Redefine Your Self Worth By Renewing Your Mind in Jesus

March 9, 2017 |
redefining self worth gods way

When Your Low Self Worth Ruins Your Wedding...

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5

The thin mesh veil couldn’t mask my hot tears of shame. The wedding march ricocheted in my chest like a funeral dirge as Dad walked me down the aisle towards my happily ever after. As I approached my future husband, I searched his eyes for any hint of hesitation. I took his hand. Dad sat down. We turned to face the pastor ready to pledge our lives to each other in front of hundreds of people.

I didn’t believe my future husband wanted to marry me.

Earlier in the day as my sister had applied my make-up and put up my hair, I’d feared he wouldn’t come.

I thought back to earlier in the week when Dad had asked me—with a smile—if I was sure I wanted to get married. His question was disguised as a joke. I knew his joke was grounded in truth.

This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. And it was shrouded in doubt, embarrassment, and shame.

I Was Looking Back

A few months before the wedding, my fiancé—my Mr. Right—had called it off. We’d plan to wed after graduation. But he’d changed his mind.

We’d already told everyone. My parents. My friends. I begged him to reconsider. He wouldn’t.

I was crushed.

But he recanted a few months later. I agreed to marry him. But deep inside, I didn’t believe he wanted to marry me. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry him. He’d rejected me. What if he changed his mind again?

I was willing to take my chances rather than face the stigma of being jilted and becoming the object of ridicule.

So there I stood. At the altar. About to marry someone I wasn’t even sure loved me.

I avoided his eyes as we took our vows. I felt like a liar, pledging my love before God and men. The pastor pronounced us man and wife. My new husband leaned in and lightly brushed his lips against mine. My cheeks burned with embarrassment.

I was relieved it was over. He’d shown up. We were married, but I couldn’t let go of the shame. I was the girl who married the guy who’d dumped her.

Just Beneath the Surface

Instead of placing the experience in perspective within the context of my life—seeing it as one event in a series of events—it became the element that defined me for many years.

I was the sum total of that one experience.renew your self worth by renewing your mind in Jesus

When my fiancé broke off the engagement, he was putting icing on the low self-esteem cake. He wasn’t just breaking up with me. He was confirming everything I’d already believed about myself. Every negative word ever spoken to me floated to the surface of my mind like trash when it’s thrown into a river.

I wasn’t pretty enough.

I wasn’t fun enough.

I wasn’t good enough.

I wasn’t smart enough.

I was gullible.

I wasn’t lovable.

My married life began under a storm cloud.

The Heart of the Matter

Just weeks earlier, I’d graduated college Cum Laude. I’d been the editor of my college newspaper. I’d won numerous awards and recognition upon graduation. I’d landed my first job. But none of that mattered in the context of the breakup. I was a failure.

Too many times, I’ve let an event from my past dictate my present and my future. My interpretation of the event is the problem, not the event itself. I’ve faced many disappointments. It’s how I handle them that makes or breaks me. And this one broke me.

I walked around under that shroud of shame for years. I wasn’t able to channel my feelings or gather my thoughts and examine them under a Christ-like lens.

What if King David had interpreted his life through his past experiences? Surely, I wasn’t worse than him. He was an adulterer and a murder.

Yet, he was known as a man after God’s own heart. He didn’t let the sin and shame of his past failures affect who he was in God. I did.

Giving My Pain to Jesus

After years of misery and self-doubt, I was finally able to internalize 2 Corinthians 10:5 which tells me to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

I began to capture that thought every time it slithered into my mind. I’ve had to learn to challenge it and replace it with a view from God’s Word.

My view of my past experiences determines how I’ll do life. I have to keep taking my negative interpretations of past experiences captive and placing them under God’s control.

The truth was my groom did love me. He did want to marry me. He begged me to take him back. But the truth wasn’t relevant. It had no power because of the way I felt.

Honestly, I could’ve saved myself years of misery had I turned my thoughts over to God sooner. He is a personal God, who wants a relationship with me. When I refuse to accept His grace, I’m left to deal with disappointment.

Redefining & Rebuilding My Self Worth God’s Way

While I can’t rewind history, I can look at the rest of the story as God does. I chose to redefine that negative experience and rebuild it based on what God says about me.

Everyday I face experiences—some good, some bad—but those experiences only have the power to control me if I let them. Everyday I’m challenged to renew my mind in Christ Jesus.

I can ignore His power and wallow in my past experiences or I can choose to use His power to live in the present and look toward the future.

I couldn’t see the future back then. I had no way of knowing that God would redeem that situation and use it for His ultimate glory in our lives.

I had no idea He’d mold that man who crushed my heart into someone who could so deeply care for it. If I had to make the choice today, I’d marry him again. But I would do it with joy in my heart.

If I could rewrite history, I’d tell my 22-year-old self to let go of the past sooner. I’d tell that weeping girl in the ivory lace wedding dress that one day she’d have robes that would make that gown look like rags.

