Self Esteem- Part I

Low self esteem and inferiority is probably the most common affliction of American women today. James Dobson is quoted as saying the greatest need of women is a healthy dose of self esteem and personal worth. He elaborated on this in his book “Hide and Seek”. He gave a group of women a questionnaire (two groups of women) and asked to rank the sources of depression according to the applicability of their life. They were…

  1. Absence of Romantic love
  2. Low Self-esteem
  3. In-law problems
  4. Problems with the children
  5. Financial difficulties
  6. Loneliness
  7. Sexual Problems
  8. Menstrual and physical problems
  9. Time pressure
  10. Aging

Of the two groups, one listed low self-esteem as first and the other group listed it as second. If you are a Christian woman you don’t have to live with that because God says it isn’t true. You are an important person and you do matter and he sent his son Jesus to prove it. You are every bit as valuable as the most beautiful, talented person you can name.

Read Psalms 139- It tells how God delighted in you while you were still in the womb. His art work in putting you together- he had a blue print for you. Christian humility is not having a low view of yourself. It’s not a virtue to have an inferiority complex or declare your worthlessness.  You are not worthless if you are a child of God. You are a value to God.

Some person has hit you at a weak spot. Suggested you should use a wrinkle cream, lose 10 lbs, or someone asked you if you were pregnant. Maybe you made a fool of yourself in public. Any of these could make you tell yourself for weeks that you are nothing but a ding-a-ling. Satan loves to remind us of failures. Say to him, “I am not worthless, I am a precious child of God.”

If Satan can paralyze your self confidence he can stop any good God can carry out of you. He knows he can destroy your husband, children, and your ministry if he can make you feel worthless. Read Psalms to that liar. Christian humility is having an accurate view of yourself. Romans 12:3 describes true humility. There is a balance of liking yourself and liking other people. If I accept myself, does that mean I have arrived? There is a line between self-confidence and conceit and self-acceptance and smug self-satisfaction. How do we balance this out from extreme depression to extreme egotism.

We can be wallowing in self pity and feel we must be getting holy because we feel the whole weight of our sin. We feel so humble. Satan loves to tell us how dumb and disorganized we are and then how really spiritual we are to recognize those things. Read Romans 12 if you find yourself at either end of that scale.

The following are some of my own thoughts that I used in our second lesson on self-esteem. I thought much about three examples that were given in class as reasons for feeling stupid or feeling a low value of yourself. I felt we should really look at the “feelings” and where they come from and deal with them before we put the band aid on them.

Are they from God? From Satan? Because of our own doing? Others?

One thing that has been helpful to me in analyzing my feelings is the statement: Conviction is from God. It is specific. Take care of this area and it’s all over.  Such as, You are a worthwhile person BUT this particular area needs cleaning up. God never hits us with all our faults at once. We take care of one area and we feel clean.

Accusations- are from Satan. They are wide. Such as, “You are a worthless person, You never do anything right. You are a terrible mother and a terrible wife.” God does not deal with us in this way.

We also have to realize that in Hebrews 12:6 it says, “God the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Are these feelings coming from an area of discipline of the Lord?

Because of Romans 15:7 “Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”

I can boldly say: I am Fully Known yet Fully Accepted

I think we all desire a friend around whom we can just be ourselves and still be accepted and loved. Not a guarded relationship where we have to be so careful and every word might be misinterpreted. God is like that special friend, even more so. He loves us and accepts us in all our varying moods and situations.

From Birkey’s book page 41 she gives some thoughts: That many well-meaning Christians have mental reservations about God’s acceptance of them. They think, “Yes, God will accept me if I don’t do… or if I don’t do… or when I become…Some of these ideas have come from the way others have treated us… Such as:

(These are examples given which I think were good and also typical of what many of us have felt)

“My mother constantly criticized me while I was growing up. I could never do anything well enough for her.”

“I was a timid, shy person and was always most comfortable when hidden in a group. One evening a group of young people were separating after a gathering, everyone was saying a general goodbye. But Miriam turned to me and said, “Goodbye, Evelyn, See you Sunday!” Words cannot express the thrill that went through me, an actual physical reaction of warmth and a quickened heartbeat. I was a person, not just one of crowd. And in those simple words she had communicated to me that I was accepted.”

“As a child and a teenager my dad often ignored me. In high school I was to go on a school trip and needed money. Dad ignored my need until I was ready to go out the door. Then he made me feel like dog under the table waiting for some scraps. I was sure he hadn’t accepted me as a daughter or even as a person.”

