“Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior.
“Among high school students, 44% of girls and 15% of guys are attempting to lose weight. Over 70% of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks. More than 40% of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass. 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. Teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are 4 times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they’ve ended up regretting later. 38% of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6% admitted to experimenting with steroids. 7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.” (dosomething.org)
And while depression has been proven a medical condition is some cases, “low self-esteem” has not. Why do you think we have so many problems in this area in our society? Is it the constant images pushed on us of perfect photoshopped people wearing the perfect designer outfits living in the perfectly decorated houses? Well, maybe…
Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about feeling good about ourselves.
…hmm….. I know there has to be something here about us being comfortable in our skin…. what about being amazing just the way we are….oh wait, that’s Bruno Mars…..
You know, I can’t find one verse to tell me how beautiful I am today or that I don’t need to lose weight or that I don’t need to put makeup on before I leave the house because I’m just so beautiful and everyone should accept that. And while David does declare that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, it isn’t to make David feel better about his muscle mass or flabby belly, it is in praise to God. He wasn’t getting self-esteem, he was esteeming God.
The word “esteem” means to respect and admire. I just can’t think of a verse in the Bible that tells us to admire ourselves, let alone one for every day of the year as it seems we need for our low self-esteem problems.
See, maybe we don’t know it, or understand it, or are misinterpreting the way we feel inside or what society is telling us, but we don’t have low self-esteem because of what is around us. We have low self-esteem because of what is inside us. The Bible has so many answers to this problem, but we are completely missing it! Because we are looking at it all wrong.
Self-esteem doesn’t come from what you see in the mirror. It comes from what you do about what you read in the mirror of God’s word.1 Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 John 3:1 – Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Romans 12:3 – For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Philippians 2:3 – [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 1 Peter 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
From the looks of these verses and so so many more, our God is not aiming at our vanity here. He does not cater to our “I’m not pretty” pouts or our longing to be noticed by the people around us rather than the one who created us. Our “low self-esteem” has only brought to light our preoccupation with the things that do not matter.
What does matter? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance… for a start. We could get specific and add helping our brother or sister in need, being a friend to those who don’t have any friends, respecting and obeying our parents, putting someone else above ourselves, witnessing to our friends, reaching out to someone struggling, showing grace to someone who has fallen, loving God with all our heart and soul and might. Where are the statistics on these things?
I wonder sometimes if people in Bible times struggled with some of the things we struggle with today. I wonder if they would look at us and say, “What is self-esteem??” All I know is that the times sure have changed, but the rules have not and they never will. Bottom line is we are only happy when we are right with God, loving God, loving people, serving God, and serving people. It is what we were made to do. It is what we are called to do, and we will never ever be happy with ourselves until we submit to our Creator and do what he has created us to do.
Are you having trouble loving yourself? Fall in love with Jesus. Love Him more each day. Beg Him to help you take your eyes off of you and point them in the way you need to go, to the people you need to see, and to the things you need to do to make a difference for the kingdom of Christ today.