It started the summer before seventh grade, my struggle with self-doubt. Sixth grade was great. I had darling, long hair, straight A's, and was pretty popular. I was in my prime. Life was good.
That summer my parents moved across town. I moved away from my friends. Puberty hit. My face broke out. And I cut my hair into a mullet. (WHY I was allowed to do this, I still don't know.) I struggled to make new friends and was made fun of at school and even church.
It was a hard transition, and my self-esteem plummeted and stayed low for the rest on my teenage years. I hid my lack of confidence with high energy and a smile, but it was always there, tainting every compliment and magnifying every insult.
I had a loving family, but still, I felt small and stupid. And here's the thing: people don't act how they are; they act how they think they are.
So, I made dumb choices. I looked to others for my worth. I avoided any kind of negative remarks or looks. Man, I hated those looks. I especially hated them from my high school teachers when I forgot my homework or did poorly on a test. So, I did all I could to avoid the looks, including cutting classes. I just hated seeing their disappointment. It made my fears feel that much more real.
When I was twenty, I decided to serve a mission. It took a lot of prayer and a total change of the direction of my focus before I began to see past the fear, past the looks, and past the lies I had told myself for years. When I stopped looking side to side for my worth and started looking up to God, then I began to see myself as He did.
And guess what? I realized I wasn't stupid. I wasn't inept. I wasn't worthless. I was smart, valued, talented, needed, and loved.
This shift in perspective from my inaccurate and even unkind view to His view changed my life. I gained confidence. I took chances and did things that were hard. I experience successes and Iearned from failure. And I had joy, and still do.
This is what prompted my first book, "Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?" a few years ago. I wanted to let other women who might have the same struggle know that it's ok, that THEY are ok. I wanted them to feel the power that correct, or God's, perspective can have in their lives.
So I wrote that book. Then another book. Then another one. And now here we are, fast becoming friends.
I'll be honest. Self-doubt still creeps into the background now and then, waiting for the chance to peek through. In fact, even now as I type this it whispers, "Why did you spend all day working on a website no one will visit. What do you have to say that others can't say better? Who do you think you are? "
And I answer with three simple words: I am me. I am me, and you are you. And we are magnificent.
We have things God wants us to say, and experiences He wants us to have. We all have a purpose, and we each have a plan.
We may still have doubt, but we have a plan--He has a plan.
I believe in God. I believe He is stronger than my doubt. I believe in the power of positive thought and meaningful action. I believe in accountability and purposeful choices. I believe in me. . . and I believe in you.
So, thank you for visiting me here and reading at least a part of my story. And I hope, if you're struggling too, that maybe you feel a little bit better. I hope you know how much you are loved, how much you are worth, and how truly magnificent you are. Because you really are. ~Michelle