I will be the first one to admit that I have struggled again and again with accepting and loving who God made me to be. But recently he has really pressed truth and understanding on my heart about who I am, and I think it's for everyone to hear. I've learned the power of self-awareness. Knowing who I am and who God created me to be, and being confident in that. Yes there are things that always need to be worked on, but the fact that I have passions and hobbies that I do is not a mistake. It's okay that I like to run. That isn't a mistake. It's okay that I hate horror movies and don't like bacon (i know, i know). But the reality is, those things are tiny things that make up who you are. Who you are is not a mistake.

How many times do we look at other people and the gifts God has given them and instead of being encouraged by the uniqueness of that person and creativity of God, we are discouraged and feel as though we missed out. STOP STOP STOP!! I know that it so much easier said that done, but I am tired of people feeling worse about themselves due to the good things God has given to his children.

Here's what the Lord has been teaching me. YOU are important. YOU are created with purpose. YOU are not an accident. (Now reread that and replace YOU with I). It's true. I want you to keep reading that until you believe it. We each have God given intrinsic value that no one and no thing can take away. So why would we let ourselves be the biggest hindrance to truly believing it? Each of us has a purpose given to us by God that is only for us. No one else can take it from us. He thought of you from the moment you were living and determined your purpose.

So the challenge I pose to you is this; be you. Understand the ways you are made. Your gifts, your talents, your passions, and GO FOR THEM! It's important not only for abundant life, but it's also important for the kingdom. The way you were created will impact the world in a way that only you were created for. No one else can be you. Stop looking to others and wishing you had what they did. Rather, look at yourself and see the things you are blessed with. You may even need someone you are close with to help you see things at first, and that's okay. I encourage you to really examine the good things God has given you. If you don't see them, ask God to show them to you. I promise he will! After all, he created them.

- Laura DeGroot