Self-esteem and performance
Find out why God cares more about who you are than what you achieve.
Ben Tune was a Rugby Union Giant, a World Cup winning member of the Australian Wallabies. But recently he revealed he's had a long battle with depression, drug addiction, low self-esteem and suicide attempts.
Ben says that mental illness should never be downplayed or ridiculed and that people who suffer from these types of illnesses should immediately seek help:
No one, no matter how strong the person is - can beat this illness on their own.
He's absolutely right!
One of the many interesting aspects of Ben’s story is that he struggled with low self-esteem. And we wonder how one of Australia's greatest sportsmen could struggle with self-esteem? Ben said the reason he struggled was that he felt accepted and liked because of what he had achieved, not because of who he really was. This is sad and profound.
So much of our culture tells us that what we do is more important than who we are. And this can put enormous pressure on us to perform. It's so easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that our identity is caught up in what we do rather than who we are.
As Christians, our identity is entirely bound up in Jesus. Through faith in Jesus’ perfect performance, God declares us his children:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1a)
This is the identity that should define us, shape us, and direct us the most. Our performance will always be up and down. But our identity as children of God is not based on our performance. Our identity is based on Jesus’ perfect performance on our behalf. God doesn’t accept us or like us because of what we have achieved or the type of person we are. God accepts us despite all this. God accepts us because he is a God of lavish love.
So if you are a Christian struggling with depression or low self-esteem, remember who you are. You are a child of God. This may not make all the pain go away but hopefully it will help put things into perspective.
And don't forget Ben's advice that if you are really depressed, or considering self-harm or suicide, you need to speak to someone who can help you. If you’re in Australia, you can call Lifeline on 131144 or go to http://www.lifeline.org.au. There are similar organisations in every country (contact a local doctor for phone numbers).