All week I was in a pensive mood, reflective, counting my blessings. There were many blessings just like it is with all of you. Looking back, though, I realised that there was one blessing that really turned my life around.
That blessing wasn’t family or friends or a good job or financial independence. It wasn’t a material blessing but, without it, I doubt if I would have ever come through. That blessing is self-esteem. I found my self-esteem in Christ and as it grew, so did self-acceptance, which resulted in self-confidence which enabled me to confront my fears and overcome. It eventually gave me the mental health that I am fully enjoying now, free of depression.
Health, of course, is the blessing everyone wants. I want it, too, but I am aware that as I grow older that some lack of health is to be expected. Generally, I am just glad that my health is fine, but I attribute my good mental health to self-esteem.
In retrospect, I think that was how God raised me from the ashes. I developed a healthy self-concept and eventually became comfortable in my own skin. When depression hit me, my self-confidence was dashed to pieces. I realise now that every breakthrough I got built up my self-confidence. I stumbled, fell, was too scared too move forward but as my self-esteem improved, I began to make better decisions about myself, correcting myself when I made mistakes.
When I saw that God was helping me, that was the greatest encouragement I had or needed. I realised, “Hey, God created me this way. This is who I am. This is what I like and don’t like. This is the way I think and He is not intimidated by it! He helps me along in the way I think!” It freed me to accept myself the way I am and to think the way I wanted to. God is not bothered by it! Why should I care if other people can’t see eye to eye with me! If they disagreed, it was fine with me! Although, I always took note of differences and adjusted where necessary.
This confidence didn’t happen overnight; it took time, but it had its roots in my position in Christ. Because I felt accepted by our Lord, I began to enjoy being myself in Him. I felt liberated in His love for me as I am, and grateful that He helped me grow by affirming the person He created me as and not by conforming to others’ expectations. I did and do as I please (not sin, of course — no one is free to sin! If I did — since I am human — I just ask for forgiveness and correct myself), even to indulge — within limits (mostly according to what was in my purse! But, I trusted Him for that. And, I get by!)
In retrospect, I wish I had the mental health I have now when I was trying to pursue my career. I think I would have shattered every glass ceiling I hit, or, at least, tried to! But, that was not meant to be. I was falling ill because of depression and had to abandon my career and change course. I don’t regret because I now know that my career was the price I paid for mental health. It was a decision I made be faith. What’s ahead is still a question mark, but I’m not afraid; I’ll take it on, the challenges of love and life!
Of all God’s blessings — apart from Himself — if I had to choose the one thing that enabled me to deal with the triggers that were causing my depression, it would be self-esteem. I am very grateful to Him for the freedom to grow as He created me. It’s very self-affirming and up-building. I revel in Him, being simply me!
Now, you know why I see myself as the bride of Christ! If any man is to love me, he has to love like that, or, at least, somewhat. I’ve yet to see that. When it happens, I, probably, will get married!