All of my life I have struggled with little to no self-esteem. I just couldn’t see my own value and, truth be told, it’s still a daily challenge. I look at the people around me and see how generous or magnetic or beautiful or adventurous they are and wish I could be more like that. This wish burrows into my mind and I begin to think that my lack of their outstanding quality make me inferior. Add to this that my own exceptional qualities (whatever they are) escape me because they’re in my blind spot. Before long I’m terribly unhappy with myself because I’m not more like the people I encounter. We’ve all felt this way and we’re wrong.
The bible is very clear on the fact that God made all of us uniquely to work together as one body towards his goal of bringing the Kingdom of God throughout the world in His Spirit through us (1 Corinthians 12-31). God made me the person I am, just as I am. Now my sinful nature has perverted God’s creation to a point, but I am who I am because this is how God envisioned me. He gave me many gifts that I often overlook because they are with me always. Years ago, I hung a piece of paper just inside my front door that says “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4) so that I would see it and remember it every day as I walked out my door and head out into the world. A couple of months ago, it came up in conversation with friends that I have that paper there but never see it anymore. It’s been there so long and consistently that I now overlook it as I head out the door. Then one day –there it was again—I couldn’t not see it if I tried. You see, my friend had covertly turned it upside down on the door. Now it stood out! Just like this verse on my door, my own gifts tend to escape my notice.
However this week, God turned them upside down, so to speak, through a book I was reading call Joining Jesus on His Mission – How to be an Everyday Missionary by Greg Finke which I highly recommend. I read the book because I saw myself lacking as God’s representative in my little part of the world and was trying to figure out how to become one. What I found was that I was, once again, overlooking what God was already doing through me and the special gifts he blessed me with in the mission field of my neighborhood, my workplace and my community. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement and growth – but who among us doesn’t need a little of that!
I have two brothers and growing up my older brother was the responsible, studious, intelligent one, my younger brother was the athletic, outgoing, charismatic one, and I was the emotional, creative, quiet one. We were like three puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly to form the picture of well-rounded person. But too often, I wanted to be more like them than myself. Imagine one of those puzzle pieces trying to be one of the other puzzle pieces. Not only will it fail to fit into the other piece’s place but it leaves its own place empty in its foolish attempt to be something it was never created to be. God created me to be me and when I face him in eternity, he’s not going to ask me why I wasn’t more like my brothers or my friends or those I admire. He’s going to want to hear what I did with the unique and precious gifts he gave me. What an awesome responsibility it is to be me. I want to please God so I better get started on being the best me that I can.