In midst of all the chaos of recent weeks, I found myself thinking about self esteem and ego. Perhaps it came out of my grieving the loss of my Mother and my deep concern for my Dad. Perhaps it’s the reality that in about a week and a half we will be moving into a new home, serving 2 churches while leaving behind what I feel is unfinished work–but also leaving behind great friends and encouragers. Whatever the cause, I know God wants me to write. Turn of all electronic devices, return your trays and seats to the upright position and buckle your seat belts for take-off.
Contrary to a few would say, I don’t have that big of an ego–but I regularly battle my own self-esteem. It is not as bad as it was when I was growing up. But even after my first marriage, I still struggled with self-esteem. I could say it was because of how some treated me–but that’s a cop-out. I refuse to play the victim card. And it wasn’t until I was 47, when my self-esteem completely crashed and burned, that God took me on a journey to see myself differently–than others saw me or how I even saw myself.
Since that time I find myself recognizing low self-esteem in others–and a new clarity about those with an ego problem. In church you see both, but rarely, if ever, is it acknowledged. Well, here is the epiphany I had about self-esteem versus ego.
Ego is all about self-importance. Self-Esteem is all about value and worth!
Ego is that over-inflated sense of how important a person thinks they are. Right now I have a couple of pictures in my mind of people I’ve encountered while here. That sense of Importance focuses on the container–not the source. They see themselves are being more important than others–and in the church–more important than the work of the Kingdom of God. They push themselves into other conversations and run over anyone who dares to challenge them. Ego equals Importance.
On the other hand, Self-Esteem is the recognition of your value and worth, to the One who created you. HE has deemed and declared your worth, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Jesus deemed and declared your worth by giving up the glory of heaven for a dirty diaper; and ultimately by His willingness, and insistence, to die on that Cross. It is about recognizing your value as you live your life in Christ. Those with the EGO accuse those of us who recognize our worth in Christ as being arrogant. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black.
Ego is about seeing yourself as important. Healthy Self-Esteem is seeing the worth that God sees in you–and accepting that His value of you comes fully alive in you as you become fully alive in Jesus. Nothing is wrong with having Self-Esteem–don’t let the enemy make you feel guilty. When you say you have no value or worth you are calling God a liar–and that, my friends, is NOT a good thing to do. God’s image is in you–even if buried under years and mountains of bad choices (that means SIN). Only the Creator, our FATHER, knows how to restore His image. After all, He made you and knows you better than others know you–or you even know yourself.
Let me end this with Romans 12:3, from a new translation I recently came across. It is known as The Passion Translation and it goes like this:
God has given me grace to speak a warning about pride. I would ask each of you to be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance. Instead, honestly assess your worth by using your God-given faith as the standard of measurement, and then you will see your true value with an appropriate self-esteem.
God gives you value–He says, long before that commercial ever said it–because YOU are worth it!