Gracefully Gifted God-Esteem

Imagine waking up every morning and going about your daily routine. You shower, brush your teeth, and eat breakfast as you prepare for your classes or your job. Before heading out the door, you feel confident and hopeful. No matter what circumstances may lay ahead, you trust that God will take care of you! Now imagine going about this same procedure without having any confidence. Most mornings probably feel monotonous, and you’re surprised that you made it to see another day. Just looking at yourself in the mirror, even if for only a few seconds, is heartbreaking because you don’t love who you see.

For years, I embodied the latter scenario. Growing up, I experienced hardships that often left me discouraged. In elementary school, I skipped a grade and was bullied for being too smart and having ugly clothes, among other reasons. In middle school, I remember being ranked on a social networking site as one of the ugliest girls in the school. Needless to say, my personal insecurities only heightened, and I battled depression for years to come. I told myself that I was only a shy, quiet, and invisible person who did not deserve love from anyone, not even God.

The more I internalized these self-defeating thoughts, the harder it became for me to trust God. Every night, I would fall asleep in tears, sometimes wishing that my life could end. During the day, I carried myself in a manner that projected the hatred I held for myself. I never kept my head up when I walked, and I intentionally shied away from being in photographs. If I could not believe that God created me beautifully in His image, then how could I faithfully walk with my head high?

Since attending college, it has been a transformative experience for me to draw closer to God and learn more about His word. Through my school’s gospel choir, Black campus ministries, and other support networks, I have been encouraged to keep going! One of my favorite concepts that I have come to learn regards God-esteem. In his article, “Do You Possess Self-Esteem or God-Esteem?” Jeremy Miles writes,
“God-esteem is absolute. It is knowing and believing that redemption is not proof of our worth but of God’s grace. In other words, self-esteem is how you see yourself. God-esteem is how you know God sees you.”

In essence, God has gracefully gifted each and every one of us with His love as well as qualities that uniquely shape who we are. When He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins, He provided us with a true testament of his unconditional love. Building a relationship with Him through prayer, fellowship, and studying His word reveals this reality and lays the foundation for a blissful confidence within us.

Today, I am still embarking on a journey to love myself and joyfully exude God-esteem. Although I always have more spiritual growth to pursue, God has honestly brought me so far from where I used to be. I share this testimony in hopes that everyone reading this might be encouraged to learn how God sees us and loves us all wholeheartedly. That alone is all the approval we need to feel beautiful enough!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Psalms 139:13-14 (NLT)

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About the Author :

Jessica is currently a junior at Stanford University, majoring in African and African American Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. She is from Detroit, Michigan and is super passionate about her hometown, working with youth, writing, and ice cream.