The child in me was already forming information about myself before I even knew who I was or how I fit into this world. Many times, we blame our current situation on those who influenced us as children. When you’re growing up, it’s hard to differentiate the truth from what is expected of you and how you react to others. In the early days of Freud and his followers, the family had the most influence on a child’s behavior and how it carried through to adulthood. All the negative vibes that come from family members can affect our behavior, but we are individuals as well. We have a singular mind and a unique path to follow. If we allow our circumstances to swallow us up and spit us out, we are giving in to those outside influences. It really doesn’t have to be that way.
As we grow into teenagers, our world is often controlled by others. We want to be like them. We want to fit in and often make stupid mistakes because of it. If we don’t fit the current pattern, we become subject to bullying, name calling and teasing. This can lead us down a path of no return if we allow it to. Or we can rise above it and look deep inside ourselves to find our true self. We then can use that to help those who are the victims of bullying, hate, and rage. Jesus was a perfect example of the perfect friend. He didn’t ignore the underdog. He lifted people up with His words. He encouraged and gave hope to the hopeless. These years of growing up can be brutal to a person’s self-esteem, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When we reach adulthood, we are in a war against all kinds of temptations. We strive for success. We struggle to climb the ladder. We want to be like our neighbors. We look for material things to satisfy ourselves and often those things become the center of our lives. Instead of focusing on the One who provides those things, we tend to follow the crowd. We might step on another’s toes to get to the top. Our desire for more can leave us not appreciating the things we already have. We can give in to the call of the world, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
As we grow old, we see things that we didn’t see when we were younger. We realize that we can’t do what we once did. Our minds still feel like they’re 25 and our bodies are crying out to us to slow down. Physically we are becoming limited. Notice, I didn’t say useless. As long as there is breath in us, we have the capability to live. We may succumb to our withering bodies, but we still have purpose on this planet. We could let the negativity drown our creativity, our wisdom and our health, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When I was going through a time of questioning my value and felt unworthy, a friend referred me to Psalm 139. The entire Psalm is designed to show us what our true value is. When you have time, read the entire chapter. The fact that we have been known by God, even before our conception is mind boggling, but so comforting. He has been with us all the way in our journey. He will never leave us. He loved us before we loved Him. His love has no strings attached. That alone should give you a reason to like yourself.
PSALM 139:13-15 “For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”