Joel Osteen - Develop A Healthy Self-Image
How's your self-image? The way you see yourself and how you feel about yourself will have a tremendous impact on your destiny. The truth is: you'll never rise above the image you have of yourself in your own mind. I'm Joel Osteen, I have good news - God has a very high opinion of you and he wants you to feel the same way. No matter where you are or what challenges you're facing, you can start living Your Best Life Now.
Have you ever stopped to listen to your thoughts? I imagine them like an old record player. There's a recording, constantly play in our mind, telling us who we are. The problem for some people is their recording is negative, it's been that way for so long, they don't realize something is always telling them, "you're not attractive, you don't have a good personality, you've made too many mistakes, you're the wrong nationality". It plays over and over. They wonder why they don't feel good about themselves? It's because of what's playing. Some of this started back in childhood, somebody told them they weren't smart, you'll never do much in life, you're not talented enough.
In my senior year of high school we all went to the counselor and discuss what we wanted to do in life. A friend of mine told the counselor that he wanted to become a doctor. The counselor may have meant well, but he told my friend that he didn't have the skills to do that. He should look at a field, where he did physical work. My friend came back so deflated, he didn't know any better, he let that play over and over, "you don't have the skills, you're not good enough". Because of those negative words, he never went into his dreams.
Are you letting what somebody said hold you back? Have you allowed it to become a part of the recording that's playing in your mind? The good news is: you control your recording, you don't have to let those thoughts keep playing. The key is turn off the old recording and put on a new one. Here's what should be played in our mind, "I am talented, I am valuable, I am attractive, I am blessed, I have a good personality, people like me". Pay attention to what's play in your mind. Don't go through life being against yourselves, focused on your faults, feeling inferior like nothing good is going to happen. Too many people feel wrong on the inside, there's a nagging feeling that's always reminding them of what they're not, how they don't measure up.
I say this with humility, but I like myself, I feel good about who I am, I'm proud of who God made me to be. If you don't love yourself in a healthy way, then you're not going to love others. You won't have good relationships if you go around guilty, feeling unattractive, not up to par. The reason some people don't get along with other people is they don't get along with themselves. If you don't like you, you're not going to like me. You have to be at peace with yourself, before you can be at peace with others. If you're hard on yourself, you'll be hard on them. If you feel wrong about who you are, you'll be critical and find fault with them. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your spouse, to your children, to your friends to turn off the negative recording. It's poisoning who you are. When you have the right recording, you'll have healthy relationships.
Take inventory of what's playing. Any defeating thoughts, "unworthy, not good enough" - delete them, quit dwelling on it. And then take it one step further - put on a new recording. You'll be amazed at what happens when you go through the day, playing what God says about you. The Psalmist said (Psalm 139:14), "You have been fearfully and wonderfully made". Instead of that recording, "your ordinary, nothing special about you, you're not that attractive" - turn that off, put on a new recording, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I'm a masterpiece, I'm one of a kind, I have seeds of greatness". David said, "God you have made me in an amazing way. What you have done is wonderful". One version uses the word "marvelous". Imagine going through the day with those words playing in your mind, "I'm amazing. I'm marvelous. I'm wonderful".
Most of us are not that bold to think that good about ourselves. We don't have any problem thinking about our faults, what we did wrong, how we don't measure up. But when this new recording comes, the enemy will work overtime to try to keep you from playing it. He doesn't want you to feel good about yourselves, it's going to take boldness to believe, that you're amazing, that you're marvelous, that you've been wonderfully made. I'm not saying to do it arrogantly, but if you're going to become who you were created to be, you're going to have to get an agreement with God. I dare you to start playing the right recording, "I'm amazing. I'm marvelously made. I'm a masterpiece".
That's not just to make you feel good, that's what God says about you. The day you were born, God saw you as his masterpiece, his beautiful work of art. And yet, we fill our minds with negative thoughts, painting over the masterful brushstrokes of our Creator, we focus on our faults, our failures, our shortcomings. We compare ourselves to others, we tell ourselves "we don't measure up". We're like a graffiti artist, covering the masterpiece God made us to be. That's the enemy's plan, he wants you to feel wrong about yourself, but God wants you to feel right about yourself. The good news is: God can restore your self-image. Remember when he made you, he stepped back and said, "That was very good".
So when you wake up in the morning, instead of looking in the mirror thinking, "look how old I'm getting, look at all these wrinkles, look at how overweight I am", why don't you look in the mirror and say, "Good morning you amazing thing, good morning you fearfully and wonderfully made child of the Most High God"? You're not bragging on you, you're bragging on what God has done. When you feel good about yourself, you'll go further, you'll have better relationships and you'll enjoy life more. Your best life begins on the inside.
