I came to Prayer Tower last Tuesday, and I’m glad I did. Since flying back to Indo in December last year, I’ve been longing for a session where people can encourage each other through songs and prayers. I specifically prayed for my FA, I asked Jesus to guide my heart back to this wonderful group of people, to the same community where I came to know about His love through friends. People were praying fervently for FA, for breakthrough, for a radical change, for a burning desire to follow Jesus, and my heart cried out the same prayers. I love my FA, I want them to desire God more than anything else.
But I guess God had something else in store for me that evening. At the discipleship session, KD mentioned a verse from Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. And it rang true to my heart.
I love God, I do. And I know and believe that He loves me dearly, too. But as I went through new revelations, challenges, Winter Camps, disappointments and everything else He let me to have, I still have that fear in my heart that I need to keep proving myself to others for them to accept me. An acute insecurity, if you may call it so.
Here’s a little story about me:
I was bullied when I was a kid. It started from a misunderstanding when I was 10, and the bully continued until I was 14. They called me names; “cockroach”, “monkey”, “rich, spoiled girl”, “toilet”. They went pass my house on their bikes or motorbikes and shouted those names, letting the whole house and the whole street to hear it. They stole my water bottle, plunged it into the gutter and gave it back to me, soaked in dirt and God knows what. They stole my pencil case on lunch break and hid it somewhere in the class. They shot at me using plastic BB guns, and I knew God covered me with His hands when they missed my face or neck, whatever they were aiming at because I found a small green bullet under my school uniform collar without it touching my skin. I was psychologically tortured in my own car every single day for a year by the other kids that paid for pick-up service to and from school. Yes, you might think why didn’t I just kick them out or tell my dad, and how stupid I was to let them do that to me. Even my driver couldn’t stand it he threatened one of the cowards because the little guy gave me ‘the finger’ for 2 days straight, and my bestfriend said if she was me she would just tell her dad so her dad could shoot those jackasses (her dad is in Navy). But I just couldn’t fight them, because I chose not to. Mum taught me to let them do whatever they like, they’d grow tired of it eventually. “The revenge doesn’t belong to you”, she said. And she was right.
Though I almost never admit it, but those period of my childhood left a deep scar in my life. I might appear strong, I didn’t shed a single tear for what they did (as far as I remember), and I rarely mention that part of my life to anyone before. But it affected the way I see myself, and the world. I always feel that I am judged wherever I go, I ha
ve to prove myself at certain people and I often find or think that I have failed doing so. I could feel that all eyes are pierced at me whenever I enter the room, scrutinizing me and pointing at my weaknesses. I’ve always felt discouraged and scared whenever I was given a new role or project, because I just don’t think that I could keep up to the standard. I’ve got a serious case of insecurity, because I didn’t feel accepted. I often feel that whatever I do doesn’t seem right, and when I think it’s right I was greatly opposed and challenged. At times I felt that I didn’t belong, and when I do I have this fear that one day these people would kick me out because I’m not good enough.
From those issues, I ended up having that transactional way of thinking when it comes to people. “You did that to me last time, so I do this to you now”. Just so I feel like I do it fairly, meeting up to their standards so they’ll see that I’m good enough so I won’t be left out. Self-centeredness, or low self-esteem? You decide.
I learn that it’s not how mercy does it. Mercy is not transactional, it’s freely given, though undeserved. It doesn’t matter if I did the right thing, or keep falling into the wrong side of the road, that mercy of God is still flowing for me. Regardless. In Hebrews 4:16 it is said that “let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”. We need to understand that we need mercy everyday. For me, I can’t live with my low self-esteem haunting me everyday, telling me that I’m not worth having. God shows His mercy to me without fail, He gave me more than I deserve. He taught me that whatever happened in the past, I am still accepted. He said that whatever people may think or judge about me, I am still accepted. Romans 5:8, “.. while we’re still sinners, Christ died for us”. He wouldn’t gave up His unblemished life if He doesn’t accept me!! I know, and He knows that I will never be good enough because I am a sinner, but it doesn’t matter because He has accepted me anyway.
And His mercy is available for all of us, too. Regardless of your background, your wrongdoings or the right ones, your capabilities or lack thereof, His love and mercy is abundant, it’s more than enough for us. He died for us even before we realize that we need His mercy. It doesn’t get any better than that! Nothing in this world could beat that!
So yes, I may have low self-esteem, it’s normal, I’m a girl. Everybody gets to the bottom of the pit every now and then. Yes, I may have some hurtful pasts and nothing can erase those memories, but who doesn’t have bad memories. All that I need to know now is that I’m safe. I know where I belong. I don’t have to wait on people’s opinions about me and my life, because I know Whose opinions matter.
Through this, I am also reminded on what I should do towards others. Be kind, because you don’t want anyone to go through the same rough paths you’ve gone through. Be thoughtful, because there are many who’ve got similar issues. If you don’t want to sit with them and listen to them, don’t judge. Insecurity cripples, but knowing that God understands our weaknesses and how He has His mercy ready for us even before we ask for it, is one of the best promises. And I tell you, His promises never ever fail.
Your Truth has set me free, Lord. I am safe and secure, because I know whom I belong to. I praise Your glorious name!