Monday, February 26, 2018

Incomparable You

Last Summer, while my family was preparing to move into our new home, in the midst of sorting through some of my things I came across my collection of old journals. I have at least 20 or more of them, dating all the way back to 2010. The pretty, spiraled purple one with colorful butterflies caught my eye. Whenever I come across old writings of mine, I’m always interested in seeing where my thoughts were at that particular moment in time. The pages of my journals tell some stories that would make for great novels someday. I’ve dealt with some stuff, hear me?!

Anyway, I opened the old journal to a random page dated March 22, 2011. At that time, I must have been struggling with my self-esteem and comparing myself to other women, because I came across this affirmation:

“I am a woman of purpose.  I am a unique individual, intricately crafted by the hands of The Master Craftsman.  No one else possesses the beauty, talents, gifts, or greatness placed within me before the foundation of the world.  I do not compare myself to other women, because no matter how amazing I believe they are, I know that I am equally amazing.”

Retrospectively, I can definitely say that I hadn’t always believed those words I wrote to be true.  For a long period of my life, I felt inadequate and inferior.  I compared myself to every woman I believed had a better life than mine, and in my eyes, everything about me greatly paled in comparison to those around me.  I thought everyone else was prettier, smarter, more accomplished, more talented, and possessed a greater purpose than me.  Whenever I sized myself against others, the end result was always the same – I never measured up.  I didn’t look at the lives of others as inspiration to better myself; instead, I used others’ strengths to magnify my own weaknesses and shortcomings.  What is so wrong with me that I can’t just be like everybody else? I’d think.  I hated those feelings, and my continuous self-criticizing thoughts eventually caused me to hate myself. 

Not only did my constant comparing produce self-hate, but also jealousy and envy.  I often felt jealous of other women because I didn’t know how to properly channel my admiration towards them so that it positively influenced me.  I circled the mountain of incessantly comparing myself to others for many years, and part of my struggle with depression had a lot to do with the fact that I never felt I measured up to the greatness I saw in others. I mean, I had too many negatives against me.

Fatherless child.

Raised in poverty.




Nothing good could come from someone who had so many issues. At least that was my twisted way of thinking.

I remember praying a lot and just seeking God to help me change the way I felt about myself. I don’t recall the exact moment, but I finally came to this realization:  Who told me that I had to measure up to anyone? Where did I get the idea that the life belonging to the lady next to me set the standard for my life?  If I was created in God’s image, then why was I trying to conform to that of someone else? Comparing yourself to others was equivalent to telling God – who does all things perfectly well and makes no mistakes– that He didn’t do a good enough job when He created me. When I criticized myself, I criticized God’s perfect handiwork. When my mind and heart embraced this truth, my self-view completely changed, and so did the way I loved and valued myself. This is why it is imperative to take your eyes off of them and keep them on Him.

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s masterpiece.  If God considers each of us His masterful work of art, we should never disrespect His work by treating it as inferior to another.  In God's eyes, there is no one better than you.  There is not one person on this earth to which you can be compared because everything about you is unique.  Your beauty, intelligence, gifts, talents, economic and social status, purpose; your entire life’s plan is unique to God’s design for your life.  Just as your DNA cannot be matched or compared to anyone else’s, neither can anything about your life. Originals cannot compare to other originals.

You were not created to measure up to anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ, and His principles and standards of holy, righteous living.  Absolutely nothing about you is supposed to be anything like anybody else. YOU are His greatest, most original and valuable design. According to Psalm 139:13, in your mother’s womb, He meticulously knitted you together and made all of the delicate, innermost parts of your being. According to Genesis 1:27, He created you in His own image and likeness, to be a reflection of the perfection He embodies. And according to Jeremiah 29:11, as He designed you, He did so with a plan in mind, a plan that leads you to a future and a hope. You are not merely a result of the physical connection between your father and mother, but you are a strategically produced masterpiece, designed by the Creator of the entire universe, and are purposed to fulfill God’s specific, predestined plan for your life. And none of that changes because of your life’s circumstances or how you think you fail to measure up to the next chick.

You possess an inner-stitching which consists of your character, personality, gifts, calling and anointing, that sets you apart in a world of look-alikes. There is no need to desire to duplicate, replicate, or emulate any other person upon this earth, because the only thing you are wired, or originally designed to be, is you. No other person in this world sets the standard for who should be, for every detail of who you are is tailor-made to fit the specific purpose God designed for you.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you see that? You are beautiful and amazing, just the way you are. You are enough. You are good enough, in every way. Don’t you beat yourself up another day for not living up to the lie that you have to be like so-and-so. You are the one and only you, and that alone is what makes you incomparable No comparison, sis, no comparison.

