Today is Wednesday, so, I have been to my pottery class this morning. My daughters gave me these lessons as a Christmas gift. Today was my fourth class and the teacher was on vacation. I “threw” four things (pots, mugs, bowls, who knows?) on my own. Someone asked me if I was having fun. That is not how I would describe it at this point. I am enjoying the experience. My artist sister said to “Let myself go.” Being a rather structured, control freak, I am not sure what that even means.
Learning to do something new and outside of my comfort zone is challenging. We all tell ourselves we can’t do certain things. I say I am creative but not artistic. What makes it hard for me is that I am the one who tells my grand kids, or anyone who will listen, that “Can’t never did anything” or “If you think you can’t, you are right!” You know, stuff like that. I find it is easier to believe these platitudes when you are saying them to someone else and not yourself.
I have always struggled with a low self-esteem. I know, it’s shocking! Maybe it is because I grew up the middle child or because I am only 5’1” and have something to prove or because I am blind as a bat. Honestly, I have never been really good or really special at anything. I am a jack of all trades but master of none. This lack of extraordinary talent has perhaps caused me to over compensate a bit which has lead me to a life of control — what I wear, how things look, what I do. I have a tendency to gain my worth from what I can accomplish instead of from who I am or, more correctly, whose I am.
Before becoming a health insurance agent, I worked as a manufacturer’s sales rep calling on companies across East Tennessee who needed the electronic components that my manufacturers made. I had worked very hard for 13 years to achieve, what I considered, “my perfect job.” I had the expense account, the company car (with a car phone, no less) and a nice compensation package. I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. One day a friend in the industry called to ask if I had heard about my company being sold to a competitor. Uh, no, I had not. As I feared, it was only a few months until my job was redundant, and I was laid off.
My self-worth had been based on my job description and pay check. When that was all gone in a flash, my fears and self-doubts resurfaced except now they seemed to be based on facts. I thought, “If I had only sold more, they would have kept me.”
In my devotional book, BROKEN: Finding Purpose from Brokenness, we study about the disciple Peter and his infamous denial of Jesus just when Jesus needed him most. Not once but three times. Talk about feeling like a failure. Peter’s self-esteem hit rock bottom. He decided to believe the lies in his head, give up on ministry and go back to something he knew he could do, fishing.
Jesus very lovingly asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” He responded, “Lord, you know I do.” Jesus asked him this question three times, once for each time Peter had denied Him. I like to think of Jesus saying “Then what in the world are you going out here fishing? You are no longer a fisherman! You are Peter, the rock. You are to be a shepherd of people. Go feed my sheep! I need you to build my church!”
Our self-esteem is not based on how well we perform our job or how well we can throw a bowl in pottery class or how modern and stylish our clothing. It is not based on our failures. It is not even based on our successes. Our self-esteem is based on who God, the Master Potter, made us to be. I am a child of the King. That makes me a princess! My success or failure is not based on what the world thinks. It is based on what God thinks and he thinks I am someone special!
And He thinks you are pretty special, too. Believe it!