JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF YOUR WORTH
Sam I Am
June 2, 2002
God wants to take us to the ultimate destination. I am talking about a journey, a journey to the center of our worth. During our first installment we looked at a super self-esteem. Today, we are going to get deeper as we look at something else about our self-concept. Come along. I am only going two hours away to a cool town. Let’s go.
We are finally here. I just pulled in to one of my most favorite restaurants in the world, Sam’s. Sam’s is kind of a pseudo truck stop. It is a restaurant situated right up I-45 if you are going south from Dallas on your way to Houston. When we travel to Houston, Lisa and I usually wait to eat until we can stop at Sam’s because the cooking is awesome, and the desserts are to die for!
I am on the second leg of this journey that we have been calling On Location. It is a series on self-esteem. The last time I talked to you I was in the Bahamas. Today, I am at a place that is kind of a contrast to the Bahamas: Fairfield, Texas. This place is going to be great because we are going to talk about what scars our self-esteem. So join me as we eat some good food and have some good conversation, because every day is a great day when you are at Sam’s.
Sam’s is a world famous, in my opinion, world famous truck stop off of I-45 about two hours south of Dallas. The food is phenomenal. Look at the meringue on these pies. They are homemade, made fresh every day. Whenever I am going to Houston I stop at Sam’s. And let me tell you something, this food is solid sin.
We are talking to people about self-esteem today. We are seeing what kind of self-esteem people are feeding on. So I think that we will have a good time as we talk to several people who are just passing through.
“To start off do you have any scars? Do you have any scars on your body from over the years? Any cuts, scrapes, or whatever that are pretty significant or that have any cool stories behind them?”
“Well, yeah, when I was five years old I had a brother and a sister. We used to swing on a swing set. It was a glider. You know the glider where everybody could get on board and then everybody could get it going real fast. What we used to do is this: somebody would get on the end and somebody would parachute off. Well, we would leap way up in the air and we would come crashing back down. We could take that kind of thing because we were young. But what happened that time is that I fell underneath and got really slammed. I took a real bad crack on my head and had a cracked skull. I had to go to school with a big ‘ole bandage on my head.”
“We were at a lake and I was really little. I was climbing to the back of the boat and the blade was still turning and it nicked my ankle so I have a scar there.”
“I guess my very first scar was when I was in a car wreck. Well I guess it went off the road or something. I was only a little girl and as they were pulling me out I got caught on something. It might have been the door lock on the car, anyway it scraped my leg here and I had a big gash.”
“Looking back on your life, not to get too personal or too specific, do you ever feel like people have said words to you growing up that you have carried with you for a while?”
“Mostly Jr. High. It was not a good time.”
“Really, like what? Cause that is the real deal because most people, I mean a lot of girls, in Jr. High…”
“People are mean. They will say anything. Maybe sometimes they are jealous or resentful and they have to think of something to say. They have to bring your self-esteem and your confidence down.”
“Well, growing up I really had a wonderful childhood. People protected me until later on in life. I feel that kind of brought a lot of that on as I grew up and started running around with different groups in Houston. If you can imagine growing up in a neighborhood there and the different incidents would take place. You did not really realize that the scarring was taking place until a little bit later on. And then you can look back on it and realize that was pretty damaging.”
“You know you come across people that have said something harsh to you and it scars you. But you know, you can overcome that too I think. I did.”
I am standing in front of the courthouse in Fairfield, Texas. That’s right I am still here. I am in front of a building that was constructed in the early 1900’s. This is a great place to talk about self-esteem. I think that you would agree with me. All of us have scars on our bodies. I mean if you live very long you are going to get scratched. You are going to get nicked. You might have a surgery or two. The thing about our scars is that our scars always come along with stories. This is where I had this operation, or this is where I fell off a snowboard or whatever. I have a cool scar on my right hand. I was cutting some jaws out of a shark and my hand slipped on the knife and it laid my hand open. A friend of mine, a doctor friend, was kind enough to sew my hand back and my hand looks really good now.
All of our scars have stories behind them. Today, though, I want to hone in on the whole thing about scars, not external scars, but internal scars. Believe it or not, most of us have some scarring of our self-esteem. Often times it is wounded by words that other people say to us. For example, let’s say that when you grew up your parents exchanged the regular mirrors around your apartment or home for fun house mirrors. You know that fun house mirrors are the ones that reflect back to you a very distorted view. Let’s say during your formative years that when you looked in the mirror, you saw yourself this wide or this tall or your fingers were that long. If you grew up that way you would have a freaked out view of yourself. In a real sense your parent’s eyes are the first set of mirrors that you ever looked into. What if you had reflected back to us looks of distrust, looks of anger, and looks of disappointment–like you are of no account, like you are an accident? Well, let me tell you something, you probably struggle with poor self-esteem.
