I am 41 years old (Well, 41 and a half☺), and I am just now realizing I am a likable person. I saw myself in the mirror tonight, and liked who I saw. She was confident and appeared to be comfortable in her own skin.
It's amazing to me.
I have never liked myself. I believed the voices in my head (wherever they came from) that I was unworthy and unimportant. I believed my peers that I was dirty and disgusting (no matter how clean and careful I tried to be). I believed others in my life that treated me like I could never do or be good enough (no matter how hard I tried to listen and follow direction).
I've known for decades (almost 3) that I am a daughter of the King and am loved perfectly by Him. But knowing it doesn't mean I believe it enough to live it. Really, knowing it, made it easier to excuse the love shown to me by others because,"they don't love me, God does, and they are His tools in my life." Though that is true, it is incomplete and a manner of thinking that doesn't keep one humbled, it keeps them defeated.
But recently that's changed.
It's been a rough year, and I can't share it all. (Not yet, and maybe, some of it, never, at least not here.) But I can tell you this: the love and loyalty I have received from those closest to me has made this change possible. I have had to make hard choices. And nobody has been able to tell me what is the right path to take. It's been me and God (God telling me and me obeying!) the whole way. But the remarkable few who have been my sounding boards, my wise counselors, have been an enormous blessing. See, they couldn't, or maybe wouldn't, tell me what to do. They gave opinions, knowing and saying, I needed to decide on my own what to do. And each step, even if they thought a decision wasn't the best, it changed nothing in their acts of love and support for me, in this darkest season of my life.
I have had to not worry about pleasing anyone but God. I have had to choose His path even though it is not what I believe most of those around me would recommend (and why most of my godly counsel wouldn't say "this is what you need to do..."). And the amazing part? This handful of people, active in my decision making, loving me and encouraging me, even though none of us knew what the right answer was. Even if they disagreed at the time. Bold enough to correct a bad attitude, or suggest what I didn't want to hear, or debating future outcomes.
But I know they love me. No matter what happens, or where I go, I am loved. I belong. I am accepted. Not on condition of measuring up to human expectations, but because of who I am and what I mean to them. They value me not because I can honor and serve them, but simply because I am me.
To be loved unconditionally has always been a dream. It has been realized. Knowing that gives me a strength and confidence I have never had before. The confidence to seek God's will and follow it without concern about pleasing anyone else.
And it shows in my mirror, and I really like who I see there. There was that one day in April 18 years ago, I thought I was beautiful. But today, I like who I am and who I am growing up to be. (There is a difference in seeing beauty, and liking what is seen)
My support system knows who they are, and I can never thank them enough. Not only for holding me up with your prayers, but for helping me to discover how wonderful knowing I am loved is and what it feels like.