Verses about God knowing us fully: Psalms 139:1-6  & Eph. 1:3-14

Think of a time when you were aware another knew you did something wrong but still accepted you. Did that motivate you to change? Think of a time when you felt unaccepted because of your seeming lack of gifts or abilities. How did you feel and did it cause you to change your course of action?

Think of three answers to the statement: “I feel most loved when…”

John 4:1-26 and John 8:1-11- examples of Jesus demonstrating knowledge of, yet fully accepting a person.

Application: This week observe when people have demonstrated the same accepting attitude toward you.


*Continued in “Self Esteem Part II”

Lesson on Obedience

Exodus 14:15 “The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me?  Tell the people of Israel to go forward.  Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go on dry ground through the sea.””

Exodus 17:5-6 “And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go.  Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.””

Numbers 20:8-9 “Take the rod and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water; so you shall bring water out of the rock for them; so you shall give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”  And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him.”

Numbers 20:11-12 “And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank and their cattle.  And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “BECAUSE YOU DID NOT BELIEVE IN ME, TO SANCTIFY ME IN THE EYES OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, THEREFORE YOU SHALL NOT BRING THIS ASSEMBLY INTO THE LAND WHICH I HAVE GIVEN THEM.””


Moses’ punishment always seemed so harsh for such a seemingly small disobedience.  It seems that Moses used the rod twice before to do miracles, once to strike the Nile and then to strike the rock for water.  Then in Numbers 20:8 he is told to take the rod and TELL the rock.

I can see Moses’ side of this.  Perhaps he wasn’t listening so closely and since he had always used the rod, just assumed that was what he was to do this time also.  It doesn’t seem fair after all he had done to lead his people out of Egypt and all he had put up with during the years in the wilderness.

But then it gives us insight into God’s thinking and what obedience means to him and what it means that we should fear God.

Perhaps he doesn’t want us to get in a rut.  “But we have always done it this way.”  Perhaps Moses was getting a little too attached to that rod, and thinking the power was in that instead of in God.

Do we ever do the same thing?  A certain way has been successful for us and we feel the Lord leading us to do something in a different way and our instinct says, “Oh no, I have always done it this way.  I feel comfortable doing it this way.” etc.

Also do we always use the same “tool” or method in doing something.  We are not to rely on anything but only listen to God, and obey him.

Could it be sort of like athletes who have to wear the “winning” socks or shirts…because they wore it while winning, perhaps relying on that instead of the skill God has given them.

Perhaps we need to learn that if the Lord is telling us to do something in a different way that we have done before, in which we might also have had success, to not fight it but DO it.  We must trust God and not our past achievements and not the instrument that we used in the past.

Deut 5:29 ” Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children forever.”

Psalm 25:14 “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.”

Rev 14:7 “…and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of judgement has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water.”

A good study is to look up all the verses on “fear” that you can.  Try to understand the difference between “fearing” God but nothing else.  What does it mean to fear God?

I think we need to come to a clear understanding about what it means to fear God, before we can really have an understanding about obeying him.  So the two are really tied together.

Some Thoughts for a Morning Devotion

Yesterday during devotions one of my books said, “I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward” and it got me thinking about that wonderful promise that God is our shield and I began looking up other verses about the shield. I thought I would share these thoughts and verses with you as they were such a blessing to me and it might be a good thing for one of your morning times.

Webster on shield- “A person or thing that protects or defends”/ defense- shelter

In Gen. 15:1 God said to Abraham “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your reward shall be very great.” Abram forgot these a couple of times just as we seem to forget  when it gets tough.

Psalms 3:3 “But thou, O Lord, art a shield ABOUT me, my glory and the lifter of my head.” (I love this reminder that he is a shield  all around us. And then as I enter these droopy to me months of January-February and March, that He can be the lifter of my head, my soul, and my spirits.

Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield….” This one made me think of God holding a shield to protect us even from his brightness at times if it might be too much for us to take at some time. But more i think of the shield in front of me. It was an interesting thought though to me.

Psalm 119:114 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield”

Isn’t it great to remember on days when we wish we could just hide…. that we do have a hiding place and that is Jesus. We can come out from the hiding place refreshed and ready to face the world.

Eph. 6:16 “above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.” (Those darts of fear and doubt also- knowing that our God is greater)

II Sam. 22:36 “Thou hast given me the shield of Salvation, and they help made me great.”

Psalm 18:30 “…he is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”

Psalm 33:20 “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield.”

Psalm 114:2 “Blessed be the Lord… my rock, and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my SHIELD and he in whom I take refuge.”

Proverbs 2:7 (What a promise this is for us to take with us each day as we face a new day.) “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a SHIELD to those who walk in integrity.”

May the Lord bless you and be your SHIELD as you trust HIM each day.