I’d tell her to dry her tears and look forward to the future with freedom.

What About You?

What shapes your self worth? Is it an experience from your past, words whispered by others, or is it something you find in Jesus? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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  • Reply Heather March 9, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Sheila. Too often in life I have let my perception of an event define me. But you are so right, our true worth isn’t found in circumstances, but in the One who made us.
    Heather recently posted…Praying is Doing

  • Reply Jaime Hampton March 10, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Sheila, I have let rejection (or perceived recjection) shape my self-worth, letting it dictate the names I call myself. I can relate to your story so well. The heart is deceitful above all things, but I’m thankful that my brain knows that my true identity is in Christ. I sometimes need reminding, though. Thanks so much for sharing your story with such transparency, it was an encouragement to me and I’m sure many others!
    Jaime Hampton recently posted…Birth

    • Reply Sheila Qualls March 11, 2017 at 12:15 am

      Knowing who we are in Christ is really the only way to truly move past hurts and disappointments. I think we all need reminding. I am so thankful Jesus is always available to remind us when we doubt.

  • Reply Terri March 13, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Thank you for sharing this story with us and opening your heart. everyday I feel like Im not good enough for the man I married, he loves me thru it and for that I am thankful

  • Reply ANdrea March 13, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Renewing our mind in Him – that’s SO important

  • Reply Samantha March 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Wow what a powerful testimony!
    Samantha recently posted…Esther Task Force: Calling Out The Voice Of Righteousness In The Media

  • Reply Amy Christensen March 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Sheila is a great writer. Such a down to earth woman of God. Thanks for sharing her story. – Amy

  • Reply Stephanie Carter March 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you so much for your transparency this was so good and so telling.

  • Reply Aleida Lane March 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I can imagine! I had similar struggles since my father wasn’t around.
    Aleida Lane recently posted…5 Questions that Saved Me from Marrying the Wrong One

  • Reply Amy Hagerup March 13, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Sheila, Thanks for sharing all of this. I was wondering how your story would continue. Praise God that your husband DID love you and win you back. praise Him! Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned.
    Amy Hagerup recently posted…How to Build A Healthy Immune System

    • Reply Sheila Qualls March 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

      He is a great guy, Amy. We have been married for almost 31 years now. God used the situation in our lives for His glory. Our marriage is not perfect, but I do think it has served as a positive example to people in our lives.
      Sheila Qualls recently posted…Redefine Your Self Worth By Renewing Your Mind

  • Reply Nancy Haynie-Mooney March 14, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Sheila, That is such a powerful message and one I needed to hear. It was also expertly written! Thanks for sharing your “self” with all of us.

  • Reply Kristi March 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    This is such a powerful quote. One that many of us need to look at in our own hearts. “Too many times, I’ve let an event from my past dictate my present and my future. My interpretation of the event is the problem, not the event itself.”
    Kristi recently posted…Attention: Mom Burnout Likely

  • Reply Maria Hass March 15, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Thank you so much for opening your heart here! I’m learning to define me as Scripture says and not my own emotions or experiences, because the latter are not trust worthy. Thankful you can see the victory at the end of this struggle! I’m still pressing onward to attain mine!
    Maria Hass recently posted…The Special Needs, Battle-Worn Parent

  • Reply Melissa Wentzel Horan March 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you, thank you, Sheila for sharing your story. And, thank you for these words in particular: “But the truth wasn’t relevant. It had no power because of the way I felt.” You have so beautifully articulated a sentiment I know so well but struggle to name. This essay as a whole, and this very sentence, will help me better communicate with my loved ones.
    Melissa Wentzel Horan recently posted…How To Pray When God Feels Far Away

  • Reply Dawn March 16, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    What a powerful story this is. It’s so true, that we need to renew our minds in Christ each day, otherwise we can easily start to believe lies that destroy our self-worth. Thank you for sharing with Grace and Truth last week. I would love to feature your post tomorrow at the link-up.

  • Reply Julie March 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Great post Sheila! So many great tips to move forward from the past!
    Julie recently posted…A Promising Way How to Not Mess Up Your Kids

  • Reply Kathy Rae April 12, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Sheila, thank you for this. How I often long to go back in time and talk to the broken girl I used to be (and still am), to share with her the healing love of Christ as though it would’ve made the last two decades of my life easier… happier. But then I read a testimony like yours and am reminded of the victory that comes when I battle to fight daily for the woman He created me to be. She is fearfully and wonderfully made, the apple of her Daddy’s eye, exactly as she’s supposed to be – scars and all – and oh, so worthy. Many blessings to you!

  • Reply Glenys Robyn Hicks June 7, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I had always had a terrible negative self image, but it has only been the last 20 or so years that I have brought those thoughts into the captivity of Christ and felt lovable. This is such a beautiful post that you have written.
    Glenys Robyn Hicks recently posted…When your world is turned upside down

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