On the other hand, what if you grew up with parents that gave you affirming looks—looks like you matter, looks like you are one-of-a-kind, looks like you are special? Then there is a great chance that you have a healthy self-esteem. I know that it sounds weird, but the words that other people say to us can damage us, they can scar us worse than any surgery or any automobile accident imaginable.
When I was in the second grade I was in a music class. We were doing some singing and we were singing the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” I have always had a very low voice and the music teacher made fun of me because I of it. He made me come in front of the classroom and sing in front of all of my peers. Now from that day forward I have always been kind of hesitant about singing. He said, “Oh, Ed you can’t sing. Your voice sounds like a frog. Frog Ed. Frog Ed.” I believed that. I rehearsed that over and over.
I think that the book of Proverbs nails this whole issue. In Proverbs 12:18: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
The tongue is a two-ounce slab of mucous membrane to doctors, but in a real way it is a weapon. It can be like a sword. So we are wounded from words that other people say.
We are also wounded by words that we tell ourselves. A lot of people hear words from others and we take those words, absorb those words, and then we turn those words over and over again on the rotisserie grill of our minds. I think about Moses. Moses was a phenomenal leader. When God initially tapped him on the shoulder and told him to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery, you know what Moses said? Moses said, “God I-I-I-I can’t do it. I-I-I-I stutter. I-I-I can’t speak. I am not articulate. I am slow in my speech. Choose someone else. Choose Aaron over here. He has the golden throat.” Well, Moses obviously had been wounded by the words of others and he had also wounded himself over the years. Yet he worked through it and became a great difference maker in God’s economy.
Any time that we try to compare ourselves with others we are making a mockery of God’s creative genius. As I always say, “It is unfair to compare.”
In 2 Corinthians 10 it says, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves or compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
Man, our entire world is into comparing. We compare waistlines. We compare physiques. We compare bank accounts. We compare cars. We compare clothes. We compare vacations. We compare our kids. We compare schools. It is unfair to compare, because when God made you and me, he threw out the comparison game. When he made you and me, he made someone who is one of a kind. Just think, if you weren’t you, there would be a hole in history, a gap in creativity. So be yourself. Be yourself. That is the most important thing that I can tell you. And the only way that you will be yourself is to see yourself in the eyes of God. Because God is the only person that can help us see who we truly are.
We are looking at two things today. We’ve seen what scars the self-esteem; now let’s see what redeems the self-esteem. How can we have a truly healthy picture of ourselves? Well, you will see that signs of a healthy self-esteem are everywhere. Look behind me at “the healthy image.” Speaking of a healthy image, speaking of how to redeem our self esteem, I want to give you a top ten list. Ten principles that you need to download, you need to understand, you need to apply and incorporate into your life if you are going to have a great self-esteem. Are you ready?
I Am Created
That’s right, I am created. In Ephesians 2:10 it says: “For we are God’s workmanship.”
Personalize that, “Ed” is God’s workmanship. I am an original and so are you. I am a Picasso and so are you. You know it makes me sick whenever people say, “I am not innovative. I am not creative. I have never had an original thought in my life.” That is a joke. That is making a mockery of God’s creative genius. Because after all, we are created in the image of our creative creator, thus we should create.
I Am Chosen
That’s right, I am chosen. “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you” (1 Thessalonians 1:4). Dr. Charles Cowly, former Dean of the American Sociology Institute, stated that we get our self-esteem from what the most important person in our lives thinks about us. Isn’t that a great statement? Thus, if we make Christ the most important person in our lives, Lord of our lives, then we are on our way to having a self-esteem that is truly redeemed.
Don’t you remember how great you felt when you were chosen for something? Maybe chosen for a team or chosen for a group at work or whatever. You feel special. God has chosen you.
I Am Protected
I am protected. You just heard it; I am protected. Psalm 17:8 (NLT): “Protect me as you would the pupil of your eye.”
This verse simply means that God has you, and he has me, in His eye, in His sight. Early this morning I did some fishing with my son. He was in that boat with me and I never took my eye off of him because we were out in the middle of nowhere. I was watchful. I was always just checking him out. That is the way God is looking at you and me. He is being watchful. He is keenly aware of everything that is going on in our lives. Some people think that surely God does not care about me. Surely God does not see me. That is just a bunch of junk. Yes he does. That is how much you matter to him.
