Several years ago I turned to a friend who was riding in my car and asked her, "What do you like about yourself?" We rode in silence for several minutes. Finally, she turned to me and said, apologetically, "I can't think of anything."
I was stunned. My friend is intelligent, charming, and compassionate—yet she couldn't see any of that.
I know she's not alone. Low self-esteem has become the number-one issue plaguing Christian women. Despite God's assurance that he's absolutely crazy about us, most of us can't believe he means us. It's like the cynical editor who tells the cub reporter, "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."
Check Out Your Sources
I was a reporter for 12 years. One of the first things I learned in researching a story was "garbage in, garbage out." If your raw data is flawed, you end up with a faulty conclusion. The same is true with how we see ourselves. If we lack self-confidence, maybe we're working with flawed data.
The reality is, in hundreds of subtle ways, our culture, family, friends—even our thought life—conspire to undermine our confidence. We grow up in families void of affirmation, encouragement, and respect—the building blocks to self-confidence. Then we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a world that lionizes Size Two Hollywood starlets and Barbie-doll figures. Our paycheck, our title, our designer labels, or some other artificial yardstick gives us temporary entree into the world of The Accepted. But in our hearts, we know it isn't real. How do we find our way to the truth?1