Six months into the new role, I realized I had made a grave mistake. It was the same mistake that had plagued much of my thirty-eight-year existence on earth. I was attempting to bolster my deficient self-esteem by proving I was awesome in my new job. And like all idols and misplaced motivations, it was failing me big time.
Every day was like riding the rollercoaster of emotions set off by whatever circumstances happened that day. There were days when others were happy with me, and I felt like maybe I was starting to understand what I was doing in my new job. But more often, days were hard and brought difficult circumstances and people. After all, we were going through a merger with shifting organizations while navigating a global pandemic that had turned all of our worlds upside down. I was certainly not in control of much that happened, yet the days' happenings controlled my self-esteem.
My poor husband watched in horror as one day I came to the lowest low. After one of the hardest days that season, filled with upset people, insurmountable roadblocks, and mean comments flung my way, I lost it. I started cry-shouting that I could not go on. He looked at me very seriously and said, "why don't you look for another job, then?"
Frustrated with myself, the truth bubbled out of the depths of my heart, "Because it will be no better there. This is about me and what I believe about where my significance comes from!"
Whoa. Truth bomb. A truth I had already known but wasn't living out.
The truth is that any job that I took would be horrible if it is where I was attempting to find my self-esteem. Regardless of how great our jobs are, work is still work. It is hard, filled with broken people and messy circumstances. There will be good days and bad days. Great accomplishments and major mess-ups. People will be happy with us some days and angry with us others.
So, if the source of our self-esteem is here, it will certainly take us on a wild ride. This is exactly why the Enemy twists our hearts to attempt at bolstering our self-esteem by accomplishing success. He slyly shifts our gaze by tempting us with something we actually need, esteem and affection, until we fall into his trap of trying to derive this from our worldly places. But any other source outside of God is the wrong place and hurts our hearts, even more, sending us into a negative cycle that continues to get worse and worse.
This is the tricky esteem scheme, one of the Enemy's favorite ploys. It is the same temptation the Enemy attempts to use against Jesus in Matthew 4:8. While many of us don't want to rule over nations and have people bow down to worship us, we certainly do like accolades for our accomplishments. We would love to be considered great in the eyes of others. And while accolades are not bad in and of themselves, when we start living for them, we shift our focus from serving God to serving whatever will bring the most praises. This is a dangerous and slippery slope. Jesus knew this and answered with a sharp truth – get out of here, Satan. We need to be just as vicious with this tricky scheme, or, as I know from experience, it will quickly overtake us.
The truth is that we need esteem and affection, but we already have it in God. God created us in His image and called us very good. This is our significance—the only source. And God loves us and wants to be with us. He sent his Son in our place so we could be back in a relationship with Him. This is the affection that our hearts are truly craving, and the only source we can truly fill up.
Let's stop the Enemy's schemes and gain the esteem and love we need by focusing on serving God alone and gaining our affection only from Him. He longs to tell us well done, good and faithful one and fulfill our hearts greatest desire.
Let's Pray: Lord, you are good and desire to fulfill the needs you place in us. Only being your child makes us significant. Help us get this truth in our hearts. We long for your affection a real relationship with you. Help us to overcome our enemy so we can continue to seek you and serve you alone. You are our source. In Jesus' name, Amen.
This Week's Scripture Study:
"Now you understand that I have imparted to you all my authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority. However, your real source of joy isn’t merely that these spirits submit to your authority, but that your names are written in the journals of heaven and that you belong to God’s kingdom. This is the true source of your authority.” Matthew 13:22
“What bliss you experience when your heart is pure! For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God” Matthew 5:8
This Week's Challenge:
God has placed you in your role for a purpose, and admittedly I do not know what that is, but I am certain it is not to gain glory for yourself through achievements and boost your self-esteem. You do not need to boost your self-esteem with achievements because He has already proven you are valuable enough to die for. Once you get your significance only from God, your heart is prepared to serve God alone from a place of confidence. You can encounter hardships and days that seem like nothing is going the way you thought and still see the blessings of God.
Identify where you may be trying to gain significance and lay it down. Beware of the Enemy's smoke screens and mirrors here as well. He does not want you to walk through life knowing you are already valuable because that makes you dangerous.
Meet Micah Ruth
Hey all - I am so glad to meet you. I am a working mom of three kids who thinks that God and family should be our top priority, but still working at a place that sometimes feels demanding that it should be. In other words, I get it. I get how hard it is to balance God, family, and working outside the home. I also understand what I call the corporate undertow. You know, the pull to perform at your best all the time. The pull to believe that you are only as good as your last accomplishment. I have spent a lot of my adult years in this undertow. But God freed me a few years ago and now it is my passion to do the same for others.
This is why I wrote the book of my freedom story - You Are Loved & Free: A Guided Journey to Winning the Battle for Your Identity. It is also the reason I stated "It's Working Mama" ministry. My mission is to illuminate God's truths to equip and empower business women so they can live loved and free in Christ. Check out the new Its Working Mama ministry page today