I have a self-esteem issue. Actually, I have many self-esteem issues. I think it’s a safe bet that any of you who may happen upon this are thinking the same thing right now. Life often brings disappointment, is seldom without hurt and always about perspective.

My self-esteem issues are rooted in many things: A strict religious upbringing (that I mostly cherish believe it or not), a negative opinion of my appearance and the person that I am, and finally a negative and unconfident opinion on my abilities and what I bring to the table. Do any of these sound familiar?

My upbringing was in an Italian Pentecostal church. We were very religious. I certainly learned about right and wrong… mostly wrong. Through this, I developed a set of morals. These morals have mostly guided me in my life this far. But my focus has been far too invested in morals and the judgment of sin. This has led me down a path of guilt motivation in my life. I can be honest when I tell you that I do a tremendous amount of things because of guilt.

I doubt there to be anyone alive who hasn’t had self-esteem issues about their appearance or the person that they are. I am not going to dive into the things I see wrong with myself. After all, I think they should be evident to you… but that’s just my self-esteem talking. Mostly, on any given day, I am dissatisfied with the person that I am. I don’t like myself, I don’t like the way I look and I don’t like the way I think that people must see me. These feelings have been allowed to erode my confidence and render me too timid or afraid to put myself out there in many circumstances. Yes, I have allowed these things to stunt me.

Let’s be honest, for all the talents we have been given, we all seem to know someone who is better. Rather than using that as inspiration, I have traditionally shrunk back and withdrawn. I feel inadequate most of the time. I’ve made records, but their just average records. They aren’t as good as all the other records I listen to. I sing some songs, but I am not a great singer. I put tremendous amount of effort into music and get very mediocre results while many of my friends effortlessly churn out amazing stuff. So I shrink back.

Since the end of 2012, God has been moving in my heart in a different way than in years past. I feel that He has been making a concerted effort to show me just how much value I have. One night I was praying and telling God how I feel like I am nothing… like I am worthless. I distinctly felt Him tell me one simple statement. “Do you really believe that I would send my precious, beloved Son Jesus to die for NOTHING??” It was a bit overwhelming to be honest. What is more precious in the eyes of God than His Son? I’ll let you think about that.

God began to minister to me about my perspectives. At first I questioned why God cares about how I see myself. In my eyes, I was only hurting myself while protecting myself. But I was wrong. And God began to reveal to me why.

The first thing is that my self-esteem woes have clouded my vision. My negative perceptions of who I am began to bleed into how I looked at other people. I was unable to see clearly. The more inwardly I focused and the more selfish I became, the more I saw other people as those who would potentially hurt me. And when they did, I dove deeper into myself and my vision got a little dimmer.

The devastating part of this cycle wasn’t just how I saw other people. No these self-esteem issues ultimately changed my perspective of God. I convinced myself that God was generally disappointed in me. That He was embarrassed of me. I tried to remain moral and do my duties in the church. But these were accomplished through the motivation of guilt. God began to reveal that my self-esteem had prevented me from truly knowing Him. I was losing out on His entire nature. Not because I didn’t believe that He loves us all, but because I truly didn’t believe I was one of those who was worthy of His love or His concern.

So I have become largely ineffective as a Believer. My faith was based upon guilt for my sins and efforts in morality and good deeds to win some sort of favor with God. All of this because I had spent years allowing my self-esteem to be eroded and even destroyed. I was incapable of pleasing the Lord. Yes, read that again… Because of where my self-esteem had brought me to, I was INCAPABLE of pleasing the Lord.

God began to reveal to me the depths of where I was. But at the same time, He began to show me how He truly feels about me. Many of you who already have this revelation are probably saying “So what?” But when He began revealing this to me, it was a flood. It truly was a revelation to me. My God cares about every small thing that concerns me. He didn’t throw Jesus away. No, He sent Jesus so that I may have a path back to fellowship with Him. Why? Because He desires that! He desires a relationship with me! He actually desires that. I am wanted by the Great God, creator of everything. It’s mind blowing. And His desire for us isn’t just casual window shopping… No, He paid the ULTIMATE price for us. He did this while we were yet enemies of Him.

It is pure blasphemy for me to destroy my value. It’s a mockery to Jesus Himself and His sacrifice that I adopt the lies that I have believed all my life. I want to be capable of pleasing the Lord. I want to follow His will for my life.

Life is about perspective. I believe that God is giving us this message. Remember the big picture. Remember the Kingdom of God is our home. We have been redeemed. We are His beloveds.

As we grab hold of the confidence that He has placed in us, we can truly allow Him to work through our lives. We must be motivated by love, the same love that Christ was drenched in as He hung on the Cross. We must be slow to judge. We must be quick to forgive. And we must be willing to be hurt. It is often through brokenness that others finally see the true love of Christ. The bottom line is that it is the pain and brokenness of Christ that has redeemed us all.

Finally, if I ever had a child, I believe the first things I would teach them is the pure and simple message of the love of Christ and what it means to please the Lord. There is no greater motivation to righteousness or ‘good morals’ than love. It is SO much better than guilt. Thanks for reading this and please pray for one another (and me) that God continues to move in our lives. Our world is crumbling in many ways, but it His kingdom that we are longing for.  Perspective.

[12]This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. [13] “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. [14] “You are My friends if you do what I command you. [15] “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. [16] “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. [17] “This I command you, that you love one another. – Jhn 15:12-17 NASB