A Tale of Feeling Ugly And Worthless (And The Hopeful Ending)

(Four years ago at the age of 28, I decided to write about my experiences as a single Christian woman who loved God desperately but was tired of being alone. Here is a piece of what I wrote.)

My whole life, I struggled with feelings of worthlessness and unattractiveness. I was such a gangly little girl, always a head taller than my classmates.

I was clumsy beyond all measure (and still can be clumsy with the best of ‘em), and I never felt comfortable in my own skin.

From the time I was a child to probably age 25, one word encapsulated my feelings about myself: AWKWARD.

Sadly, “unattractive” was the second word that captured my view of myself.

And these feelings weren’t only directed at my outside features.

“Something is wrong with me”

Personality-wise, I always felt like something was wrong with me.

I felt incredibly different from the girls I knew. I was loud and sometimes obnoxious. Definitely too outspoken.

My emotions filled me up to the brim and overflowed easily, far more easily than anyone I knew.

I was not the calm, graceful, meek and lovely girls I so admired. I felt then, and even now sometimes feel, that I am like a bull in a china shop.

I went through middle school, high school and college burdened by those feelings. And, at times, it seemed exacerbated because no one told me I was beautiful or lovely.

My Quest for Affirmation

My parents, though wonderful in so many ways, were not raised in homes where affirmation was something that was done. So while they loved me deeply, it wasn’t in their nature to speak encouragement about my personality or looks.

And so I often, like many people I know, relied on the opinion of my male peers to define my value and attractiveness.

That was not-so-shockingly a poor plan.

The little feedback I received about my outward appearance was hurtful. Examples: A boy rated me a  “2,” in middle school, while another guy told me that I looked like a boy and was not at all attractive.

At times my friends did compliment my personality. But in my insecurity, I often misinterpreted this into a backhanded statement underscoring the fact that my physical appearance was lacking.

So that’s where I sat for years — desperate for validation. Coupled with the fact that no guy, and I mean NO GUY, has ever pursued me or asked me out, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster in an insecure girl.

Talk About A Dry Spell

I used to have days where I would actually pray and ask God to bring a man into my life just to tell me I was beautiful. Because even though I knew it would be a shallow compliment, I just wanted to know that I was, in fact, beautiful and desirable in the eyes of the opposite sex.

My soul craved that validation. It was a wound deep, deep inside.

Fast-forward to today, and I still haven’t really gotten that validation. I can count on one hand the times a guy has complimented my appearance, and it was never within a dating relationship.

But one night as I sat in my apartment and cried, I felt as if I heard God say, “No one will ever be able to prove your worth to you, Bethany. It will never be enough.”

This wasn’t meant as a rebuke. It was meant to be a realization that the hole and the need for affirmation was so deep in me — and in all of us, I am convinced — that only God can fill it.

That’s easy to say. But it’s tough to live in that reality when you don’t feel it.

It’s amazing how easily a sense of worthlessness and feelings of unattractiveness can well up and take over your perception of yourself — particularly when singleness drags on or your encounters with the opposite sex are less than desirable.

The Gift Of The Truth

That’s why I’m here today.

Tto call out all of that crap from our culture and from within your self. To tell you one thing that took me years to grasp: The truth about who you are.

You are God’s precious creation.

Don’t rush over that statement. Take it in. Breathe it deep.

The same God who created the universe and all of the constellations formed you, right down the unique fingerprints that no one else on the face of the earth has.

He took time to shape and form you, to develop your mind and personality.

In His eyes, you are absolutely BEAUTIFUL/HANDSOME and DESIRABLE. No matter what you look like or what your personality, He values you.

However the opposite sex or the world may respond to you, that value cannot be removed. It cannot be changed.

Embrace Your Value

So don’t believe, like I did for years, that your value depends on how the opposite sex responds to you, whether or not you’re in a relationship, or the compliments you receive.

If you do that, you will live on an emotional roller coaster.

Instead, lean into the stability of the One who created you, and trust His opinion of you (Psalm 139).

He DIED a brutal death for your salvation (Isaiah 53, Luke 23:26-47), and then He rose again to free you from the tyranny of sin and death (Galatians 3:13-14, Colossians 1:13-14).

I think that means it’s safe to say that you and I are extremely valuable – whatever the world around us may say.

Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, he is might to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

 

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