Stop seeking your self-worth in others

Psalm 27:1

When I was in eighth grade, my mom bought me a book titled The Cat ate my Gymsuit by Paula Danziger. It’s about Marcy Lewis, a young girl on the verge of adolescence who struggles with her weight and self-esteem.

She is always inventing reasons to be excused from gym class so she doesn’t have to be subjected to jokes about her weight. Through a series of events, and with the help of an English teacher, Marcy learns to accept her body and stand up for herself.

Mom bought me this book because she thought I could identify with Marcy, and she was right. Not only did I have weight and self-esteem issues, I made excuses to be dismissed from gym class for the same reason. The words of my peers hurt, and I let it define who I was.

I never did possess any amount of athletic abilities, and the days I did participate in gym, usually ended in humiliation.

During a particular game of touch football, I caught the ball. I didn’t do it on purpose. I was just standing there and the ball dropped into my arms.

Stunned by my good fortune, I turned and ran with the ball. And guess what? I got a touchdown.

I could not believe it. I, the shy, overweight and non-athletic girl had just scored for the team.

I was so excited. This was my moment. I was sure my team mates would run over to me with high-fives. I pictured them carrying me on their shoulders while I raised my arms in victory.

My thoughts of glory and fame were disrupted by shouts from my peers. I could not hear what they were saying but saw them pointing in my direction. I thought they were telling me I did not run far enough down the field, so I turned around and kept running.

I ran under the goal post and past the scoreboard before a friend caught up with me. “You ran the wrong way,” she said. “You just scored for the other team.”

I wore blinders that day. Once the ball was in my possession, I became focused on one thing – to get a touchdown and win the respect of my classmates.

John 6:37
All those the father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.

God created us with a need to be loved and accepted. When we expect others to fulfill that need, we set ourselves up to be emotionally hurt. God never meant it to be that way. No one can completely fill our need to be loved and accepted.

Only God can do that.

He wants to fill that need.

He wants to love us.

He wants us to open our hearts towards him. Then the love and acceptance that only he can provide will be ours.

Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?

Let the Lord lead you with his light and you will not be dependent on others for love and acceptance.

I thought I could earn the acceptance of my classmates by being a good athlete. Thankfully, I was wrong. And when I took those blinders off, I was free to see I already am loved and accepted.

God’s love and acceptance is infinite. No matter how deep your need is, he can fill it.

This week, I am joining my friend and cheerleader of faith for a special compilation of encouragement. Join us at Purposeful Faith.

This week, I’m linking up with these great ladies:
Good Morning Monday | Monday Musings | Motivate and Rejuvenate Mondays | Sharing his Beauty Monday | Intentional Tuesday | RahRah Linkup | Tell his story | Testimony Tuesday | Wedded Wednesday | Woman to Woman Wednesday | Woman With Intention Wednesday | Faith Barista | Thought Provoking Thursday | Faith filled Friday | Fellowship Friday | Grace and Truth | The weekend brew | Susan B. Meade | Still Saturday

29 thoughts on “Stop seeking your self-worth in others

  1. I was never athletic either. I hated gym class with a passion. People assumed I played sports because I’m tall but nothing could be further from the truth (unless marching band is a sport!). Only Christ can fill out need from acceptance. I love your blog; I’m always encouraged every time I visit!

  2. Jenny,
    Amen! I am so thankful for His love that can fill every need! Thank you for this beautiful post! Your football story made me think of several similar basketball stories! Our boys are avid basketball players, and over the years they, and many other sweet kiddos have made the same mistake!!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  3. I had similar experiences growing up, so this tugged at my heart strings. I struggled with a low self-esteem for a long time. God was always with me telling me that he loved me and that I was valuable no matter what my peers said. “Only God can fulfill our need to be loved and accepted!” Amen to that!

  4. This people pleaser and chaser of acceptance needs to remember the words: “Stop seeking your self worth in others” every day! I AM loved and accepted beyond the level anyone in this world can possibly provide! 🙂

  5. Oh, Jenny, lots of memories stirred up with this one . . . and still not very athletic, but thanks be to God, He does not measure my worth in terms of my skill in sports, or my clean house, or my words on the computer screen. Good words from your place today!

  6. Jenny, I needed to read these words today … only God can fill my need for acceptance and love. Thank you for sharing this … I loved seeing your post at Purposeful Faith. And the picture is beautiful, too!

  7. Jenny, such a familiar story to so many of us who cringed at the thought of P.E. class in junior high. I was the slowest girl, always running behind the pack:) For me, that resulted in overcompensating by ‘showing out’ in other ways. I’m so thankful God revealed His love to me, and I’m thankful that you are willing to share your story here with us. It is a blessing to know others with shared experiences. We can rejoice in God’s goodness together! Blessings, friend.

  8. Love your post! Loved your story and know many of us can relate. It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of wanting acceptance from others. Like you said, the need is wired into us. When we can remember that we receive it from the Lord, our focus can be on pleasing him rather than others. Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. Oh Jenny, what soothing words here. I spent a lifetime seeking approval from others and all it did was make me empty and insecure. Your words breathe LIFE, my friend. I’m so grateful for the truth you are sharing with others here. You bless me today. (hugs)

  10. Hello! Thank goodness we don’t have to be good athletes to be accepted and loved by God! In high school, I was the founder and president of SAG: Students Against Gym. 🙂 Thank you for the broader reminder of from Whom our worth comes! Stopping by from Grace & Truth!

  11. Oh Jenny! I was right there with you on the football field. I usually freeze and do nothing, afraid of what others will think. I struggle with thinking that if I fail, I will loose the love and respect of others. Thank you for sharing this.

  12. Love the picture and the Word of God. Made me SMILE!! Thank you so much! [BTW, with my brain issues, I can’t read as much, but, as a blessing, I can see photos and Words and rejoice and glorify our Lord and His workers… such as you. Bless you!]

  13. Loved and accepted. It seems that we need that reminder at EVERY stage in life (although eighth grade is a particularly needy stage for sure!) Thanks so much for sharing your story and your heart. I’m your neighbour at Thought Provoking Thursdays 🙂

    1. I never knew how many people could relate to this story until now. It’s comforting to know exactly where our worth comes from.

  14. Jenny, I was the girl who had psoriasis and weighed 80 pounds dripping wet. I hated gym class. Goodness, the things we struggle with as kids, not knowing the true beauty of who we are or how to push those shoulders back and just “be.”

    Thanks for such an honest contribution to #livefreeThursday. <3

    1. I’m with you on gym class. I dreaded it. But isn’t it great that our worth is in God and not others. Thank you for stopping by. It means a lot to me.

  15. Oh Jenny. I totally understand because that’s TOTALLY something I would have done. I hated P.E. too, was always one of the last kids picked! I’m with Suzie above: it’s incredible what kids go through.

    Thanks for sharing your story and for encouraging all of us to seek our worth in God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *