When you look into a mirror, what do you see? That seems like an obvious answer to a pretty straightforward question, but let’s take that question a bit deeper. Not your appearance, but what person do you see in that mirror? Are you pleased with the person you see, or do you wish that you saw someone else when you see your reflection? Do you view yourself as someone who is loved or someone who is just unlovable? If you struggle with low self-esteem, how do you go from viewing yourself as worthless, to seeing someone who is precious, valuable, and loved?
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Peter mentions that we should not find value in the beauty that is on the outside, but what is in the hearts and spirit is what is of great worth in God’s sight. This is a common theme throughout the Bible: what is important is not what’s on the outside, but what is on the inside that is of value. But sometimes this concept is hard to apply, especially in times of low-self esteem…
The world that we live in is obsessed with perfection. We must look perfect, be perfect at school, sports, work, relationships, etc. We see the “perfect lives of Instagram” (as I like to call it) - the glamour, travels, and looks of people that we can't compare to. Our culture focuses on celebrities, athletes, public figures that are living the dream that we'll never live. And it's so hard not to compare ourselves with the people directly in our lives (peers and siblings, for example). When we don’t measure up to the lives of our peers or the perfect lives we see on screens, we can be left feeling with a low sense of self.
When you’re feeling low, having a youth pastor say, “its what’s on the inside that counts” isn’t necessarily going to fix the problem. So how can you actually go from viewing yourself as worthless and lowly, to seeing someone who is loved and valuable? Don’t change the perception of yourself, change your perception of value. Re-focus your value system, what you see as worth-while versus what you see as worthless. God values you and your soul, more than you can even imagine. He puts high price on our hearts - a price that ultimately cost the sacrifice of His only Son, just for us to have a relationship with Him! Jesus says Matthew 6:26 that God takes care of the lowly barn birds, so how much more must He care for us? Peter also reminds us in 1 Peter 1:18-19 that our souls aren’t purchased by mere gold or silver, but by the blood of God’s Son.
Mephibosheth is one of my favorite Old Testament characters, and I want to end this blog with an abridged version of his story. He was the the son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul. Jonathan’s best friend was David, eventually to become a great King, and they made a promise to one another - that if either of them should die, the other would take care of their family. When Mephibosheth was five years old, his father Jonathan died in battle. Since danger was imminent, Mephibosheth and his caretaker were forced to flee, and during this escape, Mephibosheth took a fall that left him crippled for the rest of his life. After David became King, he remembered that promise he made to his best friend, and wanted to make good on it. Mephibosheth, a crippled and fatherless man, was brought in to King David and welcomed with open arms. In keeping with his promise to Jonathan, David gave Mephibosheth Saul’s kingly inheritance and VIP seating at the royal table for the rest of his life. Mephibosheth, in 2 Samuel 9:8, responded to David’s kindness by saying, “What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?” Talk about low self-esteem... David did not view him as a lowly dead dog, rather he saw Mephibosheth as one of his own, and brought him into royalty - and that’s exactly what God does for us! Even when we see ourselves as lowly, God sees us as His children, and brings us to His royal table through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.
We find value and worth in ourselves knowing that we are precious children of God. The next time you see your reflection, know that the person in the mirror is infinitely loved by, cared for, and is highly valued by the God of this universe.