I was eight. Maybe nine. But I remember clearly what that day was like. I remember the sun shining and the wind blowing through my hair. The view of the school building up ahead of me with the cow pasture on my right. The sound of kids playing at recess. I remember my feet sailing across the pavement as I ran. I felt very fast. I remember feeling happy and free.
And then they told me. Those girls who were older than me. Oh how I wanted them to like me. They told me. They told me I looked funny when I ran. That my legs turned out all crooked like. That my feet were awkward. And they laughed.
And I never ran for fun again.
That moment was one of my first remembered tastes of insecurity, of self-consciousness, of rejection. I was suddenly aware that I was being watched, and there were standards to meet. And I was not enough.
I kept the judgment those girls offered and I buried it in my heart. It began to bloom there. Like a tiny seed turning into a giant weed it grew among all the other weeds of rejection already sprouting in my heart. Year after year, they were all watered and fed.
Oh the judgments were different over the years, it wasn‘t always about running. But they all had the same message: I was not good enough. I was unworthy. I was unloved.
And I believed them.
And I was constantly afraid of being rejected.
Three years ago, I was doing some listening prayer with my mom, and I started to draw. I started drawing me and Jesus walking along the road together. But I realized it felt painfully wrong. This wasn’t how I viewed my life at all. I couldn’t see myself confidently walking with my Lord. I was so unworthy. Surely Jesus felt the same about me as all those people along the years who had rejected me.
So in frustration and shame I turned the paper over and started to draw something else. As God guided my hand, this is what resulted.
I suddenly knew the picture I had drawn was speaking of the way I felt about myself.
Over the years, I had wrapped myself in a cocoon of self-protection. A cocoon to hide myself. I was paralyzed with fear and insecurity.
Self preservation, hidden, defeat, unworthy – I wrote next to my cocoon.
But God also had me draw His hand. Because he never left me. He was transforming me while I was hidden away in that cocoon. He was busy weeding the garden of my heart, removing all those lies, and getting the soil ready for His truth.
He gave me both pictures to give me hope. Hope that he saw and knew and was there. Hope of what my future would look like.
I don’t know exactly when it was that I emerged from my cocoon. It was a slow, sometimes painful process that took at least a couple of years. But as God’s truth filled my heart, the way I saw myself was changed from a defeated, fearful, unworthy creature, into his precious child who stands on the truth of who I am in Christ.
In Christ, I am a beloved child of God. (John 1:12)
In Christ, I am accepted. (Rom 5:1)
In Christ, I am complete. (Col 2:10)
And I feel free again. Free like the day my feet sailed across the pavement. Before they told me I was unworthy. Before I believed the lies.
Loved. Whole. Worthy. Just like He sees me.
I still struggle with insecurity from time to time. Those lies come back to haunt me and whisper in my ear trying to get me to take them back. But I am no longer frozen with fear in a cocoon of self-protection. Now I give those lies to God, and He once again reassures me of His truth. God’s truth will always set me free.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NIV