Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14a I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
I read an article authored by Dr. Patrick Cohn, a sports psychologist, entitled “Self-esteem in the athlete”. In the article Cohn talks about the serious problem of athletes finding their self-worth in the sport they pursue. When they perform well, they feel good about themselves and when they perform poorly, they feel despair and view themselves as a failure. Society reinforces this as the athlete is adulated when they succeed, but questioned or even ridiculed when they perform poorly.
Cohn defines “self-esteem” as “the regard you hold for yourself”. This differs from self-confidence which is your belief in your abilities, whereas self-esteem is actually your self-worth. It is a very sad thing to see an athlete going through difficult times and losing their regard for their self-worth. Dr. Cohn has suggestions for avoiding this trap of measuring your self-worth by your athletic performance. These suggestions include: stop comparing yourself to other athletes; accept the body you have been given; have balance in your life (you are more than your sport); don’t be your worst critic, but rather your own best coach.
Dr. Cohn’s suggestions are very good, but I believe there is an even better solution to this issue, and that is understanding the thoughts of the one who created you. The same God who created the massive and marvelous universe and everything we see and don’t see, also thought enough of you to uniquely create you. Today’s passage from the Psalms is one of my favorites.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139: 13-16).
You are not the result of chance, but rather the result of loving, intricate and determined thought. We live in a culture that places great emphasis on athletic performance. While I believe God puts athletic passion and abilities in certain individuals, I do not feel he cares a great deal about our performance. I find it hard to believe that there are great celebrations in heaven when we win a gold medal, set a school record or win a major championship. I do, however, believe there are great celebrations when we do his will and use the abilities he has given us to glorify Him.
The next time you feel your self-esteem diminishing due to poor performances or for any other reason, take a brief survey of your life and determine if you are measuring your self-worth based on the world’s performance expectations or even your own performance expectations, or are you basing it on the truth revealed in the Word of God. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12: 6-7).