wrong places. Even after getting married, having babies, obtaining a Master’s degree, and achieving my goal of becoming a professor, I realized that none of this defines who I am in God. These are important roles that I play in life, but they are not me.
So, who am I, you ask? I am the daughter of The King. I am wise and serious and motherly, most of the time – and that’s okay, because these are also the traits of an Intercessor. I am a teacher in all areas of my life, and my desire is to help others embrace their own uniqueness in all of its quirky glory.
It is impossible to seek out and find the beauty in the world, if we do not first discover the truest beauty in who we are and who we were created to be.
My journey of “climbing out” is mostly one of diving in – heart first – to the wellspring of gifts, ideas, quirks and peculiarity that God has placed within me. It’s a journey of going deeper in God, and in doing so, I’ve found and embraced the beauty He’s placed within me, as a reflection of His glory.