In this guest post, Cate Richter shares her personal experience and calls us to be shaped and influenced by the truth of God’s Word above any other voice, either internal or external.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 NIV
When I was younger, maybe 3 or 4, I would spend HOURS (no exaggeration, we have videos) staring at myself in the mirror and posing. I loved my reflection and I couldn’t get enough of myself. Call it arrogance if you want, but I was confident for sure! At some point in my life, that all changed, and I began to hide from my reflection, ashamed of what I looked like and who I was. What changed? As a child, my primary influences were my parents. They were constantly telling me I was beautiful, smart, and strong. They built me up and made sure I knew who I was and how they saw me. As a teenager, I was bombarded with thousands of influences telling me how I could be better- how I could get skinnier, grow longer hair, have nicer shoes, get better grades. Eventually, I started to view myself the way I was convinced everyone else viewed me- never enough
As we grow up, we grow further from the influence of our parents, becoming immersed in the world outside of our home. This isn’t always a bad thing, but in my case, I chose to ignore what my parents said about me and believe what the world said. Furthermore, I ignored who God said I was, living in shame of what I looked like and who I was. As I moved further from Him, His influence over me faded, giving way to my growing insecurity and shame. At some point, I got so sick of being insecure and unsure of myself that I decided to make some changes. I started limiting all influences in my life that I couldn’t trust completely (social media, mean girls, tv, marketing). Instead, I turned to God. I begged Him to show me who He created me to be, and He did. I spent weeks searching through scripture and finding evidence of my identity in Christ.
It is so easy to be weighed down by comparison and thoughts that tell you you’re not enough, but when they become the only voices that you listen to, you are choosing to ignore everything that God says about you over and over again in Scripture. Why would you want to live in lies, rather than living in love? You are an image bearer of the Almighty God! When God created mankind, He declared that they were made in His own image. This means that we act as a reflection of God here on earth. Furthermore, in 1 John 3:1 God calls us His children, inviting us to become like Him while Colossians 3:12 describes us as chosen, holy, and beloved. 2 Corinthians 5:17 calls us a new creation, free from past mistakes and shame, and 1 Corinthians 3:16 calls us God’s temple. Romans 5:8 describes the pinnacle of God’s love for us; the death of Christ on the cross for our sins. Who are we to ignore the greatest act of love in history and continue living in our shame, self-doubt, and self depreciation? The God who created the Universe loves you so wholly and so personally that He offered up the ultimate sacrifice in order for you to live a life free of the burden of sin!
So, make the conscious effort to surround yourself with the truth of who you are in Christ. The closer you are to Him, the easier it will become to discern the truth in the midst of so many lying voices. As 1 John 4:16 says, if you are abiding in Him, you are abiding in love, and if you are abiding in the love of Christ, you will begin to see yourself the way God sees you- as His child, unconditionally loved and unfathomably cherished. Draw near to Him, allowing Him to be the greatest influence in your life, and choose to believe that your Creator knows you well enough to tell you who you are.
By Cate Richter