Self-Esteem Pit

forget the corsage

“I have a major problem.

I don’t really know who I am.

I’m not speaking in an “I hit my head and can’t remember my name” kind of way. I know my name, age, and my address. I know my parent’s middle names and my sister’s phone number.

But if you took all that away and asked, “Who are you?” I think I might be hard-pressed to answer. That’s because the answer changes every day and might even change several times within the same day. Who am I? No, really. Who am I? More importantly, am I my real self with anyone?

This inability to identify my true self is one of the big problems I have with self-esteem.

The definition of self-esteem according to Dictionary.com:

1. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.

2. an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.

Now compare that with what we read in Philippians 2:3,“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” In humility, we are to consider others, everyone else, as better than ourselves. This does not say to have a poor view of yourself, but merely a right view of who we are in God’s eyes. We are His, but we are not better than each other.

Even if we totally ignore God in this equation and what He wants, I believe that we still have a problem!

Here is the issue I have with self-esteem. Although I often times have zero trouble discovering an exaggeratedly favorable impression of myself, most days my self-esteem fluctuates almost hourly. The way I identify myself is directly connected to my emotions and feelings. Emotions change quickly. What we are feeling for a period of time, unless depression is involved, tends to change countless times throughout the day. That means I can be on cloud nine in the morning because I received an encouraging text from a friend, and then the next minute I’m depressed about the quiz for which I forgot to study. I might just walk out the door in the morning full of joy, only to trip in front of a really attractive guy and find myself in the pit of despair. Yes, a pit of despair.

The idea that I could work on or grow my self-esteem doesn’t connect with me because I can’t maintain a favorable impression of myself for longer than ten minutes. I embarrass myself more times than I would like to admit.” (Chapter 2, Forget the Corsage.)

I’ve mentioned my feelings about self-esteem before. I really do embarrass myself too often to think that I could muster up good feelings to see me through my day. It’s like wearing water floaties in the middle of a hurricane, not exactly what we need.

But there is hope! God’s word is our shelter from the storm. He promises to keep us safe in the shadow of His wings if we will learn to turn to Him! He offers protection but I am the one who often pulls on the floaties and declares, “Don’t worry! I’ve got this!”

We don’t have to fake it until we make it. God’s truth is real and relevant. His words are enough to see us through our most embarassing moments. Yes. Even the ones that involve peeing in your pants.

For more on that story, you’ll want to enter this giveaway and win the set of e-books I’m offering this week! There are several ways to enter and you can do so each day through Friday. I’ll announce the winner on Monday!

 Question for Wednesday: What was your most embarassing moment in elementary school?

Following,
Ginger

#AmIpretty

heart

I mentioned yesterday my concern about the LIKE ME aspect of social media. I’ve been thinking about for a while but it has really come to a point as I consider what it will be like to the mother of a young woman in just a few years.

After I speak at schools and conferences I end up with lots of new young followers through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’m honored that you/they have any desire to see pictures of the chalkboard in my kitchen or the thoughts I share in 140 characters. But I’ve also noticed how few young people utilize the privacy settings available. Even though I live a fairly public existence on-line, I am very careful and cautious about the personal information that I do share. The majority of my teen friends on Instagram typically have a thousand followers. When I asked them about the account they could tell me to the precise number of how many people were following and liking on that day.

And then I saw this piece on Good Morning America.

I don’t know about you, but I find using tags like #hotornot, #beautypageant, and #amIpretty to be alarming, to say the least, especially when that’s being asked by young women to friends and even strangers.

Has Instagram become a self-esteem meter? Are we, in essence, asking Social Media to tell us that we are pretty?

I know I’ve only addressed teens at this point (none of my friends in their 30’s are posting “selfies” every day), but I want to acknowledge that the world of “likes” can be a dark addiction for any age. When we seek the approval of our peers to the detriment of our contentment, that’s a dangerous place to be.

So do we toss it all out the window in hopes of finding a cure? Maybe. I definitely admire people who take a step back from Social Media or who have never wandered into the format. But personally I find value in being able to connect with my friends and family who are so far away. I love seeing pictures of weddings I miss. I treasure the baby pictures. (I’m going to try to not go overboard when I’m a mommy. Hold me to it.) Facebook is one of my favorite ways to send my brother a laugh and let him know I’m thinking about him. But I also know that comparing myself to others is a real option when we are all checking out the “best-foot-forward” images of our idealistic lives.

