Self-worth isn't Self-ish

it's time to appreciate who you are

Living out and pursuing the Dream that God is placing in our hearts is so tied together with our feelings of self-worth and identity, it’s impossible to separate the two.

Because of this, some of us avoid thinking about a Dream for our lives at all, simply because we’ve been told, or even strictly taught, that anything with the word “self” attached to it is automatically “selfish.”

what we

’ve been told

When it comes to having self-worth, to improving one’s self-image, many of us have heard… don’t do it.

Don’t look at yourself. Don’t even think about yourself. You’re a wretch, and just lucky God saved you. Don’t go getting ideas.

But how are we supposed to adequately understand who we are, and our place in the kingdom-building work of God, without taking at least an occasional look at our gifts and strengths? Without spending some “quality time” with ourselves?

Or perhaps we’ve been given the opposite message as we’ve matured.... You’re special. You’re a winner. Everything you do is awesome.

And then we get out into the world, get hit with the cold reality of competition in almost every area of life, realize we’re not as special as we might have thought, and then spiral downward into the same place of self-condemnation and even self-pity. (At which point, those in the first camp make us feel guilty for those self attached words!)

when is our dream worth something


When do we, and our Dream, become important enough to look at, to think about, to follow in ways that necessitate taking time with ourselves?

For younger women, the unspoken message is often to live life “on hold” until they meet the right person to marry. The implication is that any Dream for your life should be at least attached to (if not deferred to) the Dream of your husband or of marriage. Often marriage itself even becomes the dream, rather than being a partnership between two people working shoulder-to-shoulder in kingdom-building purposes.

the great commandment

As women of faith, we often talk about the Great Commandment – the injunction Jesus gave to “Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark, 12:30-31)

We are quick to point out that living a life that pleases God means loving God and loving others.

Somehow we lose the “as yourself” part.

Am I loving others in the same way that I love myself?

Yes, there’s the argument that everyone loves themselves in the sense of self-preservation and survival. But do we really think those simple basic instincts are the “same way” that we’re supposed to love others?

Or is it possible that we’re also called to appreciate, understand, affirm, care for, be patient with, show kindness to, avoid harsh criticism of, show compassion to, and yes, even love ourselves?

Depending on your age and upbringing, that idea may seem either heretically arrogant, or simply impossible to do.

love myself

? are you sure?

Is it arrogant?

How do we define humility? Is it only refusing to think of ourselves at all? Or is it seeing ourselves fully, in all our God-given glory, and then submitting our life’s purpose to the One who created us and our purpose, and has a special work in His kingdom for us to do?

Is it impossible?

How do we accomplish it? Believing you’re worth the time to understand and appreciate is the first step. Actually taking the time to uncover who you are is the next. And then believing what you find out is the third, and perhaps toughest, step of all.

Even if you’re not a journaler, try writing down just a few of the negative things you believe about yourself.

Now imagine calling up a friend and saying, “I want to tell you what I think of you,” and then reading her that list. Would your friend be devastated by the things you said? Then why would you ever say them to yourself? Is it possible they are lies?

remember these truths


God loves you. He loves you extravagantly.

God has instructed others to love you. To love you exceedingly well.

Why, then, would He desire you to dismiss yourself as worthless?

We want to strive for humility. To always think of others before ourselves. Above all to think of God’s purposes in this world.

But we must find the balance. Are we more special than anyone else? No. But then are we nothing? Definitely not.

If this is an area of struggle, take some time to really search out what God says about how He created you, about the gifts He’s given you, and about how He wants you to use them. Look up passages that touch on issues of self-worth, and start listening to truth, rather than the voice in your head repeating what you’ve always been told.

It’s time to shine. To let our light shine brightly before others, so they can see who and what we are, and then glorify our Father in heaven.

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