Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." My generation struggles with self-image and often we forget that we are made in God's image and we are his masterpiece. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we refuse to believe our worth is greater because of He who loves us? Why do we compare how we look to how the fit, blonde track runner might look? Is his/her worth greater than ours? No. It isn't. This is a subject I've been struggling with and it recently reared its ugly head in reference to my dating life. I was bullied a lot growing up. It was a daily occurrence, the teasing about my height, intelligence, and overall appearance. Eventually, I got used to the teasing because I believed it. And a lot of those thoughts have stuck with me for years, even through my walk with Christ.
Natasha Wilson is a freshman this year.

Natasha Wilson is a freshman.

Teasing instilled in me a sense of fear whenever it came to interacting with people and opening myself up to them. How could I trust them when I feared them? I couldn't. And yet, I feared loneliness. I still do. And so we try to conform to society's views of beauty. The beach body, this specific shade of hair color, the completely clear complexion, girls wearing excessive make-up, all these status issues that dictate if we're attractive. It goes beyond that to what we wear. I've had friends who will take twenty minutes to try on three different outfits before deeming themselves "decent." They don't see themselves as beautiful, just as "good enough." We crave acceptance by our peers. We want people to like us and so we change our ways and our looks so they will accept us. But that isn't how we cultivate true relationships. One of the worst things we are guilty of is comparing our self-image and self-worth to that of others. One example may be, "Oh, this guy is 6'1" with bright blue eyes, his worth is more than me so he'll probably get a girlfriend before I will - if I ever do. Or the flipside of seeing that guy as someone so unattainable because he's worth more because he's "hotter" than me. Another way we compare ourselves to others is when it comes to gifts and talents. Each of us is uniquely gifted but we tend to be envious of what others are. For example, I cannot play guitar to save my life, I am just not coordinated to. However, I have a few friends who do and can play really well and sometimes I am a little jealous that I can't. But then I remember that I've been dancing since the age of three and some of my friends look like awkward chickens at a dance. This doesn't just apply to musical talents. Some people are naturally more social. Some are empathic. Some people have gobs of energy and others need twelve hours of sleep. Some people can understand the Theory of Relativity and others are enraptured by the painted words of poetry. Whatever your passions and hobbies are, these are gifts. Embrace them and cherish them. Be thankful that God has blessed you in this way. And don't think you don't possess God-given gifts. You do. Find them and share them with people, who knows who you'll impact. This doesn't just apply to musical talents. Some people are naturally more social. Some are empathic. Some people have gobs of energy and others need twelve hours of sleep. Some people can understand the Theory of Relativity and others are enraptured by the painted words of poetry. Whatever your passions and hobbies are, these are gifts. Embrace them and cherish them. Be thankful that God has blessed you in this way. And don't think you don't possess God-given gifts. You do. Find them and share them with people, who knows who you'll impact. We're all sinners. Done. The End. Kind of. Our worth is found in Jesus and the cross on which He died, right? So now there's an equality that comes with being loved by God, one we cannot and should not question. Shouldn't our self-image simply be "Beloved Son/Daughter of God?" There's a popular worship song, "No Longer Slaves" by Johnathon David, that emphasizes seeing ourselves in this way. "I'm no longer a slave of fear, I am a child of God." Shouldn't it be that simple? Psalm 139:13 says, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb." God took such time and care to knit each of us completely unique before we were even born. He has such amazing plans for us and we spit on him by criticizing his creation, ourselves. We are not perfect, we are sinners, but in God's eyes we are His most favorite work of art. This concept of finding worth in Christ hit me like a rock last week when I was getting down on myself for not "getting the guy" because I thought there was something wrong with me. And God completely pulled me aside and set me straight. It wasn't easy to hear, especially from the Almighty, Sovereign God, but it began a long road of recovery. We need to stop seeing ourselves through society's lenses and start seeing our worth through God's eyes because our worth in Him is so much more than we could ever comprehend.