JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

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See how very much our Father loves us,
for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
I John 3:1a NLT

It’s amazing how the way we are reared can affect the rest of our lives. I don’t mean this to sound egotistical, for I assure you it is not meant in that manner, but my mother taught us that if someone is not attractive physically, they are “less than.” I know that sounds horrible and I’m sure if you had called her on it, she would have denied it, because she didn’t really say it in words. But the idea was subtly implied in conversations and in criticisms and judgmental attitudes. “Did you see that dress she had on? She could have at least fixed her hair?” She did the same thing to TV personalities.

I think it all stemmed from low self-esteem. She was a wonderful, beautiful and kind woman, but she grew up in abject poverty and so did my dad. But after their marriage, through hard work and a great deal of determination, they managed to bring themselves and their children into a middle-class lifestyle. My father determined that his children would never do without like he did!

But this influence on my life brought me into bondage to extreme perfectionism. Of course, I didn’t really realize it…I just knew I was miserable and always very angry! When I say extreme…I mean extreme! I wouldn’t wear a gold ring with a silver hair clip. Yes, it was that bad! But really, I suffered from that same low self-esteem issue that my mother had. It had been passed down to me and my sister. It was not until I was in my fifties that the Lord helped me to realize what bondage I was in and how truly miserable I was. When I did, I decided to do something about it, for certainly no one else could or would. Now days, I still dress immaculately with everything perfectly coordinated, but it is no longer out of a need for perfectionism, it is simply habit from having done it for so many years. The folks in my office call me “Fancy Nancy”! : ) I told them, when you’ve been here as many years as I have, you have enough jewelry and accessories to compliment any outfit!

My point in sharing all of this with you is to let you know that until I discovered that My Heavenly Father loves me just the way I am, I didn’t have the power to break free from this bondage. Now, I still like to look good, don’t get me wrong, but it is not an obsession. If I have to go out without makeup or being dressed to the tee, I don’t feel “less than.” I just feel normal. What a freeing concept!

Also, as a woman growing up in the South, I was taught that you should do your best to please people and you must always defer to men. Those things are a dangerous combination and caused me many problems in my adult life. But in that also, I came to realize that My Father God loves me and He is the only one I have to please or defer to. And even in that, it is our choice. And you know what…even if I do something that doesn’t please Him, He loves me anyway! His love is not conditional like human love! “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. His banner over me is Love.”

Don’t EVER let anyone make you feel that you are “less than” for ANY reason! “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” by the God of the Universe and He loves you! If you have any bondage from the past that tells you otherwise, break it and annul it now by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ! Walk in the victory He died to attain for you!!!

I just can’t help myself…as a musician, I have to leave you with a verse from a song by Billy Joel:

I said I love you and that’s forever,
And this I promise from the heart;
I could not love you any better,
I love you just the way you are!

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