So, last week I went out with a girlfriend for coffee – (you know where…there's one on every corner…*$'s. BTW, I'm a Coffee Frappucino Light kind of girl).
We were talking away, about anything and everything. We're good at that. But one of the final things we talked about really hit me hard.
J knows someone who leads personal growth seminars. And they were having a conversation a while ago. This other woman tells J something to the effect, "You know, in all my experience I've found that the women with the lowest self-esteem are Christians."
I looked at my friend.
"You know, that really makes me mad," I said, "and really sad, because I think it's true."
So I've been mulling and pondering this ever since.
I think there are two problems here. First of all, there's the woman part of it.
We women seem to have a problem with always being "too much" – "not enough" – "unworthy of being loved" – "trying to measure up" – you get the idea. It's like there's some sort of personal yardstick – and we always fall short. Kinda like the rides at Disneyland. You know the little painted lines – "You must be this tall to go on this ride." And, no matter how tall we stand, even if it's on our tiptoes – we're still below the line.
Why does this happen?
I can think of several reasons. Our society – ladies, it's still a man's world out there. Our family upbringing – which can give us faulty "tapes". Our past experience with men – don't get me started on this one. I spent way too many years thinking that I was only lovable if some man "loved" me. Our innate nurturing nature – which makes us tend to think more of others than we do ourselves. Our culture – which has bowed down to the idols of youthful appearance, and being rich and/or famous.
You know those television shows - "The Real Housewives..."
Let me tell you, there is nothing "real" about those women.
The really real housewives are women like me – unsure of themselves, insecure, wasting time comparing themselves to others, and always thinking they're falling short of some ideal standard.
The other problem I see is specific to Christian women.
We tend to think of ourselves as unworthy worms. You know the lyrics, "Amazing grace that saved a WRETCH like me." We believe the wretch part. However, the problem, in my opinion, is that we haven't grabbed onto the grace part.
Here's the deal.
There's a big difference between being unworthy, and being worthless.
You see, when we stand before the throne of God, we are indeed unworthy. Our sin makes it so. Unable to ever measure up to the bar, we fall short every time. Our meager and puny efforts to reach God, and to attain His righteousness, will never happen on our own.
It's why the Savior came and died.
But woefully, here's where too many of us get stuck.
"We are unworthy," we cry out.
Of course we are. That's the whole point.
But here's the wonderful, tremendous, awe-inspiring truth.
We are eminently worthwhile!
Have you stopped yourself lately and thought about the Crucifixion? Really, really thought about it? Are we so used to hearing about it that we have forgotten what it meant? Yes, of course, Jesus died for our sins. But why??
He did it because He considered it WORTH THE COST of His very life to redeem worthwhile creatures from their unworthy sinful natures.
Excuse me, but I just don't see the Almighty God of the Universe stooping to earth, giving us His Son to die – for worthless worms.
He loved us – yes, WHILE we were still sinners – and He considered us WORTH rescuing.
I find that exhilarating!
So, I believe we do a disservice to the Lord's sacrifice when we diminish ourselves.
Pride is a subtle enemy. Sometimes it's overt. Sometimes it's undercover. And either end of the spectrum is dangerous territory.
I have this word picture in mind.
Picture yourself in the middle of a raging sea. And you are definitely going to die unless someone rescues you. So, a boat finally arrives. The captain himself dives in to save you. Overt pride says, "No, I'm OK. I know that I can save myself. You go on without me."
Undercover pride does something else.
It lets the captain rescue them – and the captain loses his life in the process. They are pulled into the boat and saved. But then, undercover pride never stops moaning and groaning.
"I don't know why anyone would want to save someone like me. I'm not worth it. He should have just let me die, because I'm no good. Nobody loves me. He really wasted his time rescuing me."
Is this not completely dismissing the sacrifice of the captain??
There's a fine line here. And we Christian women are called to walk it.
Humbly saved from our unworthy sin? Yes. But considered worth the cost to the Lord? Absolutely yes!
We, of all women, should have the highest self-esteem. We should esteem ourselves as much as God does. Knowing full well our unworthiness, we should claim the Love that deemed us worth the rescuing. We can be like Paul – and boast gladly in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ladies, our filthy rags have been exchanged for glorious white Robes of Righteousness.
Why aren't we wearing them??
What is keeping you from looking at yourself the way God sees you?
"…each of us must ultimately open up with vulnerability and humility to acknowledge our unworthiness and yet also to accept our own worth, which is sometimes the more difficult. In confessing our sin before God, we accept our unworthiness--not worthlessness! In that moment of vulnerability we discover that God…through Jesus Christ, graciously covers the sinner with love and forgiveness. We know that although we have been found out, we have also been found. We come to accept that God sent the Son into the world because he deemed us worthy to be loved and forgiven, we who are created in the divine image and destined to become fully restored to it…" (From Bible Gateway)
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
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