I listened to the first of a new sermon series today and it’s entitled Soul Therapy. The first sermon was all about accepting who you are. I am excited for this series because self-esteem and self-image are things I have struggled with most of my life and I feel I am not alone in that! I believe so many of us struggle with these issues and I hope that my notes and thoughts on these sermons may help someone reading in some way!
Many times the greatest battles in our lives, both spiritually and physically, are from within our own minds. The enemy (the devil) can do more damage in our minds than anything else. If he is let in our mind, he can slowly gain control and ultimately change our perception of ourselves and hinder our relationships with not only other people but God as well. In the passage above, David was amazed with God’s workmanship. David was someone who was rejected many times in life, yet he often reminded himself that God made him and he has value!
We need to recognize the poison or poisons of self-rejection.
Insecurity-lack of confidence which usually leads to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. This can then lead us to jealousy.
Jealousy-When we are filled with self-rejection we can become jealous of others; what they do, what they have, how they look etc. Jealousy can lead us to anger.
Anger-Occurs when we are always comparing ourselves and believing we got the short end of the stick. This can then lead to selfishness.
Selfishness-Can be a result of poor self-esteem. It can cause us to become absorbed with ourselves and give us I-itis. Everything will be about “I, I, I” which can lead to the last of the poisons of self-rejection, fear.
Fear-We will end up living in fear. Fear of what might happen to us. Fear of trying. Fear of failing.
All of these points will poison our spirit and souls. We are all spirits and we all have a soul and our soul is our mind, will and emotions. If our spirit, and especially our soul is poisoned, the devil will use this against us. The devil will never hesitate to use self-rejection to control how we feel and destroy us.
The place of self-esteem.
Many people have heard the verse above, yet don’t often focus too much on the last 5 words. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is hard to fulfill when we don’t love ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, we can’t truly love anyone else. We don’t need to become arrogant and prideful, but there is a balance between having too high of self-esteem and too low of self-esteem, and the balance or middle ground is ideal! Too high or too low of self-esteem are equally harmful.
Self image is how we view ourselves and that in turn determines our value. So we’ll never know or acknowledge our true values if our perception of ourselves is off. Self-esteem is how we value ourselves. I think it goes without saying that both self-image and self-esteem work hand in hand. We cannot have one without the other. David, whom we referred to at the beginning of the blog, had a great handle on self-image and self-esteem; often reminding himself that God made him and he found his value in that fact.
Our functional nature is based on what we can do. This includes our talents and abilities gifted to us by God. We ALL have been given a unique gift or talent and even some of us are given multiple gifts and talents. Our gifts and talents can determine our functional nature.
Intrinsic nature has to do with who we are as a person. In Psalm 139:14 it states, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” David wasn’t boasting in pride but he was biblically and spiritually recognizing God made him. He knew he was special in the eyes of the Lord and that God does not make junk. We would all do good to remember that. When we are feeling down on ourselves in any way, we need to remember God created us the way we are and He does not make junk! We are all made unique and we should be confident in who we are and BE that person. BE YOU!
We need to change the way we think by accepting God’s viewpoint of who we are.
In “our” image or in “our” likeness. Our or “us” refers to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit! We have been given authority and part of God is in ALL of us. We were ALL made in their image. How then, knowing that, can we view ourselves in a negative light?
We have to stop comparing ourselves to other people. This is both unhealthy and unproductive. No two snowflakes or blades of grass are the same; they’re unique and such is the same with people. We are all unique and no two people are the same or have been equipped with the same abilities or talents. We need to compare ourselves to the Lord and strive to be like Him and NOT like others around us.
Remember, your weakness doesn’t disqualify you! Moses gave about 5 different excuses to disqualify himself because he didn’t seem to think to highly of himself.
What Moses didn’t realize is that we ALL have weaknesses but none of those disqualifies us from being used by God! We need to focus more on what we CAN do and less on what we CAN’T do!
We also need to separate our worth from our importance. We should always strive to do our best; try our hardest in all we do! We are never going to win every time and we will never be immune to criticism, but our failure or even our success does NOT define our worth to God!
I fully understand the struggle with self-esteem and self-image; I have never been one who thought highly of myself at all! I often told people if given a scale of 1 to 10 my level would be in the negatives! Many times it’s hard for us to reprogram our brains to see our worth when we were wired at younger ages to believe negative things others told us about ourselves. It will definitely be a challenge for myself, but I have never thought that the way I viewed myself basically insults God. If I don’t love who I am, am I not telling God He made a mistake? We all know God doesn’t make mistakes, therefore I (and you) are created just how we are meant to be created…we just have to nourish ourselves in the right way to grow in the right direction! Reflecting back, I think I allowed some things to happen in my life (maybe not intentionally) but I believe now that my lack of self-image and self-esteem caused my poor judgement in several areas in life. The good thing is that God doesn’t condemn me for any of it, but graciously accepts me and has confidence that I can always grow from these situations. Not all of us view negative circumstances in that way, but I believe all that happens to us equips us to learn, grow and then help others who need help that we once needed ourselves! I pray that everyone reading this acknowledges any poison of self-rejection in their lives and makes every effort to rid it from their lives, especially their minds! May we all recognize our uniqueness, special talents and differences as positives! You are exactly who you are supposed to be! Let us all love ourselves for who we are inside and out and let that allow us to love each other the same!
Remember, you were not made to be the same as anyone else, so don’t attempt to be!
Much Love and God Bless ❤