I had a hard time even looking out the front window of our home. We had recently moved to a new state because of my husband’s job and I tried to make friends with other moms on the street. It didn’t take long for me to get the feeling that I didn’t fit in. The low self-esteem that I had grown up with caused me to compare myself with everyone I met and, in my view, I never seemed to measure up.
I always put a lot of pressure on myself to be acceptable to others. In this new place I quickly learned that it was important to have the right brand of clothing and jewelry, and that my kids needed to have the in things so they wouldn’t be left out. It was easy to get sucked into that way of thinking. I made sure my kids had those things, even if I had to spend more than I should to keep them current with the latest trends. I didn’t want them to feel the way I felt – not good enough. And I thought that was the way to do it.
Several mothers on the street gathered in the driveway of the house next door with their patio chairs and their refreshments every afternoon. They talked while their kids played in the street nearby. I tried at first to go and sit with them and I mostly listened, but I wasn’t comfortable with them when they talked about other people.
Sometimes I noticed that their kids didn’t always play with mine and I took it personally. One instance, I can remember where several of the kids on the street were going to one child’s house and everyone was invited to go – except my children. It broke my heart! After that I stopped going out to the driveway with the other moms.
Had I been more confident of who I am in Christ, I might have reacted differently. I might have shown the love of Jesus to a hurting world (my street) instead of being wounded by others’ opinions of me. I might have prayed for them as I watched them from my window. I might have used those experiences to teach my children that we are to love and forgive as Christ loves and forgives us.
What are the lessons to be learned here?
- We can’t control others’ opinions of us or the way in which we will be defined by them. Romans 8:1
- We can refuse to listen to the identity placed on us by others, and instead hold tight to the identity of who God created us to be. Ephesians 1:4-5
- We can choose to respond in love to others because we are uniquely created by God and are fully accepted by Him. Colossians 3:12-14
- We can remember to react in a way that is pleasing to God especially if we have children who are watching how we respond. And they are always watching. Deuteronomy 11:19
I am still learning that my purpose is to please God and not other people. I want all that I do to shine a light, not on me, but on the One who set me free from the lie of not being good enough.
So do I still feel left out or less than? Sometimes. But then I hear my Abba Father whisper to me how much He loves and approves of me. That is all that matters.
Can you hear Him? He’s whispering to you too.
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. Ephesians 2:10