How you see yourself and by who and what you estimate your value, changes everything. It changes your relationships, it decides your joy, your peace, your confidence. It decides by what standard of beauty you're going to listen to and what you're going to pursue to get it. It determines if you will stand or fall when you face the hard times.

Let me give you a little background. 

Confidence, security, is # 1 on my struggle/weakness list. I have never been good at sports, excessively smart, had that "I don't care" attitude that some people can pull off. I've been in foolish relationships that destroyed my self esteem even further and made me truly believe that my performance, achievements, and outward appearance was what gained and kept love and decided my worth. As a result, I was always looking for that one thing or that one person that would make me feel like a success, beautiful, worth something, worth loving. 

Maybe this is you. too? 

The coolest thing is that God speaks to this in His Word and He shakes up our natural understanding that comes from the world and turns it upside down. He points at you and I and says He wants to use us, not the got-it-all-together person you and I often wish we were. 

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

The world, our experiences, teach us that we are supposed to be able to boast in ourselves to be worth something. Our success, our careers, our relationship status, our skills, our personality, our popularity. Guaranteed, as you're reading through that list, I named the thing or things that you're striving for to give you security and worth. Just take a second to think about what this is for you. If you're like me, it's a burden and it's shaky and unreliable.

When I first became a Christian, where I had built my identity was one of the first "heart surgeries" God did in me. It was uncomfortable, but so so good because for the first time I felt like I could rest. 

I could rest because I learned this:

There is a perfect love, God's love, that loves without change. It doesn't demand perfection in and of ourselves as the standard by which we gain it. There is a love that is steady and sees us at our very worst but still picks us up, rescues us, and uses us. There is a grace that is given in the midst of our mess. There is a mercy that doesn't give us what we deserve. There is One who sees your beauty not in the outward but the beauty in the new heart that's been given you. 
That is a beauty we cannot work for. That is a love that is not lost. That is a standard the world can never touch. That perfection doesn't change even in our mistakes. 

This is a truth we have to keep learning over and over again. I forget it and I go right back to dwelling on insecurity and just basically, being dumb and forgetting who Jesus is. But when I do remember, He shakes my world up once again in the most wonderful way and there is a freedom we can only experience when our gaze is focused on Him, not on the shaking elements of this world that will always let us down.

So, ask yourself where your identity lies and if you're willing to strive to make Jesus that identity, your life will change. 

- jennifer