Even the world is familiar with the words self esteem, self acceptance, and self image. We are bombarded with books, seminars and techniques trying to guide us into a healthy place in these areas. To say that finding this "place" is a struggle would be a gross understatement. I believe we can all agree that we have faced many battles in these areas.
So let's take a closer look at these words-what do they all have in common? All of them revolve around SELF-SELF,SELF,SELF. That's right - the same self we find in selfish, self-absorbed, and self-gratification. All to often I find myself parked right in this very self spot.
The other day I was involved in a conversation. Now when I say conversation I mean I talk-you talk-I listen- you listen, however this conversation evolved mostly into me listening-and listening-and listening. Let me be quick to say here that very often that is how the Lord lets it work out and I do want to be a good listener. (Most people who know me would agree that I'm a good "talker") but this particular day, I "listened" to the enemy instead. I heard him say, "NO ONE WANTS TO LISTEN TO YOU" and I quite agreed. You all know how this works-one wrong thought that is not taken captive leads to another and another. Around here we call it "stinkin thinkin" anyway, by the end of this barrage of self thoughts I was not in a very good place until I heard that still small voice saying, "Jeanne, why do you always look to others to give you what only I can give?" Don't you love to hear His voice? Even though His words were convicting and they stung, they were said with such love and tenderness, that I started to cry.
He and He alone knows my struggles with all those "self" words and my desire for approval and acceptance. He also knows that I can never find it in people, no matter how close I am to those people. My Heavenly Father assures me that I am accepted because of Jesus, that I am approved and affirmed because of His work on Calvary and that I am created in His image, not my own.
There is an old song that says, "Fill My Cup Lord." All to often I take my empty cup and carry it to family members and close friends and hold it up, wanting a drop of approval or acceptance. Jesus says,"No Jeanne, bring that cup to me and I will fill it to overflowing." He also helps me see that only He can meet the needs of my neediness. When I bring that neediness to others, even though I may not say a word, they sense it and it burdens the relationship.
Am I saying you can never share a good heart to heart with a trusted friend or family member? Of course not! But when we are asking others to build our self-esteem and boost our self-acceptance, we are asking them to give us something that only Jesus can give.
One more thing the Lord said to me that day went deep into my heart. I heard Him clearly say, "If you want to find victory over this self-esteem-self-acceptance thing, then get your eyes off of SELF and onto Me." "Take that cup and lift it up to Me and always remember that if you are looking for a good listener-look no further."