Growing up, all I wanted was to feel loved and valued. I had a loving Christian family and a great church community, but I still felt like I was still missing something. Even after going on mission trips and getting baptized, I still didn’t feel like I was worthy of God’s love.
I’ve struggled with anxiety and self-worth my whole life. I constantly compared myself to others, and I never felt like I had any value or worth. Instead of turning to God for healing and strength, I sought out the approval of others to make me feel good. I felt incredibly alone even though I had the support of my friends and family. I was missing the most important piece, truly accepting God’s love.
I was angry at God. I saw Him working in the lives of my friends, but He wasn’t answering my prayers for healing from my anxiety. As this was happening, I slowly felt myself drifting away from Him. I stopped regularly praying, and only went to church because all my friends were there. I began to fill my life with more destructive things. This became especially apparent when I started university, and I felt more alone than ever before.
I went through many years of struggles. I spent my time trying to fill the gap in my heart with things other than God. I went to parties, and craved attention from boys and from my friends. I so desperately wanted to feel love, and I couldn’t comprehend that God was always there for me.
A couple of summers ago, I volunteered as a counsellor at a summer camp. I felt so out of place, and that I wasn’t worthy of walking with my campers on their journey with God. I felt shameful about how God wasn’t the centre of my life, and I didn’t trust that He could work through me. During that week, I was able to hear God’s voice for the first time in a while. During one of the chapel times, the speaker talked about turning back to God after shame and sin. All we need to do is turn ourselves back to God, and He will welcome us back with open arms. I felt like God was speaking directly to me. For the first time in years I felt safe, loved, and welcome.
Lately I’ve been focussing on finding my identity solely in Christ. It’s been so freeing to realize that I don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s love. He’s been helping me move on from my mistakes in the past and use my experiences to help others. Finding my identity in Christ has allowed me to be free from the expectations I’ve put on myself. I don’t have to be the prettiest, smartest, or the best at anything. All I need God’s love.
One of the verses that has given me great peace is Philippians 4:6 which says, “Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” This is a great reminder that God knows us, and that we can trust him with everything! I have found that trying to not worry about God’s plan has alleviated some of my anxiety. Although this is something that I will probably always struggle with, I know that God has my back and will be there to support me through it all.