Friday, September 19, 2014

Self-Worth





                “How are you feeling about yourself today?” My professor asks. “Um, I’m doing well today thank you, how are you?” “No, No” she says. “I am wondering how you feel about yourself right now”. Oh, I see, so my professor is not just starting out the conversation with a quick hello how are you, she is trying to measure my self-esteem. Wow.  That is pretty deep for the first day of class. I find that to be somewhat strange; however, this is a master’s level class in a professional counseling program so she must have a point. I start to answer saying that I feel good about myself because I… and then quickly realize that I am falling for her trap and am soon going to be used in a teaching moment.


You see, I was measuring my self-esteem on worldly values. I was thinking about things that I have accomplished and that make me feel happy and good about myself.  Anyone else ever do that? I think that we all do it. It’s hard not to. We all know that in God’s eyes it is not good to think too highly of ourselves.  Likewise, it is not good to think too low of oneself.   The key to keeping a healthy self-esteem that is not too high and not too low is having an accurate sense of self-worth: knowing that our true identity comes from God. In Romans 12: 3 Paul says “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”. 


 God loves us more than we can fathom. We are his children and he values us more than anything. He loves us so much that he sent his one and only son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we may be forgiven of our sins and spend eternity with God (John 3:16).  Sisters… that is where our self-worth should come from. When we live everyday knowing and believing our self-worth is in Christ then a healthy self-esteem will form. Eugene Peterson writes in The Message, “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him” (p.328).  


When we think about ourselves from God’s perspective, then what we do and what other people say about what we do does not matter like it used to.  Whether or not we have a lot of friends or have few, have had failed marriages or have had nothing but marital bliss, have jobs that pay high salaries or salaries that just barely get us by, breast feed or formula feed, stay at home or go to work every day, volunteer for everything at church or don’t volunteer at all, get a lot of compliments for how amazing of a women, wife, mom we are or get no compliments at all, get criticized and made fun of for baby wearing, homeschooling, sending a child to daycare or get praised for it…it should not define how we feel about ourselves and especially our self-worth. Thinking too much about what others think about our choices, about our success and achievements, and about our mistakes can make us focus on our worth in the eyes of everyone around us. Instead we should focus on our worth in God’s eyes. 


 God wants us to be happy and to enjoy the gifts he has given us here on earth. “People should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). If I shower, put on a new cute dress and eat some cookie dough ice cream I am probably feeling pretty good. If I have not showered in 2 days, am wearing a shirt with baby spit up on it and am eating left over pureed green beans for lunch then I am probably not feeling my best. Therefore, go on and put on the cute dress, eat the ice cream and praise God! It is good to enjoy the gifts God gives us! So go out and do something that you enjoy and remember that ALL good things come from God (James 1:17). More importantly, remember that your self-worth comes from your identity in Christ. 


Father God, We feel overwhelmed by how much You love us. Forgive us for feeling highly about ourselves because of things that we do that we feel are important based on the world’s standards. Also, forgive us for at times feeling less worthy than we really are because of mistakes we feel we have made. Lastly, forgive us for judging others for how they live their lives. That is your job, not ours. We give ourselves over as living sacrifices to You. Amen. 


Citations in this Post other than the Bible


Peterson, E. P. (1993) The Message. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navpress.


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