I floated in my pool, thinking of all the ways I’d be a whole new person.
It was the summer before 9th grade, and I had the highest of hopes for the new, improved high school version of me.
High school Hannah would be hilarious. She would be stylish but not too stylish—she wouldn’t seem overly eager. She’d be smart, but in that “doesn’t even notice she’s smart” kind of way. She’d get the boys’ attention without meaning to. And the girls would, without questioning, follow her lead.
And then the first day of school came. I sat in my desk as the homeroom bell rang and clasped my sweaty hands together so people wouldn’t see them shaking. Instead of feeling like a whole new woman, I just felt like myself. The people around me chattered away as I stared at the pencil-carved desk in front of me.
Until someone turned to me. He smiled with his whole face, eyes crinkling.
“I like your fuzzy socks,” he said. “They look comfy.”
They were eight simple words, but they meant the world to me. I unclasped my hands, pulled up my socks so he could see all their splendor, and giggled. “Hey, thanks,” I said and pointed at his socks. “Your pizza socks are pretty cool, too.” My new sock-loving friend introduced me to his friends, and I felt comfortable almost instantly.
Learning to Be Me
When I got home that day, I dropped my backpack on the ground, sat on the sofa and realized: I wasn’t 100% charming, hilarious, and runway chic my first day of school. But people still liked me. I still made friends. High school Hannah was still just Hannah, but that was the best thing I could be.
Now 27 years old, I still sometimes feel that drive to reinvent myself and present myself as an idealized version of me. But I know that God doesn’t call me to be hilarious or smart or charming 24/7. He asks me to be more like Jesus: loving, bold, connected to the needs of others. When I look to Jesus as my role model, I am reminded that God loves and accepts me as I am. Nothing can separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:38).
Are you struggling to accept yourself? Do you sometimes wish you were someone else? If so, take some time right now to settle your mind and reflect on these truths from God’s Word:
You are unique. God made you that way on purpose.
You are the one
who put me together
inside my mother’s body,
and I praise you
the wonderful way
you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
Of this I have no doubt. — Psalm 139:13-14 (GNTD)
God loves you beyond comprehension.
I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God. — Ephesians 3:17-19 (GNTD)
God loves you at your worst.
But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! — Romans 5:8 (GNTD)
God has plans for you.
We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (CEV)
God won’t leave you, even when you don’t like yourself.
The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid. — Deuteronomy 31:8 (GNTD)
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