by Chrystlyn Edwards
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Recently, I have been asking myself if I love myself. I know this seems like a strange question, but I think it is a necessary question to ask, especially for women.
So, to get a truthful and honest answer, I went to the Source, the One who created me in His Image-God. After spending time alone with Him, He told me a resounding yes. However, my perception of loving myself was wrong. He revealed to me, I love myself in a confident way, not in a vain way.
However, it was not an easy road to get to this place in being comfortable in my own skin. Throughout, my life, I wanted perfection in every area of my life, regardless of my unorthodox circumstances that surrounded me on a daily basis.
However, as I have walked through this journey called life, God has shown me the unmistakable reality that I am human. I am a woman who is flawed. He has shown me time and time again, I am imperfect. I will never be perfect, because if I were perfect, He would not be my Source.
However, despite my flaws, I am saved by grace through Christ Jesus. Through Him, I am a complete woman unconditionally loved by God. I now realize that even though I am not perfect, He has called me to strive for perfection to be more like Him. He has called me to be a strong reflection of Himself to people He has and will continue to put in my sphere of influence.
Every day, in my weakness, I know in my spirit and my heart that I am strong in Christ. I have endured so much in my life to the point where I have considered myself weak and unworthy.
I grew up in a chaotic home environment with an absentee father. Even though I knew God loved me, I did not know it in my heart. Growing up in an abusive home environment, I was focused on surviving and keeping my sanity to get through the next day. Since my Dad was not in my life during my childhood and teenage years, I chose to pursue the love of men only because I wanted to belong to someone and know what intimacy from a man felt like. However, I endured being rejected, abandoned, mistreated, and disrespected by men who chose to leave and hurt me when I was in a vulnerable place in life, when needed them the most. Needless to say, these men were obviously not Godís choice for me. Through it all, I experienced false intimacy and one sided relationships that brought me so much pain and heartache.
In my pursuit for love from man, I was breaking Godís heart because I did not take the time to learn how much He loves me. Even though His heart was breaking for me, I am so thankful; that even though I turned my back on Him, He did not stop pursuing me. I am so thankful; He did not give up on me. Even though, my heart has been bruised in the past by mean-spirited men, God never left me and I am so thankful He never will. I am thankful Jesus whispered to my heart that if I were the only person He created and put on Earth, He still would have died in my place so I would not have to live this life and eternal life without Him. Oh, how He loves me.
I must admit, to this day, I still think about those days, but I am making a conscious effort daily not to dwell in them because they are in my past. God has restored my self-worth and has shown me time and time again, I am accepted by Him. It took me a long time to believe this in my heart, but now I know that accepting Godís love for me is the key to loving me.
He revealed to me that just because I go through struggles does not mean I do not love myself. It just means that I am human.
Because God loves me I love myself even more. I chose to free myself from the prison of self-condemnation for being human and making mistakes. I chose to accept and walk in the freedom of Christís unconditional love and forgiveness. As I walk in forgiveness, I choose to continue to extend His forgiveness for me by freeing myself from the prison of unforgiveness. I choose to trust God to handle those who hurt me in my past, including my Dad and other family members who chose not to consider my best interest in their hearts. As I continue to allow God to soften my heart in my healing process, I know in my heart, I am free to receive all the blessings He has for me. I love myself to let go of the pain of my past, and embrace the future God has planned for me.
I love myself to accept my strengths & weaknesses so I can encourage those who need to hear the truth from a genuine, flawed heart. Even though my heart is flawed, it is still beating. Even though I do face tough times, I love myself enough to fight back and persevere. This season feels like it is never going to end, but I choose to fight to believe that these tough times will not last forever, and that my season will change.
Some of my tough times have been based on hard, and at times abusive relationships. There is a saying that goes, ďWhat doesnít kill you make you stronger.Ē Kelly Clarkson sung a song based on this saying entitled, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)." This song is the definition of how I feel about the men who have hurt me in the past. Even though, I have forgiven them for everything they put me through, I love myself to choose not to go back to them. I love myself enough to remain free and no longer settle for less than Godís best man for me.
My issue in previous relationships was I focused so much on the other person that I forgot not only about God, but me. I was never taught how to love me because I was told, and believed growing up something was wrong with me. That I was not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough,(fill in the blank) enough. However, now that I am a woman, I choose to not think about what other people think of me, including my family. Instead, I choose to be myself and be unapologetically who God created me to be. Now, I love myself to believe and know in my heart that I am unique, special, gifted, smart, lovable, secure, important, beautiful, strong, worthy, and most importantly, I belong to GOD & I am enough in His Eyes.
In His Eyes, I am perfectly flawed.
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