For the Woman Battling Low Self-Esteem
Me and time have maintained a tumultuous relationship. Even before I added a husband and two kids to the the tornado I call life, I was late. So when a well-meaning, but – from my vantage point – unwise children’s church volunteer made a comment about my lateness I understood, but I was still mad.
“Oh, it’s just our usual late,” she said, opening the doors so my family could enter. “Excuse me?!,” I was thinking, but I didn’t say. I was a volcano about to erupt.
My face started to communicate the rapidly growing angst and I almost let it spew from my mouth. For a just few moments I wanted to forget about Jesus so I could give her some much needed feedback. Thankfully, my Christ-like husband kept walking, thus saving me from making a really big bonfire with my words.
In retrospect, I recognize we were late. Ahem! If she hadn’t let us in, we would have been stuck in the foyer another 10 minutes waiting for the on-time children to transition in the halls. She actually did us a favor, but I did not want to be defined as “usual late”.
And even though my family chases the short and long hand – a lot – we are not the family that will never be on time. I wanted a fair chance that day and every other day to rise above my present behavior.
If I’ve lied I want a chance to be truthful.
If I’ve been broken I want a chance to be whole.
If I’ve fallen I want a chance to get up.
I don’t want to be held captive by a you’ll-never-change mentality: assigning a permanent definition to a temporary state. And yet, this experience reminded me how we often define ourselves and others by the behaviors that don’t ever seem to change. You will always be:
I know because I imprisoned myself for years. Struggling with an overwhelming low self- esteem I did not believe I could ever be different. Crushed by the weight of people’s opinion of me I drifted throughout life attempting to people please my way into acceptance. I allowed the opinions of others to determine my worth because I did not know it for myself.
The foundation for this view was laid during my formative years. There were a lot of circumstances that had a hand in fostering my view of me. Growing up in a single parent household and experiencing bullying in my primary years both played a role. And though I can not hinge all the responsibility on one single factor the absence of my daddy was major.
According to Dr. James Dobson, “a daughter’s sense of self-worth and confidence is linked directly to her relationship with her dad. What he thinks about her and how he expresses his affection is a central source of her perceived value as a human being.” H. Norman Wright, author of Always Daddy’s Girl communicates it this way, “It is from her father that a girl needs to know that she is attractive, that her conversation is interesting and that her creativity is worthwhile. . . Affirmation from her father in proper doses will convince her that she is an important person. . .”
And so I carried my low self esteem into adulthood. I spent years in this pit; thinking I’d never climb out. And I have the t-shirt for trying to will it; determining I could change my own thoughts. But no matter how much I read self- help books, or ingested positive affirmations, my thoughts remained the same.
It wasn’t until I gave this responsibility to God that I began to see a difference in my perspective. I started to grasp the truth of Romans 12: 2.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. . . Romans 12: 2 (NIV)
I identified my underlying beliefs about me and I started replacing my thoughts with His.
I am God’s handiwork.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I am wonderfully made.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalms 139: 14 (NIV)
I am strong in Christ.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
Proverbs: 31: 25
I am a daughter of God and He loves me.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3: 1(NIV)
Though it is tempting to limit ourselves by what we see, we must characterize ourselves by who God says we are.
His view extends far beyond our present and into our potential.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5: 17 (NIV)
If you are dealing with a low self esteem replace your thinking with thoughts from our creator. Relinquish the pressure of trying to change and give it to God.