By: Brittany Ann
If you and I met up for coffee tomorrow, and I asked you to tell me a little about yourself, what would you share?
Would you share that you’re a wife and a mum of three?
Would you tell me about your job, your hobbies, the church you attend, or the organisations you volunteer with?
Would you share any past failures or achievements that still affect you today?
If so, you’d be totally normal. 😃
It’s completely normal for us to define ourselves to others in terms of what relationships we have, where we work, or what we do in our free time.
But these roles and relationships aren’t the only way we define ourselves…
We ALSO define ourselves with other labels we may not share so openly.
- I’m worthless.
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m too fat.
- I don’t fit in. I’m different.
- I’m a disappointment
- I’m a failure
- I’m hopeless. I’ll never change.
And as we put these labels on ourselves, they have a tremendous effect on our self-esteem and self-worth — way more than we realise.
And that can be a huge problem.
To be clear: there’s nothing wrong with realising and admitting the truth about ourselves and where we’re falling short — when the words we tell ourselves are true and constructive.
BUT there’s a HUGE difference between recognising a harmful behaviour and letting that behaviour or attribute define who you are and what you’re worth.
Instead, we have to Find Our Worth in Christ. And the 3 tips below will show you how to do just that!
1. Recognise Where You’re Looking for Self-Worth Now
For most of us, we’re SO used to letting other things and people define our worth, that we often don’t even realise we’re doing it or that it can be a serious problem.
That’s why the first step is to prayerfully determine where you’re finding your self-worth right now.
In other words, what things, people, attributes or circumstances make you feel “enough?” (Or alternately, what do you think you need to feel “enough?”)
Women with Positive Self-Esteem, Ask Yourself:
- What is one thing I do well that most people don’t?
- What is one thing that really stands out about me?
- What personality traits, characteristics, physical features or accomplishments am I most proud of?
- What else do I pride myself on?
- How would my life be different if I wasn’t able to be/do ________ anymore?
- How would I feel about myself if I lost the personality traits, characteristics, physical features or accomplishments I pride myself on?
- What are the 1-3 things I would HATE to lose? Why?
Example: Maybe you pride yourself on keeping the house clean and tidy. If you became ill and lost your ability to keep up with the housework, would that be okay? Or would you feel like a failure, or that you’re “nothing special?”
If so, you may be finding your identity/worth in your homemaking abilities, instead of in Jesus.
Example: Maybe you pride yourself on your work-related accomplishments. If you lost your job and couldn’t find a new one, would that be okay? Would you be able to keep a good attitude, knowing that you’d eventually find a new one, or would you feel like a failure if the search took too long?
If so, you may be finding your identity/worth in your job, instead of in Jesus.
Women with Negative Self-esteem, Ask Yourself:
- What is something it feels like everyone else can do, but you can’t?
- How do you fill in this blank: “If I only had ___________ , then I’d be happy.”
- When you’re jealous of other people, what are you typically jealous of specifically?
- What things do you routinely beat yourself up over?
- What are you super embarrassed about?
- What fears or worries keep you up at night?
- What is one secret that you hope no one EVER finds out?
Example: Maybe you’re jealous because everyone else’s kids are so much better behaved than yours. You feel like a failure as a mom. If so, you may be finding your identity in your children instead of in Jesus.
Example: Maybe you’re unhappy in your marriage right now. It almost physically pains you to see pictures of other happy couples on social media, because you want what they have so bad. If so you may be finding your identity in your relationship instead of in Jesus.
Now again, it’s 100% normal to have areas of your life you want to improve. That’s great.
The problem comes when you start looking for your WORTH and/or your IDENTITY in *things* or labels, instead of Jesus.
Check out this fantastic podcast on the topic: Can too Much Christian Positivity Actually Hurt You?
2. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions
Next: once you pinpoint the personality traits, characteristics, physical features, roles or accomplishments you’re currently basing your worth on, it’s time to ask yourself some tough questions.
You see, up until now you’ve allowed worries, fears and insecurities to be the boss of your emotions.
Now it’s time to do some critical thinking, and kick those untrue thoughts to the curb.
- What do you think would happen if you lost this personality trait, characteristic, physical feature or role?
- What do you think would happen if you never made any more progress in this area, or never accomplished your goals?
- How would you feel about yourself and your life in this situation?
- Are these thoughts and feelings realistic or exaggerated?
- What other options might you have available, either now or in the future?
Maybe you’re currently basing your worth on your physical appearance, thinking “If only I could just lose those last 10 pounds…”
Ask yourself, “What would happen if I never lost them? Would my friend or family really like me less, or would they even notice/care? Would having an extra 10 pounds really hurt my quality of life that much? What else could I do instead? Maybe buy clothes that fit me better, or learn how to be more confident?”
Now, I want to be clear here: There is NOTHING wrong with having goals. We should have goals!
We should be passionate and work hard for the things that will make our lives better.
But we need to be realistic about where accomplishing these goals will get us.
Being a better mum, a better wife, skinnier, more accomplished — whatever… Those things can make your life easier in some ways… but they will NEVER make you “worth more” as a person.
3. Meditate on Scripture
Recognising that you’ve been finding your worth in the wrong things is honestly pretty easy. Thinking through a more realistic mindset isn’t that difficult either.
But training your brain to find your worth in Jesus alone on a day-to-day basis — that’s hard!
It will require you to be very conscious and purposeful about choosing to stop thinking the old thoughts and meditate on new ones instead.
I recommend finding Scriptures that encourage you, writing them out on note cards, and putting them all around your house, on your phone lock-screen, on your fridge, on your mirror, in your purse, in your car — wherever you will see them frequently.
You’re welcome to use any verses you like, but here are a few to get you started:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” — 1 Peter 2:9
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” — Romans 8:1
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” — Romans 8:37
You can find more great verses like these here: Who I Am in Christ: 10 Life-Changing Truths All Christians Must Know
As well as more information on how to actually convince your brain to believe them here: How to Take Every Thought Captive to Christ
Will it be easy? No, probably not.
BUT it is so worth it when you can finally lay down all the unnecessary and unrealistic expectations and stresses you’ve placed on yourself or allowed others to place on themselves to know:
You are Loved. You are Enough. You are Chosen.
Yes, you are called to be the best you can be (and I’m here to help you be that amazing woman God created you to be!), but you can do it out of a place of safety and security, not out of a fear of lacking.
Do you ever feel like you’re “not enough?” What areas do you feel like you’re lacking in? Are these thoughts true, or just insecurities?
Article supplied with thanks to Equipping Godly Women.
About the Author: Brittany is a wife, a mother of three, a writer, author, teacher, and lover of Jesus!