Have you ever felt like you don't measure up? When Moses sent 12 men to spy out the Promised Land, ten came back with a negative report. They said, "Moses, we don't have a chance. The people are too big, we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sights". Notice how they saw themselves: they didn't say, "The giants were so big, they called us grasshopper, they insulted us". They said, "We were in our own sight as grasshoppers". They went in with a grasshopper mentality, their thinking was wrong before they got their. Opposition doesn't determine who you are, it simply reveals who you think you are. They saw all their enemies as giants. If you have a grasshopper mentality, you're not going to see your enemies properly. They're going to look all too big, "I can't beat this cancer. Did you see the report? I can't get out of debt. I'll never accomplish this dream". The problem is not the giants, the problem is your thinking, you have a grasshopper mentality.
There were two others spies - Joshua and Caleb. They had a completely different report. They saw the same giants, yet they said, "Moses, we are well able, let us go in at once and take the land". What was the difference between them and the ten spies? They had a promised-land mentality, they had the right recording play, they knew: the forces that were for them were more than the forces, that were against them. When you're listening to the right recording, you'll have a boldness, a confidence to take ground that others think is impossible. Caleb went on to say, "Moses, these enemies will be like bread for us, we will eat them for lunch". He was saying, "This conflict is going to nourish us, we're going to come out stronger".
Which group were you in Joshua and Caleb? Or you one of the 10 spies? Do you have a grasshopper mentality or a promise-land mentality? We all have giants to face in life, how are you getting ready for them every day? We spend time getting dressed and ready for work, ready for school, taking a shower, finding what clothes to wear, ladies putting on your makeup - we put effort into getting the outside looking the best we can and that's good, but a pretty face can't hide low self-esteem, wearing the latest fashion won't cover feeling unattractive. I wonder, what would happen, if we would take five minutes every morning to get our inner person ready for the day? What would happen, if before we leave the house we would remind ourselves who we are? "I am strong. I am talented. I'm attractive. I am disciplined. I am focused. I am beautiful. I am amazing. I am fearfully and wonderfully made".
Take time to make these positive affirmations over yourself. If you'll do it in the morning, it will get that recording started off in the right direction. The more you do it, the more it will become a part of who you are. Just like the negative gets down into your subconscious and hold you back, that positive will push you forward. It would do good to make a list and have it on your phone, post it on your bathroom mirror or on your computer at work. Several times a day read over it, get it down in your spirit. The more you dwell on the right thoughts, the less room there is for the wrong thoughts.
Some of us have never thought, "I'm attractive. I'm amazing". You may be thinking, "Joel, I'm ordinary, nothing attractive about me". The problem is: that wrong recording is keeping you from shining. Turnoff those thoughts telling you, "You're unattractive, you're too big, too small", put on this new recording - "I'm beautiful. I'm attractive. I'm amazing. I'm valuable".
You've let those lies play long enough - change the record, start playing what God says about you over and over. When you're beautiful on the inside, it will start coming out on the outside. You carry yourself the way you feel about yourself. If you feel unattractive then you're sending out messages, even subconsciously, that says "I'm unattractive". If you feel inferior, intimidated, not talented, you're projecting that everywhere you go. It will show up in your posture, your body language and your personality. And people will treat you based on what you're sending out.
I met a young lady one time, on the surface - and I say this respectfully - she wasn't necessarily attractive, she didn't have a lot of natural beauty, but on the inside she had it going on. She wasn't arrogant, but she was confident, she knew she was made in the image of God, she knew she was crowned with favor. She may have looked ordinary, but she thought extraordinary, she carried herself like a queen, she walked like she was royalty, she dressed like she was headed to the runway. She may have bought it secondhand, but she wore it like it was brand new. What was the difference? On the inside she sees herself as beautiful, talented, creative, smart, a child of the Most High God.
What's on the inside is eventually going to show up on the outside. Because she has the right recording, she naturally exudes confidence, strength, beauty, ability. The way you see yourself is the way other people are going to see you. If you see yourself as attractive, talented, people are going to see you that way - that's what you're going to send out. Quit putting yourself down, quit letting negative thoughts about you play. When you criticize yourself, you're criticizing God's creation. You have enough people and circumstances against you - don't be against yourself. When the negative thoughts come, do yourself a favor - turn it off, switch over to the right recording.
