I’ve never been a big fan of developing “self esteem” in myself or in my
children. It’s such a flimsy concept. It seems to mean, depending on who is
defining it, “Feeling good about yourself.” But the Bible tells us that we are not
to be guided or ruled by our “feelings”. Instead we are to be ruled by the Truth.
This is why we say things like, “Love is a commitment,” and “Joy is the ability
to be happy despite your circumstances.” Joy isn’t just “being happy”, it’s a gift
from the Lord, a fruit of the Spirit, the ability to trust God so completely that
your feelings aren’t tossed to and fro by your situation.
If self esteem is feeling good about ourselves, what are we to base it on?
Weight? Income? Job? Looks? These are the things people obsess over and
pour their entire selves into in a desire to achieve better self esteem. But God
says these things are idols. And these are things we have no control over.
Weight changes every time we have a baby, and even as we get older. How
many women despair over the fact that being a stay at home mom has a much
lower paycheck than whatever they did before? Some will even flip burgers
just to have that external validation of a paycheck. Then there is the job. Some
women sacrifice everything for a better job–their children, husbands, sleep,
sanity and peace of mind. Looks…don’t even get me started. How much is
spent each year in plastic surgeries, not to mention makeup, clothing, etc.
These things aren’t evil in and of themselves. Please don’t get me wrong. But
when they become our idols, when we believe we must have them in order to
have “self esteem”, then we are not pursuing something good and right.
Instead, I want my children to develop self respect. This is real and tangible.
It’s not based on feelings, but on the knowledge that you have done what is