Sunday, June 5, 2011

Self-esteem vs. True humility

I have been tossing around in my mind what to blog about. There have so many good blogable ideas. Should I blog about Seeking First His Kingdom, the value of motherhood, my homecoming with the boys, or what I think is a better answer for self-esteem? After much dilemna and prayer I have decided to blog about the self-esteem -- the lie that has plagued our society and infiltrated the church. This blog was inspired by a personal eye opening experience that happened for me this week in my own relationship with the Lord.

As a Christian who has been working in the mental health field for a while now I have had to grapple with some issues that could compromise faith. I vowed to put my theology before my psychology from the beginning. I made it a point to never go against scripture in any of my counseling interventions. I might not have always been able to quote chapter and verse, but would have a Biblical basis for any intervention I would utilize. That served me well for eight and a half years. Even though I have stopped doing therapy I still have a few things to say about self-esteem.

This week I was watching a Veggie Tales video with Caleb and Simeon-- God Made You Special. At the end of this video there is a story about snoodles. Snoodles are created instead of being born. When they appear they are given the gifts that their creator intends for them to use in the purpose each one was intended to accomplish. One snoodle apparently was given some gifts that were different and so the other snoodles would draw pictures of him that put him down. As each picture was drawn the little snoodle would accept the picture and put it in his backpack. After a while the snoodle started to feel like he was a worthless snoodle. So he left. As he journeyed others added negative pictures to his pack which by this point was pretty heavy. Then as he continues on his journey he encounters his creator. The snoodle's creator had the little snoodle throw away all the other pictures that had been weighing him down. The Creator gave him a new picture of him to put in the backpack-- a picture of how the Creator sees the snoodle. This picture shows a strong, free, and happy snoodle who is doing what he was created to do. Then the Creator tells the snoodle that the only picture he needs in his backpack is this new picture. When the snoodle accepts this new picture he is free, he can fly, and he is much happier.

I have never been able to lead a self-esteem group or counsel in the area of self-esteem in the way the books I have read have suggested because I do not find it Biblical. If we look inside ourselves to find our value then we don't find what we need to develop this "self-esteem". Our value does not come from ourselves. It comes from our loving, heavenly Father who created us. It HIS view of us that we need to be grasping, not some illusion of how good we are. The illusion we create for ourselves is first of all not accurate and second of all unstable. One minute the things we have used to find our value or "self-esteem" are there, but the next minute they could be gone. However, God's view of us is constant. His love for us is unconditional. Therefore, HIS view of each one of us is never going to change. So we can count on it and should base our value on that instead of the illusionary "self-esteem".

This ironically is also the solution to pride as well. If we each gain a view of how God sees us then we will not see ourselves too highly or too low. That is true humility. When I was in YWAM they taught my DTS class that humility is seeing ourselves the way God sees us. So instead of trying to gain self-esteem perhaps we should be asking God for true humility.

What can we learn from this snoodle mentioned above. Perhaps that we should each individually ask our creator for a picture of how he sees us. He values us so much that he sent his one and only son Jesus to die a gruesome, cruel death in order for us to have forgiveness for our sins. If we are that important then our value must be very high. Neil T. Anderson has a list of things that show our value and are in each individual picture God has of his children. The list goes as follows:

I am God's child (John 1:12).

I am a friend of Christ (John 15:15).

I have been justified (Romans 5:1).

I am united with the Lord and am one with him in spirit (I Corinthians 6:17).

I have been bought with a price and I belong to God (I Corinthians 6: 19-20).

I am a member of Christ's body (I Corinthians 12:27).

I have been chosen by God and adopted as his child (Ephesians 1:3-8).

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10).

I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).

I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2).

I am assured that God works for good in all my circumstances (Romans 8:28).

I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39).

I have been established, annointed, and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4).

I am confident that God will complete the good work he started in me (Philippians 1:6).

I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)

I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

I am born of God and the evil one can not touch me (I John 5:18).

I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of his life (John 15:5).

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16).

I am God's temple (I Corinthians 3:16).

I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6).

I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12).

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

This list is in the book The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson. He also has a ministry titled Freedom In Christ Ministries. The website is

This week as I was watching the video with my children I realized that I somehow had lost the picture God had drawn that shows how he sees me. At one point I felt pretty confident in the Lord and his unconditional love for me. However, at some point I have lost sight of it and started doing what this little snoodle did and started accepting others pictures of me. I just knew I disappointed everyone and that no one liked me-- even though that is not true. I have found myself longing for someone's approval and acceptance. However, no matter how much approval or acceptance others have given me I still have felt insecure, lost, and alone. I realized that I have been holding on to negative thoughts and comments about me and have been vulnerable to the opinions of others. This is not a good place to be for many reasons. One reason is that others opinions change all the time. The second is that others opinions are not always accurate. However, the most important reason is that no matter how much another person approves of me it will never satisfy what I am longing for-- that is God's approval and acceptance. Ironically, I have been looking for approval and acceptance, but have had it the whole time from the Lord. Like I said before no matter how much approval and accpetance I recieve from others it will never satisfy the deepest longings of my heart-- only God can. So I like that snoodle have accepted pictures of myself that are not true. So I am letting go of them and allowing God to draw my portrait as he sees me. Sometimes this will be easy-- other times difficult, but no matter what it will meet my deepest needs and give me true humility instead of the very much unsatisfying self-esteem.

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