Overcoming Low Self Esteem

The challenge of overcoming low self esteem can seem daunting. Considering the emotional nature of creativity, it is not surprising that artists may sometimes struggle with low self esteem. If you are a Christian artist and this is your persistent daily struggle, this page may help you.

Oil on Canvas
Sara Joseph

Dawn, Oil on Canvas, Sara Joseph

The very act of creativity is a courageous one. Think about it, every time you pick up a brush or make any expressive mark, you make yourself vulnerable to criticism. That act alone requires an intrepidity that sets you apart. The honest expression of your art moves the viewer beyond the superficiality of casual acquaintance into your deeply personal world.

Repeated criticisms from well-meaning folks, or condescending remarks from snooty armchair critics, who have never attempted the very act they criticize are deeply wounding. Almost instantly the joy of creating and your innocent, childlike intent for undertaking the art project, vanishes like vapor. All that is painfully brought to mind is your inability at meeting the expectation of someone else. Like swallowing a toxic pill, it poisons your deepest creative urges. Isn’t that what usually happens?

But overcoming low self esteem is critical

• for accomplishing all that God has planned for us
• for praying about God given goals
• for confidently planning our time
• for anticipating and eagerly striving for growth as a Christian artist

Friend, if you think that you are a paralyzed by low self esteem, consider the following. There is a wonderful paradox for a Christian with even the term "self-esteem".

Jesus esteemed your "self" so much that he gave His life for you. Yet once you allowed Him ownership of your life, that same "self" was mercifully swallowed up in Him. You are now part of His body. The beauty of this belonging is that although you are a part of His body, you are still marvelously distinct!

This is the strange irony of the Christian walk. We are never to lose our individuality, because He esteems it highly.

However, we are also cautioned strongly about placing that special, unique "self" on any throne of esteem, especially in our own minds. Comprehending this fragile balance, is the key that can help you in overcoming low self esteem.

If you struggle with low self esteem because of harsh circumstances, meditating on how much Jesus cares for you, can lift your spirits. This is not a passive suggestion, but instead, an urgent call. His love for you is the towering truth that will help you in overcoming low self esteem. It is absolutely imperative that you spend time purposefully pondering His special love. Consider all the creativity He expended on your behalf to woo you into His kingdom.

  On the other hand, you may have been fortunate enough to grow up in a Christian home so that you never knew a time when Jesus was not a part of your life. If that is so, consider the lengths to which He goes each day, working through all your life’s circumstances to remind you constantly of His presence and partnership. His esteem of you and your unique "self" is unsurpassed.

A journal of daily blessings and conversations with Him, can be priceless in lifting you out of low points in your life. How quickly we forget His many benefits, unless we record them for another, more desperate, time!

When making journal entries, remember to never complete an entry without recording at least one specific blessing of God for that day. Not even the bleakest day is without one such precious jewel. Discipline yourself to include that before closing out an entry.

Satan feeds us simple lies that cripple us for life. Here are some of them that held the Prodigal son in the distant country captive for so long, far from the fullness of his destiny and far from the love of his Father.

Perhaps like the Prodigal son, you too are a victim of the following lies.

The Prodigal son felt

  •  that the Father did not care
  •  that here was nothing left for him to return to since he has squandered his inheritance
  •  that there was no future because of the severed relationship with his father

None of the above was true.

Overcoming low self esteem is possible when you make a purposeful mental shift from

  • I not worth anything 
  • I have a history of failures, so it can never be any different
  •  Jesus cannot possibly have a wonderful future for me, because I am one of the worst sinners


  • I am His child – He can never love me more
  •  I am an heir, my inheritance is worth far more than what I squandered
  •  My future is inseparably interwoven with my Father.
  •  He has much He wants to share with me, because I am His precious child

While these truths may seem self evident, overcoming low self esteem is only possible if you meditate on them so much that at some point in time, you act. Digest these truths until they are an inseparable part of you. Only then you will be filled with the power to act.

Then like the Prodigal son, rise up in disgust, tell Satan and other pigs that invade your thinking and keep you in squalor, to leave. Shake off your past, and head back home. Let nothing deter you from fully accepting your rights and privileges as His child. You are now the righteousness of God in Christ. There is a sweet path outlined for one like you.

Painting the oil painting above and writing about it, taught me some simple lessons that may help you in overcoming low self esteem. The Scripture that was the inspiration for the painting and the poem are below.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
Shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Pr 4:18

Faint blush of salmon stains the sky
Inky night bids a hasty goodbye,
Color spills, an uncontrollable flow
The dawn of the day, a forceful glow.

No man can bottle this fuchsia hue
A day once begun, will stride on through
Dimming darkness and gaining strength,
The day must live its destined length.

Quiet whisper bids me learn
A lesson from the gleam of dawn,
“You walk a path, O Righteous One
Which like first radiant beam of sun,

Dispels darkness and welcomes Me
Though faint at first, with little to see
Shining brighter till full force of day
Destined for glory, though fashioned of clay."

What joy to know that once begun
No turning back the blazing sun
My way will march the way of dawn
Until my time on earth is done

Brighter, sharper, erasing night
No taint of ink, no dimming the sight
From glory to glory, ever bold
From blush to fuchsia, and then to gold.

© 2009 Sara Joseph

When you are tempted to fall victim to Satan’s lies, I pray that you will fight back with truth. You will not then continue to wallow with the pigs like the prodigal son. Overcoming low self esteem is reduced to the simple exercise of meditating on the daily tangible expressions of God’s love for you.

Overcoming low self esteem is possible, when you recognize that all artists sometimes experience negative feelings that threaten to overwhelm. So develop a healthy disregard for feelings, since they lie most frequently anyway!

Instead, hold in highest regard the truth of God's word concerning you.

Overcoming Fear
Overcoming Procrastination
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