Insecurity. Jealousy. Thinking that you don’t measure up and aren’t good enough. We’ve all felt these things at one time or another, haven’t we? In a world where we’re constantly surrounded by beauty “ideals,” playing dirty to get ahead is encouraged and rewarded, and whoever has the most money wins, it’s really hard not to feel them! We see someone we think is beautiful and think, “Why can’t I look like her? I’m so fat/ugly/whatever else.” We get passed over for a promotion and harbor bitterness toward the person who got the position we wanted. Everything shouts at us to feel bad about ourselves and be discontent. From a worldly perspective, feeling these things is totally normal and should be a motivator for making yourself “better.” But the truth about that is… Well, you’re never going to feel “better.” You might for a while, but eventually, something else will come along and make you feel bad about yourself all over again, and the cycle keeps going. That’s why it’s important to stop it before it starts. Falling into the trap of jealousy, low self-worth, and bitterness is all too easy unless you start seeing yourself as already good enough. And in Christ, you are! Isn’t that amazing? I mean, do you really even know who you are in Christ? You are greatly loved. John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world, which is why Jesus died. That’s comforting, but it’s tempting to exclude yourself from general statements sometimes. I have a tendency to think, “That applies to everyone except me,” sometimes when I hear things like that. So I’d like you to check out John 16:27: “the Father himself loves you” (ESV). There’s no way around that one! No exceptions, no exclusions. God specifically loves YOU! You are delighted in. Especially with family members, it’s definitely possible to love someone but not always like them, isn’t it? I don’t always get along with everyone my family, but I always love them. You know what’s awesome, though? God doesn’t feel that way about you. Not only does he love you, he likes you. He loves spending time with you. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV). He can’t contain his joy when he sees you… In fact, he bursts out in song about how much he loves you because he’s so excited. Doesn’t that blow your mind? It does mine! You are important. We’ve all had moments where we felt unimportant and uncared for. But in God’s eyes, each and every one of us – including you – is important. In Luke 12, Jesus tells us not to worry because God will take care of us. He mentions that everything from flowers to birds are taken care of and provided for by God. He says one sentence that I absolutely love: “You are far more valuable to him than any birds” (NLT)! I’m absolutely sure that God loves birds. He designs each and every one down to each feather it has… And think about how many birds are in the world! Now realize this: God also designed you right down to how many hairs you have on your head (Luke 12:7). As much time as he spent on designing birds and as much as he loves them, he spends all the more time on you and loves you all the more. The list could go on forever. I would highly encourage you to look up passages that tell you who you are in Christ. A really great place to start is Psalm 139. Whenever I’m feeling down or alone, that’s the first chapter I turn to. In fact, reading that chapter is your homework assignment for this week! Read it and think about what it really means. Allow yourself to believe that you are desired and valued by the Creator. When you realize how much you are loved and how important you are in God’s plans, who needs to be jealous of anyone else? You are the apple of God’s eye. He is proud of you. He delights in you. You are not a letdown. You are not a disappointment. You are not a mistake. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Walk in that truth this week. Hannah Bryant is a worship-leading, cat-loving, pizza-eating redhead who doesn’t take much seriously apart from her relationship with Jesus. She is currently finishing up her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education at Southern Oregon University. You can finder her blogging at Redwood Seed, her personal blog. redwoodseed.com.