As a young girl, I grew up a tomgirl. I loved being outdoors and I especially enjoyed being my dad’s little helper on our farm. I was home schooled throughout my senior year of high school and I enjoyed to learn; however, I had to work harder than my brother Jake at my studies. My memory wasn’t near as sharp and my learning didn’t click as well unless it was hands on. I learned through experience. My passion was playing music, gardening, raising chickens, working with my jersey heifer, and helping my dad out. I loved being outside in God’s creation. As a freshman, I began praying about what God wanted me to do with my life and over time he revealed that I was to stay on the farm doing what I loved to do and eventually, when I became a mom, raise my kids with the same privileges I had been given. I had a desire to be a homemaker, home school my kids, emphasize the importance of hard work, determination, and I wanted to shape their character into who the Lord wanted them to be, not into who society expected them to be.
This dream of mine brought about much opposition, not with my parents but among my peers and other people who I respected and looked up to. I felt like I had disappointed them by choosing not to go to college. I had prayed about this decision for a couple years and I knew it was God’s will for my life, but I started doubting myself after the negative/questioning comments. I began feeling incompetent and had thoughts of worthlessness. I then took my ACT and I didn’t get the score I had hoped for which backed up these negative feelings of self defeat. In my mind I wasn’t smart, I was a failure at life, I wasn’t successful and I was that “home schooled” kid.
I then decided to take one semester in college just to prove to myself and others that I could do well in an actual class room. So I chose some classes that I simply had interest in and I thought would benefit me on the farm. I did very well and made good grades. Maybe I was college material. But the Lord was still convicting me that my place was at home, working with my dad, learning from experience instead of a textbook. God gave me the peace and security I needed, ensuring me that I was following his will, and reminded me that I was worth something to him. I learned to stop measuring my value and success by what others told me was success and instead I began trusting God’s measure of success. To him, success was hard work, determination, faith and the will to do my best in every aspect of my work. I chose to follow his plan for me and in return he gave me peace and security that I was indeed valued, smart and successful according to His standards of success. A verse that He kept bringing to my attention throughout this whole battle I had towards myself in this season of life was Psalms 40:1-5:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.”
I'm so thankful I have a friend like Jordan who is willing to share her struggles with all of us! I want to hear your stories, too. I would love to know how you struggled and how you overcame your negative self image (your image of your personality or body) by allowing God to work through you and heal you. Please submit your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may select some of you to be featured on the blog at the end of April!