Building Your Self-Esteem
Are you like many Christians who look fine on the outside and appear that you have it all together, but on the inside you are falling apart…you’re filled with guilt and shame because of things you’ve been through in your past? God cares more about the condition of your heart than He does the style of your hair or how many times you go to church each week. He cares about the inside of you.
So, how do you develop healthy self-esteem? I have discovered three steps, in my own life, that have helped me break free from the shame that seemed to torment me for many years to being able to lift my head knowing that my confidence comes solely from Jesus.
#1 Open your eyes. See yourself the way God sees you.
In order to be free from shame and guilt, you can’t be closed up on the inside and expect God to do a work in you. You have to open yourself up to Him and receive His love, His forgiveness, His acceptance. You absolutely must get consumed with God’s unconditional love for you personally.
Once you’ve repented and come clean before God, leaving nothing behind, you are FORGIVEN! Immediately. God never consults your past to determine your future! He will never reject you no matter what you’ve done. You have to choose to see yourself forgiven (Heb. 13:5-6).
Jesus died for the very purpose of healing your wounds, your bruises, your scars. He held His head down in shame on that cross so that yours could be lifted up. He took care of it all, everything you’ve been through or will ever go through, in one final sacrifice. Are you going to punish yourself for a lifetime over your past mistakes and sins? It won’t make you feel any better. It will only make you mad, frustrated and miserable with yourself.
In my own experiences with deep-rooted shame and guilt, I had to close my eyes and truly see the blood of Jesus washing my sins away from my head (my memories of it), to my heart (all the brokenness and wounds) to my toes (all the residue of sin gone from me). And you do, too, if you’re ever going to truly let go of those things that have pressed you down on the inside and caused you to carry shame.
Maybe you’ve been able to hide your shame and guilt very well from those around you. God doesn’t want you having to work that hard to be somebody you’re not. You’re forgiven. You’re a child of God. You’re valuable and you were worth the blood of Jesus being shed for you.
Shame and guilt cause you to…
- …stop the plan of God for your life.
- …live a wasted, miserable, "existing" life.
- …always wonder what you could have been or could have done.
- …see yourself beneath everyone else
- …miss out on opportunities God brings your way because you don’t feel deserving or qualified.
- …give into temptations (pressure, sin) that you know you shouldn’t, but you don’t feel valuable enough to stand up for yourself.
- …be someone you’re not.
- …hold your head down, instead of up!
That’s why I love what Psalm 3:3 says, "But thou O Lord art a shield for me, the glory and the lifter of my head." God needs you to be confident with your head up and your shoulders back so you can fulfill the assignment He planned for you. Who else is going to do it? Time is wasting.
#2 Open your ears. Hear the Word more than you hear Satan’s lies.
Just when you think you can truly be forgiven, and possibly even used by God, Satan accuses you! He has a file on you and he refers to it quite a bit. He has been keeping a record of every wrong thing you’ve ever done and all he has to do is get that file out and remind you of how unworthy you really are. He is the "accuser of the brethren"—that’s what he does for a living! Any time God’s getting ready to advance you, promote you or do a new thing in your life, you can count on it—Satan will bring up your past.
You have to listen to God’s Word more than you’re listening to Satan’s lies. If you feed your spirit the truth—it will get stronger than those old feelings. It will require that you stop talking about it. Stop rehearsing it. Stop replaying it. Replace Satan’s lies with God’s truth by hearing, hearing, hearing, hearing the Word of God! Never stop. Make it a part of your daily routine. Consistency is the key to change.
#3 Open your mouth. Speak what you believe, not what you feel.
Satan will question your identity based on your past performance! He even did that with Jesus. Remember when Jesus was in the wilderness fasting for 40 days and nights, and Satan came along saying, "If you’re the son of God…"? He knew Jesus was the son of God! He never doubted whether or not Jesus was the son of God. But he wanted Jesus to. And he’ll do the same thing to you.
If you’re really a Christian, then why…
If you’re really a good wife, then why…
If you’re really a good mom, then why…
He’ll question your identity based on your past performance! Well, Jesus is our example, and He never doubted Who He was. He defeated the devil by simply stating, "It is written…." He spoke the Word of God and shut him up! And we have to do the same thing!
God loves you. He forgives you. He accepts you. He has given you every weapon you will ever need to overcome Satan, you just have to pick them up and use them!
Written by Terri Savelle Foy