As you may know, I am from Northern Ireland. I think my blog posts as of late have made it slightly obvious that I’ve struggled since coming home from Scotland and tonight I seem to have figured out why. I was going to write about how the problem is in everyone else, how no one here fits into my ideas of what’s good and right, but all of a sudden it’s hit me that my problem is found within. Yeah, yeah, it’s cheesy, I know, but it’s true.
My name is Annie; I am 22 years old, I’m single, I don’t really know much about fashion, I listen to the music that my ears like. I love gardening, and cooking, and baking (and, gosh darn it, not because it’s fashionable; I’ve been baking since I could talk). I think poop jokes are genuinely hilarious. I love the ocean, but I think I love the mountains more. I like to get up at 7:00 am to cycle and run just because I can. I adore the Lord of the Rings and Zelda and bird watching. I am passionate about the fight against sexual addiction and pornography and dream of the day when everyone who has been trapped by this can be free.
This is only a tiny part of who I am and if I can’t be comfortable in myself then that is for me and Jesus to deal with.
People tell you that you get over self-confidence issues when your teenage years end but I really don’t think that’s true. I know a lot of people who struggle with self-confidence and it’s not as simple as just telling them “Jesus loves you so it’s okay.” I think it’s important that we give people a reason to be confident in themselves. I don’t mean it’s right for us to find our worth in other people (our worth should really only be found in Jesus), but it is our duty to love people, to make them feel welcome, to let them know they are worth something; sometimes we need to be the Jesus in their lives. That goes for Christians too.
I don’t mean to say that I’m surrounded by horrible people who don’t love me, telling you that would be an awful lie. But I was bullied for a long time in school and it has most definitely had a negative affect on me; it’s okay though, because Jesus is working in me (but so as not to contradict myself you should know that I know this myself, someone hasn’t told me that). The girl who writes this blog certainly doesn’t have it all together. Don’t feel like by 22 or 32 or 42 that you have to be perfect because what use would we be to God if we were?
I think it’s important that we stop putting people’s worth in their appearances too. This morning Gemma Wilson tweeted one of her older posts about how we do this, how the first thing we do with children is tell them how cute or how pretty they are, how we genuinely struggle to give compliments based on intellect and things that a person is good at doing, rather than being. On Wednesday I graduate and I’ve spent all day wondering how to compliment my fellow graduating classmates on something other than their fashion choices for the day; it seems silly, I mean it should be easy to think of something, but this world has really engrained into us that outward appearance is a crucial part of success. I certainly didn’t get my 2:1 based on how I look, and I’m insanely proud of myself for working so hard to achieve it; I really better think of something.
There is one situation most in which I struggle with this. I have some very pretty female friends and a lot of my male friends talk a lot about how outwardly beautiful they are. Never mind how much damage this must be doing to them (I can’t even begin to imagine how self-conscious they are), it also makes me wonder if a man will only ever be attracted to me based upon my appearance; these things genuinely get to me. It makes me paranoid to be around these girls and that’s just horrible because they would never do anything to make me feel that way. I know I have a ton of great qualities, but I sometimes find myself wondering if I should be more like those girls because a lot of guys seem to be attracted to them. I mean it’s nice to be complimented on how I look, but it makes me insanely happy when someone tells me I’m a good writer, or a good singer, or that they like something I’ve baked or cooked. That means ten times more to me because those things take skill. I don’t mean to put all the pressure on men, women do this too, but I can only speak from my own experience.
But, to return to the matter at hand, the people in my life who I look up to as wise Christians are almost always the people who don’t care so much about wearing the most fashionable clothes or following the latest trends, and I can say that knowing they won’t be offended by this because they simply don’t worry about things like that. I can also be 100% honest in saying that I want to be one of those people. But most of all I want to have their attitude, I want to stop judging, because only then will I be truly confident in myself. That is when I will truly be living on God-esteem, not self-esteem.