• Shayla Reneé

Identity



I remember someone once telling me when I was younger that they wanted to have my baby because I was cute, light skinned, and had good hair. That was at a point in my life when my self esteem was so low, I took that as a compliment.


Imagine being so insecure, lacking so much self worth and awareness of who I was, that a statement such as that would bring delight—as though all it takes to raise a child in this world is good looks and a certain grade of hair.


Never mind that my looks were a direct source of my insecurities, so I never really believed anyone when they found me physically attractive. But to even consider taking him up on that offer highlights how poorly I viewed myself.


To quote Monica from my favorite movie (Love & Basketball), “she’s not saying ‘I think you’re a nice guy and I wanna get to know you,’ she’s saying, ‘I wanna bone!’” LOL, I was the Quincy in this example, taking it all as a positive affirmation when in reality, it was insulting.


I had a toxic mindset because instead of focusing on character attributes that would make me a good “catch,” I relied on surface level features that caught the attention of the opposite sex, my hair, my looks, even my complexion, which led me directly to guys who could care less about intellect, compatibility, drive, commitment, godly virtue — you know, someone who would be worth building a future with. I often ended up attracting the same type of person that I was: shallow with low self esteem.


It wasn’t until I began to see myself how God saw me. Until I understood what it meant to be a child of our Creator - that I began to unearth all the stuff He deposited in me when molding me, that went deeper than my skin. I began to see myself as beautiful, independent of my looks. God said that I was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) to be set apart from what the carnal mind desires. I am an image bearer of God and that goes far beyond complexion and hair grade.


So I cut my hair off. Probably part of my plan to truly identify as a child of God and not just that girl with the long hair. When you see me, I want you to see the Christ in me and not be distracted with my appearance. And if I was still in the dating game, I would want to attract someone who saw past my physical and saw my heart. Fortunately, my husband saw me way before I saw myself, and for that I am grateful. Had I met him in my younger years, he would have seen junk.


So this is my charge to you, if you are suffering from any insecurities (many of us do, you’re not alone). I implore you, as a first step, dig deep into the word and study scriptures that show you what God thinks of His creation. Start with Genesis 1:31, “...and God saw what He had made and it was good.”


That includes you.

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