By: Stephanie Winslow
Rejected. Broken. Bruised.
Unlovable. Unwanted. Imperfect.
While growing up, I lived what most may call, the American Dream. My parents were entrepreneurs and worked tirelessly to grow their business and give my brother and me every advantage.
My brother and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents who were ministers. Striving to succeed, perfectionism, and people pleasing were all intricately woven into the fabric of our loving family. Mistakes were not a part of our lives; they were unacceptable. Anything that may cause embarrassment—we just didn’t address.
Since my parents worked what felt like 24/7, I felt an underlying sense of, “I am unimportant, not a priority.” In my childlike mind, I believed they chose work over me, so I must not be worth their attention.
When in high school, my desire to be wanted grew and festered like an open sore in need of a healing balm. I sought approval, “love”, and acceptance from boys, giving myself physically to them in order to manipulate their love.
My heart was broken when I discovered my boyfriend had found someone else to give his affections to. I sought the healing balm of love and acceptance in relationships that lead to more wounds, wrapped around my core beliefs. No one wants me. I am not good enough. To this day, I struggle with believing that no matter what I achieve, it will not be enough.
Outside I looked strong, but inside I was a mushy mess of weakness, afraid people would find out I am not perfect and an imposter.
Even in choosing a college major – I was too afraid to say, “I don’t know what I want to do.” I chose teaching – it seemed to make sense coming from generations of teachers before me. But, I didn’t consider I don’t like kids – classrooms full of them I mean. I made choices that aligned with what was appropriate for my family.
If I admit that I don’t know what I want, I will be an embarrassment. This was just one of many lies Satan fed me over the years, coaxing me to believe I should just give up and pursue someone else’s dream. At least I would have a “meaningful” plan.
In adulthood, my goal was to be the best employee I could be. I was heartbroken when my boss told me, I was “kept in the dark and fed shit.” He said what I had always felt, but never had the courage to confront.
These lies of “never enough” even played out in my marriage. As I set up competition between my husband and me – surrounding who did more, served better, and cared for the kids most effectively —I was exhausted by constantly striving to meet others’ changing and unrealistic expectations.
But the story isn’t over.
In his gentleness, God began peeling back the layers, exposing Satan’s lies and setting me free. They no longer control my thoughts, attitude, and heart. The following verses resonated with me:
“Moreover, God has the power to provide you with every gracious gift in abundance, so that in every way you will have all you need yourselves and be able to provide abundantly for every good cause.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
“So, all of us with faces unveiled, see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord; and we are being changed into his very image, from one degree of glory to the next, by Adonai the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
Now, the lies that once consumed me are being torn down, destroying my mask of perfectionism and people pleasing. Like Lazarus, I am being brought back to life, to my true self—beloved, a conqueror, blessed, highly favored, accepted, daughter of the Highest King.
God has taken the hurt, scars, and lies and turned them around to be used by him. The struggle is not over, yet God’s word and a supportive community of Christian women are helping rebuild my belief system from the inside out. My new set of beliefs help distinguish Satan’s lies from truths based on scripture.
I am free to become who he has called me to be, and all is well.
Stephanie Winslow is the proud wife of Marshall and mother of two girls. Stephanie spends her days helping women find their voice and making their dreams become a reality in life and business. In her business Blind Spot Consultants, she partners with women entrepreneurs to help them build lean processes and strategic plans that will enable them to live their best life.
Stephanie is a Christian author, blogger and speaker. She uses her gifts of writing and speaking to inspire transformational change in the lives of those who need hope, healing and restoration. Stephanie’s passion is to awaken the complacent and comfort the wounded.
In her free time Stephanie enjoys trail running, hiking with family, coffee dates with girlfriends, the comfort of yoga pants and catching the latest Netflix show with her husband.