Insecurity and the pleasure of God

Okay, so I have another confession.

Incidentally, I’m thinking of renaming my blog Lisa confesses… as that seems to be the typical post mode around here…

Anyway, I have a confession, one that will come as no surprise to any one of you. Here goes: I have self esteem issues. In other words, I am insecure, confident only in the fear that you probably don’t like me or if you do like me it will only be short lived once you discover the real me. I struggle with a sense of worth and significance, I’m convinced I’m a failure, and I perpetually feel as if I’m on the outside looking in.

Yep, that’s pretty much me, most of the time , true or false, for better or worse.

Can anyone relate?

There is much written to women about our self esteem issues. I just read something not too long ago that encouraged women struggling with having it all and doing it all and being it all (and failing it all). Gaze at Jesus, the author said, like you did your first boyfriend. Just as God the Father proclaimed “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17), we are to hear Him say the same thing over us, “This is my daughter in whom I am well pleased.” If we fail at the person we set out to be, we are to start over, affirming to ourselves that God is proud of us, disregarding the voice that tells us that in us dwells no good thing.

Hmmm…ignoring first of all the whole “ick” factor of my first boyfriend…I mean, I’d rather just fix my eyes on Jesus as He is revealed to me in the Bible. Why drag my old boyfriend in it? And does Jesus really want the same type of juvenile crush to be my focus? True, He is the Lover of my soul, but He is also my Savior, Redeemer, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, holy and glorious. Anyway, I digress…

Certainly it makes sense (to us) to combat our low sense of worth by elevating our self perception. I say I look old; I want my husband to say, “No, baby, you don’t look a day over 22.” He’s lying, of course, I can look in the mirror, but his saying so helps me feel better, at least until I do look in the mirror and the truth hits me square in the eyes (and the crow’s feet).

But it’s not true. By the same token, God is not well pleased with me and to apply that segment of Scripture to me and my worth before God is a misapplication of the Truth. It is Jesus on Whom resides God’s pleasure and delight. In fact, the voices telling me that in me dwells no good thing, that is the Truth, the Bible, Romans 3:10-18 and Romans 7:18 for two examples.

In Matthew 3:13-17, the passage of Scripture the author refers to, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. The Spirit of God descended like a dove and alighted on Him immediately after Jesus’ baptism and a voice from heaven proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Why was He baptized? As a picture of His death and resurrection, “fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (v. 15) My MacArthur study Bible notes, “Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them.” Just like 2 Corinthians 5:21 asserts, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

So, why can’t we apply that passage to hear God declaring His pride in us? What’s so wrong about telling ourselves that God is pleased with us? Aren’t we blessed and chosen, holy and blameless, redeemed and forgiven (Eph. 1)? We are, indeed. But we are all of those things because of Christ. We are all of those things to the praise of His glory. In and of ourselves, we are lost and wretched, depraved and dead, deserving of nothing less than an eternity in hell. It is only because of His grace that we are saved!

So, we must be careful of exalting ourselves, however subtly. We must beware of placing ourselves at the center of the gospel. Truly our God has done much on our behalf but not so we may gain glory. Rather, we must decrease; He must increase.

Our God does not intend for us to go through life with gaping, unresolved self esteem issues. Instead, He longs to satisfy us with Himself. The enemy will try to tell you, just like he tells me, that you are worthless. He will confirm all that you fear you might be. We do not confront his lies by figuring out how great we are; the Bible tells us to forget ourselves altogether! Counting all things as rubbish, forgetting what lies behind, pressing on toward the goal of exalting Christ in all things, even our weaknesses and failures!

What peace comes when we lose ourselves only to find Him! What praise when we realize that we are nothing and He is everything! What grace He pours out on those who repent of their endless pursuit of self worth and believe on Him! It’s not about me (or you); it’s Christ alone! He alone satisfies; He alone is worthy; He alone is my Rock and my salvation! To the praise of His glory!

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

6 thoughts on “Insecurity and the pleasure of God”

  1. I can relate, for sure, although I think I have grown in this area. I struggle often time with wondering if people “secretly” don’t like me. At the same time, I also struggle with the whole concept of self-esteem in light of the fact that I think recognizing our sin nature is important for understanding who we are before God.One thing I have thought about my “self-esteem” issues is this: there is a fine line between having no self-esteem and actually being a little bit of an ego maniac. Do I become frustrated, wondering if others “really” like me or not because I think I “deserve” or because I want constant reminders of it? I don’t know if anyone else has ever had that thought cross her mind, but I have.I have come to the conclusion that I need to accept the love that Christ has for me as my all-in-all. I know that God looks at me through Christ’s blood, and that has to formulate my view of myself.Just a few thoughts, for what they are worth.

  2. It’s worth a lot because it’s what I was attempting to say, only better! 🙂 Which is no surprise, really, knowing your gift for writing what is True…His love my all-in-all, amen and so be it!

  3. I totally relate to everything you said. And what Kim added. It is such a struggle for me. And yet we need to just over ourselves.Reading in the chapter of the Piper book this week, even our salvation was for HIS name’s sake, not for ours!As I’ve heard it said: True humility is not thinking of others more than you think of yourself, but not thinking of yourself at all. I’m sure not there yet.

  4. Well it’s true that confessions are good for the soul but I like your writing too. =)I can’t confess to having self esteem problems, except to say I have too much of it and some to spare and give away! The part of the verse that I focus on in “This is my beloved…” is that I am HIS and not MINE and there’s nothing I can do apart from and in Him (that I would want to bother doing). Loved this post! As usual.

  5. Wow Lisa, this is incredible…each and every time I pop over to see what’s going on in your “world” I am blessed so intensely it makes me sit there and just thank God.You have an incredible gift with the written word…you write from your heart, you write His truth, and you are so real and authentic with it. Thank you for that.I have constantly battled with this very thing my e-n-t-i-r-e life…for sure. I hate that, and I certainly hate to say it out loud (always kept that tucked away), but over the last couple of years God has really revealed to me that these are lies from the evil one himself.I AM fearfully and wonderfully made, and even though I stumble and struggle with self it is not now nor ever will be about me anyways. When the world continues to beat us down with we are not “enough” it is good to rest in His words and His promises.Thanks for your candidness, authenticity, and heart! This was AWESOME!xoxo,Melissa in Mel’s World

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