Self-esteem feels like a fickle thing. It can ebb and flow with the tides of each day. Sometimes we feel great, floating along as if on water, ready to take on anything that comes our way. Other times we feel utterly wrecked like a ship smashed into a shore being picked apart by scavenger birds. We turn on the news and feel our hearts break or soar. A phone call or work assignment can leave us deflated or encouraged. The words of a loved one, a stranger, or a friend can be the pick-me-up we think we need or the last straw to a terrible day. We surround ourselves with people or things that we expect will satisfy us. We look for our worth in our relationships with people and possessions alike.
Self-esteem is our estimate of ourselves. It is how we feel about and view ourselves, our abilities, and our value. We estimate what we can or cannot do, have or deserve, and our self-estimate can be too easily influenced by someone else’s estimate of us.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.1 John 3:1-3 ESV
When I first came to Christ I had friends I considered the best I’d ever had, and expected them to stay so for years to come. I finally had a recovering relationship with my dad, was close with my siblings, and was surrounded by people for the first time in my life. I changed, though, when I began my relationship with Jesus. It is said throughout scripture that we will become new when we start this relationship with our savior and I was a living testimony of this. I had no idea I was different but everyone around me saw it.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
In choosing a relationship with Jesus most of my other relationships ended. That was a huge hit to my self-esteem. In this, though, I realized that God was calling me out of unhealthy relationships that were crushing my self-esteem with lies and conformity and into a relationship with the one who would show me that I am worth so much more than what the world says I’m worth.
Through this, I have gained new self-esteem that I never experienced while looking at what the world said I should do, what my friends thought of me, and how my family treated me. I no longer estimated myself based on my relationship with the world, but instead found my value in Jesus.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2 ESV
We live in a world full of broken people, ourselves included, who all have a broken estimate of ourselves. God, on the other hand, sees us all as precious and valuable. He made each of us just the way we are on purpose and sent His Son to be a sacrifice so that we could have a relationship with Him, all while knowing we are broken and loving us anyway. God hard-wired us to desire a relationship with Him and His people, but often we disregard Him and chase after worldly things and approval, love, attention, and fulfillment from other broken people, placing our estimate far below God’s value of us.
‘You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. ‘Psalms 63:1-8 NIV
One of the biggest lessons we can learn while on this earth is that we don’t need, nor should we seek, the approval of the world around us. We don’t need to seek our worth in this world because God has already told us our worth when He sent His son to die so that we could have a relationship with Him.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:2 ESV
What are you chasing after?
Are you seeking approval from other broken people? Are you placing your value in earthly treasures? Is your self estimate based on what others think or say about you? Does your self-esteem plummet or rise because of your circumstances or your relationships with people?
When we put our relationship with God first we find our true worth and learn what healthy relationships look like between people. Coming into a relationship with Jesus allows you to get to know Him better, and in turn learn how to live better. Put your relationship with Him first in your life and He will show you that your true worth is priceless.
‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “ Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. ‘Romans 8:1-17 NIV