HOW I FOUND MY WORTH
In this era of media, when words such as self-care, self-image and self-worth are being highlighted, how do we see reason for our own lives? Do they serve to heal the insecurities within or mask them even more?
From as early as primary school, I saw my father preach and his voracious appetite for reading influenced me greatly. I love reading. I read everything from saints and salty truths, doctrines to dramatic theologies and I love every bit of it.
For a long time however, I couldn’t feel Christ in my life personally. He was there in text but missing in my heart. I knew about Him, but didn’t know Him intimately as the saints relayed. I found myself reading truths that sat in my head but did not sink into my heart.
At home, my mom and I didn’t get along very well. Daily cold wars over things done perfectly right, made for a mother who ruled by stringent discipline. Over the years I would understand why she behaved the way she did. Her very broken childhood infused deep wounds, displaying it on others, without her known desire to do so. But this was my world – daily discipline and then my father having to constantly juggle roles between husband, father and peacemaker between the two of us.
To make things worse, our family moved countries many times, making it hard for me to sustain deep friendships as I had to constantly change schools. This left a deep void in my heart and it made for an extremely shy introvert who craved for acceptance but didn’t know how to give or receive it.
And then there was God, moving through the pages but sifting like sand, unable to reach.
The Descent To Feeling Worthless
When we moved to Qatar, my insecurities grew deeper. I hated being there, and felt emotionally challenged. I struggled with my studies which eventually gave way through severe panic attacks, physical ailments and depression.
Wading through these challenges, I was able to complete my schooling and secure admission at a university in Europe hoping this would mark a fresh start from my regular chaotic life. Much to my dismay, some other family issues cropped up leaving me with just one option – take a gap from school and face the reality that I was going to be stuck with “mom” for a long time. I thought my end was near.
The Path To Light
That gap year was one of the most challenging times of my life, but it was also a year of great freedom. Having to spend seemingly unending days with my mother, without my father to play referee in between, fuelled a great desire in me to pursue Christ. I had no one, but Him. There was no other way – a beautiful orchestration of Grace which I now see as I look back.
Whether it was just ranting or complaining to God about mom or sitting still amidst anger and tears, I began to discover that I was actually communicating to God, the One I had known in my head but had not invited in my heart. My time with Jesus grew from being rote prayers every night into more meaningful moments where I began to share my deepest anguishes and fears, dreams and aspirations, asking, seeking and receiving the peace I always wanted.
“The more we draw near to God, the more luminous we become” – Bishop Barron
This is true for my own journey. Little by little, my priorities shifted. I stopped caring about what the world thought of me and focussed on greater things that God had for me as part of His grand plan for my life. As my relationship with God grew, he freed me from my depression and anxiety. I have not had a single panic attack since then and I no longer struggle with stress and my studies. God revealed my spiritual gifts in prayer and placed a desire within me to serve him.
Apart from all this, my bond with my mother improved so much that today she is my biggest cheerleader. God helped me realise both sides of our relationship and now I too am able to be a support to her rather than just a trouble-maker.
Serving In Communion With Others
During my time in Qatar, what I thought was a wilderness sprung forth as the greatest oasis in my life. God led me to the youth community called ‘Youth Ignited for Christ’, a charismatic missionary ministry dedicated to leading teens and adults to the heart of Jesus.
I may have lost friends overs the years but God doubled my blessings as he led me to discover deep friendships in this ministry, people with whom I could share, pray and journey to fruitfulness. He took an introvert like me and assigned me to roles where socialising, testifying and welcoming youth were needed.
Self-care, self-image and self-worth – these have found meaning as I discover my image and worth in Christ and more than anything He has become my Prince of Peace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wiseline Antony is a student based in UAE, currently pursuing a Masters in Psychology. She is interested in everything about people, their minds, and how to make their journey on earth a little better by sharing about the love of God. She dotes on the mysteries of the Word, the grand plan of the Universal Church, and how they help live life in complete freedom. Her hobbies include reading anything from heavy old manuscripts to the labels of her shampoo bottles, while trying desperately to develop a green thumb in the arid lands of the Gulf region where she resides.