2 Good Reasons to Trade In Self-Esteem

I have a few qualms with the simplified self-esteem mantra “you are enough.” Mostly because the statement raises more questions than it answers.

  • What are we “enough” for?
  • What qualifies as “enough”?
  • Does “enough” run out, making it not enough?
  • Who determines what “enough” is?
  • How do we quantify “enoughness?”
  • Is there a context for “enough?”

I’ve tried it on, tailored it, customized its look, wielded it like a weapon, and climbed it like a strong tower. And I always end up in the same place: pounding out questions like the ones above as I fall back on the Scriptures that have yet to fail me.

There’s a reason enough-based self-esteem fits like an over-sized, worn out handy-me-down and holds up like a sword made of cardboard:

Self-esteem is sourced from something finite. It’s a confidence made by human hands.

God-esteem is sourced from something infinite. It’s given by God so humans confidently can.

We need self-esteem shaped by God-esteem to get past our “enoughness” and live in His sufficiency.

Self esteem vs finding identity in God and Christ

We are Already Esteemed by God

Trying to be enough leaves us teetering between proving our value and earning our worth. Click To Tweet

Our significance and confidence were never intended to flex with our performance. God counts us worthy without wavering- but He esteems us because of what Christ did for us.

Sometimes we ignore the fact that everything we have God gave us and that everything we are God designed. We set out to earn our worth as if we have something to offer of our own accord.

Other times, we try to empty the cross of its power. We attempt to prove our worth apart from Christ as if we don’t need His saving or God’s teaching or the Spirit’s leading.

It’s easy to twist the Gospel into the good news that we’re good enough. The truth is we aren’t anything “enough” –yet Jesus esteemed us valuable, choosing to buy us with His own life. Real self-esteem isn’t based on our “enoughness” but valuing His sufficiency and love for us.

When we trade in our “enoughness” self-esteem for God-esteem, the seesaw of proving ourselves turns into a park bench. No longer do we need to think too highly of ourselves to feel adequate. At the same time, we find that by trusting in Him and relying on Him, we are shaped to be worthy of His worthwhile use- and so we should be confident (in Him!)

Esteem is Better The Way God Gives It

Another issue raised when we base our self-esteem on our own sufficiency is what we think we are “enough” for.

You won’t find “esteem yourself” in Scripture. You will find:

God’s Word never focuses on our adequacy for anything. But God says plenty about His sufficiency.

It’s not because we are “enough” in any sense, but that He is “enough” in every sense. That matters. It has implications for how we live, what we do, and our identity.

Godly self-esteem leads to confidence the way 'being enough' purports (but fails!) to. Click To Tweet

When our confidence is placed in trying to be enough, we find frustration in the fact that we are fleeting, fickle, fallible, and frequently simply incapable. Confidence in God, however, enables us to live as the esteemed and thus the redeemed. We can live in the power and sufficiency of Christ- just the way God intends for us to.

With our worth settled in the only One worthy, we receive the only esteem that is everlasting, incorruptible, and enough- for anything, everything, and all eternity.


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2 Replies to “2 Good Reasons to Trade In Self-Esteem

  1. Yes, it’s easy to get sucked in to trying to prove ourselves in order to feel like we’re enough. I love the reminder that it’s not about us being enough, but knowing that he is enough- that is a much more secure place to base our confidence.

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