“You really should watch what you eat!”
“Why do you have to dress so conservatively all the time?”
“You mean you only got a 91%?”
“You lose a ton of weight so fast, but all that’s left are skin and bones!”
“Eat more please!”
“You don’t have a boyfriend yet? Lol.”

These are some of the things people say jokingly to Sam. She just graduated from high school, and hearing comments similar to the ones above is not new to her. They say these many times—unmindful of how these have an impact on how Sam looks at herself.

Peer pressure is no joke. It’s not always a straight comment, like “Take a shot, it’s not that strong,” or “You really should go to this party cause you wouldn’t be cool if you don’t.” It could sometimes be a seemingly harmless side comment. At one time, we have heard these statements and reacted unconsciously, or sometimes consciously.

First, you begin to wonder if, aside from your friends, others also look at you that way but are too shy to tell. The thought then progresses to “Something needs to change… not tomorrow, not next week. Now.” You feel the need to do something so that they would change the way they look at you. Say goodbye to that confidence you’ve been working on for the past three weeks.

“Acceptance, not confidence, is key” suddenly becomes your unspoken motto. Then comes a little more revealing wardrobe, a drastic diet change to “lose all those extras.” After losing much more than you should, you force yourself to eat. You become more engaging and “friendly” to the opposite sex to “explore your horizons” and put yourself in situations that test your boundaries. You become way more studious and beat every one in school – not to become better at what you do, but to be better than others.

You become better than ever – close to zero side comments, considerably happy, but so different from your original self. Then you feel it. You feel the effect of everything. Regrets fill your stomach just thinking about how much you’ve changed. You lose real friends just for a grade, and you slowly realize how unhappy ‘zero side comment life’ really is.

How could we forget the simple truth about what we have in Christ every time we’re brought back to square one? “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)

We are part of His marvelous work. God has given us assurance that we are masterpieces, but we choose to be swayed and forget our security in Him. We are wonderfully made in His image. No amount of weight gain or lose, dating, or grade comment can change that truth.

For Sam, there will be more comments as she heads on to college. But she knows her worth and beauty in Christ that will not change.

Do you know your worth?


Writer’s Bio: Justine Paraso is a 19 year-old freshman who serves in Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF)’s Youth LIVE Ministry. She enjoys writing and making poetry — hoping to make it a career in the future, doing it all for God’s greater glory.