Is It Possible to Grow Healthy Self-Esteem?

    In this culture of comparison, competition, airbrushed, and photoshopped magazine covers, and unrealistic expectations, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young women to feel a healthy sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

    Either they struggle with haughtiness and pride, overly esteeming themselves beyond what is appropriate and believing they are better than everyone else, or else they constantly feel as if they do not measure up. They feel as if they can’t be themselves because who they are isn’t good enough, pretty enough, talented enough, or smart enough.

    The solution to this problem, however, is not found in merely looking inward, thinking better about ourselves, or purposing in our hearts to strive to lift up and esteem others more than we already do. The solution to all of life’s problems is always ultimately found in Christ, and the solution to the problem of unhealthy self-esteem is found in remembering who we are in Him. It’s not about making ourselves prettier, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, or becoming a better version of ourselves so that we might be more easily able to have a healthy self-esteem. Instead, it’s about remembering 4 important characteristics about who we are in Christ.

    You are an image-bearer of God.

    Genesis 1:27 tells us that “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” You already have great worth and valid reason for a healthy sense of self-esteem, dear girl, because you were created in the very image of God Himself. You were created with a brain to think, process, and reason, a spirit, and soul to express personality, develop interests, and present a unique picture to the world of what it means to be an image-bearer, a heart to love, and a body to serve. Being made in God’s image means a healthy sense of self-esteem is not only possible to have, but appropriate, as well.

    You are an ambassador of Christ tasked with fulfilling the Great Commission.

    Second Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” We can cultivate a healthy sense of self-esteem because far from somehow having to measure up or impress or emulate others, we already have a special purpose we have been given to live out every day of our lives.

    As image-bearers of God and ambassadors of Christ, it is our mission to live out the Great Commission given to us by Christ: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20).”

    This means that we already have an important mission in life and a unique way to fulfill it as a unique individual with a unique personality. There’s no reason for us to constantly compare ourselves to others or think that if we somehow just copy the right person, then we will be ok. No, be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do!

    You are beautifully and perfectly fashioned.

    Psalm 139:13-15 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”

    Typically the most common area we as girls struggle in when it comes to having self-esteem is in the area of our physical attributes, our beauty. The beautiful words of Psalm 139 assure us, however, that God made no mistakes when He uniquely and intricately formed and fashioned each one of us. We are beautiful in His eyes, which means we can delight in and rest in that truth, forsaking the cultural pull to constantly be “making yourself more beautiful”.

    You are already accepted and approved of by God.

    When we are battling a low view of ourselves and seriously lacking in healthy self-esteem, it can be hard for us to believe that we are accepted and loved by God. This is where the beautiful truth of Ephesians 1:4-6 comes in! “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

    The truth is that if you have trusted and believed in Christ as your Savior, you have been adopted into the family of God, fully loved, accepted, and approved of by Him. He sees you as being a redeemed saint in Christ, someone who has been washed in the blood of the Savior and is perfect in His sight. You never have to cower when coming to God in prayer. You never have to wonder if you are “good enough” for Him.

    You never have to pretty yourself up for Him or make yourself better. Those are all things that He has already done for us – He has said we can approach Him with boldness through the grace of His Son, He has made us new, and He has ceased our striving because Christ is enough on our behalf.

    Having a healthy sense of self-esteem is not about beating yourself up or belittling yourself so that you don’t become too prideful or haughty. Nor is it about fixing your eyes on yourself and marveling over how great you are on your own. Instead, it is about remembering not so much who you are, but who you are in Christ.

    It’s not so much about your image, but the God Whose image you bear. And it isn’t about tooting your own horn, but rather giving all praise, glory, and honor to the One Who formed and fashioned you, saved and redeemed you, and loves and accepts you. Keep that in mind, and you can’t go wrong!

    Rebekah Hargraves
    Rebekah Hargraves
    Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, blogger, podcaster, and author whose passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life. Rebekah's first book, "Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)" released the fall of 2017, and the "Lies Moms Believe" Companion Bible Study came out March 30, 2018. You can find Rebekah on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, on Instagram, or on iTunes via The Home and Hearth podcast.

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