Emotions are defined as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, and guess what… they can be tricky. As your circumstances change, so do your emotions. If you’re not too careful they can swoop in and begin to control your life. When my accident happened getting used to being physically paralyzed was the easy part for me. I was so grateful to still be alive that living life paralyzed didn’t bother me. While I desired to still live life to the fullest, the chair and the paralysis had a way of making me feel ugly on the outside. I know, and I can tell myself, I’m still the same old me on the inside, but being paralyzed over the years had lowered my confidence level. Early on negative comments from old boy friends who said they wanted the old Jessica back, that they couldn’t be with me this way, or girl friends saying if I wasn’t in this chair I’d still be dating all left me slightly jaded and the chair became a weight of ugliness to me.
Continually pondering on these negative thoughts brings about negative emotions. Eventually fear and worry consume your thought life and you begin to believe the lies as truth. You walk through life ignoring it, pretending everything is okay, while your emotions get buried deeper day by day. The further your emotions get buried the harder they are to see because you act as if everything is fine and normal.
Before my accident I was confident and outgoing. Now the deeper I let my feelings hide the more reserved and unsure I became. While I desired to still be confident, somehow it just felt easier to give in to the emotions. I knew in God’s eyes and according to scripture I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that I am am precious and beautiful (Psalms 139: 14; Isaiah 61: 3 emphasis mine), but my thoughts and the lies from the enemy that continually filled my mind told me that my circumstances and being in this chair made me ugly and less than to be desired. I also knew that God’s word says it’s not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2: 18), but yet again I looked at my circumstances and this chair and because of them feared I would always be alone. Saying this out loud in front of the world was hard for me, but as I did I discovered I am not alone in my feelings.
My insecurities may be about my chair, but I have talked to so many woman who have similar insecurities because of their weight, their past, or their own unique circumstances… the list goes on! Once I began to open up I discovered a very powerful weakness in myself. I was worrying about what this world has to offer and worldly rewards for me to feel important. My emotions and who I was as a person were defined by what the world thought and the circumstances of my condition. I had somehow convinced myself that because my outside was broken that I was broken too. All of our insecurities are real, but no matter where they come from believing you are worthy, and beautiful from the inside out just because you’re a child of God is the first step in the battle. You have to change your thinking on purpose and start replacing the lies with truth.
This accident, this chair, and my circumstances, were no surprise to God. All the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be. (Psalms 149: 16) Over time God has healed me on the inside from past hurts and filled my heart with the fact I am beautiful simply because I’m His child. This chair does not define me, God does. What other people think does not define me, God does. My identity comes from Him and no matter where your insecurities lie that’s true for all of us. While at first I thought my circumstances defined me as ugly and undesirable, eventually I realized, if I keep pressing forward in truth my circumstances won’t matter at all. They are simply a trial placed in my life, a tool used by God to develop my life spiritually in ways I never thought were imaginable in order to glorify Him. We all have insecurities, but have hope and believe that God is more powerful than any one thing you could be going through or feeling. Let Him define who you are and how you live.