Summary: Energizing biblical approaches to self-worth.
Help! I Can’t Love Others Because I Don’t Love Myself
Part 4 of 6 in the series, "When Relationships Disappoint You, How to Find God’s Peace in the Pain"
Does Anybody Feel Small? You’re Not Alone!
Have you ever felt inadequate? Have you ever sensed that this feeling of inadequacy has hindered your relationships from blossoming? Don’t worry. All of us have felt that way.
The temptation to feel inadequate even creeps into the church. We all face this struggle. Consider the lyrics to "Stained Glass Masquerade" by Casting Crowns.
“Is there anyone that fails? Is there anyone that falls? Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small?
Cause when I take a look around everybody seems so strong. I know they’ll soon discover that I don’t belong.
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay. If I make them all believe it; maybe I’ll believe it too.
So with a painted grin, I play the part again. So everyone will see me the way that I see them.
Are we happy plastic people under shiny plastic steeples, with walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain?
But if the invitation’s open to every heart that has been broken, maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade.
Is there anyone who’s been there; are there any hands to raise? Am I the only one who’s traded in the altar for a stage?
The performance is convincing and we know every line by heart, only when no one is watching can we really fall apart.
But would it set me free if I dared to let you see, the truth behind the person that you imagine me to be?
Would your arms be open or would you walk away? Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?”
I love the authenticity this song challenges us to live by. We all feel inadequate sometimes so why put on a mask? Donning masks is not the way that God wants us to handle our self-image problems. Instead, God tells us in His Word how to effectively gain a proper view of ourselves – a view from His perspective.
Why I Don’t Feel Like I Measure Up?
There are several reasons we sometimes don’t love ourselves and feel like we’re not measuring up.
One big problem is that we often mistakenly base our opinion of ourselves on the standards of the fallen world around us and not on the information in the Word of God.
Our culture basically has three inadequate standards for adequacy: appearance, performance and social status.
People compare themselves to other people all the time to see if they rank higher in one or more of these three areas. If they think they do (and the ironic thing is that their judgments are subjective) but if they think they are better looking or greater performers or higher in their social status – then they mistakenly conclude they are valuable and adequate on this basis.
They suffer from the Rudolph-The-Red-Nosed- Reindeer Syndrome.
“In the reindeer pecking order, Rudolph was a nobody. Then came that foggy Christmas Eve, when Rudolph had an ability that others valued – a nose that glowed in the dark. After he saved Christmas, the songs says, ‘then all the reindeer loved him…’” (Quote from Craig Brian Larson in his book “Pastoral Grit”)
The world around us treats people they view as unattractive or less productive or lower socially - as less valuable. It’s only when they perform or look pretty or achieve status that the world gives them value. But God doesn’t work that way. There isn’t any partiality with Him.
The Bible says, “…God does not respect one person more than another.” Acts 10:34b (NLV)
He doesn’t care if you’ve been bombarded with Botox, or had your body reshaped to that of a “perfect 10.” He’s not impressed with your intellect, your salary, or your standing in the community. Honestly, He’s not. But the world around us is. And if we’re not careful we can fall into the trap of evaluating our adequacy, our value, our self-love on arbitrary, man-made, and ultimately insufficient rules of self-worth.
I’m not suggesting that we should ignore our appearance, perform poorly or shun society. And I’m not suggesting that we go to the other extreme of overplaying our importance. We need to constantly view ourselves as being loved by God unconditionally. We are not unimportant because we don’t measure up to other people’s standards. And we’re not more important because we have more or do more than others.
God’s not waiting for you to reach a certain level to love you. He already loves you! Your adequacy is not based on the subjective and ever-changing formulas of other humans. Your value is based on the assessment of your Creator and Savior. Each one of us is adequate because God made us and provided for our eternal friendship with Him if we will make a personal faith commitment to Jesus.