Psalm 139: 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
I discovered some interesting thoughts in a sports psychology article, “Self-Esteem and Sports”. In it, Dr. Kris Eiring makes some observations about a kid she saw doing a hill run and the pure joy he emitted – something that is often lost when we get older and the stakes become much higher. She reminisced back to her youth: “There was no pressure. And I had no idea about judging myself as a person. Instead, it was just fun to run.” Dr. Eiring goes on to discuss the concept of self-esteem, “a subjective emotional evaluation of oneself”. She states that it is a well-known fact that athletes have better self-esteem than non-athletes, however, “It is bidirectional. You can obtain self worth through exercise, but athletes can lose self worth through a poor performance.” Dr. Eiring comes up with three recommendations when you feel a low sense of self: 1) Take care of body, mind and soul; 2) Engage in Positive Self-Talk; and 3) Make a Self-Esteem Collage. While there is certainly value to her suggestions, as Christians I believe there is a key resource we can rely on when we are struggling with self-esteem.
In Hebrews 4:12 we read: “12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” We need to pull out the sword and go to battle attacking the lies that we encounter. If you begin to doubt your value, your place, perhaps even your purpose, you need to go back to the truths of God’s word.
Take a few minutes and read Psalm 139 to hear the heart of God as communicated by David. In the opening verses we are reminded of the obvious – no one knows us better than God. He knows our every thought, our every feeling. There is no place we can go where he cannot find us. David reminds us that we are not some random occurrence, but rather there was great thought and love when God knit us together in our mother’s womb (vs. 13). And David concludes this thought by declaring: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139: 14)
Do you know that? Have you truly internalized this truth – you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. In this passage “fearfully” comes from the Hebrew root word yârê, and in this context it speaks to the reverence we should have when considering that the God of the universe designed who and what we are. Ephesians 2:10 calls us “His Handiwork” or other translations say: “His Masterpiece”. We are “wonderfully made”. If we truly internalize this truth, then there is no place for self doubt, or for questioning our value in this world. God made us his masterpiece and he made us for a purpose. ”For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
When you next are facing self doubt, or facing low sense of self, have the above scriptures at your disposal. The enemy wants you to believe lies, so you need to be armed with the truth. In such times speak out and say: “No, I am God’s masterpiece, I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am made for a purpose, a great purpose!” Your athletic performance does not define you. Your creator defines you. And he adores you!