LOVED, ACCEPTED and ADEQUATE…GOD-CONFIDENT!
More and more researches being carried out in recent years have affirmed the problem of low self-image (low self-esteem) in our societies. It’s an epidemic festering on both young and old alike. The traffic warden thinks himself lower than the bank staff because of his poor education. The young teenage girl thinks herself less attractive to her mates, no thanks to what pimples had transformed her once-smooth-face into. The primary school teacher thinks himself lesser than a University Professor. The boy with speech-problem thinks himself less fortunate. The lady with a bow-leg thinks herself less accepted amidst her friends. And the list goes on and on…
SELF-IMAGE is the picture you have of yourself. This picture you hold of yourself will affect your self-esteem—the way you feel about yourself.
In responding to this malady, however, I think many of us have approached it unhealthily. We now have crusaders of SELF-CONFIDENCE here and there. Parents preach it to their children. As a result, many parents actually stopped spanking their kids or tapping them on the tush and saying, “That was a bad thing to do, John!” Today, young parents agonize over whether it’s even wise to send their little monster to the corner for a time-out, worried that it might damage his self-esteem if they tell him that biting a friend on the finger or fighting in public is not acceptable.
And the result? Take a trip to the prisons and see the results of undisciplined living. I’m convinced that many of today’s worst criminals have no shortage of self-confidence. What they lack is morality and respect for others! This is what happens when a culture tells everyone he is his own “god.” For crying out loud, Self-confidence is the belief in ourselves that we have what it takes to conquer whatever we may be facing in this life. What a joke!!! If we each self-confidently assert our own “godhood” who is to determine what is right and what is wrong? How can you claim that your belief system bests mine? And, more importantly, how do we avoid chaos and anarchy?
Anytime people in leadership attempt to build self-confidence by rewarding those who fail to perform at exceptional levels with the same trophies and grades that are received by the few who truly earn them, we are sending a damaging message to both groups. We are saying that your self-esteem is more important than your actual deeds.
So what’s the answer? I bet it has to do less with the “confidence” side of the equation, and more to do with the “self” side. I agree we should aggressively teach confidence, boldness, and optimism to every generation. But maybe, instead of telling ourselves that confidence has its genesis in one’s self, we should accept that our confidence is in (and from) God. I call this “God Confidence.”
God-confidence reminds us that in ourselves we do have enormous limitations, but God doesn’t! We seriously control very little in our lives but God rules ALL. God-confidence is the belief that we can do anything God gives us to do. Without Him, I am nothing! With Him, who knows what will happen!!
It makes life easier. No longer am I forced to pump myself up with some timeworn philosophy that begins and ends with my own limited abilities. God Confidence allows human dignity to return. I no longer have to compete or compare myself to others to find self-worth. Suddenly I’m at eye level with all of God’s people. I am no more, or less, worthy than they are. My value is founded and grounded in God—not myself. I don’t have to look up to anyone. And I mustn’t dare look down on anyone either.
So how do we cultivate this God-confidence?
Simple! Believe that the truest things that you will ever know about your life are the things GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU. Read the epistles and believe all the word says about you (Col. 1:12, Rom 8:37, I John 4:4; 5:4, Luke 1:45; John9:4; Matt 5:14-16; Luke 1:37; Phil 4:13; John10:18)). Read the words of Jesus and believe all He says about you (Luke 12:32), because when there is NO IMAGE there will be NO DOMINION. The truest thing you can say about yourself is what God says about you.
This story should help:
It’s a fascinating story that comes out of the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. This deadly tremor killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived there he discovered the building was as flat as a pancake. Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he could not take his mind off his promise. Remembering that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son! “My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They did not answer him and he continued digging for his son stone by stone. He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?” This man dug for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!” and a voice answered him, “Dad?” It’s me Dad!” Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!”
If a man would thus keep His promise, don’t you think that God will much more keep His?
I’ve discovered that people with low self esteem lack these senses:
- Sense Of Being Loved
- Sense Of Being Accepted
- Sense Of Being Adequate
And as far as these senses are concerned, God has spoken!
GOD LOVES YOU!
- GOD said, “I love you.”…”Look at how differently I’ve treated you… Malachi 1:2 MSG
- …the Father loves you directly. John 16:27 MSG
GOD HAS ACCEPTED YOU!
- To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6 KJV
The word “accepted” in that verse is a kindred Greek word to “grace” (charitos, echaritosen). It is translated “graciously accepted”; “made us subjects of His grace”; “embraced us in the arms of His grace” (Rom 3:24; Rom 5:15).
YOU ARE ADEQUATE IN CHRIST!
- …In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG
The phrase “put right” in the above verse (righteousness in the KJV) means a thorough righteousness, complete justification, complete sanctification; such as none but God can give, such as the sinful nature and guilty conscience of man require, and such as is worthy of God to impart. And all this righteousness, justification, and holiness, we receive in, by, for, and through Him, as the grand, sacrificial, procuring, and meritorious cause of these, and every other blessing.
What more do we want?
God has proven Himself as a faithful Dad. It’s up to you to be a trusting child. Let God give you what your family, job and friends doesn’t—joyful confidence! Let God fill the void others have left. Rely on Him for your AFFIRMATION and encouragement. “…you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children” (Galatians 4:7 GNB).
Having people’s approval is desirable but NOT NECESSARY for joyful confidence, and in fact, having people’s approval is not always possible. But embrace Jesus and all He has said about you. Where the grace of God is missed, bitterness and depression is born. But where the grace of God is embraced, joyful confidence flourishes!
Don’t judge yourself too harshly; that you make a mistake does not make you a mistake or a victim of life. Always learn your lessons, forget the details and then move on with your life. (Job 8:7; Matt 5:48).
When we begin to reframe the issue of confidence this way, good things happen. First, the pressure is off. At our core (and in our more truthful moments) we each realize how finite and imperfect we are. To believe that self-confidence is the ultimate goal forces any thinking person to realize how precarious he is in an uncertain world. But when we recognize that there is someone greater in whom we can build our confidence, we have found the gold standard. Now we can relax and rest in the assured confidence that we can safely lean into any headwind.
I see you basking endlessly in the euphoria of God-confidence.
You are loved. Accepted. And Adequate!
Ola Joseph Kolawole.