“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Today I want us to talk about self-esteem. According to Wikipedia, self-esteem reflects a person’s overall evaluation of his or her own worth. It is, “the decision made by an individual as an attitude towards the self.” Go to any bookstore, and you will find rows and rows of self-help books written to help raise one’s self-esteem. These books are usually targeted at self-evaluation, self-reflection, or self-actualization. Self, self, self. Why are we all so desperate to feel good about ourselves?
Self-esteem, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Sometimes in Christian circles, it gets a bad rap. Sometimes in psychology circles, it gets too good of a rap. The truth is, however, somewhere in between. I do think it is important to God that we have biblical self-esteem. After all, how can we ever truly value the lives of others if we do not first know how to value our own? How can we truly believe that every person matters if we do not believe that we matter? So I am not anti-self-esteem. I am, rather, anti-self-exaltation. There is a difference.
In Psalm 139:14, King David gives us a picture of biblical self-esteem. David is praising God for how wonderfully He created him. He is worshiping God for the wonderful works He has done, recognizing that creating him was one of those wonderful works. David saw his own worth because He knew the glory and goodness of the One who created him. David believed that all of God’s works are wonderful; therefore he was one of those wonderful works. His self-esteem was not rooted in himself but in his Creator.
Think about this: What does it say about God when we put ourselves down or doubt our own worth? Are we not saying that God somehow messed up…that He got it wrong? It is possible to be humble, yet acknowledge how wonderfully God made you. It is possible to praise God for how He made you, even if you sometimes feel like He should have done it differently. When we choose to praise Him for exactly how He made us, we are saying that He is all-knowing and wise, good and trustworthy. When we see ourselves through His eyes, we can know that we have healthy, biblical self-esteem.
God, thank You for exactly how You made me – fearfully and wonderfully. I confess there are times I wish I could change Your handiwork. Please forgive me for refusing to see myself the way that You do. I never want to insult You as my Creator. In Jesus’ name, amen.