Saturday, 23 February 2019

C Columns

"I Get To"® Own My Worth

By Joan Endicott

If you’ve ever felt insecure, unloved, unwanted, rejected, insignificant, inadequate, not enough or like you didn’t measure up, I pray this article serves you in some way.

First of all, very transparently, thinking about these events and writing about them has been a bit of a battle. I’m choosing vulnerability and courage over comfort, confident this will help you or someone you care about in the journey of owning your worth. As I revisited various life events, I found myself immediately transported back to my 5-year-old self. Isn’t it amazing how traumas imprint on our soul like a handprint in wet cement? The ability to share any of this is a direct result of immeasurable gratitude to God for His grace in providing the power to forgive. It’s the salve that brings hope and healing from the wounds of this world. Indeed, we are set FREE through forgiveness.

Experiencing neglect, rejection and abuse from a young age caused me to believe the lie that I had no real worth. For much of my life, I’ve struggled with seeking approval (which is why I often refer to myself as a “recovering approval addict”). I’ve wasted so much time worrying about what others thought, said or did. My little girl heart just ached to be loved and to belong.

My first recollection of such a trauma was when I was 5 years old. I was excited that I was getting to stay at my grandparents’ home all by myself. The safe feeling I’d had in their home changed the day my aunt’s uninvited visitor stopped by. It was a warm, sunny day and my Aunt D had the doors open while she was mopping the kitchen floor. I was sitting on a kitchen chair watching her when we were both startled by a man who suddenly appeared in the side doorway. (The “man” was probably late teens like my aunt, but to my 5-year-old eyes he was a grown man.)

After greeting him, my aunt said she needed to finish mopping but that he could sit in the living room and they could talk while she finished. The man asked if I would come sit with him in the living room. My aunt encouraged it. The kitchen/dining area and the living room were an L-shape –– close enough to have a conversation, but out of line-of-sight. Once we were on the couch, my Aunt D kept conversing with the man.

He had me sit right next to him. At first he patted my hand, then held my hand, and then he forced my hand into his pants...It wasn’t until I was an adult that I knew it was called “child sexual assault” and that it not only harmed me dramatically, it was a crime.

This all happened while he acted as if he was listening to my Aunt D. I had no idea what he was doing or why, I just knew I immediately wanted to cry. I was scared, in shock. I just sat there.

Even after he left, I...just..sat...there.

I knew I should tell my aunt what happened. After all, she was babysitting me. When I tried to tell her what that man had done, my body was trembling and I wanted to burst into tears. I started with, “That man...,” and then my aunt’s girlfriend came in and sat down. My aunt coaxed me to continue so I began again: “That man made me...”

Her mouth dropped open and the look of shock on her face confirmed to my scared little soul I’d done the right thing in telling her. Her automatic response validated my belief that he’d done a very bad thing!  

Then just moments after my aunt’s response, her girlfriend burst out laughing and asked, “How did it feel?”

“What?” I thought. I was so confused –– I didn’t understand. Her response was the opposite of my aunt’s. At first I had felt proud of myself for telling, especially seeing my aunt’s immediate response. Then after her friend’s reaction...that’s the first time I recall feeling an immediate flood of embarrassment wash over me and my face flushed with shame.

Then almost as if she was excited about it, my aunt’s friend said, “I’m telling 'D' (my uncle),” and my Aunt D said, “No, don’t tell D –– he’ll kill him.” I remember in my little 5-year-old hurting, confused heart, I wanted to scream, “PLEASE, PLEASE TELL D!” I knew they didn’t mean he’d literally kill him. I knew it just meant that what “that man” did was a REALLY, REALLY BAD thing and someone should do SOMETHING.

But instead, nobody did anything...ever.

That set an unfortunate precedent for me because of the embarrassment and shame I felt that day, along with the fact that absolutely nothing was done, my grandparents and parents were never told, and no good came from it. When I was subsequently abused by others –– which was typically accompanied with harmful, every-reason-to-believe threats –– I learned to never-ever tell.

Then, starting the summer before my sixth-grade year, God began bringing role-models into my life who loved me and began speaking words of life that God said about me, such as, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made...,” from Psalm 139. Things slowly started to shift. At first, I couldn’t believe those encouraging words from the Bible could be talking about me because if I had that kind of worth, why would I have been treated the way I was? I was confused, yet my soul was hungry to hear more of the truth that would eventually set me free.

Truths that Helped Transform My Thinking in Owning My Worth:

  1. Hurt people hurt people.
  2. What happened to you was not a result of your brokenness, but theirs.
  3. Looking through God’s lens of love has allowed me to respond to those who hurt me with empathy and prayer –– knowing that in order to do what they did, they had hurts and heartaches as well. When seeing them, like myself, as a child with a hurting heart, compassion overcame judgment.
  4. When surrendered to God, He uses every hurt and heartache to bring me closer to Him and help others in the process. God takes our mess and gives us a message.
  5. The ONLY place I can find my worth is when I look into the face of the One who created me and believe the truth of what He says about me.
  6. If I am dependent on anything else (people, places, positions, possessions, etc.) to fill me up or find my worth –– other than the One who loved me and gave Himself for me –– I will always be deeply disappointed. Nothing or no one else is equipped to fill a God-shaped void.
  7. My worth was woven into me by my Creator. It’s not there because of who I am, but Whose I am. God loved me so much that He sent Jesus Christ to be my Savior. (John 3:16)

Though I’m now a “big girl” –– Wife, Momma & GiGi (grandmother) –– I still have that little girl heart inside that aches to be loved and belong. The difference? Now I know I am loved, and I do belong. No matter who else (past, present or future) did or didn’t love and care about me, I was designed, planned and loved by the God of the Universe. The truth is, no other opinion matters. Even if I continue to fight the battle of caring too much about what others think until I see Jesus face-to-face, I get to own my worth because I am loved by Him and I belong to Him.

Dear friend, please hear me on this: No matter what battle you’re facing that has caused feelings of insignificance, insecurity, or inadequacies, I want you to know that with God’s Truth as your most powerful weapon, you can overcome it and be set free, too.

If this has blessed you in any way, I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Joan Endicott is a an award-winning keynote speaker, author of “I Get To!”®, founder of GIANT-Slayer Coaching and “WOW!” - Women Owning Their Worth. Her coaching reaches over 25 countries across six continents. Meet her and get free videos and two free chapters of her “I Get To!”® book at www.JoanEndicott.com. 

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