faith, self image

Finding a Healthy Self-Image

 

Finding a healthy self-image can be tricky.

When my kids were small, I prayed for them to be humbly confident. I wanted them to be self-assured in school and all they did, but I didn’t want them to be prideful or overly confident.

Nobody likes a know-it-all. And though pride can be a good thing, most pride is not.

But here’s the sneaky thing about pride, it also masquerades as low self-esteem.

I’m not saying that everyone with low self esteem is prideful, but when you load it down with self-pity, pride can be found underneath the moans and woes.

 

“In one sense, low self-esteem is the opposite of pride. In another sense, low-self-esteem is a form of pride. Some people have low self-esteem because they want people to feel sorry for them, to pay attention to them, to comfort them. Low self-esteem can be a declaration of “look at me” just as much as pride. It simply takes a different route to get to the same destination, that is, self-absorption, self-obsession, and selfishness. Instead, we are to be selfless, to die to self, and to deflect any attention given to us to the great God who created and sustains us.” How Should a Christian View Self-Esteem

Good Confidence

I remember watching American Idol (years ago) and being struck by the difference in confidence levels. My perception of one contestant, though her talent was off the charts, waned. Her lack of faith in her talent, caused me to doubt her ability. I voted for the more self-assured guy who seemed more comfortable in his skin.

Her poor self-imag made me think about myself and my own lack of confidence.

Comparison gets me every time.

The negative Nellie voice whispers her sabotage. You are a loser.

The Danger of Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem runs people away. It’s not inviting. So, like Goldie Locks in the home of the three bears who searched for the porridge, and chair, and bed that was just right, self-esteem also must have a healthy balance.

How do we find healthy self-esteem?

We can’t do it alone. There are four important faith factors that help us find a healthy self-esteem balance—a humble self-confidence.

 

  1. Trust God’s love.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit for confidence.
  3. Stop the comparison game.
  4. Stand on Scripture.

 

God’s Love

The way we view God’s love for us affects our self-esteem, but our perspective is tainted. Life colors our perception. Our earthly father’s affection or lack thereof is often the lens through which we view God. But our truth is not God’s truth. Our truth cannot heal us, hold us, breathe life into dead dreams, or restore our true identity. Only God’s truth can.

 

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will mark you with his love, he will rejoice over you with joyful wailing.  ~Zephaniah 3:17 (Lee paraphrase)

 

Zephaniah promised God is with us. He’s in our space. We’re not alone. Even when our truth tells us we are, God’s truth tells us we aren’t.

He is with us, and he can save us from ourselves, from purposeless living and low self-esteem.

But because of where we’ve been or what we’ve done, we don’t believe we could ever be loved by a holy God. But Jesus told a different story.

As crowds of unholy people (tax collectors and sinners just like you and me) gathered around Jesus to hear his teaching, the “holy” people (the Pharisees) grumbled about the company Jesus kept.

I wish I could have seen the way Jesus looked at them as he stopped them mid-mutter and told them a parable. The story was about a son who selfishly took his inheritance way before time—while his father was still alive, which really hurt the father.

Did their faces fall as they heard Jesus unravel the tale of the father who didn’t disown the ungrateful, money squandering, in need of a Dave Ramsey class, son? Did they “get it” as Jesus told of how the father watched every day for his son to return, and how he ran—ran—ran to meet his dirty, hungry, pig-slop- sloshing Jewish son when he spotted him walking toward the old homestead?

Were any of their hearts moved as Jesus told of how the father scooped the son into his embrace with joyful shouting and wailing? How did the religious react when Jesus described how the father placed a ring on his son’s finger and sandals on his feet restoring the son’s position in their family? Did they stomp out of the room when Jesus told about the party the father planned to celebrate his son’s return?

Jesus had retold Zephaniah’s prophecy.

God’s love is still as he said. The Father is waiting for us to wake up to all we have. We are his, marked by his love. You and I are children of a Father who doesn’t care if our souls are stained and dirty. He just wants us to come home. And when we do, he will rejoice over us with shouts and joyful wailing, “My child is home!”

Ask the Holy Spirit for confidence

 

One day I drove to the gym dreading my workout. I wasn’t fearing the workout itself. I drug my feet because I’m not a gym queen. I’m not athletic.

Negative Nellie began whispering in my ear, as if my own grumbling voice was not enough. But Holy Spirit whispered, “Andy, go to the gym with me. I’m inside you. I shine through you. Be a blessing to others by just being there with me. Give them Jesus.”