So here’s my challenge to all of us. A few questions to consider before you post:

1. Why are you posting this picture? I try to ask myself this each and every time I hit “post.” I let this question lead me to really consider my motives. Is this true, noble, lovely, or excellent? (Sometimes it’s just funny, and that’s cool too.) Am I looking for an emotional shot in the arm through likes and comments? Am I seeking emotional empathy through a website?

A lot of times I will sit with a photo for 20 minutes and then decide not to hit post. Perhaps I’m over-thinking everything, but in a world that tells me to post everything, I just have to put my foot down and sometimes say NO.

2. Is this humor at the expense of someone else? There’s laughing WITH someone and then there is laughing AT someone. I post funny and ridiculous video clips on my brother’s timeline all the time. It’s our little shared love language. But I’m also careful not to let that humor spill over into being mean. Screaming goats = funny. Celebrities embarrassing themselves while drunk = unkind.

3. Am I posting out of anger? I’ve blogged about this one before. If we are to be known as a people of love we should really be slow to post. May our words (typed or spoken) bring joy and encouragement to anyone listening or following.

“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29, MSG

4. Have I checked my security settings lately? I had to throw this out there. Be careful about geotagging your location. With whom are you sharing your daily routine and schedule? I don’t want to become someone overtaken by fear, but at the same time, I want to be smart and protect the privacy of my family. Who can see your pictures? Why do you need them to see your pictures?

5. Am I looking for social media to boost my self-esteem? Even if you won every Instagram beauty pageant and received 300 likes on your next post, my guess is that the high would only last for so long. The “likes” of others can never fill us up. Genuine peace and contentment come when we love ourselves without the approval of others. But true self-worth is found when we see ourselves through the eyes of our Creator.

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7, NIV

At the end of the day, my hope and desire is to run everything I present to the world through this filter…

Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10, NIV

Following,
Ginger

LIKE ME

Are we living for likes?

Tumblr. Instagram. Snapshot. Twitter. Facebook.

There are so many different avenues to get your face, life, and thoughts out for the whole world to see. There’s something exciting about connecting with so many people, but I think there’s also a hidden drug in the midst of all this “self” content.

Has your day ever been made or broken by likes or comments? Does your self-worth swell and blossom with every new follower? In just five short years we have become a like-obsessed society, myself included.

This week we are going to discuss the pitfalls and positives that social media has to offer… and why it matters.

LIKE

I’m curious. What’s your social media media of choice? What do you check first when you log on each day? (My typical order: E-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flipboard, and then maybe Pinterest.)

Following and hopefully learning,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: How can I be happy?

dear ginger

Dear Ginger,

…I have convinced myself that I am the most self-conscious person on earth. Which is probably true. I have never believed truly that I am beautiful or that I am a good person. And after reviewing your website I wish I had the help you receive from God. Truthfully I am not the most religious person out there… Right now in my life I am absolutely self-conscious about everything I do, unaware as to what I will do in my life, or how to be happy in life. So my question is this, “How can you achieve a happy life? With no doubt in your my mind that you are beautiful on the inside and out and that you can rise from the ashes and become something new.” It seems so easy to say but impossible to achieve. I am sorry for the long letter, but I’ve really never really opened to anyone or asked for help. Thank you so much for reading this letter…

Best Wishes- S

Dear S,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt and beautiful note. I finished reading and immediately admired your maturity and honesty. Thank you for taking the time to write and share so much of your struggle with me.

I am so sorry that you’ve never felt lovely, good, or confident in whom you were made to be. I hurt knowing that you’ve been bullied or made to feel less-than by anyone else in this world. But I can also hear the glimmer of hope in your question: “How can you achieve a happy life? I have no doubt in my mind that ‘you are beautiful on the inside and out’ and that you can ‘rise from the ashes’ and become something new.”

Thank you for entrusting me with this precious question. First of all, let me say that I don’t know if I will be able to answer in such a way that you will feel any immediate change in your life. My own growth and self-worth have taken place over several years and dramatically over the past year through counseling. It’s true; my faith plays a huge role in the way that I see myself. My belief in God does influence how I handle the worst days. So even if we come from a different spiritual place I’m just going to speak from the heart and pray that something I type encourages you in your own journey.

