"Because He nailed it, I'm no longer defined by what others think of me"

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Matthew 6:25-34

In our society today, there is a lot of pressure put on us to 'be' a certain way. To be smart, to be fit, to earn lots of money, to be popular. You just need to look at what people put up about themselves on Facebook, people project a certain lifestyle.

You need to have a good education, a good partner, have children get a good job with a great salary. There's a lot of pressure to achieve, to be successful and… to impress others. It's so easy to see salary as a measure of success.

I remember that last talk at University, on Graduation day I think, someone came in to give a talk and said we needed to start planning how we were going to become rich - as if this were the ultimate aim in life. As if our worth was based on how much money we had.

I was born in the UK but I grew up in Belgium so I always stood out as I was always a bit different at school. But that doesn't mean I didn't care what other people thought about me. I liked being different and I liked people liking me.

But I came to realise that because Jesus died for me, my worth is not based on what I do, on my performance, achievements, on being different or on other people liking me or not. God loves me as his son. That's a huge relief for me. It's freeing, it takes away so much pressure. I'm free from trying to be something that I'm not. God loves me as the person that I am.

People often think that being a Christian is dull. But rather than being constraining, having to follow rules and ticking boxes, being a follower of Jesus is exciting! There is so much more to life.

Now, I'm not perfect and I still often fall into the trap of worrying too much about what other people think of me rather than getting my self-worth from God but he is at work in me and that's exciting too!

Sim has been a member of Portswood Church since he arrived in Southampton to study at the university 8 years ago. He now works for a creative agency in Winchester and he can often be seen cycling or taking photos around Portswood.

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