Since I was a child I grew up with lots of affirmation. It. Was. Great! But to ensure I was liked by others, I started to change my identity to fit a certain mould. I would take a mental note of admirable qualities I saw in people or in the media and try to imitate them. Whenever I saw someone mess up, I would vow not to be like them. This process of constantly changing myself slowly made me forget who I really was. I let others define me, talk on my behalf and tell me what to do, trusting that they knew better, although all this left me feeling empty and used.

I was scared of trying new things and had developed a fear of failure. Being in this constant state of confusion – wondering whether what I was doing was right or wrong, whether I was good enough – turned into self-hatred. I saw myself as good for nothing. I was so frustrated by who I became, and along the way, I just got tired of thinking and trying. When I came into the School of Witness, I had already given up on myself, that I was just a failure and that nothing’s going to change.

Before SOW I thought I knew who God was. However, when we had a session on God the Father, I realised just how distant and ungrateful I was. I was like a spoilt brat who only sought my father when I needed something, but never bothered to spend time with him to get to know him. I would ask Him for help but before He answers, I would do my own thing. I didn’t trust that He could fix my issues and was too impatient to wait on Him to change my life.

However, during one prayer ministry at SOW, the prayer team shared with me a story of a little girl who had worked hard to buy a plastic pearl necklace and wouldn’t give it to the Father when he asked for it. Eventually, she gave it to him as she loved him more than the necklace. In return, the father gave her a real pearl necklace. It was then that I realised that God was there with me in my isolation, and he knew how tired I was of trying. He promised that if I could just release all I had done to him, he would give me something better. Taking His word for it, I opened my hands during worship and said, “Take it, take it all. Take all my fears, doubts, self-hatred and need for control. Take everything and show me who you want me to be.” After releasing these things to him, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

Since then my relationship with God has changed. Instead of only going to God when I need something, I now feel excited to spend time with God, reading scripture to see what He wants to tell me. Each conversation with Him reminds me of his faithfulness, patience and love for me. No longer do I turn to others for affirmation, instead, I turn to God who knows me. He gives me the strength to get out of my pity parties and rebuke lies that tell me that I am not lovable or I am not good enough. I now walk with dignity recognising that I am a child of God, who is wonderfully made, loved and perfect in the eyes of her Father. With the assurance that my worth does not diminish if I fail, I find it easier to trust myself again.

Truly I have found what I had been looking for in God. I am blessed to be loved by such a compassionate and fun-loving father, and I hope you too will be open to experiencing Him. So brothers and sisters in Christ, for those of you who are self-reliant and struggling, I challenge you to release that need for control to God and slowly be amazed by the freedom and joy that comes with it.