So, there are things in my culture that I look at with a side eye. Things that influenced my emotional and mental well being for some time. Things that I look at now and wonder why I gave them so much power. For instance, in my culture if you got pregnant out of wedlock at the time of marriage your boyfriend or fiancé has to pay an additional fee for damages. (yes the man pays roora/lobola – dowry/bride price). Somehow it stuck with me. As an 18 year old girl, I felt I was damaged goods. That feeling never left me until well into my 30s. It was something I struggled with in my twenties and early thirties. In order for me to change the way I viewed myself, I had to start seeing myself through God’s eyes. One day as I sat on the beach watching the vast ocean, the water touching the sky in the distance; I asked myself, how does God see me? Despite all my mistakes, all my wrongs, all my bad decisions, all my bad behavior, how does He see me. I sat there for a moment before answering myself. He sees me as his beloved daughter, beautiful, talented, precious, unique and valuable. I did not think I was valuable, I did not think I had anything of value to offer to anyone. I was wrong. My existence, my everyday life was fashioned in detail. I had a purpose in this world and I was made to live without guilt or fear. To live my best life, to the best of my abilities.
“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9.
I have learnt to love myself, not in a selfish, self-centered way that produces a lifestyle of self-indulgence, but in a balanced, godly way that affirms God’s creation as essentially good and right. I may be flawed by unfortunate experiences I’ve gone through, but that doesn’t mean I am worthless and good-for-nothing. Jesus paid the ultimate price for me when He came to earth as a man, willingly died on the cross, and paid the penalty for my sins. Jesus did not have to redeem me, but He loves me so much—I am so valuable to Him—He willingly paid the highest price. Without a doubt, I have great worth in His eyes! So no, just because a young girl made a bad choice and got pregnant out of wedlock, she is not damaged goods; and that does not determine her destiny.
Micca Campbell puts it so well in her blog post ‘Seeing myself through God’s eyes‘:
1.) You Are Loved (John 3:16). God so loves you he withheld nothing—giving his only Son to die in your place
2.) You Are Chosen (1Peter 2:9). Before God created the heavens and earth, He chose you to be his very own.
3.) You Are Wonderfully And Fearfully Made (Ps 139: 14) God designed you in your mother’s womb. He planned your eye color, hair color and skin color to fulfill a specific purpose that is yours alone.
4.) You Are Beautiful In His Sight (Song of Solomon 4:7, Gen 1:31). You were created in God’s image, and He declares all his work is wonderful! Including you!
5.) You Are Forgiven (Eph 1:7). God doesn’t draw back from your sin. He draws near and forgives all.
6.) You Have A Future (Jeremiah 29:11). When you think you’re at the end of your rope, you’re not at the end of hope. God has promised you a bright future.
7.) You Are Part Of A Royal Priesthood (1Peter 2:9). You have purpose. God calls you to minister to others as he has ministered to you.
8.) You Are An Overcomer (1John 4:4). Hang-ups, habits and hurts can’t keep you down because greater is the Spirit in you than the spirit of this world.
9.) You Are Empowered (2Corn 13:4). The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you daily!
10) You Belong To God (John 1:12). You are a child of God because you have believed.