I remember when I was in fifth grade and played soccer on my school’s team. We were called the Lions and proudly wore purple and gold. On one particularly sunny day I was dressed in uniform and standing on the sideline just waiting for my chance to play. Only I wasn’t really ready. I had completely stopped paying attention. Out of nowhere, a soccer ball came flying in and hit me hard in the face. It was a pretty rude awakening. Not only did the ball burst the blood vessels in my left cheek, but it also raised a pretty nasty bruise in rapid time. Of course fifth grade pictures were scheduled for the next day. True story. Pull out the yearbook and the rest of the class is all facing forward in their photos. I’m the only one facing a wall in profile.

We can quickly lose sight of the fact that we are in a battle here on this earth – and that’s a dangerous place to be. If we don’t recognize that we are in the middle of a fight, we are left vulnerable. There is no such thing as a sideline when it comes to battle. We don’t call time out. Think of the movie Lord of the Rings or any big battle scene from an epic film. The soldiers are ready for war, the challenge has been given, the screaming speech has been delivered, and now the two sides are running toward each other in slow motion.

Now picture those thousands of men fighting when suddenly one of them starts daydreaming. He notices a spread of wildflowers on the ground and promptly sets down his battle-axe to gather a bouquet. Highly unlikely, right?

We’ve got to keep our heads in the game! It’s those times when we forget we are actually warriors in an army that we incur the greatest injuries. Just like my soccer ball to the face scenario, I allowed my weight struggle to influence my self-esteem to such an extent that I was crippled for battle.

Here’s what I mean by battle. I believe that we were created for a purpose. You weren’t a random speck of dust or anything close to an accident. The God who created the universe imagined and designed you to enter this world at a specific time. I believe that 100%. God created both you and I as human beings with a mind and a heart, with fears and desires. Not only that, he created us to live out an incredible story during our time on this earth. Sometimes though we let the distractions (our worries, stigmas, body issues, fears) keep us from living out the role that we alone were created to fill. It is a daily battle to not get discouraged from that very purpose.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to know and believe about God: He doesn’t force himself on us, but He does invite us to participate in His effort to overcome the conflict and junk in this world.

That’s where I think lasting happiness originates. (Confession: I’m not “happy” every day but I have found a source of joy that’s more than momentary.) When I drop the distractions of how I look and feel and just pursue loving others and living an exciting story – I find joy, peace, and contentment. No amount of journaling, self-help, or positive thinking changes my outlook for long. It’s the living that changes my perception and brings fulfillment. The recognition that my smaller story has a HUGE part to play in the bigger story God is telling gives me purpose each and every day.

“What if the positive and negative turns of your life have prepared you for something great? …Do you know that the world needs something from you? There are probably days when you feel like the world would be better off if you stayed in bed but it isn’t true. God created you and He created you with the power to bring light into darkness and order into chaos. You are necessary. And the sooner you believe that, the sooner you’ll bond with God in living a great story.” (Donald Miller, Storyline)

So where do you start? Find yourself a quiet place, maybe the library or your bedroom. Turn off distractions and take time to really consider the story your life is telling and the one you want it to tell. List out all of the gifts that make you unique, the things you enjoy and are good at. What do you like to do? What are some goals you want to accomplish in your life? Take your time.

If you need somewhere to start on your list I can already tell you that you are a gifted writer! I didn’t post your whole letter today, but you should know that you have a powerful way of conveying ideas. I’m so glad you were willing to be vulnerable and ask for help.
Take the vulnerability you have on the page and translate it into some of your relationships. If you continue to struggle with eating or cutting at any point please, please take a step and share with a trusted adult. I believe you have an incredible life ahead of you filled with both happy and challenging moments. The hard moments make the joy that much sweeter in the end.
Your story matters. You matter.
Praying for your journey,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Eyes Up

Yesterday we started walking through M’s complex thoughts about self-worth, anxiety, and what to do when we don’t like how we look or feel. Obviously it’s not something that can be answered in a short blog post or with a pat answer.

Acknowledging the truth, that we will never live up to the world’s standards is essentially step one. Step two is to then choose to live and see ourselves through God’s loving eyes. But step three involves our eyes.

