Hi, my name is Penny Lyon, singer-songwriter with the Christian band Out of the Ashes. Welcome to God Today. I want to talk about self-esteem. You know – that thing that has us one day feeling great and the next day has us feeling crushed and valueless. All of us go through it. We all have those words spoken of us, right the way through our childhoods. Hopefully, we have moms and dads who tell us that they love us, but then also all of us end up in school and among other kids and among the rough and tumble of life.
For me, my perception through childhood was that my feet were too big and that I was too tall and gawky and I was never any good at netball. My hair? Well in truth, it’s of the variety of going through a hedge backward. And my hands, well – they’re pretty big to start with. They’re gardener’s hands and I do the gardening, so my nails normally show the signs that I do the gardening. Also, there was the fact that I talked too much and I had a laugh with a snort in it. Okay, I’ve covered it all there for you, but I grew up perceiving myself through whatever anybody else I was talking to might be seeing.
We all do it. If we have a bad moment at the bus stop because somebody else has had a bad day, we carry that on ourselves. We forget who we are in God’s eyes. We forget that we are princes and princesses that He absolutely adores and that He created to be exactly as we are. I grew up with that self-doubt and I carried on with that self-doubt. Then I married a man that just loves me so much and my self-esteem rose, but I still had those bad moments.
I remember one particularly bad moment as an adult in the school playground dropping my son off. Somebody said something unkind. And that was it. I was wrecked. I went home and I was chatting to a friend on the phone and I said, “Do I get stuff that wrong? Am I that annoying?” She said, “No, you’re not. Penny, you were made to be exactly who you are. You were created by God. None of you is a freak. None of you is an accident.” This just stopped me dead. This was an Emmaus moment because suddenly I realized that I wasn’t an accident. None of us are accidents. We are so loved. We are so planned.
I went off after that telephone conversation and I talked to God about it and I said, “Lord, can You please show me who I am? I know that You made me as I am. I know that You made me to be this. I know that You love me. So can You please show me who it is that You’ve made? Can You please show me what it is that You love about me?” And He did. He showed me that the snorting laugh is one that encourages other people to laugh. He showed me that the fact that I talk quite a lot and often without thinking as much as I should means that He can allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me and let His words come through me. He showed me that I am so loved.
I’ve got two Bible verses that I’d like to share with you. The first of them is Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” The second one is in Psalm 139. “For You created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” I’d just like to highlight there – “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Not a single stitch of you was an accident.
I’d like to close with a prayer. Father God, we know that for each one of us, You created us exactly as we are. You created us in whatever form we have come to be because You have a plan for us and because You love us. You can set each one of us on fire to use exactly who we are and to be fully Your children, princes and princesses in Your Kingdom. Father God, I ask You to show each one of us what it was that You planned and how You see us. Thank You, Father. Amen.