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”