I was a people-pleaser. Feeling like I didn’t have a say in anything, I let other people decide for me. Since I grew up in a Christian family, people expected me to act like a “miss goody-two-shoes” all the time. Since I was raised by well-respected doctors, I was expected to follow my parents’ footsteps – to be someone who accomplished much in the field of medicine; and since I excelled academically in grade school and high school, people expected me to graduate college with honors as well. This list of “how i-thought-everybody-wanted-me-to-become-somebody-and-how-I-hated-myself-for-failing-each-time” could go on and on. I tried to be this and I wanted to be that, even though I knew I just wasn’t. I felt confused, inferior, lost, and empty. The thing is I didn’t know what I wanted for myself.
I cried over my inadequacies, because no matter what I did, I felt as if I did not pass their standards of me. But just when I thought that I had to go on doing something that I was not really passionate about, it hit me: I had to stop lying – to everyone around me, and mostly to myself. I realized that I didn’t really see myself pursuing medicine at all. I couldn’t anymore stand being someone I wasn’t.
But each time I asked myself what I wanted to do next, I would space out. I did not know where I wanted to go, frankly because I did not know what I wanted. I was so used to trying to be someone else that I became a stranger to myself. I did not know my talents, my gifts, my strengths, and my purpose. I think that is the worst kind of oppression one could experience – not knowing and believing in yourself. I felt that everyone else had their whole lives planned ahead of them already. Meanwhile, I was just stuck sitting in one corner, not knowing why I was created or why I even existed in the first place.
I was drowning in an abyss of insecurities. I wanted to break free, but I wasn’t really sure of what exactly I wanted to run away from. I resulted to trying out different things – the wrong things. I rebelled. I sinned. I became more of who I knew I wasn’t, and because of that, my relationships with certain people crumbled. I also felt like God started to hate me. And the more I felt bad, the more I continued on sinning, the more I grew afraid and ashamed.
Distant. That’s one way to describe my relationship with Him. Even though I attended church every Sunday and met with my bible group once a week, I still felt like I was far away from Him, like I was too “dirty” for Him; like I had to do something really good or that I had to give Him something really big in exchange for His forgiveness. But since I was too ashamed of myself already, I didn’t even bother trying to get close to Him. I always resulted to going back to sinning. It was a never-ending cycle of wanting to get close to Him but deciding to hide from Him instead.
But God allows U-turns.
My bible study group leader invited me to attend a two-day retreat in our church, last April 2013. I was reluctant to go; I was afraid to face Him and to be in a room full of Christ-like people. I felt unholy and unworthy so I started thinking of alibis not go. But despite of my attempts (I’d like to see it as some kind of divine intervention), I ended up attending anyway – and I am so thankful that I did! That weekend, I experienced Him as He wrapped me in His undying love, spoke to my heart, and answered my questions.
First, I was assured that I am forgiven and redeemed of all my sins. All of my shame? Gone. I am spot-free, squeaky clean, and good as new! And it isn’t even by my own good works, but because of His grace – because He loves me! And there’s nothing I could do to make Him love me any less.
Second, I realized that I should find my identity in Him. I am not a nobody; I am not a failure. I am His, and that I have been bought with a price. In him, I am sufficient, secured, accepted and significant. After months of thinking that I was just a mistake in this world, I was assured by God during that weekend that He had a purpose for me. I remember crying so hard when, after much prayer and seeking, it dawned on me that He wanted me to belong to the world of communications. Everything finally started making sense. I have a God-given purpose. We all do.
Third, I learned that God puts us in certain situations so that we may seek Him more, to prepare us for whatever plans He has for us. He wanted to teach me to humble myself, to persevere, to fight, and to be stronger.
Fourth, I realized that pleasing others, getting high grades, and receiving awards and recognitions won’t give me a sense of fulfillment. All of these will eventually fade away and leave us dissatisfied. But seeking Him, on the other hand, gives one joy – a genuine sense of happiness.
Right now, I’m still learning more about myself. And as I do so, I also surrender myself to Him so that He may use me as an instrument for His glory. I am very happy that I made the decision to open up my heart and listen to God’s voice (and not to others’ this time). I am assured that He has plans for me, that He will bless me in the path he purposed for me. I left my comfort zone to venture into the world of unknown (and this journey is surely a leap of faith for me) but I am comforted in knowing that He will guide me along the way. I always treasure this verse in my heart:
“For I know what I have planned for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11
I find my security in Him because I cannot be separated from the love of God. I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Gone are the nights that I cry myself to sleep, thinking that I am nobody; that I am without purpose; that I am worthless. I am God’s princess, and as said in Proverbs 31:10, I am worth far more than rubies!
31 Girls is a Christian community for women where they share God’s love by aiming to be a safe place where girls can fell they’re not alone in what they are going through and that there is still joy after all the wrongs.