by Lauren Battle
April 05, 2019
Have you ever experienced the weight of shame and guilt so heavily that you felt the only option was to run and hide? Growing up in a Christian home, equipped with God’s word, you would think it would’ve been easy to brush off negative criticism and turn to the word of God for affirmation, but at the time, it wasn’t.
I have struggled with insecurity and self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. I was the chunky kid in school. I remember being oinked at while at lunch and picked last in group games because I wasn’t as fast or athletic as everyone else. In middle school, it became painfully obvious to me that I was one of the few girls that no boy had any interest in whatsoever. It might seem insignificant now, but my self-esteem issues starting at such a young age really shaped my actions in the years that followed.
I was determined to lose weight and gain attention, and I didn’t care what it took to get there. Sure enough, male attention started flooding in for the first time in my life, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I became almost addicted to it. Although I had solid, biblical truths sewn into me from as early as I can remember, the attention I was seeking seemed more fulfilling than anything else. (Spoiler alert: I was very, very wrong!) For so many years, I thought my name was outcast, overweight and unwanted, and now I had a new name: desirable.
I thought my self-esteem had greatly improved, but truthfully, it was shattered. My sense of self-worth was fully dependent upon my acceptance by men and their desire for me. I was broken, ashamed and empty, trying to hide my sins from my family and God, and keeping my relationship with God at arm’s length.
Years passed, and I found myself at the end of college, pregnant, unmarried and terrified. Now I carried a scarlet letter everywhere I went. I was at an all-time low. The shame, guilt and sadness were overwhelming. It was my rock bottom. It was at this time that I felt God tugging at my heart so tightly that I could not resist him anymore. I began to lean into the godly wisdom that I had always been taught, but had been suppressing and avoiding. God took my sin and my shame, and he gave me a new name. It didn’t happen all at once, but since the birth of the greatest blessing in my life, God has revealed to me time and time again that I am forgiven, and I am worthy, and I am redeemed, and I am valuable.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
— Ephesians 2:4–7
Because of his love for me, I am no longer bound to the restraints of the person I used to be. I have been made new in Him. I know who I am because I know whose I am. I am a daughter of the King and I have a new name. There is nothing more freeing than knowing I no longer depend on the acceptance or approval of others. It is so comforting to know that I am forgiven and redeemed and worthy of everything that he has in store for me. Because of this, I no longer have to live under the weight of my sin and shame, and neither do you. You are his. You are loved. You are worthy. You are forgiven. You are an heir of the kingdom. It’s time to start believing it and living it out.
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