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Excerpted from Ordinary People. Extraordinary Hope.™️


“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

As a child, Carol felt invisible except when kids teased her about her weight. Her classmates nicknamed her “Carol the Barrel.” But everything changed when she discovered competitive swimming.

For the first time, she found a place where she flourished.

With her newfound lanky, athletic body and growing list of swimming victories, people started to take notice. Every accolade provided a much-needed sense of affirmation and affection. Over time, Carol became convinced that to feel loved and appreciated, she needed to win all the trophies and receive all the top honors.

Her life became driven by perfectionism, achievement, and winning at all costs.

After college, Carol launched into a journalism career at a local radio station. Carol hoped she would land her dream job at a national news station one day, interviewing big names and covering breaking stories. She told herself that, at that point, she could rest in what she had achieved.

Surely it would be enough.

Though her life looked perfect on the outside, Carol knew she was a mess on the inside. But she didn’t know how to find freedom or healing.

A work associate sensed her emptiness and invited Carol to a Bible discussion group. Carol accepted and attended weekly with a group of women she liked and respected. They challenged her to think about her purpose and investigate God for herself.

The time with the group gave her a safe space to ask hard questions, share her deepest longings, and feel connected to others who were also looking for more. She discovered that the love and acceptance she had longed for her whole life could be found in a God who cared deeply about her and loved her unconditionally.

That love changed everything. She no longer needed to look to her career or accomplishments to be validated. She continued newscasting but with a new understanding of where her worth and value came from: The creator of all things had created her, too.

Her newfound relationship with God freed her to live with more joy and more hope.


What is making you feel most affirmed, accomplished, and appreciated right now? What’s filling you with the most hope?


Lord, I’ve looked a lot of places for affirmation and appreciation. Help me to look to you only for the love and acceptance I truly need.


Ask God to put someone on your heart who needs words of affirmation right now. Write them a card, mentioning all their wonderful qualities you appreciate.