Last week I talked about what it means to be a child of God – how God looks at you, what it means to be a part of His family, and the inheritance that you are promised. This week I want to look at what it means to have Christ living inside of you, the resources that are made available to you, and how it should impact the way you view yourself and your value.
If you are like me, I learn better visually or by being able to look at an entire process. If someone were to explain (in words) a single point to me I might get it or I might not. But even if I get it, I usually follow up with about a dozen questions that start with either “how” or “why?” Anyone out there like me? I want to see the entire process. So, one of the best ways that I can think of to portray this “process” is by looking at some of the signs of low self-esteem, the instructions God’s word gives us for overcoming those symptoms, and the power that a living and growing relationship with Him gives us to continue the battle and find rest in Him.
Fear and Anxiety:
Low self-esteem is almost always accompanied with fear and anxiety. When you feel like there is something wrong with you – believing that you are unworthy, undeserving, incompetent, or inadequate – you become fearful of how others see you. You might become so fearful that their views confirm your own feelings about yourself that you stop taking action at all and removing any opportunity for judgment. Unfortunately, people who suffer fear and anxiety to these extremes are also too afraid to ask for help because they feel it is an admission of insufficiency.
Psalms tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and then in Jeremiah that “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I think one of the first things you need to recognize when dealing with this type of fear and/or anxiety is that God created you in love, with purpose, and that He wants what is best for you! The second thing is that God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. In other words, let His sufficiency shine through your insufficiencies. He will give you all the tools you need to complete the tasks to which you have been called. Last, and please let this one sink in, God does not show partiality! If God doesn’t place the value of one man above another, why should we? Fear and anxiety of inadequacy either stem from or are intensified through comparison. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. Focus on what God has in store for you and how He directs you to positively impact the lives around you.
Verses for your journey: Joshua 1:9, John 14:27, Psalm 34:4, Matthew 6:34, and Romans 8:38-39
Timid or Apprehensive:
Most people who suffer from low self-esteem have trouble being assertive because they are either afraid that their thoughts or opinions hold no merit, that others will disagree or reject them, or they simply can’t constructively handle conflict. But here’s the catch: their passive nature usually leads to future conflict. As they internalize their feelings, sooner or later the anger comes out as either sarcasm, a defensive nature, or possible even violence.
Proverbs says, “The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.” I’d say that being bold as a lion is pretty assertive! However, does Solomon say that anyone can be bold as a lion? Nope. He says “the godly.” Being assertive is a great trait as long as you are standing firm in truth. If you are not standing in truth, your assertiveness is most likely a combination of cockiness, brashness, and pride. Stand strong for what you believe in, but always remain flexible. And never forget, there is always someone smarter and more experienced than you. Part of being bold is recognizing and using the wisdom of others. So many people are only willing to learn from their own mistakes instead of accepting insight from others.
Verses for your journey: Philippians 1:6, Deuteronomy 31:6, Proverbs 3:26, and Isaiah 41:10
Addiction or Obsessive Behaviors:
Addiction or obsessive behaviors, such as gambling or shopping, are almost always a way of covering up emptiness in your life or as a way of avoiding conflict or reality in general. They are a way of trying to make you feel better about yourself by granting temporary happiness/pleasure through instant gratification.
Yes, this is my go-to play here, but Saint Augustine says it best when he says, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” I know you’ve heard me say it before, but it is so true! The things of this world will not satisfy you. They are fleeting, passing at best, but the love of the Lord endures forever. If you are struggling with rest, you can go to Him. Peace is a promise! Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” If you are feeling empty, like you lack anything, you can take it to the Lord and not only be filled, but be so filled that you overflow into the lives of those around you.
Verses for your journey: James 1:2-4, 2 Peter 1:5-6, Hebrews 10:36, and 1 Timothy 6:12.
I hope you have enjoyed this series on identity and how knowing who you are can allow you to overcome issues with self-esteem and self-worth. The faith walk is about overcoming. However, it’s not about overcoming in your own strength, but overcoming through Him which gives you strength. You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). God loves you! So much so that He sent His son to die for your sins. When you give your life to Him, life becomes about seeking His will instead of your own. Many people have trouble giving up that control, but I can’t even begin to explain the freedom that is found in this surrender. I am broken. I know I can be selfish, greedy, and prideful. It’s so much easier letting Him guide me through my journey rather than tripping over my own shoelaces.
The approach that I took in this blog, looking at weaknesses and then looking at what God’s Word says about how to handle those weaknesses is fairly straightforward. The answers are there, but putting them into practice takes discipline. Once your heart experiences the truth of God, you will learn to seek His voice. Don’t worry, you have His Word and His Helper at your disposal to help you along the way. Try taking some of these other symptoms of low self-esteem and see what God’s Word tells you about how to overcome. Look up verses, Google is you have to, and see what God promises you in combatting those feelings. And, as always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.
Some other symptoms of low self-esteem or poor self-worth are indecisiveness, depression, hypersensitivity, rebellion, materialism, and becoming controlling rather than empowering. Try looking at a couple of these points on your own. Look and see how they match up to God’s character and then search and find what His Word tells you about each element. How does your view change? What does God’s Word reveal about what He wants for your life?