As I read Lisa Bevere’s book: Without Rival, doubt fills my heart. Why? Because I don’t yet fully believe that I can stop comparing myself to the fabulous people that I see every day.
This makes the book – which explores the uniqueness of each individual, God’s unique love for each of his children and the need to not compare ourselves with others – ideal for me.
Often, I find myself transfixed by social media profiles or posts gazing at flawless pictures and well-worded posts that reveal high achievements, beauty, perfect children and spouses, and fantastic travel destinations. And, yes, I know people often update highlights of their lives. But the posts usually tag at my heartstrings more often than I care to admit.
Frequently, I have found myself anxiously looking for the perfect picture to update or carefully editing one to some acceptable standard of beauty. And while I try not to mind the number of likes or comments that I get on a particular post, I am elated when the figures are high.
The world has bombarded with its version of what is beautiful, successful, popular and prosperous. Many times we cannot live up to the standards set. If we don’t go back to our creator, our God, to find out his definition of all this, we risk being wrecked by the ever-changing standards of the world. We risk developing a low self-image when we don’t qualify and as a result a low self-esteem.
Now, low self-esteem often results from life experiences we go through, add to this the pressures of life and the result is a mentality of mediocrity.
In this second post in this series: Broken to be given (read Part 1 here), allow me to share a bit of my struggle with low self-esteem and what I call the grasshopper mentality.
A grasshopper in my own eyes
“There we saw the giants, and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:33
When I started reading Stephen Covey’s book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I barely got through the first few pages when my entire life flashed past my eyes. I saw my life as a series of reactions to events, no pro-activity at all. I saw the many wasted opportunities and longed to turn back the hands of time.
I am an introvert and I tend to the quiet side. Unfortunately, my quiet nature led to being labeled shy. I never thought I was shy, but it was repeated so often that I started to believe it myself. As a result, I became laid back and rarely ventured to do anything that would put me in the spotlight. Once in a while, I surprised myself (and many others) by making a presentation confidently and articulately. But most times I stayed in the shadows. I became woefully comfortable in this state.
As I continue on this journey of self-discovery I have had to admit my low self-esteem. I have never seen myself worthy of the spotlight. I never thought I was pretty enough, I never thought I was talented in any way. The popular question, “What is your talent?” always drew a blank stare from me. Even when I saw a flicker of a flame in an area of talent, I would back off, afraid that it was all in my head. I was afraid of being wrong, scared of falling and terrified of failing.
I see giants all around me: the beautiful, the talented, the rich and the fabulous. I have admired many of them, revered some, and wondered at my bland life. The Lord showed me that I had developed a grasshopper mentality. I had acquired a low self-image and I looked to the world for approval instead of looking to Christ.
What am I doing about this? I am venturing back to scripture; to what God says about me in His Word, because His Word is true.
Building my self-esteem
1. Receiving and believing the great love that God has for me.
It is a pure never ending love of a good Father. A love that has searched me out, ran after me, encircled me and overwhelmed me. God loves unconditionally. There is literally nothing you could ever do to stop him from loving you.
“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love” Jeremiah 31:3
2. Accepting how the good Lord created me.
God is my creator; I am his masterpiece, uniquely and wonderfully made.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14
3. Knowing that I have a purpose.
God made me for such a time as this to fulfill His purpose for me in this life. He is leading me in my purpose
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
“And in Your book, they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Psalms 139:16
Be encouraged today to step up and embrace yourself. See yourself as God sees you. Choose to be intentional and proactive about what happens to your life. Don’t simply react to events; don’t simply accept standards that are not set in God’s word.
Refuse mediocrity and ask God to lead you into your purpose. Let His love lift you up and fill you with confidence.
You are loved with an everlasting love. You are important. You are without rival in all creation; who, then, could you possibly compare yourself to?