I Am Complete
That is right. I am complete. 2 Peter 1:3: “His divine power has given us everything that we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and goodness.”
A lot of people are running around these days and they have a feeling of incompleteness. They feel like they are one step away, one deal away. There is something gnawing at their soul that just tells them time and time again that something is askew, something is out of balance. Well, I am going to tell you something. Once we see who we are in Christ, then he will complete the incomplete. Sin has a way of showing us that we are incomplete. So I challenge you to get to know Christ. I challenge you to look to him, because he will complete the incomplete.
I Am Victorious
I am victorious. You heard it right there at Sam’s. That is something that the cowboy’s need. Anyway. Romans 8:37: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
I hope that you remembered this whole concept when I talked about the X-Trials and I talked about spiritual warfare in Tank U. If you missed that series; pick it up. One of the main things that I talked about was this: as believers we don’t fight for victory, we fight from victory. As a Christ follower and as someone that sees myself the way that God sees me, nothing more and nothing less, He frees me up and He gives me victory over every situation because of whose team I am on.
I Am Called
I am called. 2 Timothy 1:9: “[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything that we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.” That is cool man. God has called you. God has called me. Our callings are unique, but they are also the same. God has called us to live within the guidelines and guard rails of Scripture, yet he wants us to pave, by His grace, our own path. He wants us to carve our own course. That is the kind of God that we serve. We are uniquely wired up to serve Him. So be that unique person. Listen to God’s calling. Follow His lead. Stay in sync with the Savior and I am telling you something, you will discover what it means to have a super self-esteem.
I Am Forgiven
I am forgiven. You heard it right there. Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
“Remembers our sins no more.” The only entity that brings up our past, our sins, is the evil one. Christ does not do that. He blots them out. He remembers them no more and that is a good thing because it is a God thing. So once we come to Christ, and once we confess our sins to him and turn away from our sins, it is like that Etch a Sketch. This will date me, but we used to have an Etch a Sketch. They still have them today. You can turn the little knob in the thing and then you shake it up. Well, that is what the Lord does. We stand in front of Him and say, “Lord look at my etch-a-sketch, it is messed up.” He just shakes it.
I Am Free
I am free. John 8:32 Christ said, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
It will set you free. Here is our problem: we confuse knowledge and application. We think that if we just have knowledge it is enough. Well, if I just have application it is enough. You have to have both of them. I just got through eating at Sam’s and it was a good meal. I had chicken fried steak with cream gravy. You have to have both of them together. You can’t just have chicken fried steak by itself. You have to have the gravy with it. The same is true in knowledge and application.
As I have been standing here, I have been looking at a prisoner peering out of the courthouse at us. I mean they even have the old-time black and white striped costumes on. These men and women are incarcerated. They are chained up. One day, though, they will be free. Many of you right now are in a prison cell of poor self-esteem. You are not free; you are chained up. It is time to get free.
I Am Loved
I am loved. I am loved. Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”
Keep this verse on the side screen for a second. Are there any conditions? Is there any fine print there? No. Unconditional love. So many of us were raised with conditional love. “If you make good grades, oh, we’ll love you. If you score all the points, we will love you. If you look this way, we will love you. If you do this, if you do that, we will love you.” God says forget that stuff. Unconditional love. In other words I do not have to wake up in the morning and wonder if God loves me today. No. He loves me with an everlasting love.
I Am Accepted
This is the top reason, the top way, the top principle concerning how I can redeem my self-esteem. I am accepted. You heard it from the parking lot of Sam’s. Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you to, in order to bring praise to God.”
As a Christian we have accepted Christ, but have you realized that Christ has accepted you? Every time I look at this verse I get kind of scared. The first time that I ever spoke to a bunch of pastors it was 11 or 12 years ago. I was in Corpus Christi, about 1,200 people were there, and I quoted this verse. Instead of saying Romans 15:7, I said Romans 7:15. As I was reading it they were going, “Where is he? This guy is an idiot. He doesn’t know the Bible.” It was kind of funny. Here I was talking about Jesus accepting us and I could not even find the right verse. I was looking like a fool. In reality it does not matter because I am acceptable whether I get the verses right or not. Because of who I am; I am a child of God.
I want to give you some homework. Take that top ten list and put it somewhere prominent where you can recite the top ten each and every day. Because once you speak the truth it will get into your spirit and the Holy Spirit of God will use that and you will think right. When you think right, you will feel right. When you feel right, you will act right, and you will discover what it means to get a true grasp on an ultimate self-esteem.