I used to think that having a boyfriend would make me feel confident. Knowing that someone found me likeable enough, pretty enough or worthy enough to be in a relationship with me sounded like the solution to my low self-esteem. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, and when I wasn’t being asked out, I deemed this proof that what I saw was unworthy.
If I only had a boyfriend, I thought, I’d like who I was.
But I was wrong. Through multiple dating relationships and now my marriage to a great man, I’ve learned an important truth: Finding a boyfriend won’t make you like yourself. Finding a husband won’t, either. There is no earthly cure to a spiritual problem, and a negative view of self is a spiritual problem!
If you struggle with this mentality, here are four things to know.
1. Your value is not dictated by your relationship status.
Your value as a person is innate to your very being. I think most of us would agree that life has value; we talk about it when we reference the unborn. But do we apply that same truth to ourselves? If God knits us together in our mothers’ wombs and instills in each of us a unique soul, we must have value in His eyes. And no matter what people say or do on this earth, nothing can change the value He attributes to us.
Furthermore, those of us in Christ are granted His standing before God. Even in our unworthiness and sin (every one of us is affected by these), Jesus drapes us with His righteousness. This purity comes at the highest cost: His life! He made it possible for us to be in relationship with God. Having a boyfriend—or not—will never change this.
2. The love of a man cannot make you secure.
While a loving boyfriend or husband is a blessing, it’s not essential to live a life of joy and purpose. If you don’t believe this, I encourage you to pray through these feelings. God does not promise us everything we want when we want it. This was hard for me to swallow! I wanted a boyfriend because I wanted to FEEL loved by someone who chose me. Meanwhile, I was ignoring the love of God, who gave up everything to choose me. God’s love is the only security you can absolutely depend on. No man can provide that—even in marriage. There will be days when he hurts you, days when you doubt his affection and days when you wonder why you’re even with him at all…because he’s human! But God’s love never changes. The very fact that He created us knowing we could and would hurt Him is evidence of His love.
3. How you view yourself is a spiritual issue.
This is perhaps the most important thing to grasp. Unless you see insecurity and codependency as spiritual issues, you’ll continue to look to boyfriends as your rescue. Finding a boyfriend will not make you more secure in the long term. You might FEEL better at first, but emotions are not dependable. They can change at a moment’s notice.
Think about how you view yourself. If you constantly think negatively, or if you constantly exalt yourself, both of those views end in the same place: self. As believers, our eyes should not be focused on ourselves as much as they are focused on Jesus. When you look to Him, you’re allowing Him to change your heart and your behavior. You will find, as you turn your eyes to Him every time you’re tempted to berate yourself, He speaks truth to your heart. This truth, when embraced, becomes confidence.
You will never be free of low self-esteem by dating more people or thinking more about yourself. You find freedom by seeking God, worshipping Jesus and speaking His truth over your life.
4. Regardless of relationship status, God is your ever-present help.
As your friends date and marry, keep God central. He wants to help you and He is ready to rescue you. As you walk with Him in faith, He opens doors of opportunity—even opportunities to date! But insecurity makes us desperate, and desperation results in bad dating decisions (I know this from experience!).
So keep your heart rooted in Him. Let Him define your identity. And make the daily, hourly practice of trusting your God part of your character. You will never regret it.