Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

Why Do We Struggle to Believe Our Value?

Why Do We Struggle to Believe Our Value?

Cinderella had a problem—three of them, to be precise. Her step-sisters knew about her royal status. But they told her lies born of jealousy and designed to keep Cinderella from knowing the truth about her royal heritage. They didn’t want Cinderella to have what they never could.

Many of us can relate to this fairy tale princess. While hers is not a Bible story, it is illustrative of biblical truth and can help us see ourselves the way God does. We often struggle with this issue because we also have a jealous enemy who sends false messages about God’s love and our value to Him. Our adversary, Satan, will use whatever means he can find to accomplish his goal of keeping us unaware of the truth about our royal status.

Cinderella didn’t realize she was a princess because she heard these girls say she was worthless, ugly, and that she was their servant. Because she never heard a positive word spoken about her, she became despondent and sat by the fireplace, weeping.

Most of us know how the story goes. And many know it from our own personal experience. Not because we are physical, blue-blooded royalty. But because we hear lies about ourselves that we believe are true.

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We also have an enemy

We also have an enemy

They say actions speak louder than words, and in my case, the words spoken to me by my family were affirming, but their actions sent a very different message.

I was an only child until I was 10, and accustomed to all the attention in our household. But my parents wanted more children, and adopted three girls within the next four years. I entered what I call my ugly duckling years about the time my first sister joined our family. I developed disfiguring acne that no doctor was able to cure, wore glasses and braces, and could not escape the contrast between her appearance and mine. For the first time in my life, I felt ugly. I also felt increasingly shoved aside by my parents as each new sister arrived. 

During my teen years, the negative  messages I absorbed about myself at home combined with social rejection at school and tangled my emotions into a knot of depression.

The whole reason behind my feelings was one of evil intent. My family wasn’t evil, but Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), conspired to send false messages to me through their actions. He made sure I listened by cloaking falsehood in a kernel of truth. I did have terrible acne. But my looks did not make me worthless or unloveable.

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Lies we believe

Lies we believe

This is the point where many women become trapped. Our culture tells us we must be thin and pretty, athletic, or super-intelligent, so others will like us. Being average is not enough. We might hear words to the contrary sometimes, but the overwhelming majority of media and social pressure confirms what we believe: only the exceptional have value.

Add neglect to the list of reasons women feel “less than.” When we aren’t pretty, or smart, or fill-in-the-blank enough, we get passed over for accolades. It happens at home, at school, and in the workplace. We know it isn’t supposed to be like this, but reality is harsh.

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Transforming truth

Transforming truth

One day, while she sat crying in the ashes, Cinderella’s fairy god-mother appeared with a magic wand. She told Cinderella the truth about her royal birth, and waved her wand to instantly turn her back into a princess, complete with a beautiful ballgown. 

We also have a type of fairy god-mother. The Holy Spirit speaks the truth about us in the Bible. In Psalm 119:73 we read, “Your hands have made and fashioned me.” And Psalm 139:14 tells us we were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” John 3:16 says Jesus died for everybody in the world. 

But because of all the untrue messages we absorb, many of us struggle to believe we are worth dying for—we think Jesus couldn’t possibly love us that much. The thing is, unbelief keeps us apart from God. It separates Him from us so that He can’t help or comfort us. Only when we choose to believe the Bible in spite of how we feel will we gain the one thing we have needed all along—Jesus Christ living in us. 

When we make that choice, we receive a new outlook and new life in an instant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our  minds. This transformation comes through submitting ourselves and all our thoughts to God. All you have to do is believe it and ask Jesus to change your mind and heart. Then He is free to do His seemingly magical thing—make beauty from ashes.

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A beautiful new dress

A beautiful new dress

When Cinderella was transformed into a princess, she got a new dress. We do too. In my book, Fashioned by God, I remind women that God has provided us with new ballgowns. When we accept our new life through salvation, Jesus clothes us with His righteousness. Our old, ugly outfits of sin are gone.

“Imagine exchanging your raggedy dress that came handed down to you for a brand-new beautiful white gown with glittering sparkles all over it…The new one is tailor-made for you…Do you remember how you felt when you wore your first prom dress, or your wedding dress? If you have a dress from a special occasion in the back of your closet, do you remember how you felt the day you wore it?” (p.39)

This is the same feeling we have when we receive our new covering from God.We become different, and are set free from our previous self image in a beautiful moment.  

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Remember who you are

Remember who you are

Sometimes other people might not understand or even like the new you. They may not be comfortable with your emerging confidence. 

How did Cinderella’s step-sisters respond to her new princess status? They tried to steal it from her by cramming her dainty glass slipper onto their large feet. But of course it could never work. 

We often still struggle even when we know the truth. Social pressures don’t change just because we do. The world still rewards the outwardly beautiful people. What can we do?

Go back to the beginning. Remember the scriptures that helped you. Memorize them. Write them on sticky notes and place them in strategic spots like your bathroom mirror, inside kitchen cabinet doors, and on your car’s visor mirror. Make screen savers from your favorite verse. Take a phrase from a verse that seems especially powerful and make it your motto . Add it to your social media posts as a hash tag. Search for jewelry charms with “your” words and create a signature collection on a charm bracelet that you wear every day.

And remember, the prince persisted until he found his princess.

We can be sure Satan will do everything in his power to keep us from learning the truth. When that fails, he’ll try sabotaging  the new royal life we gain through our salvation. But we have a champion. Jesus will keep searching until He finds us. He will pursue us until we choose Him. And then He swirls us around the dance floor, never letting anyone cut in or snatch us away.

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Kathryn Graves, author of Fashioned by God, is a personal style and fashion trends expert. She offers closet consults, style workshops, and personal shopping through her business with Premier Designs, Inc. As an author, speaker, and business woman, she teaches women how to dress for success. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology and desires to help women understand their God-given beauty. Kathryn is a pastor's wife, mom, and Mimi to three. She loves cats, painting with pastels, and interior design.