By Jill Briscoe
Looking through my old diaries, I found something I wrote shortly after coming to Christ. It was about my experience in high school and my first year at college. I was often left out of sports teams and the choir and was never asked to represent the school. Other girls always seemed to be chosen first. If no one in my world considered me worth choosing for anything, then I reckoned I mustn’t be worth anything much.
What would it be like to be chosen, singled out, and trusted with something special, I wondered? When I was in the upper 6th, I hoped I would be chosen as a prefect. I was in the running, but another girl won the privilege. She was picked first. What must it be like to be picked first, I wondered? I fell in love regularly with different boys and when the time came for the dances at school, I did get asked, but never by the boys that I liked… and they didn’t choose me for me, but because my Dad was well off or they wanted to get to know my sister! What would it be like to be chosen, set apart for a responsibility or special task? What would it be like to be loved?
Then one day the living Lord Jesus came to me and forgave my sin. He became my Savior. He told me I was worth dying for! Can you imagine? He gave me His book to read. Oh, the joy that was mine to read His Word and discover His grace and love. It said in His Book that He had work for me to do. He had chosen me before the world began to do this particular work and no one else would do. Just me! This was far better than being chosen to be a prefect for my elite school! It was shortly after this I began to keep a diary of my conversations with Him. The following is one of them. I called it: Consider Yourself.
Grace filled His horn with oil and came looking for me. He found me at Cambridge University. I was in the hospital, busy being sick.
“You are the one,” He said. “Consider yourself chosen.”
He poured the consecrating oil of the Holy Spirit into my life. (Consecrating means setting apart for a special job.)
“But, I’m only a first-year student teacher,” I muttered.
“I don’t even get A’s – and not always B’s,” I said honestly. “I wasn’t chosen for the tennis team this term.”
“And Lord, I’m the youngest in my family. Lord, have you noticed that my sister is much prettier than me?”
“I know. I made her!”
“Well, nobody of any importance has ever singled me out before,” I explained. “So it’s sort of hard to believe”
“I’m Someone important, don’t you think?” He replied. Then, “Consider yourself anointed!”
“But anointing sounds so grand – isn’t it for missionaries, nuns, or kings and queens?”
“Consider yourself royalty,” He said softly.
He put His hand under my chin and made me look up. Then I saw He was smiling at me.
“Consider yourself loved,” He said ever so gently.
And so I did. And life began. Joy!
All these years later, I find myself meeting many people like me - people with low self esteem. For all sorts of reasons we feel worthless, useless, hopeless, and helpless. Maybe you were mishandled as a teenager or abused as a child. It could be that you have been disappointed by life that isn’t fair. Maybe your spouse left you. It could be that you have lived in the shadow of a brilliant sibling or tried in vain to live up to the high expectations of a parent.
“What’s the purpose of trying to do anything significant?” you ask yourself. “Who’d want me anyway?”
He wants you! He loves you! He has plans for you!
When I was in India among the Dalits who are the poorest of the poor and the lowest caste in a system that doesn’t always value women; it caused me to teach three things:
You are chosen.
You are loved.
You are anointed.
In places where women are devalued, this special teaching brought light, life, and liberty.
Do you consider yourself chosen, anointed, and loved? Did you know He picked you? You were first on His list for the work He had in mind. He had a job just for you! Yes, He does. What’s more, He believes you can do it.
“For you are God’s workmanship (Poema means work of art), created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10).
What joy there was in meeting the devalued, the deceived, and the downtrodden there in India who were coming to Christ in great numbers. What joy to show them right from the Scriptures that they are chosen, loved, and anointed for service to the the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What joy then, to see these same people taking their lives and making them count for good and for God in difficult and often dangerous places.
Of course, you don’t need to be a Dalit or a woman in India to suffer from low self esteem, to feel devalued and worthless. You can feel like that in the good old USA, the UK, South Africa, the Middle East, or anywhere else in God’s green world!
But listen to me. You were worth dying for, planning for, and equipping with precious spiritual abilities. You are called to do a work that He wants only you to do.
Consider yourself “Poema.” You are precious to Him!
In the world today, many women suffer from low self esteem; plagued with such questions as “Am I good enough?” “Pretty enough?” “Gifted enough?” The desire to live up to the world's impossible standards often leads to self doubt, discouragement, and even despair. Instead of looking to the world for approval and validation, look to God who created you, in His image, for a purpose (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 2:10 and Isaiah 43:4). It is our prayer that as you read through the articles we've compiled on improving self esteem, you will be reminded of God's limitless love for you and your infinite worth to Him!