His wisdom changed my entire perspective. I had the best time on the treadmill that day! I put my worship music in my ears and praised him every mile. Those working out around me probably wondered what I was on. If they would have asked, I would’ve told them “Jesus.”

 

I was confident that day, not because I could run a seven-minute mile, but because the joy of the Lord. Holy Spirit filled me and bubbled out. My focus diverted from my shortcomings to his goodness.

That was a good day.

 

We must stop the comparison game.

In A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called I write, “There will always be someone more talented, prettier, skinnier, smarter, but if God has called you, if he has told you to write the book or paint the picture, or sing the song, then someone needs to hear it from you.” Nobody can write it, or tell it, or paint it, or sing it like you.

And as far as holiness, we’re even at the cross. It’s flat there at the feet of Jesus. I love the lines from Daniel Bashta’s song Drenched in Love. The chorus repeats, “I am washed, I am washed, I am drenched in love.”

How Jesus’s blood covers our sins is a difficult concept to grasp, but when I picture his blood as love, I am released from my strife.

Let this thought wash over you anew. We are covered, dripping in love.

My friends, we can’t, and we don’t earn salvation.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14).

Made perfect forever, yet in process of being made holy. That’s us.

But.

 

The reality is, in hundreds of subtle ways, our culture, family, friends—even our thought life—conspire to undermine our confidence. We grow up in families void of affirmation, encouragement, and respect—the building blocks to self-confidence. Then we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a world that lionizes Size Two Hollywood starlets and Barbie-doll figures. Our paycheck, our title, our designer labels, or some other artificial yardstick gives us temporary entree into the world of The Accepted. But in our hearts, we know it isn’t real. How do we find our way to the truth? Today’s Christian Woman

 

Vera Wallace gives these reality checks:

REALITY CHECKS

Pinpoint the ways you may be sabotaging yourself by answering the following questions:

  • What judgments do I make about myself that are, in fact, untrue? What’s something wonderful about me that I’ve undervalued?
  • How do I typically respond when someone brags about me? Is it hard for me to receive a compliment—and why?
  • Do I fail to stick up for myself when someone challenges what I know to be true?

 

Is it hard for you to receive a compliment? Practice the simple words, “Thank you.”

And that is all.

“Thank you.”

Now, let’s thank Jesus for all he’s done, and let’s stand on scripture that affirms the love of God, Holy Spirit in us, and the power of God’s truth over our own.

Bible Reading Plan

 

Sneak Peek and Printable Prompts

 

Monday: Psalm 139: 13-14: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

  • Take a sharpie or pen and write “handmade” on your hand or arm. Every time you see it, imagine God forming and shaping you painstakingly in your mother’s womb. Do you see his smile?

 

Tuesday: 1 Samuel 16:7: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

  • Ask the Lord how he sees you. Sit with him for awhile and write down what he says.

Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 5:17:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

  • Write down ways you have changed since receiving Jesus. Invite the Lord to continue transforming you.

 

Thursday: Ephesians 1:13b-14: When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be more aware of his presence.

Friday: Hebrews 2:6-7: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels,  you crowned them with glory and honor .

  • Did you know that you are crowned with glory and honor? Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and visualize your glowing crown. Thank Jesus for His love.

Saturday: Isaiah 61:3:  . . . and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

  • What garment are you wearing today? If it is a spirit of despair, ask the Lord to help you take it off and put on the garment of praise. Intentionally worship Him today.

 

Sunday: Esther 4:14: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

  • You are where you are supposed to be. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to your purpose in this place for today only.

 

Get the printable with the scriptures for healthy self-image to work through on your own.

Daily Broadcast

Join me on Facebook every morning at 8:20 AM ET for fellowship and a teaching on each “bite” or scripture from the reading plan. Come on over! Bring your coffee, Bible, and journal to dig deep with me. It’s nourishment for your soul. Just follow me on Facebook and choose to receive notifications.

 

Share Your Thoughts

What keeps you from feeling confident?

 

Digging Deep in God’s Love,

 

Andy

 

PS. You are beautiful, wonderful, and one of a kind amazing.

 

PSS.  If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

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2 thoughts on “Finding a Healthy Self-Image

  1. All good Sis,
    I have been practicing thank you. The past few weeks have been a wake up call to be healthy. Right away my self image moved to the forefront of my thought life. When the Doctor tells you to lose weight for your health. It changes your perspective about how you look and feel. This word was right on time❤

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