When I get so focused on my own worries, imperfections and failings I get caught in a crazy cycle of self-loathing. One long look in a mirror, a step on a scale, a harsh word from a classmate… any of these can send our self-esteem reeling out of control. So we ground ourselves in truth, and then we look outward!

The truth of the matter is that joy flows most often when we take a step back from ourselves and notice those around us. Joy comes from blessing and encouraging others, rather than focusing on our own needs. When life is “all about me” it leaves little room for the joy that emerges through loving people.

The next time the tears threaten to overtake you, try one of these tips before you give up.

1. Make cookies and give them to friends and neighbors.

2. Write a letter (snail mail!) to a grandparent, relative, or teacher who has been instrumental in your life. Thank them for the role they have had.

3. Leave a flower for someone and don’t tell them who it’s from! Instead just include a note that says, “You matter. Thank you for being you!”  Have fun encouraging from a distance.

4. Go for a walk outside!

5. Turn on some music and dance in your room.

6. Offer to help your mom cook dinner.

7. The next time a volunteer opportunity is presented to you, say “yes”!

8. Go through your closet and collect clothes to donate to a local charity. That sweater you wore once last year might just make someone else’s day.

9. Take time to collect runaway shopping carts in the parking lot and return them to their homes.

10. Commit to only use texting and social media to encourage other people. No more lamenting, moaning, or complaining.

11. Invite someone in your family to go out for lunch, your treat! Plan the “date” and even dress up to make it more special.

12. This list could go on and on, so start making your own!

I know that counting my blessings is a huge kick in the pants when I need to refocus my gaze, but this list can also help in those moments when the hurt threatens to knock us down. We each have so much to give to a world in need!

I pinned this photo on Pinterest this week. I love the thought behind it. Let’s find our passion and get to loving others!

purposeful

Happy Thursday.

Following,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: Self-Perception

dear ginger

Dear Ginger,

I was at the conference this weekend and your story really touched me. I have trouble with self-confidence. I always have trouble trying to find who I am. Or I’m never good enough. I play sports, but I’m never the best. There is a girl who called me a “fat seal” this year and that really hurt me. She’s bullied me since the 5th grade and this year I started cutting. I told my parents but I really need someone’s advice who has also struggled with not likening yourself. The very first night when you talked about how I’m God’s masterpiece. But I still haven’t figured out to deal with her because she constantly likes to bully me. I feel like I’m always worried about something or stressed. I tried making myself throw up, but it didn’t work so I didn’t try it again. I don’t like how I feel or look and I was wondering if you could help me. –M

Dear M,

There is so much packed into your letter. It sounds as if you are really overwhelmed by your world right now, and I don’t blame you. Any ONE of the things in your note would be enough to leave me anxious and worried. But you mentioned self-confidence, finding yourself, being good enough, bullying, cutting, identity, anxiety, self-destructive behaviors, and not liking how you feel or look.

I’m planning on responding to the issues you’ve raised, but I wanted to let you know that I’m going to break up my thoughts into at least two parts. The first will cover your own self-perception and the second response (next week) will concern the bullying aspect of your situation. I am so sorry that you’ve experienced such unkind words.

Self-Perception

Right off the bat I’m hoping you had the chance to watch the video I shared in yesterday’s post. It’s a clip from a recent Dove Beauty Campaign. Here’s the link just in case.

I think this clip is picking up so much steam around social media because it speaks to a feeling we all have. We focus on our imperfections, weaknesses, and flaws. A six-minute video demonstrated so clearly how we can miss the big picture of who we are and how we are really perceived. Did you notice how age wasn’t a factor? These woman, whether 19 or 45, all struggled with this issue.

So first things first: you are not alone. It may seem as though the rest of us have this aspect of life together, but the truth is that all of us have our hard days where we doubt our beauty and worth. We let magazines, movies, and celebrities tell us what is beautiful and valuable. If we take marketing, media, and culture at face value we are left believing that this list is what makes you important:

Clothing
Body type
Sex Appeal
Education
Popularity
Notoriety
Celebrity
Prominence
Talent
Money

Need I go on? It takes five minutes of channel surfing to discover what we are told to value. And that’s why what I’m about to tell you is going to seem so trite and simple, while at the same time controversial.

Trade the list.

