Anyone having low self-esteem can tell the many limitations it has placed on their lives, career, and relationships with society. But many don’t know that low self-esteem can have a great impact on their relationship with God. I have experienced quite a number.
Although our relationship with God is a spiritual one, the only way our spirits can express what is going on in the spiritual realm is through our minds. Also, our minds are what we use to interpret what is going on in the physical. Because of this intermediary role our minds play, whatever is in our minds will have a direct impact on what happens or does not happen in the spirit as it relates to us.
This is where low self-esteem comes in. Low self-esteem is a deep-rooted belief one has that they are not worthy or capable. It’s a mental conditioning that makes the individual see themself as less worthy and less deserving than others.
If you have this belief called low self-esteem, it would affect your relationship with God in the following way.
Relationship With God And Low Self-Esteem
1. Low self-esteem makes it more difficult to receive God’s love
Every human, even those with high self-esteem, finds it difficult to believe that God loves them just like that, and they don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love. This is because we live in a society where everything is earned and nothing is given for free.
But while everyone else can get convinced that God loves them, there’s a level of peculiarity you will give yourself if you have low self-esteem. With low self-esteem, you would say, “I agree God loves us even when we don’t deserve it, but there’s something about me that I think He just can’t keep up with.”
I have seen this same mindset in my relationship with everyone around; I keep on thinking, “They can’t probably like me. They’ll find out something about me and distance themselves from me very soon.”
And when I let the low self-esteem mindset remain in my mind, it hinders me from enjoying the fullness of a relationship with God because I’d keep thinking He will soon “find me out or get tired of me.”
2. Low self-esteem makes you think you are always doing something wrong
Just like we do in our relationship with humans, with low self-esteem, we are more likely to fall into thinking that we are breaking one of God’s laws and disappointing Him. This is an extension of finding it difficult to receive His love.
Here you are saying, “Ok, I agree God loves me. But sin turns Him off. I think I’m doing something that He might not like. I don’t just know exactly what.”
With this, I find myself constantly apologizing even when I can’t pinpoint what wrong I have done. This level of low self-esteem is more common with everyone in our relationship with God than in our relationship with others, majorly because of our wrong orientation about God. We think God is always on the outlook for us to fall short.
For this reason, those who have high self-esteem might not be afraid of doing something that will put other people off but might fall into that fear when with God.
But for the one with low self-esteem, it’s even worse; if I always put humans off, how much more the holy God?
However, I got out of this by changing my perspective of God. Instead of seeing Him as a nitpicker watching out for my flaws, I began to see Him as a loving Father, who sees my sincere heart of love, because that’s who He is.
3. Low self-esteem makes obeying God difficult because you are caught in people-pleasing
One of the major symptoms of low self-esteem is people-pleasing: the need to always do things to get the approval of others.
Because we think we are lesser in class compared to others, we also think that everything we do that is not what everyone else is doing will only prove how lesser we are.
On the other hand, God from time to time will give His children instructions to do things that are different from what the world sees as normal. Even when among believers, God will give us instructions that other believers are not used to.
Low self-esteem usually makes obeying those kinds of instructions difficult because I’d keep on thinking, what will others think? Won’t they say I’m pretending? Won’t they say I’m claiming to be the most righteous?
Now, even though no one is thinking those things, because I believe I don’t match up, I think everyone will always have a negative disposition towards me so I’m careful not to do anything different from what I know they approve of already, including obeying God.
4. Low self-esteem will make you ashamed of identifying with God
We live in a world that makes it look as though being a child of God is something left for primitive people who have not been enlightened and freed from the slavery of religion.
Because of this, it requires some level of a conscious push to identify with Christ in non-Christian circles. But this is even more difficult for the one with low self-esteem: someone who already thinks he doesn’t match up with the world.
I know everyone thinks I’m weird. How will it then look when I identify to be a believer of Christ? Wouldn’t it just confirm the fact, even more, that I can’t fit in or meet their standard?
With low self-esteem, we are always looking for things that will make us look more “classy,” and identifying with Jesus isn’t near anything society calls classy.
On the contrary, having Jesus should be a thing of pride, you possess the solution that the world is craving for. You have peace, assurance, a friend, hope, and a future in Christ. This is classy!
5. Low self-esteem makes you ashamed of taking a stand for righteousness
Taking a stand for righteousness is choosing to be controversial, something people with low self-esteem deeply run away from. We always want to be in the flow because it shows we match up with what everyone is doing.
To someone with low self-esteem, having a different thought proves that you are different (not unique, but misfit).
If you are not assured of your worth, assured that your thoughts are valid, reasonable, and worth listening to, you wouldn’t take a stand for righteousness when that’s not what is popular.
6. Low self-esteem can stop you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life
Case study: me!
It took me loads of procrastination and self-encouragement to start this blog. I knew God wanted me to do this but I was concerned about what people would think. Wouldn’t they think I am trying to exalt myself?
I was ashamed of starting something because it would mean I thought I was able. I was afraid nobody would be interested in what I had to write and the list continues. All because I didn’t see myself as worthy.
However, I was able to overcome that by believing in myself and believing in God.
7. Low self-esteem will stop you from enjoying the fullness of fellowship with other Christians
This is huge! Everyone with low self-esteem is very poor in relationships, both with people and, as we have been looking at, with God.
However, spirituality is relatability. God expects that we have relationships with other believers. Low self-esteem will stop you from making friends and keeping them because you are always trying to hide your flaws, even those that do not exist.
Because people with low self-esteem usually hide, they go through the tough times of the Christian journey alone and because of this, without the help of God, they are more exposed to leave the faith.
8. Low self-esteem stops you from showing forth God’s glory
God wants the world to see His glory through us but low self-esteem wants us to hide and live a normal life. These are two contrasting desires.
To truly show forth God’s glory, we need to put away the belief that we don’t have anything worthy or admirable. God in us is something admirable already that the world should see.
This is a little bit easier because you can easily look at it as showing forth God’s glory, not your glory.
However, it can become difficult when you think, “how can God show His glory through me?”
9. Low self-esteem makes you afraid receiving God’s blessings
This is because the central thought in the mind of one with low self-esteem is, I don’t deserve it. Yes, we all don’t deserve God’s blessings but He has made us deserving through Christ.
To put away this mindset, you need to stop seeing yourself in the light of yourself and start seeing what Christ has done and what He has made you into. You are now deserving of God’s blessings!
Firstly, because God created you with a reserved place in His overall programme, you are worthy and equal in worth to everyone else on the earth.
Secondly, because Christ died for you, He put His worth on you. Your assignment in getting free from low self-esteem and the negative effects it has on your relationship with God is to sit down long enough with God’s word, reaffirming your worth until a new mindset of worth is formed.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.