Self-esteem versus God Confidence
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
A conversation in our break room sparked my interest the other day. It surrounded the topic of parenting and self-esteem. There is new research out that the "building self-esteem" craze has led to a generation rampant with entitlement. Years ago the new word in parenting was in building confidence in children, but parents are quickly learning that it's backfired. Let me tell you a story. I was a very talented teenager (Can you guess what the problem was?). I won award after award for my vocal talents and my self esteem was overly healthy. I knew I was good, my teachers told me I was good, and my parents encouraged me too. With my big head, there was no room for God. But very early in my career at the Boston Conservatory, I was diagnosed with a disease that took any dream of becoming an Opera star away. My self esteem was at an all time low and I floundered through another three or four years of college, unable to function in a world that did not cater to or praise me. No one had ever pointed me towards the Lord, and it was another two years before I realized that my identity did not lay in my talents or achievements, but in Who God created me to be. There is a vast difference between self-esteem and God Confidence. Self-esteem asks "What do I think of me?" while God Confidence asks "What does the Lord think of me?" If our identity is dependent upon ourselves, what we're capable of, what we achieve.....it will quickly crumble. If all we teach our children is self esteem, we've set them up to fail. Like my identity crumbled once my talents shifted, basing our identity in what we do and what we achieve is very shaky ground. What if instead of teaching children to be confident in themselves alone we taught our children to have true confidence in another source? What if we taught them to have confidence in the One who resides in them? What if we shifted their world view from a narcissistic inward focus to an outward Kingdom perspective? By doing these things, we set our children up to lead successful lives full of the knowledge that they are all fearfully and wonderfully made, with their focus on the Creator. It's a perspective shift from a "what" to a "who"; that their identity does not depend on what they can do or achieve, but on the Who that created them.