Dear younger me,
You know, you’re actually pretty cool. You just don’t see it yet. I don’t see it myself very well, but something I am ever so slowly learning is, you’ve gotta sell yourself right. To yourself. As a culture we think we have to tick all the boxes, meet everyone else’s standards.
We have to be fit enough.
We have to be edumacated enough.
We have to be socialise and outgoing enough.
We have to be pretty enough, fashionable enough.
We have to be rich enough, luxurious enough.
We have to be talented enough.
We have to do enough.
And I know you think that you have to measure up. man are you good at measuring yourself against other people. But Jess, where did those standards come from, and on whose authority was that standard the standard we all have to live up to?
God made you In His Image. That is pretty amazing. What’s more amazing, is that he did it twice by buying you back by his son’s death on the cross, so now, you are enough. You don’t have to line up to anybody’s standards except God’s, because he is the only authority that matters. And he says that he made you and forgave you your sins – you belong to him and you are flawless in his eyes. He likes you, the way you are, inside and out, personality, heart, and body. Not just loves you – he likes you.
I know you are struggling with what to do with your life. You feel like a klutz, a failure, a fool. You think you are incapable of doing any of that stuff the world pressures you to do. math, fitness, science, writing essays, getting a job, understanding philosophy, debating, making amazing stuff – whatever it is, you don’t think you can do it.
And the truth is, you can’t do it on your own. But something I remember hearing about Esther in the Bible was that if God has called you to do something, you are already equipped for the job. He doesn’t ever make mistakes. He made you the way you are on purpose. You’re meant to be here, and you’re meant to be wired the way you are. Don’t let anyone ever tell you – in words or actions or looks or smirks – that you are inferior or second-rate. You’re not. He made you on purpose. Let that sink into your soul. When I do that these days, it really helps me when I am tempted to slip back into mires of self-doubt and self-pity.
I know you spend ages thinking you can’t. you’re useless. You’re dumb. You’re inferior.
But what about the promises of our great God?
You can do anything through Christ who gives you the strength to do it.
With YOUR God, you can scale a wall.
What I love about the Psalms is that David prayed these Psalms and declared these promises about God with his everyday life in mind He fought real battles. That was his job, and God helped him succeed in his dirty, sweaty, blood-stained job. He spent years and years literally in the desert, and God literally was enough for him. It’s practical, real, down-to-earth stuff. And since God doesn’t have favourites, he’ll do it for you, too.
God can help you do whatever it is he wants you to do. God wants you to be yourself, to use your talents in so many different ways, and trust me; you are talented. There’s no escaping it, because God gives everyone talents. I remember you used to believe it as a kid, but as fears and failures and comparisons crept in, it became easier to feel sorry for yourself instead of trusting that. But please, trust it. and go live life.
You can do awesome things. Not because you are awesome on your own account, but because God has made you, and he did an amazing job at it. You are lovingly made. You are wonderfully made. You are remade and your identity is secure in him.
Now I’m starting to talk to the present-day me, because I so often forget that my security lies in Jesus and I am secure in him, right here, right now. He is my forgiveness, my strong tower against fears and failures. It doesn’t matter what I do – win or fail, he loves me the same and is fighting for me the same and wants me here the same. The price of your value doesn’t rely on what you do, but in who you are as a person, in Christ Jesus himself.
So don’t think for a minute that you aren’t capable, smart enough, pretty enough, or talented enough. You might not be according to some standards, but the only standard you need to worry about is the standard God puts on your life to walk reflecting Jesus and believe what he says about you. Sell yourself right. You might not meet the world’s standard of a model, but you are beautiful nonetheless. You might not be built for running the Olympics per se, but do you really want to, anyway – and does how hard it is stop you from doing what you can do? You might not get high distinctions like other uni students and get offered a place into Oxford… but does that really describe you, anyhow?
You are, capable of so, so much. Everyone is. It’s not a cat fight, a competition to see who is top dog. All of us, we’re equal in God’s sight – all of us are talented, diverse, called individually to do certain things, in our everyday lives. Sell yourself right. Stop downing yourself; believe in what God has done and see it as a good thing. After all – he is good and he does good things.
You are awesome. I think if we all stopped emulating the 1% of awesome people in the world who made it to fame we’d discover all the un-famous people around us. We think the famous are cool because of their quirks, but if we stopped for a minute and compared their quirks to Joe Blow’s… what would the difference be? Really? And so, when you stop to realise how God has beautifully and diversely and creatively designed us, it opens the doors to inclusivity, love, and acceptance.
I know this is a long, big journey for you. All the ups and downs you face make up this journey, and God’s cool with that, because he works all things together for good. I go back and forth and forth and back myself quite often. But please remember that you are special, you are unique, you are capable, you are strengthened, you are equal, you are loved.