Whether you are formally educated or educated by the hard knocks of life…

Whether you waited until marriage for sex or you have entertained countless men…

Whether you come from poverty or were born with an inheritance…

Whether you were rejected by your parents or deeply loved by them…

No matter what you look like, where you come from, or what you have experienced, this truth remains:  You are one of a kind, created by the Master with great purpose in mind. You are a reflection of God’s beauty, a precious picture of His grace, and a jewel in His eyes. Despite where this life has taken you, you are enough and your value will never depreciate.

Marvelous are God’s works. This your soul should know full well, queen.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Goodbye, Insecurity!

I'm not one of those people who were told by others, "You'll never amount to anything." Though I didn't have the best life growing up, I can't say that those responsible for my well-being spoke negatively about me. The most I got was from kids at school who called me ugly, skinny, poor, or blacky. Insults and demeaning phrases are not something that was projected directly onto me by the people in my life. I mean I wasn't taught that I could run the world, but my hopes of someday becoming something in the world weren't ripped to shreds by my guardians.

It's weird, though, because as far back as I can remember, low self-esteem was prevalent in my way of thinking. Perhaps it's from falling victim to molestation at the age of six, or being sent away to live with my grandmother while my younger sister got to stay with our mom and her dad, or maybe it's because, next to my gorgeous BlackiRican (That's Black and Puerto Rican) childhood best friend, I was just the awkward-looking chocolate girl who was always looked over. I honestly don't know where it began. I can't pinpoint the starting place in my life that began my long journey in believing I wasn't good enough.

Hearing the words, "You'll never amount to anything," didn't come to me from outsiders or those around me. They came to me from a very familiar voice, though. That voice was my own.

Early on, I picked up this bad habit of projecting other people's treatment of me onto myself. I developed the mindset that things happened to me or people handled me a certain way because of something flawed about me. I taught myself that I welcomed bad experiences because I wasn't a good person. I don't know how or why I adopted that as my truth, but I did. And I carried it throughout my life.

In my mind, I was never good enough for anything; not because that's what someone told me, but it's what I fed myself. Looking in retrospect, I robbed myself of so many opportunities and fell short in reaching certain goals or pursuing particular dreams, because I talked myself out of believing I could or was deserving.

I did that. Singlehandedly. That was all me. Yep, that chick I see when I look in the mirror, give her all the credit. I could have easily been Dr. LaKeisha, Psy. D. (Don't sleep on me yet, though!), but I was out here snatching my own hopes and dreams like, "Oh no,baby! What is you doing?" 

I can laugh about it now, because in the past few years, God has graced me to develop healthy self-esteem. I now believe that I am this incredible queen, deserving of all things good, and capable of doing anything I set my mind to. Sometimes, I start feeling myself a little too much and I have to tell myself, "Sit down. Be humble."

But that's what happens when your eyes are opened to the truth of who you are in Christ. There is just something so freeing about truth.

When I learned that I am God's masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10);
And when I learned that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14);
And when I learned that I am the righteous of God through Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21);
And when I learned that I am new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17);
And when I learned that I God has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11);

It destroyed the chains of bondage where low self-esteem had held me captive, and set me free to walk into a new way of being.

That doesn't mean I don't have times when insecurities knock on my door; it just means that when it does come knocking, I choose not to open the door. Mainly because I'm an introvert (Most of the time. I'm slowly seeing myself transform into an ambivert. *insert shock face*), and I don't care much for unexpected company. The way my confidence is set up now, Insecurity stands at the door of my mind like, "I know you're in there! I can see your blinds moving! I can hear your kids!" Meanwhile, I'm sitting on the sofa, scrolling on my phone like I don't hear a thing!

It's funny, but that's how you have to be when the lies of the enemy try to invade your mind. When he comes to tell you, IN YOUR OWN VOICE, that you're not good enough, or you're unworthy, or you can't do anything right, or nobody loves you, you've got to learn to ignore him and let him know that you are not hungry for the lies he wants to feed you, because you're full from the truth of God's word concerning everything about you.

Ain't nobody got time for low self-esteem; we are much too blessed and highly favored for that non-sense.

Pick up your mindset, queen!