Remember the middle school years? Those lovely years of getting yourself esteemed shattered over and over again by all your so-called friends? All the joking and teasing that you laughed at when inside you felt like dying of embarrassment? Those long distant years have returned in full measure for me in having to help my youngest daughter navigate her middle school years.
My youngest daughter is the tallest in her class. She towers over the boys and the girls. Talk about a reason to feel self-conscious. I have been seeking the Lord about this. I understand that her patterns of thinking about herself are being formed right now. From what I can tell, the message she is getting from her friends is she is fat. They make little comments that are cruel and hurtful. I see the foundation of her self-esteem being set in these negative words. When she looks in the mirror she doesn’t see how beautiful or lovely she is, she sees what her friends have told her. This is not God’s plan for her or a solid truth to build her self-esteem on.
As I have been seeking the Lord about how to train her in this area, He has been showing me how to take captive thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (AMP)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
Capturing anything requires great effort and much planning. I must train her to recognize and capture thoughts that are contrary to what God’s word says about her.
Five Steps To Building A Godly Self Esteem
- Ask God for a revelation of what He thinks about you
- Memorize what God’s word says about you
- Meditate it so it becomes a part of who you are
- Speak it out loud in praise and thanksgiving so you can hear it and build faith
- Accountability for what you are thinking
- Teach what you have learned.
Step one: is to pray for her and with her to ask God to enlighten her heart about what He thinks about her. So she can recognize God’s thoughts and the world’s thoughts. To ask God to spark the word that she memorizing, so it becomes alive and active in her heart. To ask God to help her understand.
Step two: is to teach her His word to memorize so she has a constant supply of God’s thoughts concerning her to deal with when the need arises.
1. She is amazingly and miraculously made. Her form is by God’s hand and is His perfect design. God oversaw all the parts of her design. She is hand crafted by God. He thought about her, in detail. So many thoughts that they could not be counted. God has a very specific plan for her. She is wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:13-18 (GW)
13 You alone created my inner being.
You knitted me together inside my mother.
14 I will give thanks to you
because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.
Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
15 My bones were not hidden from you
when I was being made in secret,
when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book
before one of them had taken place.
17 How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God!
How vast in number they are!
18 If I try to count them,
there would be more of them than there are grains of sand.
When I wake up, I am still with you.
2. God planned for her, before she even was physically formed, every detail of her He approved. Her body is approved by God. She is His chosen one.
Psalm 100:3 (GW)
3 Realize that the Lord alone is God.
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people and the sheep in his care.
Jeremiah 1:5 (AMP)
5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
3. Her body is the resting place, the home of God. God loves her design enough to rest in her. She belongs to God, the God of the universe, who loves and approves her and was willing to pay the highest price for her. She has the power to honor God with her body. In order to do so she must honor God with thoughts about her body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
4. Her body, her soul and all that she is, has the power to honor God. God handcrafted her with the ability to please Him.
Romans 12:1 (GW)
12 Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.
Step three: is to teach the practice of meditating on His word. I do this by demonstrating it and practicing it with her. In our home it looks like this. I will give her a scripture and ask her to think on it and journal. I will too and then we share with each other. We do this several times for the same scripture to encourage deep thinking about it. We talk about it often to keep it in our vision.
Step four: I will demonstrate speaking the scriptures we are memorizing out loud in thanksgiving and prayer. I pray often and out loud so my children can hear me. I am known to pray as I clean, as I drive, as I exercise. I practice what I want her to learn. It looks like this:
Lord, I feel so ugly today, I just give that feeling to you and I receive your thoughts about me. I know your word says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I don’t feel wonderful but I take your word as the absolute truth about who I am. You made me wonderfully! Thank you that I allow this truth to be what I love. You designed me. I am handcrafted by you. Everything about me, is your design. I am a God original Jenni. I thank you that you help my thoughts come in line with your word and then will my emotions too.
Step five: I teach her about being accountable for her thoughts. Right thoughts lead to emotions that bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, peace, faithfulness, joy, goodness, gentleness, patience, self-control, and kindness. Just because a thought comes into her mind, doesn’t mean she has to think on it. My God-given rule for thoughts is this: Does it increase faith or increase fear. I am responsible for I think on. I can choose to think on those things which increase my faith in God and my trust in him or I can choose to think on those things that create fear and anxiety in my heart. What you think on produces emotions in your life. I teach her that she has this power too. I am training her to discipline her thoughts. Just because she feels ugly or fat does not mean it is the truth. Often times, what feels true is not the truth. The absolute truth for us is what His word says about us. I teach her to set her mind on this:
Philippians 4:8 (AMP)
8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Step six: As she begins to grow in this, she and I will both see the fruits of it in her life. Part of that process is being able to encourage and uplift others. She will encourage her friends and speak words that uplift them.
With the Lord’s help, I will teach my daughter how to build her self-esteem on what God’s word says about her. I know when she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t hear the kind words I have spoken to her, but she hears the words that wounded her heart. Building a foundation of self-esteem on woundedness is ridiculous, yet it is exactly what we do. I too, was the tallest, most developed girl in my class. The foundation of my self -esteem was built with much heartache and cruelty. It took many years for me to learn think about myself the way God does. I still struggle with it, at times. As I am learning, I will walk it out in my life and she will see it. However, there needs to be more than that. As I continue to seek the Lord in parenting my daughter, He is faithful to teach me in the way I should go. He has all the answers!