I do not live up to the standards set by this world or Hollywood. My teeth will never be white enough, nor my thighs skinny enough to even come close. There was a time in my life when I was willing to trade anything to hit that standard of beauty. I was tanning, dyeing, whitening, dieting, and doing everything in between. But then my life became so inward focused that I was missing out on what would have brought true joy and value to my life. Yes, I could spend four hours in a gym every day and keep up a perfect weight and figure, but then I wouldn’t have time to do so many of the things that I actually love.

M, what do you love to do? Do you have gifts or passions? Do you love singing, reading, playing sports? I know you mentioned not feeling the best at anything, but I think a majority of us feel that way. I am not the best at anything. I have lots of 3rd place ribbons and honorable mentions to my name. I was not the valedictorian or the prom queen. I was never destined for American Idol, Olympic Trials, or the National Spelling Bee. In the grand scheme of blogs, mine has fairly low readership. But I had to decide along the way whether or not being the best at something was really my ultimate goal. It’s just not. I’ve had to let that one go. So instead, I just started doing what I love to do. I took my passion plus a desire to impact the lives of other people and that’s how I live my life. Can I tell you how freeing it is to stop trying to live up to someone else’s list?

Your value, purpose, and significance are deeply important in this life. The question is: where are you looking for those things?

purpose

“…Millions of people spend a lifetime searching for love, acceptance, and success without understanding the need that compels them. We must understand that this hunger for self-worth is God-given and can only be satisfied by Him. Our value is not dependent on our ability to earn the fickle acceptance of people, but rather, it’s true source is the love and acceptance of God. He created us. He alone knows how to fulfill all of our needs.” (Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance)

At the conference I talked about our desire to be known and to know who we are. I truly believe that the source of that answer is found in our Heavenly Father. As the One who created you, He knows you very best. You have worth because He says so. There is nothing you could do to gain or lose His love. That is a promise we can take to the bank every day. I do not have to be successful or pleasing to others to have a healthy sense of worth. My worth comes to me from God. I read in His word over and over how He feels about each of us as His workmanship, His poeima, His masterpiece.

Worth It

In his book, The Search for Significance, (which I highly recommend) Robert McGee walks the reader through these same questions and issues. He makes a strong point in this diagram.

There are two possible options we can choose to determine our self-worth:

-The world’s system: Self-Worth = Performance (what you do) + Others’ Opinions (what others think or say about you)

-God’s system: Self-Worth = God’s Truth about you

M, I can’t make you know this just by saying so. This has been a long journey for me too, but so worth it in the end. I’m going to share some tips and resources through the rest of this week, but I want you to know that I am praying that you would turn to the One who knows you when everything on the outside says you don’t measure up. Please, please tell someone if you ever consider cutting or hurting yourself again. I am praying that your desire to hurt your body would disappear as you grasp the depths of His love for you.

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” (Ephesians 1:3-6, MSG)

For more on this topic check out these posts:

Dear Ginger: Uncomfortable in my Own Skin
Prove It!
Inside and Out
Fearfully and Wonderfully
True You: Self-Esteem
True You: Beautiful
God Looks at the Heart

Following,

Ginger

Dear Ginger: Skinny Preztel Thin

Dear Ginger,

Last year in school we studied Greek mythology and as I looked at the goddess Aphrodite I saw that she was a large woman but she was also known as one of the prettiest women in the whole world. But now all I see in magazines and stores are skinny pretzel thin girls and I can’t shop in any clothing store without making myself cry. I’m tired of it and I tell myself I want to be like those women but I know I won’t ever be that thin. How can I let God tell I’m beautiful without feeling like he’s lying to me? Please help me find a way to stop me from getting so sad.

-H

My heart breaks for you, sweet one. I am so sorry that you are hurting so much and that you find yourself so very sad. I wish that I could give you a big hug right now.

I know what you mean. It’s so hard to try to tell myself that the way that I look is beautiful when models and actresses make me feel the EXACT opposite.

I’ve struggled with this my whole life. How often do I stand in front of my mirror and think, “I know I’m supposed to like what I see, but God, do you know what it takes to be pretty in this world”?

Some days I believe the truth about what God says about me, and other days – like you – I’m prone to listen to the lies that Satan wants to feed me! So how can we fight those lies?

