I have had the opportunity to work with at risk youth for a while and what has become very effective in helping them improve is getting them to believe that I, as their counselor, have life somewhat figured out. Now, I know the premise is somewhat deceptive because I am not going to sit here and try to tell you that I have life totally figured out. But, when they are having a meltdown for whatever reason and I look at them and tell them that it will be OK and that they are going to get through whatever catastrophe of life they are dealing with, they feel better. Is what I say to them necessarily true? Not always. But, most of the time I definitely am in a better position to deal with what they are dealing with than they are and I can help them get through it.

Which brings us to the question of the day. Does anybody have it figured out? I believe that I have my life figured out within the context of I know who does have it all figured out and I am His child and that part of the peace and joy that our God offers is having access to the one that has it all figured out. I think that this is the way that God designed it and it is exactly the way that He wants it. We are made with an often described God shaped hole inside of us and there are many aspects to this hole and one of them is in the area of security. Whether we are willing to admit it or not we all have this need to know that somebody has it figured out because we know that we do not.

Deep down inside of us we all know that we don’t have it figured out and unlike when I convince a kid that it will be OK, God really does have the world in his hands and He is able to lead us through life knowing the beginning from the end. I think that is about as figured out as it can be. Unfortunately, we live in a world that will tell us that we have to have it figured out on our own and it has developed many ways that we can pretend to have this security. The problem is that you cannot fool the spirit deep inside of us and without God’s security we don’t have it figured out and we can present any facade that we want, but we all know the truth. Security and hope can only come from knowing God. The God that has it all figured out

When it comes to young people, they may or may not have a relationship with God that allows them to feel the security that I and other Christians have. It’s not that they are not faithful enough or that they are not in the right environment or some other product of their youth, but maybe they are just not developmentally there yet. I think that, as adults and parents, it is our job to be what God will eventually be to them and provide them with security. Again, I think that God has set it up this way. Again, is this deceptive? No, I don’t think so. Our youth are struggling because they have no hope and security is hope. I don’t think that they have the capacity to think abstractly enough to understand hope from a loving God, but they do have enough awareness to receive it from us.  It won’t last forever, but it is our job as adults to look at kids and tell them that I got this until we can pass them off to the one who really does.

I know that it has been a while, but the first question about self-esteem that needed to answered is where does it come from? I hope that I have adequately began to broach the subject in the last post even though I know that there is more to discuss. For a review, self-esteem comes from God. Only He can truly give it to us. The second question that needs to be answered and I think not the more important, but definitely more relevant question is how we get it especially if we do not currently have it. I don’t think that people who have self-esteem generally think about how they got it and I am not sure they often care. It is just there and it is as natural as breathing. But what about those that do not have it? I want to say before we get deeper into this discussion that conveying my thoughts on self-esteem has become very personal for me. As a counselor, it has become a point of pain and inadequacy. I think that God has called me to help people and I try to proclaim God’s truth in my counseling because I believe that it is all that I truly have to offer that is of any value. Often, people may not heed what I have to tell them and while I want them to I can handle it if they reject what I have to offer because I know that I am only the messenger. When working with self-esteem issues and I believe more and more that they are almost all some form of deep self-esteem issue that the problem is not the will of wanting self-esteem, but the sheer inability of a person to make it real in a their life. People will say to me all the time that they get what I am saying about where self-esteem comes from but, then I am unable to adequately share with them to a point where what I am about to say sinks in.

That being said, here it is. How do we get self-esteem? We accept it. In theory it is just that simple, yet for those without self-esteem it does not always appear to be that simple. Self-esteem is so connected to how we feel deep inside and while we can do great work to bring out the origins of why we do not have it, grabbing the reality of personal value and taking it for our own seems to be the most difficult thing in the world to do sometimes. I want to say here that I know many have overcome self-esteem issues by understanding God’s grace, but I still find many do not. To me, it is the same thing as salvation. It is all about grace and all about forgiveness and it would seem that salvation and self-esteem go hand in hand, but not always. I know so many people that are truly saved and that are going to go to heaven and they still struggle with personal self worth. I will usually tell these people that this one issue will be the one that will stop their personal growth in Christ and it is why they are unable to truly become what He has called them to be and why they are unable to exercise many of the demons in their lives.

So, what do we do? I believe that we should never give up on any issue in our life because I think that God is constantly sanctifying us, but it just seems that because this one is so deep sometimes it seems unconquerable. As always, I believe that we start with truth. The truth is that God has declared us worthy and that He wants us to have self-esteem in Him. I think a major part of the problem is that when things don’t get better in a short period of time that we think that we may have to change our strategy. I want to reiterate here what I believe to be true always. God loves us and self-esteem comes from Him and that all we need to do is to take it. It is a free gift just like grace. As a matter of fact it is grace. As I alluded to earlier sometimes the self-esteem part of our salvation doesn’t always take root. But, I am always reminded that the Bible says that we are to work out our grace daily and I believe this to be a perfect example of how our grace can become deeper in us as we mature as a Christian.

The message that I want to convey about self-esteem is multiple layered. First, it comes from God and only from Him. One of the reasons that self-esteem is so hard to grasp is that we really do not have value on our own, but He gives it to us freely. It is imputed to us just like salvation. Also, that all we have to do is claim self-esteem in His name. Again, just like salvation. I know this is sometimes difficult, but we must work on this issue until we overcome it. I want to encourage anyone that does not have self-esteem to do one thing and only one thing to get it. I encourage all of us to do everything that we can to get as close as we can to the one and true living God every second of every day and let his love impute the worthiness and value that He has freely given us until it becomes a reality in our lives. I encourage perseverance in this area as it tends to be one of the hardest issues to overcome and the most destructive in our lives.