I am not skinny.
I say that only because my therapist told me I can no longer say, “I am fat.” She gave me the reasoning why (which I don’t really remember) but in an instant I knew that being fat had become my identity, and her denying me from saying those words meant she was denying my identity.
This launched me into a litany of questions, the main one being: Why is my self esteem so low? I have two healthy (moderately well behaved) boys, a wonderful husband, a house on a block with great neighbors, a church we love, healthy food to eat, family that lives close by, and finally a pay check that allows a little extra spending money each month. By all definitions, I have everything that everyone wants.
Yet deep down, I struggle. I don’t think I deserve good things. When bad things happen, I assume it’s just what I deserve.
I sat there, on my counselor’s couch, tears brimming in my eyes, begging for an answer to the real question:
“Am I enough?”
To my surprise, my counselor asked me where I found my self worth. I stared at her like she hadn’t been listening to me babble for the last few minutes about weight and body image and not feeling good enough. So I started into my list again, but she stopped me.
“No. I am asking you where you find your true value, your true self worth. When you look in the mirror every morning, how do you know you are worth it?”
I sheepishly muttered some answer about Jesus and blah blah blah. Then I quickly tried to move on to another topic, but she gently pulled me back.
Self-esteem, she pointed out, is something that does (and should) vary every day. It can be based on how healthy we ate the day before, how our pants are fitting, what we overheard a friend say at lunch, how our boss says we are performing or how obedient our children are that day. It changes based off our mood.
Self worth, on the other hand, stands firmly resolute in one thing only: who God says I am.
As I reflected on that statement in the days to come, I realized that my self value came down to who I believed God to be in my life. The counselor was right. God’s opinion of me needed to outrank my opinion of myself.
Do I believe that God is good?
“You are good and you do good.” Psalm 119:68a
Yes, God, I believe you are good.
Do I believe that God has my best at heart?
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Yes, God, I believe that you have my best at heart.
Do I believe in my need for a Savior?
“I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’” Psalm 16:2
Yes, God, I believe that you are my only saving goodness, and that I need a Savior every moment of every day.
Do I believe in an omniscient, all powerful, all wise, all knowing God?
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. . .You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” Psalm 139: 1,5 (NLT)
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:14
Yes, God, I believe that an intentional and wonderful God, fearfully and wonderfully made me. You have examined my heart – you know my unvoiced words, my anger, my bitterness, my fears, my sins, my sharp tongue – yet you love me completely.
Laura went straight from college to Washington, D.C. where she worked for a Senator on Foreign Policy. She gave up the job of her dreams for the man of her dreams. After spending a few years working on campaigns and teaching college classes, she traded in her business suits for athletic shorts. She now spends her days chasing her rambunctious boys through the park, cooking, building train tracks and reading. She and her family live in Dallas, Texas. You can follow her chaotic and full life at: happilymurrayed.com. Read Laura’s posts here.