By Alex Anderson, Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church
Remember the line, “Bueller…(long pause), Bueller…(long pause), Bueller,” from the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”? The actor, Ben Stein, made that line infamous as the boring, monotone high school teacher, while he was taking the class role.
However Benjamin Jeremy Stein’s real life has been anything but boring. In addition to being an actor, he is a writer, lawyer, economist and commentator on political and economic issues. He also (oddly enough) was a successful speechwriter for former presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. So Ben Stein’s personal life is anything but boring.
However his successful portrayal of a boring high school teacher, along with his non-expressive long face and monotone voice, covers all of his personal and interesting successes.
Don’t let this happen to you. As you go through life, let that very special and unique person God made you to be shine through in all you do. Since happiness is an inside job, what we think of ourselves will make us happy or unhappy. We are happy if we have high self-respect and self-esteem.
Apparently Mr. Stein has a lot of self-esteem and respect or he would not have tried to succeed as he has in so many different areas. How about you? What have you always had your jaw set on doing but never took the chance? Yeah, sure there are downers and critics, but don’t let them stop you. If it’s really in your heart then go for it. Even Jesus had to deal with a few naysayers.
In the Bible, Matthew 13:54-57 NLT,
He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?”
Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers–James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.
All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?”
And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.”
After teaching and performing miracles, there were people even Jesus could not impress. Sometimes you just have to get new friends.
Yes your self-esteem can momentarily be boosted by power, position, money, alcohol, drugs, flattery, or by deceiving yourself. However the right and lasting way to your highest and best self is to find out who God created you to be. It’s important to know that a positive, accurate self-image is based on God-given individuality: a sense of who we are and why we live our lives on the principles that mean the most to us.
So what if those you grew up with approve of you or not; why not ask your creator what he thinks? After all He created you. Happiness requires active participation in what we believe. If we know that God created each of us for a unique and special purpose, then we can live our lives out of a place of confidence and self-esteem. We can value ourselves. I love the fact that Jesus Christ came to help us live as our “best self.” Take a look at this passage.
“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT
Since Jesus is the one, according to the first chapter of John, who created all things, I believe he is uniquely qualified to help each of us to be our best self if we ask.
Shakespeare wrote in Measure for Measure,
Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.
So here are my closing rants. Love God and love others…as you love yourself. If you don’t learn to find that something that God created you to do and celebrate it…you are going to have a tough time loving others. We all love others the way we love ourselves. It’s painful to hear but it’s the truth. The good news is that you can love yourself and have a huge, celebrated, healthy, self-esteem if you ask Christ to help. That’s his specialty.
Here’s a crazy idea. If you know of an authentic person who has a good, healthy self-esteem, I bet they have somehow connected with God in a positive and life-giving way. And you just might find one at your local church. Why don’t you reach out to them and see what happens!
To your spiritual health,
Pastor Alex Anderson
Author, Dangerous Prayers