Or, How to Transform a Poor Self-Image
Becoming a Christian was the best decision I ever made, but it didn’t immediately remove all my problems. I was only 18 when I got saved, but I was already loaded with “habits, hurts and hangups,” to quote Celebrate Recovery. In just a few days I will be celebrating 48 years with Jesus– and I’m still a work-in-progress. (Guess what? So are you.)
It can be frustrating to still be working on old problems for so long, but I cling to the promise of Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Yes, God is still working on me– and He’s not going to stop until He’s completed the renovation. (I’ve got good news: the same is true of you as well).
How Do You See Yourself?
One area that took a long time to change was my self-image. I loved the Lord, but I cringed whenever I heard His command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” For a long time I thought that was impossible, because even though I was a Christian, I didn’t love myself (to be perfectly honest, there were days when I didn’t even like myself). Because of the abuse I had suffered in childhood, I saw myself as “damaged goods,” broken and inferior to those around me. How could I love myself when I was such a mess?
In the classic musical The King and I, Deborah Kerr sings a song when she is first introduced to the King’s children: “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you; getting to like you, getting to hope you like me…” In order to love yourself, you first have to get to know who you truly are. And you can’t do that if you’re looking through your own broken, distorted lens. You have to begin to see yourself as God sees you. After all, He is your Creator. There is no one who knows– and loves– you more than Him.
So if you’re struggling with a poor self-image, you’ve probably been looking into a broken mirror. Are you ready for some change?
Five Ways To Fix Your Mirror
If you are going to transform your self-image, there are 5 things you need to know:
1. Know Your Value— The young woman who led me in the sinner’s prayer made a statement that shook me to my core. She said, “If you were the only person on the face of the earth, God still would have sent His Son to die for you on the cross, because He thinks you’re worth it.” That was the first moment I realized my true value. Later on, as I grew in the Word, I learned that God has always placed exceptional value on man. We see this in the very first chapter of Genesis. As God creates each thing, it is recorded, “And God saw that it was good.” But when God creates man, the statement changes: “and it was very good.” Out of everything that God has created, we are His favorites! Knowing that you have value in God’s eyes will help you to have value in your own sight.
2. Know Your Core Beliefs— What beliefs govern your life? What truths are totally nonnegotiable? Getting grounded in the Word of God will help you to discern good from evil. Society’s norms are constantly changing, but God’s Word always remains the same. Centering your core beliefs around the teachings of the Bible will give you a solid foundation upon which to build your life. Get into God’s Word so God’s Word can get into you.
3. Know Your Needs— This one may surprise you, but self-care is vitally important to having a balanced life. God had a purpose for establishing the concept of Sabbath, for example; He knew we would need a regular time of rest and reflection. All of God’s commands are for our good and protection. Sometimes we fall into unhealthy behaviors like addiction because we are attempting to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. Considering your needs and taking care of them appropriately is one way to love yourself– and that in turn will make it easier to love others.
4. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses— A person with a poor self-image will be acutely aware of their weaknesses and completely unaware of their strengths. This produces an unbalanced– and untruthful– view of self. We need to have an accurate assessment of both our strengths and weaknesses. When we know our strengths we have something to build on, in humility rather than pride. When we know our weaknesses, we can submit them to God and ask for His help in those areas (rather than condemning ourselves for not being perfect).
5. Know Your Purpose— Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar verse to many, but do you believe it? “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Creator of the universe has plans for you! Your life has purpose and meaning. What has He prepared you to do? How can you be a blessing to the world around you? Ephesians 2:10 declares, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Discover what those good works are, and go do them! God has already equipped you with everything you need.
“I Can See Clearly Now…”
When you live authentically, having a true and accurate image of yourself, you will find more and more freedom to live the way God intends for you to live. Your self-esteem will improve the more you love Him and live according to His ways. And it will no longer be a struggle to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”– because, at last, you will love yourself.
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Renewing Your Mind With Scripture Writing http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/renewing-your-mind-with-scripture-writing