“My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” -Gideon
Talk about low self-esteem! But that’s how Gideon described himself when the angel of the Lord appeared to him (Judges 6:15).
It was understandable. During that particular time Israel was in hiding. They harvested during the night under cover of darkness and in silence. They feared being over-run by their enemies who would steal their harvest and enslave some of them.
In more free circumstances, harvest was carried out in the day time with singing. So it was a shame for Israel to be playing a cat and mouse game with its enemies, Israel being the mouse.
Low self-esteem. What causes it? If we take a look at Gideon’s story, we can glean a few and know how to overcome them.
1. Fear. It’s one of the first of mankind’s emotions. However, be aware that fear can be both debilitating and energizing. For Gideon and his people it was debilitating. If we were to follow Gideon’s frame of mind, we could say they had the lowest of low self-esteem.
How can fear be energizing instead? You let it motivate you and not make you cower. The angel made Gideon realize they could face fear head on and defeat it; or let fear relegate them to a life of hiding. Former US President Franklin Roosevelt once said: “The only thing we need to fear is fear itself.”
Know the cause of your fear and your more than half-way in conquering it. More often than not, when we discover what’s behind our fears, we discover they’re not reason enough to
2. They didn’t know their strength. The angel told Gideon, “Go in the strength you have…” (Judges 6:14). The angel could have added, “Not in the weaknesses YOU THINK you have” (capitalization mine).
Many times we dwell in our weaknesses even though many of our weaknesses are mere thoughts. Dwell instead and build on your strengths. The Apostle Peter had this to say:
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-9).
Peter certainly built on his strengths. From a fisherman he became one of the authors of the best-selling book of all time.
3. They weren’t at peace. I’m not just talking about the conflict Gideon’s people had with their enemies, but the conflict within themselves. Gideon’s questions to the angel reveal an inner conflict. He was not at peace with himself. He, along with his countrymen, was not at peace with other people.
The very core of these outer and inner conflicts was that they weren’t at peace with God. Thus, when Gideon knew God had a purpose for him, the Bible tells us he “built
an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace” (Judges 6:24).
Much of our inner turmoil can be traced to a turmoil with God in the form of guilt, unforgiveness, bitterness and the like. Inner turmoil causes low self-esteem.
Thus, forgive yourself, first of all. Don’t torture yourself with past failures or mistakes. Know that failures and mistakes are there to make you a better and stronger person. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “Out of life’s school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.”
Forgive yourself; then forgive those who’ve hurt you and ask forgiveness from those who’ve offended you. Then ask forgiveness from God. Being at peace with God, others and
yourself gives you a fresh start to building up self-esteem.
Source by Dean Mapa