If you looked in my closet anytime over the past 40 years you would get a pretty good picture of what was influencing me at the time. In high school it was one style which changed radically when my parents sent me to Bob Jones. Those four years set me on a course of a different style for the next twenty years. I remember the first time my daughter told me to stop wearing clothes that were at least two sizes too big for me. Traumatic. Now, you might be thinking that everyone’s closet does that, as styles change our clothes change.
Late ’70’s College years
Unfortunately, mine was much more than that.
For most of my life I found my self-worth in the people who I desperately wanted to value me. I needed acceptance. I wanted to do the things that I thought were important–not to me–but to get noticed. I can’t count the number of hours I spent in my room trying to do a head stand and learning a cheer, because I knew that everyone loved the cheerleaders. The cheerleaders were the girls everyone wanted to be like and the ones all the boys dated. I never found the courage to try out.
I’m not sure why I was able to change so radically. But, I did things that I never thought I would have courage to do. I found myself as an alternate on the cheerleading squad on Nu Delta Chi. (Thank you, Eugene Banks) From there I auditioned on a huge stage for a Shakespeare production. I was proud of myself for trying. Until my cousin told me the panel almost fell out of their seats laughing at me when I walked off the stage.
I never auditioned like that again.
And just like that in the first month of my freshman year you see two examples that had a dramatic impact on my life. One, a kind upperclassman who encouraged everyone at our dinner table. (we had assigned tables my first few years of college–with an assignment upper-class students to be host and hostess) Eugene might not realize the impact he had on me, but it was lasting and positive. The other, words that might not have been intended to hurt, but did; deeply.
Thus, this self-confidence, self-esteem monster I was fighting inside took control again.
confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect; faith in oneself.
Second year teaching ’82?
1984 baby shower with my Cheerleaders!
Why is it so difficult to have just the right amount of self-esteem? Go too far and it’s pride–equally an ugly monster. But, I think it’s also a sin to not have enough self-esteem. It cripples you from doing the very things you are passionate about doing.
Ways to Improve Your Self-esteem
1: Focus on the promises of God.
Now, if you are reading this and don’t believe in God–that one is going to be difficult for you. If, however, you do believe, then you know that the scriptures are full of promises. I used to print verses out and paste them everywhere. I needed to win the battle in my mind. My favorite: Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
2: Focus on what is truly important.
Sometimes we spend too much time trying to be something or someone that is important when we don’t realize that something or someone is a misplaced value. Are the things/people you admire superficial or based on image and quantity? Are you allowing your life to be dictated by what is important to others?
3. Take time to look back on your life and recognize the positive. Scan old pictures and notes that people have written and remember the good. Try not to dwell on a false reality of what might have been, but on the blessings you have been given.
4. Do Unto Others. Think about volunteering. Serving others makes you think about others and less about yourself. It is a positive experience as you meet the needs of others. It will begin to give value to yourself and others.
5. Exercise. It helps improve your mood and your physical health. Do I need to say more?
6. Look on mistakes as a way to learn instead of failure. Don’t beat yourself up your short comings. Realize that everyone makes mistakes. Look at it as a learning opportunity and get better.
7. Find time to do the things you enjoy. If you are enjoying things you will more than likely think more positively.
What does all of this have to do with the stage?
I totally believe that God used circumstances in my life to set me on my life’s course. Francine Rivers said it best in one of her books. She described our lives as a work of tapestry explaining that on the front our lives look all put together and beautiful, but if you turn it over and look on the other side you will see all the places God had to string together to get us in the right spot. Don’t you see? What might look like a mess to you is becoming a work of art!
God used my shyness to put people in my life that would connect me to drama. The imagination He gave me has allowed me to love stories. My parents sent me to Bob Jones University which shaped my philosophy of Drama, but also gave me courage and confidence. Then from teaching (which I really didn’t want to do at first–that’s a blog all on it’s own!) He gave me wonderful students over and over again–some of them have played on the Overshadowed stage! He gave me their parents to encourage and support, but also be such a part of the team of Overshadowed. I believe that my lack of self-esteemed has allowed me to minister in ways I could not have done. I think without that battle I would not have started Overshadowed not only did He place a wonderful dream/vision, but also provided the people to help it come true. God really did give me the desires of my heart. Trust Him.
What about you? Is this a battle you fight? Do you have a way your lack of self-esteem has ended up being a victory or blessing? Please take a moment and write a comment or share this blog!
Overshadowed by His love,