My #1 daughter-in-law, Melissa, is my guest writer today. She recently shared the following with me in a casual conversation. Her story is powerful. I think others will benefit from her insight and transparency.
I struggle with insecurities. I don’t like it when people point out my weaknesses. In fact I ponder their critique longer than I would like to admit. I have struggled with insecurities as long as I can remember, wanting people to like me, approve of me. Unfortunately, when I became a mom these insecurities didn’t vanish, instead my kids have forced me to face them. Where does my worth come from? Where do my children get their worth? I fell into the trap of competing. Oh, I didn’t say it like that; I just needed one key area that I was really good at…that I shined brighter in than others. That was my worth! I got accolades in that area, but deep down it was never enough.
I want my kids to have a good self- esteem. I want them to know they can do whatever God calls them to. So the first time one of my kids came to me and said something like, “Susie said I am ugly.” I thought, “Oh no! She is going to think that she is ugly and get insecure.” I didn’t know how to handle it so I leaned on my own coping strategies.
Strategy #1: Think of all your strengths. Compare yourself to her and see how you’re still better. Look at all the areas you are great at.
Strategy #2: (This one can get pretty ugly, but you got to do what you got to do to keep yourself on top!) Point out their weaknesses and flaws. “Susie said you’re ugly??? Have you heard her lisp? Wait, did she say ugly or ugWEE?” (No, I am not proud of it.)
This is what I noticed, my kids were becoming like me, going back and forth between pride and low self-esteem depending on the day. One night my son called me into his room, in tears, to tell me how another child had hurt him deeply. They had teased him because he didn’t recognize a word, implying he was a bad reader. I hurt with him and honestly I was debating on which strategy to use when the Holy Spirit prompted me with a better way. I asked him, “Where does your worth come from?” He said, “What?” I asked again, “Where does your worth come from?” “What makes you valuable?” “Mom, I don’t know.” “Son, it’s not in whether you are a good reader. Your worth is based on being God’s child. Your worth is not whether or not you are good at basketball. Your worth is not whether or not you are handsome. You aren’t valuable because others say so, it’s because God says so. He loves you and says you are enough.” The distress turned into relief. A tear slid down his cheek and he said, “Thank you mommy.”
Our children need to know where their value comes from. They don’t have to earn it. They are already valuable because they are God’s child. People shouldn’t be able to determine our value because God has already decided we are worth dying for – John 3:16.