Learning to Like Myself
Someone can like me: When Heather King was 16, the guy she'd been crushing on for four years asked her out on a double date. The date was huge for her. Not only was it her first date, it was the guy and—maybe most importantly—it was a relief to know someone could like her.
Heather, now the lead singer for the band Daniel's Window, didn't like herself much. She didn't like the way she looked. But if a boy really liked her, maybe she wasn't ugly after all.
Then she discovered the guy only asked her out to get closer to the other girl on the double date. Heather was heartbroken.
A reason to be confident: Deep down, Heather knew her worth wasn't determined by whether or not a boy liked her and she pleaded for God to help her like herself. When she saw no immediate answers to her prayers, she felt like God wasn't listening.
Then in college, Heather discovered two new talents: singing and acting. She made every play and singing group she auditioned for—she even got the lead in four plays. "It really boosted my confidence that I was good at something," she said. "I finally had something I could be confident in: God's gifts."
Continuing struggles: But Heather continued to struggle with feelings of worthlessness. "God had showed me so much to love about myself and I changed a lot," she says, "But those old feelings came back. I continued to wrestle with not liking myself."
In fact, Heather's difficulty with liking herself got worse.
"I felt like there was no release for my anger, frustration and unhappiness with myself," she says. "I began to physically hurt myself by punching myself really hard for long periods of time until I'd wear myself out. It was a release."
Heather now wishes she would have seen a counselor or told an adult about her problem. Instead, she only told a friend. But she feels God used that friend to speak to her and show her she was loved. Gradually, she stopped her selfabuse. "God's brought me so far from where I use to be," Heather says. "I am thankful for this journey because I learned I'm a work in progress. God showed me he is still working on me."
God's makeover: Heather admits she's often still hard on herself for not being perfect. But she knows all she can do is to consistently stay close to God and listen for his voice. "It's a daily habit of saying, 'God, I have this problem' and being honest with him about it," she says. "Even when I feel like God is far away, he's there and I need to worship him."
Heather recently worked on her daily relationship with God through a sixmonth "makeover" project Daniel's Window just completed. The band members worked at renewing themselves in various ways by developing habits like working out, eating right, and growing closer to God (learn more at Christianmusicmakeover.com). During the project, Heather joined a small group and asked some close friends to hold her accountable for daily Bible reading, prayer times and verse memorization.
"Changes occur in our lives just a little bit at a time," Heather says. "If I really want to be transformed—whether in appearance, or in playing the guitar, or by letting God work in me—it has to be a lifelong commitment. My entire life is transformation. And it's just an ongoing process."
Copyright © 2005 by the author or Christianity Today/Campus Life magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Campus Life.