Thursday, November 12, 2009
This last year has particularly been a struggle for me in terms of self-esteem. I never used to struggle with things like this. Vanity and looks had never been a big issue before. But the enemy started really picking at me on this, especially who I was, personality flaws, and what defined me. And for some reason I ate it up. Vulnerability got the best of me and I just kept accepting one lie after another as truth, forgetting where Truth really comes from. I started to let these things define me. After I gave him the room to work, the enemy became a little voice in my head that would point out when I was making a fool of myself, and tell me what he thought people really thought of me. Of course this wasn’t what was really going on, but with this sheet over my eyes it was hard to see or hear anything else. I started to accept this as my true identity.
It took a lot to get to the other side of things. It wasn’t overnight. The real eye-opener was when I saw the self-destructive effects of this in someone I was close to. It was a punch to the face. Now, we can sit here and blame the culture which shoves false beauty down our throats, or blame each other for thoughtless comments that hurt us more than we want to show, but all in all it comes down to one thing: Which voice are we listening to?
If you’ll allow me to be a little cheesy, I think that it all comes down to the actual word: Self-esteem. It is that first word, self, that sticks out to me. In our warped heads we try to think good about ourselves. This we know all to well, leads to more failure than victory. But in reality, we will never succeed in seeing ourselves for what we really are in this manner. Ever. Instead, we must always look to, what a Dr. Randy Cottingham refers to as, “God-esteem”. We must drown out what the enemy says about us, even what our “self” says about us, and listen to the only voice that matters. Father’s. Psalm 139 says, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” He knows us from top to bottom. He knows our best attributes and our darkest areas. It says that he knows what we are going to say before we even say it! Despite all of our flaws, it says that, “You hem me in—behind and before” He surrounds us. Dr. Cottingham said to me that “we are each the center of his attention, and there is no circumference.”
So God, knowing us better than we even know ourselves, has to have the final say in who we are. In what our identity is. Why? Because the Psalmist continues to say, “For you created my inmost being”. Because He made it! He made our identity. He created the most inmost, deepest, parts of us. So what does He say about us? What is our God-esteem that we should focus on? David continues to say, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” The Bible says that we are IMAGO DEI, which means, “Image of God”. How can we argue about creation to the Creator?
Then there is the sin factor. Sin can consume us so much that we believe that we are the exception to IMAGO DEI. It comes down to an Old Self/New Self argument. Do we believe that the old self has really died? That the self that was once a “slave to sin” is really as dead as the Bible tells us it is? And if we choose to believe the Bible and believe that it is dead than why are we still clinging on to it? The truth is this:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
If you are saved, you can choose to accept or reject that, but it is Truth regardless. If you are not saved, this Truth is within your reach. So if we accept this truth, and still choose to believe our SELF-esteem instead of our GOD-esteem, then all of those names we call ourselves, all of those flaws we point out, and all those moments we spend staring at ourselves in disgust in the mirror we are really directing now at Christ (because “it is no longer I”). This is not a guilt trip or scare tactics to try to keep you from blaspheme. Instead it is an eye-opener to where Christ is in all of this. When you look at yourself in the mirror, or examine your soul you are given three choices on who to believe. The enemy, self, or God. The trick is that the enemy will cloud your judgment about yourself and put a veil over your eyes so that you cannot see the Truth. The Truth is that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are fearfully and wonderfully made BY HIM! God doesn’t screw up. Every detail about you and your innermost being is wonderfully made. This is what God thinks of you. And…
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!”