Katie Farrell: God uses food as part of my testimony. He took my pain and he took the things that broke my heart for so many years to know something, that is bringing life to thousands of women on a daily basis. When I turned 14, we actually moved to a whole new town. On my first day of school I was kind of walking around the lunchroom really nervous, hoping that someone would maybe invite me to sit with them. And this boy came over to me and he was with a group of his friends. And he handed me a note and he said, "Just in case you don't know, this is what you look like". And the note was folded up, so I opened up the note, and on it was a picture of a really grotesque, overweight, just really terrible, ugly drawing of a girl. And of course there was no truth to it whatsoever, but at that moment when I saw that drawing, it almost awoken something in me, that made me think that this is what I look like and there is truth to this.
I remember looking in the mirror and shortly after that, and just thinking thoughts of disgust. I remember looking at myself and thinking, "You're so small, you're so short, you'll never amount to anything, you're a failure, you're fat, you're disgusting". Those roots started to just grow and kind of affect so many different areas of my life. I started to say, "In order to amount to anything, in order to be loved or be valuable to somebody else, I have to become thin". I started to cut back on different foods, and little by little I started to cut so many different things out of my diet, that I think I was eating probably a nutri-grain bar and an apple a day. It eventually led to a full-blown eating disorder and which was anorexia nervosa.
Joel Osteen: When Katie's mom began to notice the changes that were happening to her daughter, she tried to intervene, but Katie's eating disorder continued to spiral out of control.
Katie Farrell: I had come home from school and I was really hungry. And I saw a pan of brownies sitting on our stove in our kitchen, so I ended up eating the whole pan of brownies, and then going in the bathroom and sticking my finger down my throat and making myself throw up. My heart was racing, but at the same time I felt numb and I felt almost in control and empowered in a whole new way, because I finally was able to control even when I did eat, to reverse it. I would look at my body and I would just feel like, "You are disgusting. You have to do this, because you are absolutely disgusting and this is the only thing that will help cure that".
Joel Osteen: Katie's eating disorder continued through high school, slowly starving herself - she was less than 90 pounds.
Katie Farrell: Right after we were done eating my birthday cake, I went in the bathroom to purge and to throw up, my sisters knocked on the door and they said, "Katie, we need to talk to you. Can you meet us upstairs"? They said, "Katie, we know what you're doing, it's not a secret, we've known for a while. Now, please, don't do this anymore - you're hurting yourself and you're hurting us". And at that moment I realized, I was hurting my two best friends, so much so that their hearts were broken. We prayed together at that moment, and when we joined hands in prayer, I instantly felt something break off of me. We were all bawling our eyes out and I thought for the first time like I could see in a light that I had not seen before. Where there was once darkness, I could suddenly see what I was actually doing. I made a pact with myself and my sisters to never go back to those behaviors ever again. However, even though the physical act was done of eating disorders, I still had so much renewing of my mind to do and so much change that had to take place in my heart in my mind.
Joel Osteen: Katie made a decision to focus on what God said about her. She began to read her Bible every day, she removed things from her life like magazines and TV shows, that would remind her of her past. Instead of believing what others said about her, she began to believe what God said about her.
Katie Farrell: One morning I woke up and I heard the Lord speak to my heart, "Katie who are you"? And I remember, I was thinking all of these different things, you know, "I'm a daughter, I'm a sister, I'm a nursing student, I'm a fiance, I was engaged at the time", I was thinking all these things in the natural of who I was, and God spoke to me and said, "No, you're my child and that's who you are", that everything else, all the other lies that I believed, started to truly die at the root. In the God's word and all of the words that he speaks about us, in his word started to come to life. I didn't have to look a certain way, I didn't have to achieve anything, I just suddenly was worthy of love, because I was his child. It is only when we know that we are his child, and he's our Father, that we can see ourselves as forgiven, set free and whole, the way that he created us to be. I can only say that it is because of the goodness of our faithful Father, that I am a mom, that I'm a wife, but more than anything that, I truly am a child of God, and that that's who I am. The only words that leave a lasting impression and that truly matter are the words that come from our Father, because we are his child.
Joel Osteen: God has turned Katy's life into a beautiful story of hope and redemption. After being told she couldn't have children, because of the damage the eating disorder caused her body, her and her husband have experienced another miracle of God's love - they had a baby last year. Not only has Katie overcome the eating disorder, now she's helping others.
Katie Farrell: I started dashingdish.com about ten years ago - it is a website where you can find nutritious recipes, that are good for the whole family, but also it's a place where you can find and hear about God's goodness and find your identity and your worth in him. I say that dashingdish is like beauty from ashes, I've truly found enjoyment and nourishing my body with the foods that he created, and it's my passion to teach other women to do so as well.