Question of the Week: Self-esteem vs. God-esteem.

Sorry for being MIA this week!  It’s been nuts!  I was the hat designer for the royal wedding so that kept me a little busy…

Much thanks to Ana for the question this week!

Can you talk about self-esteem and God-esteem??

I touched on this briefly in a blog in the Are Women Crazy series.

The world says the solution to insecurity is self-esteem: belief in self.

Our culture says insecurity is directly linked to self-esteem; we don’t believe in ourselves enough.  I define insecurity a little differently, and so that leads me to have a different perspective on self-esteem.

Insecurity: putting your hope or your worth or value in any place that is not secure; any place that can fail you.

The Bible says the solution to insecurity is God-esteem.

The Bible doesn’t seem to think my works or my talents or my gifts or abilities are a good place for me to find my worth or value.  The Bible says I am not a secure source of hope; if I put my worth in self I am not secure; insecure.

The Gospel calls me to remove hope in self and place it in God.  The Gospel calls me to proclaim for the world to hear that I am not good enough on my own.  It calls me to declare I don’t have faith in my ability to finish this thing.  It calls me to turn to God instead.

Self-esteem is the enemy of God-esteem.

Paul says that the mark of a true believers is that we put no confidence in the flesh; we put no hope in our selves.  He explains all the things he might have ‘esteem’ in about himself: his heritage, his passion for the Church, his knowledge of Scripture, or being a good person.

Paul counts all the things that might cause him to have great self-esteem as trash; they are worthless places to put hope or confidence if you want to know Jesus.  According to Paul self-esteem and God-esteem are incompatible.  You cannot have a shred of confidence in the flesh and still have confidence in God.  You either have faith in God or faith in self.

Which makes are application easy: do you put confidence in the flesh?

Of course not, right?  You’ve gone to sunday school long enough to know the right answer.  Let me ask the question another way:

Do you feel more secure when you get a promotion?  Do you feel less secure when you get negative feedback?  Do you feel more valued when people praise you?  Do you feel less valued when they don’t?  What’s your favorite thing about yourself?  What if you lost that ability or skill or gift?  Would your value or worth be shaken?

God-esteem does not mean self-hate.

So often we think that if we don’t have self-esteem we can’t love ourselves or others.  We think that if we remove all self-hope then we will be left with self-hate.  The reality is, the more we find our security in God alone, the more we will be freed up to love ourselves and others.

When I have a girl in my office who thinks she is ugly, or too screwed up to be redeemed or too broken to ever be used  mightily, she does not need more self-esteem.  She has too much self-esteem and too little God-esteem.  She is looking to her self as a source for hope instead of God.  If she had greater God-esteem she would esteem the work of God’s hands.  She would believe He is powerful enough to use broken people.  She would know that her words testify the blood of Christ is not sufficient to save.  She would realize every word spoken against her appearance is a word spoken against God.

If I look at a vase and comment on how poorly constructed it is, I am not primarily offending the vase, but the artist who molded it.

God-esteem will free us up to believe we can be used.  God-esteem will free us up to love how we are made.  God-esteem will free us up to worship God for both our strengths and our weaknesses.  God-esteem will free us up to accept our flaws without insecurity, and in faith that He is stronger.

The way we feel about ourselves or others will testify to where we find our worth.  If I love God, if I put all my faith in Him, I can love self and others without insecurity.

We aren’t called to believe in ourselves, but we are called to believe in God in us.  We are called to believe that He is stronger than our flesh and we are called to believe we are new and precious creations in Him.

Thanks for the question Ana!

I’m praying for a generation of women to rise up who believe in God so deeply that they would guard their tongues with holy fear before they speak against God’s creation. I’m praying for me and you to be women who are free to love without insecurity because we are found secure in Christ.

2 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Self-esteem vs. God-esteem.

  1. “What a tiring way to live when your self-worth is constantly relying on the affirmation and approval of others.” – Darlene Zschech

    Thanks SO much, Fabs! I learned a little bit more about myself through your blog tonight! Praying for a heart that seeks affirmation and worth solely on Him!

    Lots of love,

  2. this is definitely all up in my wheelhouse. just heard a sermon about this today. praying the truth in my mind penetrates my heart. sooner than later.

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