Thursday, September 20, 2012

Self- Esteem and God

I wrote this because it has been on my heart the last few days. I know how relevant it is and how many people (including myself) struggle with it. I am always trying to build people up, and having these thoughts combined and synthesized was helpful for me. The truth is, I did six years of college so that I would have the chance to encourage, build up, and help people draw closer to the living God. I hope this is helpful to anyone who chances to stumble across this. :) 


Not only do most people deal with self-esteem issues, it is especially a hard area for young people.  Self-esteem often plays a role in issues like depression, substance use, aggression, and anxiety. The company Dove did some research on woman and self-esteem, and found some surprising facts.
-Only 4% of woman ages 18-29 (much lower if you broaden the age range), worldwide consider themselves beautiful
-Also, it was largely found, that especially for woman, how one is treated and feels loved has an impact on how beautiful they feel (being loved was 88% of 100%)
-Their respondents felt that despite how harshly they judged themselves, that internal beauty was more important, and that there are many kinds of beauty.

I found very little research on self-esteem and boys, and I am sorry for that. It seems to be must harder to research, however, from what I did find, and have personally seen, self-esteem is definitely an issue for guys as well. While guys seem to joke a lot, there is a definite stigma and an expectation that guys feel they have to be met to be respected and worth while.
We, as Christians, believe that every person is a unique and beautiful creation of God. Everyone is worth loving and has something to give to the world. This is something we need to be communicating with those around us.

So here are four things to think about and use when helping others with self-esteem:
-First, use the Bible: There are tons of great bible verses on how much God loves us. More than that, the whole Bible really is telling a story about how God so loved each and every one of us. If God loved us enough to die to save us, we are worth Jesus own life to God, we are precious. Here are some verses you can give to a person struggling with self-esteem:
    -Psalm 139
    -Isaiah 64:8
    -1 Jn 3:1-2
    -1 Cor 6:20
These are SO important because they will help combat those things a person tells themself. Each person has beliefs and thoughts about themselves, who they are, and what they are worth, these “automatic thoughts” are constantly coming. These thoughts can be constructive or destructive. If the thoughts are constantly degrading, having scriptures ready to combat the thoughts will be instrumental in changing a person’s attitude about themself.

-Second, start with yourself. It will be hard to help someone else do something you have no done. We all have areas of ourselves that we feel weak in, but we need to give these to God. The Bible says that in our weakness, he is strong, so it is through our own lack that God can work (2 Cor. 12:9). Take some time this week to sit and think about your own self-esteem. What areas would you like to change? Can you/do you love yourself anyway? Do you believe Jesus really loves you just the way you are? Can you love yourself the way Jesus loves you? Think about what sort of images you saw as a child and thought were perfection. How do you measure up to those? Remember, self-esteem is not a one-time thing. Situations all week will lead us to question our worth, keep going back to God and letting those concerns go to Him. Ask him to help you build your self-esteem; your feelings of self-worth.

-Also, encourage health. Again, this will start with you. People who act and feel healthy tend to have much better self-esteem. Encourage being active, eating healthy, and having quality relationships with the people around them.

-Lastly, when you are talking with a person, be ready to take them the way they are. You can’t force someone to see their own worth, but they will start to see it through how you see them. Encourage them, more than just what they wear or what they do, but for who they are and the unique talents they have. If they tell you that they play basketball pretty well, be ready to compliment them as a person for being skilled, dedicated, or athletic. If they look nice, say they are a very stylish person, opposed to just telling them having a nice outfit. If they are helpful, thank them, and tell them what a cool person they are.

Friday, September 14, 2012

In Desperation -> God

In Desperation -> God
It isn’t until we hurt desperately that we can truly cry out to God like the deer panting in thirst, and hear his sweet whisper like water. It isn’t until we lie on the ground sobbing, praying without the words to even explain, that we can feel his comfort near as our own selves, near as our own pain. And not just near like a human can be near. He is the only one who can be truly near, truly walk WITH us; KNOWING us. As he wipes the judgment from our brows and the tears from our eyes, we see His character so clearly. I truly adore Him, for saving me from sin, and for saving me daily. As someone who is always too hard on themselves, to the point of mentally punishing myself for mistakes, I survive because God speaks to me without condemnation. He reminds me I am his love, his pride, his joy. He teaches me when I need to do something different, but he never points the finger, and reminds me to stop doing it to myself.
Thank you Abba; thank you Patient Father

Monday, September 10, 2012

Still Longing for Heaven

It’s amazing the power that little life-things have. Some days just seem overwhelming, not because of one big thing, but a bunch of little things that just pile up. When the last thing hits ya, it’s usually a very well-aimed shot from the enemy. Somehow, he manages to find those places and ways that hurt most. That’s how I found myself crying in the dark, on a cold set of bleachers last night. I have no one to blame really, and I know part of it was because I had put effort into praying for some people’s salvation, and it ticked him off. Even knowing it was only an attack, my heart hurt so bad I felt like I would never stand again. Its rare for me to feel that really acute sense of pain. As another two friends and a brother prepare to move away, it stings again, and reminds me how many friends of mine are far out of reach.

In the same right though, it is those little things that God uses to call us back, remind us who we are, and challenge us to do better. I got to spend some quality time on the phone with a good friend, having someone to pray with me reminded me how much I appreciated those God has given me. It was a beautiful day that I woke to today, and a mother’s wisdom that calmed me and mentored me. It was God’s pressure on my heart that called me to forgive, and let the pain go, no matter what. And it was the pleasure of helping edit a friend’s testimony that reminded me of God’s great love. Reading it was like watching God work first hand.  

I write all this to say simply that life is this, up’s and down’s and surprises everywhere (good and bad). It’s hardly ever what I expect, and wonderful in its own way, but I still long for heaven. Every pain in my heart, every ache in my body, and every misstep I take reminds me I want to go home. Till then, I hope to be used greatly, that my many faults be forgiven, and my relationship with God to be ever increased.