by aj underwood
Have you ever struggled with how you feel about yourself?
Regardless whether or not it’s involved with your looks, intelligence, athletic abilities, occupation, possessions, or any other way we tend to measure ourselves, how you feel about yourself is important.
It’s called self-esteem.
Self-esteem is defined as “a confidence and satisfaction in oneself.” Many of us struggle with some form of self-esteem in our daily lives. But what happens when it gets in the way of your relationship with God? Thoughts fill your mind, like: God doesn’t hear my prayers; God would never ask me to serve; God would never forgive me; or, God can’t use me.
Those of you who know me in the real world might be shocked to find self-esteem and insecurities are daily struggles for me. In fact, overcoming these struggles has become a major focus for me this year.
Because I know other people struggle with these same issues, here are a few thoughts on how to overcome struggles with self-esteem and strengthen your relationship with God:
Jesus called the unqualified and messed up
If Jesus did his ministry here on Earth with uneducated fishermen, corrupt tax collectors, and a man who would eventually betray him, He can use you too.
I’ve heard a saying that “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” I find it to be so true today. Throughout scripture, we see God use adulterers, murderers, thieves, and the like to do his work here on Earth. He called them and then qualified them. Don’t ever believe this lie we tell ourselves that we can’t be used by God. If Jesus forgave those who had a hand in crucifying him, then he will forgive you for cursing, not praying this morning, speaking harshly to your wife or kids, succumbing to your addiction, or whatever sin you battle.
1 John 1:8-9 says “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So remember, it is ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way!
Letting go of sin is just as important as asking forgiveness
Obviously as Christians we want to steer as clear as possible from sin, but as humans it’s easier said than done. The fact is we are human and we have sinned, do sin, are sinning, and will sin. Now, as a Christ follower, you and I should do our best to remove sin from our lives by identifying and admitting our sin to God and asking for his help to overcome it. But there’s one more step we must take: letting go and forgiving ourselves for sinning.
I have heard many stories of people who have come to Jesus and given their lives to him, but a few months later are still torn up inside over something they did before they began following Christ. What they don’t realize is God forgave them for their sins when they confessed them and decided to follow Jesus. The issue which holds them back is they don’t forgive themselves. As you go along the process of sanctification, which is a fancy word for becoming like Jesus, you will learn that sin will have less and less appeal to you and maybe even start to disgust you.
1 John 2:1 has a powerful reminder for us. “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
It’s an encouragement that, even though the divide sin has caused between us and the Lord doesn’t disappear the moment you confess your sin, you and I can let go and trust that God has forgiven us and then ask him to give us the strength to get past it when it comes up again.
I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggone it people like me
Who would have ever thought these words from the great Stuart Smalley could help you with your faith, but I am here to tell you they can. Ephesians 2:10 starts off by saying “For we are his workmanship…” and, if you know the God that I know, he didn’t put all that work into something that wasn’t amazing.
This God is the One who created the sunrise and sunset, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, crisp Autumn mornings, and, of course, you. Now, the above quote is obviously a bit of satire about motivating oneself, but I believe each of us is God’s workmanship and he made you and me exactly as we are for a purpose. We aren’t all the same, which is just another part of God’s amazing handy work.
So don’t let yourself get in the way of the work he has planned for you. You are you for a purpose and no one else can fulfill God’s plan for your life.