I have recently begun putting together my profile for an online “relational networking” site and it has been a challenging process. As many of you have experienced, it can be difficult talking about yourself in a “look how great I am” sort of way, especially since we don’t often feel that way. At least I don’t.
There are times I look in the mirror and can’t help but notice flaws in what I see. I pull out my driver’s license and wishfully think it were my father’s (since so many years have passed by), l watch families engaging in activities I probably won’t ever get to experience, and I think about all of those things I don’t have in comparison to others.
When I try to lose myself in something else, I am bombarded by commercials and advertisements through every medium proclaiming how my life would be so much better “if…”
I can look more celebrity-like if I used their product, be more successful if I drove a certain car or wore what (they say) was “in fashion,” or have the perfect life if I followed their way of thinking or took advantage of what they were offering.
In almost every phase of life we are constantly being told we’re just not good enough the way we are.
Can I be the only one who feels this way?
I have read some studies stating up to 85% of the population suffers from low self-esteem. Eighty-five percent! This isn’t just a recent epidemic, I have found instances where it has been plaguing mankind since the beginning of time.
“Who am I that I should go…” – Moses (Exodus 3:11).
“But Lord, how can I.…I am the least in my family” – Gideon (Judges 6:15).
“I am not even good enough to be called an apostle….” – Paul (1 Corinthians 15:9).
At some point in each of our lives, maybe even throughout, many of us have felt unworthy, undeserving, unattractive, left out, skipped over, insignificant, unable, un-gifted or even meaningless in today’s world.
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:2).
As long as I allow these thoughts to permeate, live, and control how I think about myself.
As long as I don’t recognize the unique gifts, talents, dreams and purpose I have explicitly been given to fulfill my calling in the short time I have on earth.
As long as I compare myself to others.
As long as I continue to not acknowledge all of ways I have already been blessed.
As difficult as it may be at times, we need to take the time to see ourselves as God sees us, rather than judging ourselves according to the world’s (ever changing) standards. And the only way to do this is to keep ourselves connected to him through prayer, meditation and his Word.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5).
As a deliberate exercise, all of us, single or not, need to periodically hold a newborn child in our arms so we can appreciate and remind ourselves of the miracle we are, the potential we have and the vision God has for us.
It’s easy to see, encourage and envision the possibilities for others, yet we often struggle with the same for ourselves.
When thoughts of unattractiveness come to mind, say to yourself,
“I am a child of God, created in his image and for his glory” (1 Corinthians 11:7).
When you think “I can’t do that,” replace it with,
“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
When thoughts of underserving and lack of worth invade your spirit, tell yourself,
“I am suffering as evidence of my worthiness for the kingdom of God” (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
When you feel like quitting, remind yourself,
“I won’t grow weary in doing what is right, for my time will come when I will reap” (Galatians 6:9).
The enemy will continue to triumph over you as long as you allow his words, rather than God’s promises, to live in you. As long as you have breath, you are have the opportunity to change your outlook, situation and outcome.
Live a life worthy of the calling you were given (Ephesians 4:1).
All too often we are compelled to look up to, follow and even emulate someone we see as more “successful” or “attractive” (i.e. celebrities and newsmakers), and they are often struggling just as much as we are (as exhibited by news of depression, drug-use, personal “enhancements,” and even suicide).
When we seek to be the best person we were created and explicitly supposed to be, instead of copying or listening to what others say, we will.
There will always be someone considered more beautiful, more talented, more gifted and more worthy in the worlds’ subjectivity, but if we begin to see ourselves as God sees us, accept us as he accepts us, love ourselves as he loves us, and fulfill what we are supposed to, we will never think of ourselves as not “good enough.”
God didn’t create us to be like someone else, we are not to lead a life to “get by,” nor are we to settle for producing mediocrity. There is no mistake in the way he formed any of us and we shouldn’t ever view ourselves as if he did.
Start each day by being grateful for who you are, recognizing the good in your life, being appreciative of those things you have and bless those who are in your life. Notice the little things you have long taken for granted and speak your thankfulness first and always.
When you begin to acknowledge all of those things, you will discover you are and have a life that is more than “good enough,” both are extraordinary.
And as we view ourselves in a better light, we will also see and treat others in the same way.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the bi-weekly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to email@example.com. Find him on facebook and twitter.
Publication date: September 30, 2014