Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Healthy Self Esteem

What bothers you most in life?  Is it a poor self esteem?  Comparing yourself to others?  Feeling unappealing or rejected?

I can relate to such feelings.  I think we all can most likely; at least to a degree or at one time in our lives.  And what is so fascinating and interesting is that even those who appear to have it all together or like they could not relate to feeling unwanted or rejected is actually a misconception.  I remember seeing a television show many years ago about girls who got plastic surgery.  Two girls I remember specifically; one was pretty and innocent looking and the other was pretty and looked like any girl out there (this was before the surgery).  They both mentioned after getting plastic surgery that it had to do with pursuing change in her appearance because an ex boyfriend made her feel bad about herself and the first girl I mentioned wanted to get plastic surgery in order to be "more appealing" to men.

I found this quite saddening because it shows what an idol our looks can be to us; even to the extent of getting plastic surgery to alter our appearance so we can feel more accepted, appealing, or sexually attractive.

While I am not going to encourage you to simply accept yourself by saying you are beautiful when in reality, you feel the EXACT opposite...I will say that seeing beauty from a Biblical perspective and rejoicing in who God created you to be (along with taking care of yourself physically by proper amount of sleep, eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and exercising) is so important to building a healthy and God honoring confidence in how you look.

There are so many factors to how we see ourselves and whether we perceive our appearance as pretty or ugly.  It could be television and the media, comments we received growing up, how others treated us, a mental disorder, being compared to others, being overweight or too thin, or a low self esteem for various reasons.

There were plenty of times that I compared myself to other girls (even my sister) and it brought not any profit.  The only outcome was an envious heart, tears, putting myself down, questioning why I am like this and they are like that, and anger or bitterness toward girls who are prettier than me.  I remember when I used to hear people say something to the effect of, "Well, just make yourself the prettiest you yourself can be and then all will be well."  I really did not like this advice because I thought, "I don't like how I look!  Even if I lost weight...or wore prettier clothes...or straightened my hair...I wouldn't feel as pretty as other girls."

I remember my mom often saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  This phrase simply means that what one person finds attractive will not be in the eyes of someone else.  And this is probably a good thing when you think about it.  Psalm 139: 13-14 says, "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”     

Knowing that God is our Creator and there is uniqueness and diversity simply in all the different colors He has made, it would honestly be disrespectful and cruel of us to think, "There is only one look on females (or males) that is attractive!"

Why would we think this?  Believe it or not, not every guy out there likes girls who are skinny, blonde, and have blue eyes.  Nor does every female out there only find men attractive who are "tall, dark, and handsome".

My sister went on a trip years ago to another country.  I remember her saying, "Girls there are so pretty!"  After seeing a few photos of them, I thought, "No.  That is not what I find beautiful at all."

I have known girls who like men with blonde hair and others that like men with dark hair.  I have known guys that like girls of one race and not of another.  I have known both girls and guys that find different attire, eye color, hair color and style, personality, and weight attractive...all the while to have a variety of looks that conflict with what the others find attractive or may differ greatly!

Some people like straight hair, others like wavy or curly hair.  Some people like blue or green eyes, while others find brown eyes gorgeous.  Some people like when a girl or guy has some weight on their body, and others like when a girl or guy is quite slender.

Some find a certain fashion look attractive, while others find casual attire appealing.

Some people like others who are outgoing and some prefer people who are shy and more reserved.

And the list goes on.

And you know what I have discovered since I have accepted God's salvation and have grown in Him and am now living a life that is committed to Him (I am still learning and growing) and surrendered to Him?

When we grow in our relationship with God and know we are in right standing before Him through the salvation Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf and our acceptance of it and a daily commitment to the Lord made possible through His salvation...our sins are forgiven, our guilt has been taken away, and the sins that were once such strongholds before we are now gaining more control of and seeing sin for what it is...

We begin to like who we are and through God, we feel beautiful!  Beautiful with a new heart, new desires, and a new perspective through the lens of God's word and the work He has done and continues to do on our hearts.  Beautiful and grateful that we have repented of the sin that made us feel so unclean and ugly before.  Beautiful as God transforms our lives, builds the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (see Galatians 5: 22-23), seeks to purge, refine, and sanctify us, gives us the desire to be pure and to fear, trust, and obey God, and we gain victory over the thoughts, speech, and conduct that once held us captive (over time as we stay focused on God, walk in repentance, and renew our minds with the truth of God's word - see Romans 12: 2.)

Turn to God; the only One who can give you a new heart, a clean mind, and a godly and Biblical perspective toward life...the only One who can restore you of past regrets and pain, take away your guilt, and make you a new creature in Him (see Second Corinthians 5: 17), the One who can remove your fear of death, and set you free.  The One who holds your life in His hands, sees your every tear, hears your every prayer, and knows everything you would like in life, what causes you anxiety, joy, sadness, or delight.  The only One you can truly trust, rely upon, cling to, and rest in.


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