If you are anything like me and I was to sit in front of you and say, ‘You are special,’ it is likely you would feel a bit uncomfortable.
You might squirm in your seat.
Your face might turn a shade of red.
And you may even start to recall all the ‘facts’ that would prove that you aren’t special.
You might tell me things like,
‘You don’t know what I have done in my past.
You don’t know what I have said to others or all the stupid mistakes that I have made.'
I am here to tell you today that your past and the marks others have left on you, doesn’t mean that you aren’t special.
You are worth more than you think.
I remember standing at my sister’s work desk when I was maybe 11 years old. My sister had to pop out for a couple of minutes and her colleague, who we will call Lucy, was looking after me while my sis attended to her responsibilities.
Lucy and I got on to the subject of how wonderful my sister is. And she is wonderful. All of my siblings have a measure of bravery that is astounding and when I think of what they have overcome I am inspired. So yes, it was true.
I had met Lucy a number of times and I knew enough about her to be in awe of her. She was a Christian who was in ministry and at that time of my life I wanted to be just like her.
I wanted to know the God she knew.
The God who loved the stained and oppressed of society and saw them for who they were and who they could become.
The God who could love someone like me.
I came from a safe family but the world outside my home was not.
I, even at that age, had a lot of baggage.
I wanted someone to see me in the way I wanted to be seen which was… ‘special.’ Not weird, or slow, or dumb, or ugly or frizzy haired, or the girl who stuttered.
I wanted someone to see me the way that would give me peace and rest.
I just wanted to belong and not feel like my birth was a mistake and my life was just a consequence of a 'cuddling session.'
I also needed them to not be family.
Mainly because for me, family members are meant to be the ones that love and value you. That there love was duty bound rather than a choice. So to me, it didn't really count.
Lucy said about how my sister was special and she could see Gods love shining from her.
Not knowing God that well, other than from what I learned at school, I enquired about this ‘light.’ Lucy went on to explain that there are people like my sister that you just know are different and that they are so special to God that God's light shines out of them.
What happened next I didn’t expect and it sent me down a dark path.
When I first heard Lucy speak about something, 'different' I hoped this was the answer I had searched for.
I was different.
In fact on the scale there is quirky, different and then me.
I thought this was it.
It was all going to make sense.
This was the reason why I didn't fit in well.
Why I spoke different.
Why I saw the world different.
And if it was God doing this, making me unique for a bigger purpose, then I was in.
I asked if she could see light within me. She bluntly said 'no,' and the subject was changed.
Maybe Lucy noticed or maybe she didn't, but the no that I received devastated a very fragile me.
My understanding of this event is different now to how I felt about this back then.
Back then I already felt so different to everyone else. I remember feeling like I was waiting around for something to happen. I was searching for a place to belong. Someone to belong to. Someone who say something special in me and made them want to have me around.
My understanding now is that Lucy was in an uncomfortable position and didn't recognise that I was ripe for the picking.
If you wanted to share God with others and convert people to Christianity, then I was very low hanging fruit. It would have been easy for Lucy to guide me in accepting a life with Christ there and then, even with a no answer.
I was confused and what self confidence I had left, evaporated. And I began to chase the yes. I wanted the light. I wanted my differences to be for a reason and not a cruel circumstance.
For those who have encountered something similar.
Those that desire to be seen.
To be valued.
I have spent a lot of my life trying to achieve God's seal of approval through human means, works and behaviours.
I have bent, compromised and lost myself in appropriateness over the raw essence that God placed inside me.
The truth is we already have the yes.
We are born with the light.
Given to us by the creator who meticulously designed us.
The thing is, sometimes life's traumas and disappointments makes us want to hide the true us to protect what is left.
It is never destroyed.
Sometimes it seems like it snuffed out.
But all it needs to reignite is someone else light.
Someone else's story.
Someone else's encouragement.
To start something burn again.
I understand those who feel like they are never enough. That they do what they can right and it doesn't make a difference to how people see you.
For me I had to decide to care more about what God thought.
He takes us as we are.
He creates a starting point, a new life.
A renewed flicker.
Or maybe even put it on show for others to see.
The light does exist.
After my experiences at others hands I have vowed to protect those that I come in to contact with.
To ensure them that they are designed with the skills, talents and capabilities to bring good to their lives, their families and the world.
The scale of their impact, is between them and God.
We all have buried treasure.
We are all capable of doing hard things.
I hear people say all the time how they didn't think they could do that, or make it through.
But they do.
Because of the unique stuff that is buried within them.
Sometimes its at the surface.
Sometimes you have to dig for longer.
A good thing to remember is that just because others don't see our potential, doesn't mean it isn't there.
We are not mistakes.
Inside us is something of value.
A light waiting to be shone.
A gift ready to be developed.
A character that encourages and build others up when they are at their lowest.
Remember that you have a place here, in this world, even if right now you don't see it. Keep digging and don’t doubt your worth or value.
You are special.
I hope that I have encouraged you today. If you need support do reach out to someone or an organisation that can help.
Be sure to check out our next article here on ‘The Encouragers Life.’
Article written by J. Bingham