Speech for Christian Conference
Saturday, April 09, 2011
In 9 hours I will be taking the stage at a Christian Woman's conference. I am very nervous and feel like I'm gonna go too fast. Because of the speech having a lot to do with self esteem, I thought you may enjoy getting a sneak preview I hope you enjoy it:
Hello and thank you all so much for the privilege to be here and speak today. My name is Jamie and I am a student of Mrs. Adams. When she first asked me to talk today, I thought to myself, I’m only 33, what could I possibly have to offer others of worth? Then she told me her topic was self-esteem and well, as you can tell from my thinking, I still fail sometimes in this subject. Although I still stumble on this issue, I actually have a lot of experience with it as well.
I grew up in a broken home. My parents divorced when I was eight and at the time I went through emotional and verbal abuse from my mother My father, I don’t know, it was like he was afraid to show love for a while after being hurt by my mother. I honestly felt no one could love me, not even God. Going through school, obese and depressed was a hard task. I got picked on by everyone and felt like teachers were my only friends. The verbal abuse continued from my peers even through high school and I really had trouble seeing my worth. I knew of God, but didn’t really know Him or what it meant to be a child of God.
When I became homeless about 10 years ago, and spent 6 months living on the street, I really learned what it felt like to hit rock bottom and be in a position of feeling that no one cared. Feeling so lonely and depressed I did what many have done, I turned to drugs, sex, and looking for anyone or anything that made me feel good about myself.
Well, now as you can see, I could pretty much write the book on self-esteem, but my story doesn’t end there.
In my years of dealing with depression, rejection, loss of hope, loneliness, and meaningless relationships, I learned a few things. Our thoughts about our self-worth are usually decided on two points of view. How others see us, how we see ourselves. Usually if the first one isn’t very positive, the second one won’t be either. What if I also told you that as Christians we have another point of view to consider?
I’m sure all of you can guess where I am about to go with this. That’s right, we have God’s point of view. However, if it were simply that easy I could stop speaking now and every Christian could have a high self-esteem and live a happy life. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. The other two aspects are still a very big deal. So, I decided today I would talk a little about these three points of view.
Many people talk themselves out of believing God thinks highly of them. Usually because we are not perfect and all fall short of what God created us to be. Well my friend, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. God knew every mistake, short coming, sin, mess up, and back step each of us were going to take and guess what? He STILL felt we were worth baring the exhaustion of being a man and coming to sacrifice Himself for us; so we could be closer to Him. So we could have that relationship with Him. And even now, all He wants more in this world is for us to be close to Him. He wants to bless us and love us and even when we fall short, He wont kick us when we are down.
This next perception has to do with how we see ourselves. Unfortunately, this world has plastered all over the place, what they think the perfect woman should look like. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but Im not it. No matter what I try to do, I probably will NEVER be what this world sees a perfect woman to be. I know, it almost seems like I was talking about others perception for a minute, but I’m not. It is hard to say, but how others see us and react to us really help form our own thoughts of ourselves. We try to compare ourselves to what this world think is beautiful. What happens to your self-esteem if you don’t measure up? You lose more and more faith in who you are as a person. But, I hope you realize that if you like who you are right now, you can't hold regrets for anything in your past because each one of those experiences helped mold you into who you are RIGHT NOW. And by the end of this speech, I hope any negative mentality changes.
Speaking of Mentality I haven’t told you why this privilege to speak here is so great. Last semester I had a very rough time with concentration and I failed 3 classes. It was actually by force that I was placed in Mrs. Adams Class. It is amazing, but as I often find in my life, Romans 8:28 stands true.
Romans 8:28 (King James Version)
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Just knowing Mrs. Adams has been an amazing treat. She is a wonderful person, a fabulous teacher, and she taught me the most important lesson I could have learned this semester.
All too often we go through school and even life with what is called the C mentality. You know the one, where you say to yourself, if I can just get a C, I’ll be ok. In other words, if I can just get through the bare minimum in life, I’ll be ok. Mrs. Adams made me realize that I had been in this rut since the first day I had started school. Instead, she taught me about the A mentality. Always shoot for the A and if you fall short, at least you know you put everything you had into it and that alone is something to celebrate. Thinking about this mentality kind of brings me to the next type of perception. What others think of us. I wrote this poem to kind of give an idea of where I am going with this.
Oh what sadness this day brings,
For I saw an angel with a broken wing,
No way to travel the long distance home,
So lost and confused and also alone,
Just hoping for someone to take her in,
To see past the dirt and see the angel within,
Sad and lonely not knowing what to do,
Would you help her if she came to you?
She’s still a stranger to you and to me,
So would you lend a hand? Or pretend not to see?
Many of us tend to look the other way,
We say we will help them, just not today,
We all assume, it’s their problems not ours,
So we sit in comfort with nice homes and new cars,
Never once thinking of the strangers on the street,
With dirt on their face, and sores on their feet,
Nowhere near enough money to buy themselves food,
We give just a little, only if we are in the mood,
But time doesn’t stop when the money gets low,
We all assume it’s a road, on which they chose to go,
But sometimes it’s caused by the hand of fate,
And they just wonder how long they must wait,
Before the dealer sends some high cards their way,
And each night before bed, all they can do is pray,
That someone, someday, will hear their shouts,
And tell them they no longer have to do without,
But in today’s world, the love just isn’t there,
There are so many people. But so little that care,
So the next stranger you see, don’t turn away,
You might be able to brighten up their day,
Get close enough to look into their eyes,
You never know, it could be an angel in disguise.
I believe most people, including myself, prejudge many of the strangers in our lives, most of the time without even realizing it. You see a guy on the corner asking for handouts, and assume he will just buy booze or drugs with the money, especially if he’s been there for weeks or months. Or how about that person in the office that always seems to be in a bad mood and has a permanent scowl on their face. You may think they are just a mean person. What happens if our prejudgment is wrong? What if, that person in your office is going through a stressful time and has no one to turn to and just doesn’t know how to handle her situation?
All too often we make these judgments of others, but that brings me to the most important thing I took away from Mrs. Adams class as well as preparing for this conference. What if we as Christians adopted the Jesus Mentality. The Jesus Mentality has a very short definition, but you will work your whole lifetime to master it. This mentality means to treat every person in your surroundings as if they are an angel in disguise. Or better yet, try treating every person you come in contact with as if they were Jesus in disguise.
Ladies, I thank you again for the amazing privilege of being here. I close with one last poem and one last point.
You may never know exactly,
The impressions that you set,
To any of the people,
In life, that you have met,
But sometimes just a smile,
Or tiny gestures that we do,
Leave a precious memory,
That lasts a lifetime through,
So, be a friendly person,
Be one of the elite,
And bless the lives of everyone,
In this life that you may meet.
When you pass someone who looks mad or sad or even happy, smile! You never realize exactly what that smile could do for their self-esteem as well as your own. Let’s make this world a great place to be and adopt the Jesus mentality in everything we do.