Early in my journey, as I began to obtain speaking and vending events surrounding my books, I would hear the phrase “stay humble.” At the time I thought “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to” to mean you weren’t supposed to be confident in your gifts and talents, to not get the “big” head. But what I’ve learned, in my healing journey, is that when someone is dealing with low self-esteem, they can easily hide that and label it as “practicing humility.”
Humility and low self-esteem are two different things, though they may have some similarities. Humility involves having an accurate assessment of your abilities and limitations, while at the same time having a sense of confidence and assurance in your worth. It's not about putting yourself down, but rather being honest and realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. Even in being humble there is a level of confidence required to accomplish your goals, to have faith in the vision, and to keep going when things get tough. I define confidence as unshakable belief that God can and that He called you to assist.
Low self-esteem, on the other hand, is a negative self-image that can lead to feelings of worthlessness and insecurity. It can result in a person being overly self-critical and having difficulty taking risks or striving for success. Things get tricky when we start justifying that negative self-image and difficulty taking risks as “waiting” on God or “everything happens in due season” thus limiting the God we claim to be serving.
I would shy away from going harder marketing and promoting my books. I would get invited to interview on podcasts or in magazines, that I failed to follow up on. I would fight with the coaches and friends who would give me advice on how to grow my business. And if anyone dared to call me out on it, I would respond “what God has for me is for me, I can’t miss it”. But truth is low self-esteem will cause you to miss everything God has for you, because fear and faith cannot exist together.
Having humility should lead to greater self-esteem because it involves being aware of and accepting your own strengths and weaknesses. It also involves being open to learning from others, which can boost your self-confidence. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, can lead to feelings of worthlessness, which can lead to negative behaviors like avoiding trying new things out of fear of failure.
Yes, be humble (not proud, not thinking you are better than others) but don’t allow your own insecurities to block what God has for you. Every step you take on this purpose journey will pull out some insecurities that may have been lying dormant, but if you remain confident in the God in you to strengthen and prepare you as you go, fear will flee. The key to remaining humble and increasing your confidence are in staying in the presence of God. If we understand that we need Him every step of the way, He won’t allow our foot to slip.
Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”