There seems to be a lot of emphasis on self-esteem these days. Parents want to bring up their children with a healthy self-esteem; psychologists want to impart it to their patients. Having low self-esteem is said to negatively affect our creativity, integrity, and stability. It makes one overly critical, socially awkward, and generally unconfident; all of this because we don’t feel good about ourselves. As followers of Jesus, we should immediately see the trap in this way of thinking. All the focus is on the self; it’s on the child or the individual. We’re looking for reasons why we don’t feel we measure up to the rest of the world. To quote an old song, “we’re looking for love in all the wrong places”.
Self-esteem is an oxymoron to those of us who find their identity in Christ. We recognize that our life is not about us, but rather how we can glorify God and further His mission. When we are getting our source of life from Jesus (indeed, this is the only place one could ever find life), self-esteem is never a problem. We recognize that our worth is wrapped up in who God says we are, and not dependent on the opinion of others. Each of us has been created to have unsurpassable worth in the eyes of God. If the Creator and Sustainer of all living things finds us valuable beyond measure, how could we ever feel worthless?
As with most of our problems, a low self-esteem comes from an inaccurate focus. We are concentrating on what we think we bring to this world rather than on sharing what God has already done for the world. We are attempting to shine brightly in the midst of the darkness rather than reflecting the brightest light that is the love of Jesus. If we taught our children correctly about who they are in Christ and that their purpose in life is to reflect His glory, I don’t think we’d have to resort to ridiculous tactics like not keeping score in competitions so that everyone feels like a winner. They wouldn’t need to see themselves as a winner in the eyes of others because they would understand how God sees them.
The same is true for adults. When we stop focusing on what others might think of us (others who in truth are paying little attention to us because they too are self-absorbed), and instead focus on who Jesus says we are, we will find an abundant and joyful life. As long as we are reflecting the love of God in everything we do, we will feel a natural communion with God that comes from living in the way He created us to live. We will know what it is to be truly accepted and immeasurably loved. Self-esteem issues are man-made problems that are the result of us removing God from the equation. A person who finds their identity in Christ need never worry about their own self-esteem. We are priceless in God’s eyes, purchased with the blood of His own Son. Live each day knowing that you have been created as a person of unsurpassable worth.