The self in self esteem.
A friend texted me a picture of a cat the other day.
For those of you who don’t know me... now would be the appropriate time for me to share with you this fun fact… I strongly dislike (and by strongly dislike I pretty much mean hate) cats. I’m not much for pets period. I know. Not really normal. You can psychoanalyze me later. Sidenote: I also just recently watches the TV show Zoo. If there was ever an inkling of wanting a pet that is now gone. But cats… well… for the sake of staying friends with all of you out there who love these creatures, I’ll keep those thoughts to myself for now. It should be noted though that you’re definitely not going to want to ask me to house sit your pets.
The friend who sent me the above mentioned picture is well aware of my strong dislike for this creature. This particular picture captured a cat sitting in front of a mirror. The reflection in the mirror was not that of the cat though. As the cat stared at itself a ferocious looking lion is seen staring back. The caption above the cat states “What matters most is how you see yourself.”
Looking at this picture, two things occur to me….
1) I just really, really don’t like cats.
2) That’s just not true (the caption, not the disliking cats thing).
“What matters most is how you see yourself.”
In other words…. Believe in yourself. Build up your self-esteem. Have self-confidence. Know your self-worth. You need a good self-image.
Notice something in common in all of these?
What matters most is you. You. You. You.
It’s a lie that most of us have been brought up believing. Probably without ever really thinking twice about it. You can’t base who you are on what other people think of you. You will never be able to please everyone. So logically... if it doesn’t matter what other people think, then it can only, should only, matter what you think.
In the 1960’s the push for self-esteem began and was quickly integrated into schools. Most of us can probably remember the chapters each year in health or life skills classes that drilled into us self-esteem. With each generation kids have been taught younger and younger that the only thing that mattered was what they thought about themselves.
Fast forward to today. We now have what is sometimes referred to as Generation Me.
Any idea why students today are referred to as that? Well I am sure there is more than one reason and lots of opinions on what those reasons may be. One thing I can say is that it would seem that a focus on self isn’t working.
So what is the answer? What does matter most? Is it how others see you? Is it how someone in particular sees you? Is it how you see yourself?
We all place value on ourselves based on something. Where do you find your value?
I’d like to challenge you to take a step back and ask yourself this question… Am I thinking this way because this is how the world thinks or am I thinking this way because this is how God wants me to think?
It’s a question that I find myself asking quite often (and am often surprised by the answers it leads me to). If we take this question and look at self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-image, it might surprise you with what you find.
According to the world... Self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-image include all of the following:
Confidence in own worth and abilities.
A feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment.
Pride in yourself.
The idea one has of one's abilities, appearance, and personality.
When I look to God’s word for these things though, I find nothing to support the need to have confidence in ourselves. In fact, I find the opposite to be true.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
2 Corinthians 3:5
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body
So God created man in his own likeness. He created him in the likeness of God. He created them as male and female.
Deny yourself. You are not your own. You were bought with a price. You are not sufficient yourself. You’re sufficiency comes from God. What matters most is how God sees you... Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.
Instead of self-esteem, find your worth in God. He loved you so much that He gave His Son to die for you. Have you found anyone else that has been willing to do that for you?
Instead of self-confidence, put your confidence in the fact that you are a child of God, created by Him. That’s right. The same person who created the world, created you.
Instead of self-image, know that you were made in the image of God. In His likeness, beautifully and wonderfully made. Get rid of self and fill it with God. Find your confidence in God, esteemed by God, worth because of God. .. In His image!
What matters most isn’t how others see you.
What matters most isn’t how you see yourself.
What matters most is how God sees you.
Have you taken the time to search His word and figure out who you are in Christ?
(Family Month, The Point Church, 2014)