Since I was a child, I struggled with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. I didn’t feel pretty enough or good enough. I can recall sitting in my second grade classroom and overhearing a boy that I liked say that I was ugly. I internalized the rejection and took it to heart. I honestly believed that since he said that I was ugly then I must be. It didn’t matter who attempted to affirm me. I believed that I was not good enough and that no one would ever be attracted to me. Again in fifth grade, a similar situation occurred. This time though, I didn’t have a crush on the boy who called me ugly. He jokingly told another classmate that I was one of the ugliest girls in the school. I was totally convinced of this by now since two different boys had said the same thing. I went home and cried to my mom asking her why nobody liked me and she did her best to encourage me, but I just wasn’t able to receive it. They said it, I believed it, and so to me it was true. I was ugly.
As I got older and noticed that I was finally getting the attention from guys that I liked as well, I didn’t have many boundaries. I wanted to prove that I could be everything they needed me to be and was willing to compete with other women to do so if necessary. My heart was not guarded at all as the scripture admonishes us. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT) This scripture couldn’t be more true.
Because my heart was not guarded, I was susceptible to the attacks that the enemy used as a child and a young adult to draw me into the bondage of abuse.
My first abusive relationship would push me further into depression, anxiety, insecurity and feelings of worthlessness. The abuse I sustained in this relationship was physical and psychological. The bruises healed, but the damage of the psychological abuse (name calling, belittling, threatening, etc.) hurt much more and took much longer to heal.
Once I was able to get out of this toxic relationship, I took several months away from dating before I would meet who I believed was “the one.” I shared every detail of my life with this individual in hopes that I would not have to endure the same mistreatment. One thing I didn’t do was ask God what He thought. In my single season, I had worked on strengthening my relationship with God after straying away from Him. Even still I ignored all of the red flags and threw caution to the wind. Surely, this was the one and if not I was determined to make it that way. I wanted so badly to be loved and the enemy knew that. I was sent a counterfeit because I had not been healed in this area. I had not passed the test to get to my testimony, so here I was going through the test yet again. It would be years before I would make it out of this abusive relationship and not without long lasting emotional damage. The very things that I shared in hopes of avoiding heartache were used against me to keep me stuck in the repetitive cycle of abuse. I had lost myself, but after joining my church’s domestic violence ministry, I received the tools and resources and support I needed to break free. It was not long after the breakup before I started dating again though. I took all of my baggage with me from relationship to relationship blaming everyone else for its demise. I didn’t see that I was lacking emotional wellness. I was not whole. I needed the time alone to get to know me and the plans God had for me. It is God’s desire to give us a prosperous future filled with hope. If only we would just trust Him.'For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.' Jeremiah 29:11Click To Tweet
After hopping around and defiling my body, I finally got fed up with my decisions. I made a promise to God to honor the temple He gave me and to tell everyone I knew about His delivering power. There was just one catch – I needed Him to deliver me. I needed deliverance from the deep rooted issues, the repressed memories of sexual abuse from my younger years, the feelings of inadequacy, and I needed Him to show me His purpose for my life. I needed all of that and all God needed was my “yes.” He needed me to fully cast all of my cares and burdens on Him and to trust Him. It was tough because it was new for me. It was worth it though. The things God has done with my “yes” leaves me in awe of Him daily. If you are dealing with fear of being alone and as a result can identify with being a serial dater, I encourage you to find your worth in Christ. Search the Word for what He says you are and affirm yourself daily until you truly believe that what God says of you is the only truth.