1. Keep pursuing Truth. Are you reading the Bible, in a Bible Study/Small group, or able to spend time with someone who will continue to remind you of God’s Truth? I think my whole story changed when I started reading the Bible on my own. It’s important that you have a translation that you can understand – one that’s easy for you to read. I recommend The Message, The New LIving Translation, or the God’s Word Translation for teens especially. I feel like these versions utilize the kind of language you use on an every-day basis.

2. Memorize God’s Truth! God’s Word should be in our hearts and minds, on our tongues, and posted all over our world… try sticking post-it notes with verses in places that you can see them on a daily basis!  I will give you some of my personal favorites for combating lies: Psalm 19:14Psalm 22:23-24Isaiah 55:8-9Deuteronomy 30:19-201 Thessalonians 2:4Psalm 139: 23-242 Corinthians 12:9, and of course, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

Here’s what Kenneth S. Weust says about memorizing God’s word:

“[The believer] is to so yield himwelf to the Word that there is a certain at-homeness of the Word in his being. The Word should be able to feel at home in his heart. . . The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God what we know as He talks to us and guides our lives. He can efficiently talk to us to the extent to which we know the Word. That is the language He uses.”

That hit home with me. If I want to walk in the Spirit every day rather than being overwhelmed by the images of skinny models in the world, I need to speak the language of the Spirit. Memorizing God’s Word is going to be so important when we tackle any struggle- but especially the kind that take up residence in our hearts and minds.

3. Don’t fight this alone! Share with a trusted youth leader, friend, consider seeking out a counselor who can help you work through these issues. I’m 30 and I’m going to a counselor about this very topic for the first time in my life. I’ve been able to be honest and I can see real change happening in my life… but I had to be willing to share! I’ve never had an interest to join the armed forces.  Combat sounds terrifying to me. But do you know what sounds even worse?  Fighting alone.  I like my chances WAY better if I have someone (make that lots of someones) by my side.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”  Ephesians 6:13-18, The Message

I wish I could tell you that I’m cured of my desire to be thin, pretty and perfect… but I’m often still struggling in this area, sometimes on a daily basis. But I’m fighting. I have to choose only to fill my heart and mind with good things, especially God’s Word. The world says that my worth comes from my outward appearance, God tells me my worth is found in my heart. “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)

Too often I let comparison or a desire to look a certain way steal the victorious life given to me in Jesus. I don’t want numbers on a scale to have control over my countenance and emotions. So each day is a battle. Each day I choose whether I’m going to seek the attention and approval of others, or if I’m going to seek my Father. I have to remember that our God is totally trustworthy.

Praying for you H. I’m going to keep writing posts this week with your letter in mind. Please write again soon…

Following and stumbling,
Ginger

True You: Self-Esteem

I think self-esteem is broken. I’m not talking just about MY self-esteem, but the concept behind self-esteem in general.

Here’s the definition of self-esteem according to Dictionary.com:
–noun
1. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.
2. an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.

Now compare that with what we read in Philippians 2:3,“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” In humility we are to consider others, everyone else, as better than ourselves. This doesn’t say to have a poor view of yourself, but merely a right view of who we are in God’s eyes. We are His, but we are not better than each other.

But even if we totally ignore God in this equation and what He wants, I believe that we still have a problem!

Here’s the issue I take with self-esteem. Although I often times have zero trouble discovering an exaggeratedly favorable impression of myself, most days my self-esteem fluctuates almost hourly. The way I identify myself is directly connected to my emotions and feelings. Emotions change quickly. What we are feeling for a period of time (unless depression is involved) tends to change countless times throughout the day. That means I can be on cloud nine in the morning because I receive an encouraging text before lamenting a quiz I forgot to study for. And then I might just walk out the door in the morning full of joy only to trip in front of a crowd of people and find myself in the pit of despair.

My self-esteem is so high maintenance that I just decided to ditch it.

Here’s what I mean…

My perception of self-worth shifts and changes all the time. (Wait, it just did again. Awesome.) But God’s perception never will. Self-esteem would have me working hard to feel better, but I now know that until my worth is centered upon God’s redeeming act of love, my feelings will fluctuate like a washing machine out of balance. Our center of gravity must be the truth found in God’s Word and not human emotion.

Truth to soak up this week:

Jeremiah 1:1-10

Psalm 139

1 Peter 1:3-4

Psalm 45:10

We are esteemed and treasured by the King of Kings! I’m praying that truth would be real in our hearts today.

He LOVES the True You.

Following,
Ginger