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We all have voices that speak into our lives. Some voices speak truth and fuel us to do amazingly wonderful things for the kingdom; others tear and beat us down. It all depends on what we choose to listen to. This is a lesson that God taught me early in 2020 when I found myself in a relationship that I thought was everything, but it instead turned into something toxic.
Emotional abuse can be challenging to define, and most of us don’t recognize it when it’s happening to us. There are so many ways to label it: gaslighting, stonewalling, the blame game, name-calling, sabotaging, love bombing, the list can go on and on. All of these and more became a part of my everyday life. I’d wake up every morning, terrified and in deep denial. I’d spend most of my days wondering if my significant other would be the one who loved and supported me, or be the one who called me “unworthy” or “unrealistic” and “stupid.” This constant yo-yo of my life threw me into a deep pit of depression. I withdrew from everything and everyone, and I spent most of my nights on my knees begging God to wave His “magic wand” to bring back the man I fell in love with. But God knew I deserved better; He knew that those degrading words weren’t true and He was going to use this to help me grow.
Here’s the lesson I learned from my own heartache: God wants me to love Him AND who He created me to be. Take a moment and think about the life of Jesus. How did He spend time with His disciples and the people in His life? What was His character? Wise? Humble? Caring? When I dive into the character of Christ, the root of it is love. When I take everything Jesus has said or done, it can be boiled down to love for God and for His children. As followers of Christ, we are to extend that love to others as well. That includes yourself.
In Matthew 22:39 it says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Why is it that when we hear or read this verse we see the value of the first part, but are not so great at the second? Why do we forget to love ourselves? It’s not selfish, or unrealistic; it’s God-breathed and spoken into our lives.
Are you familiar with making pottery? You take the clay and you slice it, pat it, beat it, mold it, shape it, scrap it, form it, burn it, gloss it, paint it, bake it. It is such hard work, but at the end of all that process, you have something so beautiful. Now imagine for a second that after spending all that time creating something you were so proud of, you breathed life into it, and it hated itself. How would you feel as the artist? What would you want that creation to know? Yes, there is pain, there is shaping to our character, there will be times we are scraped, molded, and formed, but at the end of the day, we are God’s creation. He loves us more than we can comprehend and is so proud to call us His.
If you have ever doubted your value, here’s what I want to say to you today:
You are God’s beloved.
You are God’s masterpiece, designed for wonderful, beautiful things.
If you take anything away from this, please know that God loves you and He wants to speak truth into your life. The world would like to keep you where you are; it would like to beat you down and make you believe that you are not worth it. The good news is that we serve a God who sees and loves us right where we are, scrapes and all. He knows what it feels like to have people tell you things specifically to hurt you. He knows the hatred we face every day, and it breaks His heart. He doesn’t want it for you. Choose to see what your Creator sees in you: Someone who is beautiful, worthy, strong, brave, and 100% capable of taking on the purpose He has set out for you. Choose truth and listen to the Creator who made you in His image.
Graphic Designer at Sun Valley Community Church, Jesus lover, Disney fanatic, down-to-earth artist on a path to express her creativity and love for people.