I’ve felt self-conscious about one thing or another during nearly every season of my life. Different things. Big and small things. Not always my looks, but more often than not. (Or my loudness in general and pour choice of words. I call it “conversational remorse.” #thestruggleisreal)
It’s that terrible wanting to hide feeling, wishing you could cover up or drift away, become invisible or just disappear. Wishing, hoping, begging to have no one notice our flaws or mistakes or differences.
We shy away, draw less attention to ourselves, or actually, physically hide, just so no one notices. To make sure they don’t see that which we are so self-conscious about. But is this what God wants for us?
Adam and Eve tried to hide away from God, to hide their shameful choice. They covered themselves, noticing their nakedness for the first time. Self-conscious and afraid they hid from their Creator, and one another.
I love the picture of Eve’s creation shown in Genesis 2:22-25. It paints a completely different story of how we were intended to live.
22 “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:22-25 (emphasis added)
They felt no shame.
They stood before one another. Naked. And felt no shame.
Not a shred of self-consciousness. Not one ounce. No one hiding away or pulling back. Fully present, completely comfortable.
In this picture, I see what I believe God intended for us. I think His desire was for self-confidence, not self-consciousness. For us to stand confident in who we are, not hiding, questioning, ashamed.
No. He intended for us to stand naked and feel no shame. We can’t even stand clothed in front of a mirror without hiding from ourselves.
Self-consciousness is not from God. Say it with me. Our self-consciousness is not a godly or helpful trait. In fact, it holds us back from being and doing what He would have us be and do.
Did you know…
Low body confidence is a problem worldwide. 1 in 3 teenagers withdraw from classroom debate because they don’t want to draw attention to the way that they look. 1 in 5 are not showing up to class at all on days they don’t feel confident. And when it comes to exams, if you don’t think you look good enough, specifically not thin enough, you will score a lower grade point average than your peers that are not concerned with this, regardless of how much you actually weigh. And we don’t outgrow it. Did you know that 17% of women would not show up for a job interview on a day they did not feel confident about the way that they look? (“Meaghan Ramsey: Why Thinking You Are Ugly Is Bad For You”, Ted 2014)
Self-consciousness keeps us from showing up, from being us, from shining for Him. He created us for more. Let’s thank Him for the self-confidence only He can give us, pray for that freedom, and rest in that truth.
We were created to be self-confident. For His glory. Let’s go do just that.
CHALLENGE: Can you remember a time when you shied away or shrunk back out of self-consciousness? Is there some big thing you would tackle if you were more self-confident, especially in your looks? How does your self-consciousness in your looks impact your mood?