When I look back at my school years, I remember how difficult they were. A slightly chubby tomboy, full of insecurity and desperation to impress, I just never felt like I would fit in with the pretty, skinny ‘popular’ girls. So I figured if I just wear a bit more make-up, lose a bit more weight and create a sassy persona to display to the world, then I’d be good enough for others to love me, and then maybe I could love myself.
It was my vain attempt to gain approval. And I wasn’t the only one to fall into the trap; we all seem to do it in one way or another.
Whether it’s our beauty, popularity, weight, intelligence, success or something else, we tend to place our identity and self-worth in all the wrong places.
I came to realise pretty quickly that no matter how much affirmation I get from other people, it never lasts very long and it never satisfies. But who am I if I’m not the pretty, clever, popular girl? Why do I matter if I don’t have a trademark identity in the eyes of other people and over 500 Facebook friends?
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “we are God’s masterpiece”.
A masterpiece is defined as a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship. That amazes me: I am a work of outstanding artistry! The Greek word used for masterpiece here is poema; the same as the root for the word poem. I think of how intricately each word is put together in a poem, how beautifully the verses flow and what impact they can have. And that is us.
You are a living, walking, unique work of God’s art, not because you create your own beauty or because people like you or because you earn God’s blessing.
No, simply because you are a daughter of God. This is the truth and nothing can change that.
It is so easy to feel like the opinions of others and the way we present ourselves to the world really matter. We all want to feel loved by others; that can seem so much more real and present than the love of God. But God’s unrelenting love for you was the reason he created you, and it is the reason that your identity will always be found in Christ The extent to which you feel loved does not affect the extent to which you are loved, rather you will always be first and foremost a beautiful beloved daughter of God.
He will take great delight in you, and rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Emma studied Modern Languages at Durham University, and now works for King's Church Durham. She has loved the chance to encourage girls through these posts for More Precious!