The Bible is full of things that don’t make sense to us: God loves us despite our rejection of Him. We’re to turn the other cheek when people mistreat us. Many who are last will be first. God exalts the humble. And a good many more.
One of the things that makes the least sense on first hearing it is that to improve your self-esteem, you must remember how worthless you are of yourself. We keep trying to build ourselves up through our accomplishments or we hold on to relationships tightly or we try to look a certain way so that others will look at us a certain way. We want to be seen as confident, smart, successful, and likable.
But achievements in any of these areas are actually self-defeating, for they drive home the thought that to attain self-esteem, one must be good at something. To be valuable, you must achieve.
True self-esteem begins at the same place true Christianity does: with knowing that all the good in your life comes from God and not one bit of it is deserved. Whether you agree with God’s mandate that only those who know and accept Jesus go to Heaven (and I don’t know about children or those who haven’t heard; all I know is that for any of us to go is a blessing we don’t deserve and that God will do what He sees fit to do), it doesn’t matter. According to His laws, you have transgressed and are worthy only of eternal damnation. Becoming a CEO or marrying the person of your dreams or writing the next great novel or having six-pack abs won’t make you more worthy of Heaven. Nothing will.
You, of yourself, are nothing. And that is a wonderful place to be.
It’s wonderful because it means that none of the good in your life has come from you. None of your worth comes from you or what you do. You may enjoy some of the things you do have and got outside of His will, but true blessings, things that really improve your life by drawing you closer to God, all come from Him. The best part of this is that if you are worthless of yourself, if you can’t earn anything, then you can stop trying to earn it. You have value because God loves you. You have salvation, should you accept it, because God loves you. You have access to everything God wants you to have…simply because He loves you.
Improving your self-esteem begins with knowing your rightful place. It is only when you understand how little you deserve that you can accept God’s love without trying to pay it back or earn it. And what is your rightful place? In Heaven, as the bride of Christ, the son or daughter of God, an heir to Heaven, and the beloved friend of your Savior. You can’t earn it. It’s about time you stop trying.