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Self-Esteem: Why Christian Girls Don’t Need it

By: Kristen Clark

Meet Jenny. She’s a tall and lanky high school girl who wishes she was shorter and prettier.

Jenny hates the way she looks. She’s never had a boyfriend and blames it on the fact that she’s too tall and too ugly. Years of bitterness and anger turn Jenny into a depressed young woman.

Her parents decide to take her to a counselor.

After hearing about her problems, the counselor explained to Jenny that she suffered from having low self-esteem. The counselor said that the solution to this problem is to simply love and accept herself more.

Like Jenny, millions of girls around the world are struggling with similar feelings about themselves. It makes sense too! We live in a culture that promotes bone-skinny models as “beautiful” and encourages girls to “hook up” at a young age.

It’s easy to feel insecure, ugly and out of place in a world with so many expectations.

True confession here: When I was younger, I had a serious case of I-hate-my-nose. I didn’t like the way my thick nose sat on my face at all! I dreamed of having a slender, super skinny nose and secretly thought about getting nose surgery one day.

Why did I hate my nose so much? Honestly, it’s because a lot of supermodels and famous actresses had skinny little noses and I wanted to be pretty like them. For me, beauty meant that I needed to have a skinny nose.

Whether it’s your nose, your hair, your body, your social status, your “likes” on Facebook, or something else…we all struggle with feeling like we’re not “good enough” from time to time.

In order to come up with a solution for this epidemic of people feeling bad about themselves, psychologists invented the term “self-esteem.” I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before.

In fact, maybe you’ve even been labeled with it.

I’m sure I would have been given that label when I struggled with the I-hate-my-nose syndrome.

So what exactly is self-esteem anyways? Here’s how most people define it: “Feelings of worth based on your skills, accomplishments, status, financial resources, or appearance.” [1]

Wow! No wonder why so many girls get labeled as having low self-esteem problems. Unless you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread (in every category of life) you’re probably going to struggle with some feelings of worthlessness.

As good as the term self-esteem sounds, it has two MAJOR flaws.

One: It’s entirely based on how YOU feel about yourself.
Two: The solution to solving the problem is to “love” yourself more.

A doctor named Christina Hibbert explains 5 reasons for why she thinks self-esteem is a myth. She says, “We can never build a permanent sense of our own worth if we base our worth on things that are bound to change. This is why self-esteem is a myth:

1. Self-esteem is based on what we do and how we behave.
2. Self-esteem is based on how we feel about ourselves.
3. Self-esteem is based on what we think about ourselves.
4. Self-esteem is based on how we’re doing compared to others.
5. Self-esteem is based entirely on judgments, whether from others or from ourselves.”

As Christian girls, we know that our worth and value doesn’t come from what other people think about us or from how well we perform in life. Our worth and value has nothing to do with us “earning” it. We can love ourselves to the moon and back and will still struggle with feelings of worthlessness.

Why? Because we aren’t good enough on our own.

Psalm 16:2 says, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Apart from Christ you don’t have anything to be proud of. You have nothing worth boasting about on your own. In fact, apart from Christ all of your good works are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6).

The only way to completely overcome low self-esteem is to recognize where your “good” comes from. Christ is the only good in you. He is the one you should be focused on loving and esteeming.

What we all need is less SELF-esteem and more CHRIST-esteem.

Remember Jenny from the beginning? If she takes the route of loving herself more to boost her self-esteem, she won’t find lasting security. Even if she had a boyfriend and learned how to accept her height, she would still find something else to feel worthless about.

Until Jenny learns to view her height, body, and looks as a creative masterpiece of her loving Savior, she will never be happy. She will always compare herself to other girls. Until she can learn to gratefully accept the body God gave her, she will not be content. Until she finds her security in Christ and not a boyfriend, no amount of guy attention will satisfy.

The best way to fix low self-esteem issues is to set ourselves aside and instead focus on esteeming our Savior, Jesus. I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s true.

A girl whose heart and mind are diligently focused on serving God, loving His people, and sharing His gospel rarely has time to feel worthless.

A girl who knows she’s made in the image of God and is uniquely designed by her Creator will dismiss the lies of the enemy that she’s worthless. A girl who has never had a boyfriend can still feel valuable because she’s focused on God’s opinion of her and not what her friends think.

I love how Leslie Ludy puts it. “When we let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus Christ, our personal insecurities will melt away. We no longer look to ourselves – our own merit, talent, beauty, or uniqueness – to find confidence. Instead, we learn to find our confidence in who He is, rather than in who we are.”

The next time you’re feeling down about yourself, stop and ask yourself these three questions:

1. Am I focused on serving Christ right now, or serving myself?
2. Am I more concerned with what people think about me or what God thinks about me?
3. Am I displaying a heart of ingratitude or gratitude to God right now?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

If you, or someone you know, has ever been labeled with a “low self esteem” problem, what was the solution? What is Christ-centered or man-centered?

Notes: [1]

Photo credit: | Victoriia Z

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