Why do You want me? This was a question that I always asked God. His answer to that question, though, was always the same: “Because I love you.”

Self-worth has always been something that I struggled with. Growing up in a family which shaped me to be independent, I placed my worth and significance in being good.

That meant being good in my studies, being good in taking care of myself, being a good girl who has it all together.

As a kid, I also cried a lot whenever one of my parents had to go for an overseas work trip.

To cope with the sense of abandonment that I felt, I would rationalise and convince myself not to be upset with my parents – even though I felt deep down that I wasn’t as important to them as their work was.

With that, I spent years building “security” in my friends. That didn’t last, as I eventually had a bad falling out with them. Suddenly, I didn’t have anyone else to turn to.

In my desperation for a listening ear, I turned to God who I had learnt of through my time in a baptist school.

I knew that I had drifted away from God as I grew up, so the first time I turned to Him, I simply asked: “There must be more to life and to You, but what is it?”

Two months after that conversation with God, I was invited to a Christmas party in a church. I then rededicated my life to Jesus on Christmas Eve, 2015.

It was all well for a few years. I was on fire for God and had a healthy community around me.

It seemed to me that my life was fulfilled, and I swept aside my underlying need for love and acceptance as it continued to snowball inside of me.

He loves me, he loves me not

When I got into junior college, I met someone who appealed to everything that I deeply longed for – security, assurance and my idea of love.

I grew fixated on the idea of getting into a relationship with him. I became so blinded by my desire that I started to see God as just holding me back, and contemplated letting go of all that I had experienced with God and with the church in the past few years.

A few days later, though, I told God that while I wanted the relationship, He had been so real in my life that I couldn’t go about just pretending that He didn’t exist.

Eventually, I stayed in church – and I also got into the relationship that I wanted. I thought that I could live with the best of both worlds.

Of course, I could not. Choosing to stay in that relationship caused me to compromise on my convictions and as time went by, things started turning toxic.

I knew that I was hurting badly, but I could not find the courage to break the relationship off because of my insecurities and fear of abandonment.

It took me until Easter 2022 to find the resolve to end this unhealthy relationship.

I remember telling God one morning that I would have nothing left if I let go of this relationship. God simply told me, “You still have Me.”

That was the moment I realised that even if I was left with nothing, I would still have God – and God is indeed everything.

After putting an end to my relationship, I struggled very badly with guilt and shame.

I held grudges against myself, condemning myself for all the damage that had happened in the relationship.

I felt like I traded God for the world, and I could not forgive myself for that. I could hardly accept the truth that God still loves me and desires to use me for his Kingdom’s purposes – until one particular encounter changed it all for me.

Damaged goods and disqualified

The healing happened during a 2022 church camp. Leading up to that night, God had been speaking to me that in Him, I am “royalty”.

I found it challenging to claim this truth as I perceived myself as damaged goods and disqualified.

The sermon that night was about how God can turn that which is useless into something useful. For the longest time, I had been feeling useless as I saw myself as a product of my failures.

When it was time to respond, I got on my knees before God and simply cried out: “God, I am sorry. I am sorry for going my own way. I am sorry for failing You. I am sorry for hurting Your heart. I am sorry for everything that I have done.”

What followed next – I had a vision of the woman with the alabaster jar. Luke 7:38 gives us the story: “Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” 

At that moment, God showed me that I was like that woman with the alabaster jar.

I was sinful in many ways. I was unworthy… but Jesus had compassion on me. Like what Jesus said in Luke 7:47, God told me that my many sins have been forgiven.

Being at the feet of Jesus that night was one of the most intimate moments I have ever had with God.

Receiving God’s forgiveness restored my identity in Christ as His love affirms me that I am accepted even when I’ve failed Him. Even when I’m left broken in pieces, I still belong to Him and I am redeemed by His unfailing love.

It took me a long time to recognise that Jesus is the love I’ve been looking for since the start.

My worth is no longer defined by what I have or have not done, but by God’s love that knows and accepts all of me. He is the lover of my soul.

While pain and hardships happen in life, His banner over us is love.

So to those who struggle in knowing their worth and identity, come to Jesus! Your life can be restored and renewed, because God makes all things beautiful in His time.