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Self-Esteem via Grace and Beauty

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: Self-Esteem via Grace and Beauty


Self-Esteem via Grace and Beauty

Original Artwork by Dayna Bickham, Photo by Dayna Bickham

We Are More Alike Than You Know

I love writing, and I love speaking, but teaching is a whole separate animal. I love it, I am just much newer to it and have so much more to learn there. I teach a class of some very beautiful and vibrantly different girls who range in age from eight to twelve. Some are outgoing, and some are  quiet and reserved.

Each girl may be different, but we all share the same struggles. As I stood before a class of twelve girls and two adults, I shared my struggle with accepting who God made me to be and watched as the message hit home with each of them. I wanted them to esteem themselves as the beauties they are, and embrace the grace of God instead of the world's version of self-esteem. 

I used art, a mirror and scripture to do it. 

The Lesson Breakdown

1) Design- We are planned with design in mind. God knew us before we were in our mother's womb. We are miracles of design and creation.  (Jeremiah 1:5 Psalms 139:14)
2) Create- Since God is THE Creator and we are made in His image, we are also creative beings made to do good works. (Genesis 1, Eph 2:10
3) Appreciate- That beauty is not defined by a mirror or popular opinion, but by what God made (each and every one of us) and by what is in our hearts. (Proverbs 31:30, 1 Samuel 16:7
4) Give Grace- Finally, I wanted those girls to begin to understand that grace is not just something God gives us, but something we can give ourselves. When we stand in front of that mirror and say "my teeth are too far apart", or "I don't like my hair", or "I am to fat" then we tell ourselves (God's creations) that we are not good enough. We would not tell someone else this lie, so why do we so easily believe it when we say it to ourselves?

When we give ourselves grace to make mistakes, to be different, to be ourselves, then the self-doubt and harsh lies become less important and the grace and love of God can become more real to us. After all, grace  is an extension of God's love for us, and His love is His character. Since we need to become more like Him, why not start off with a touch of grace? 

True Masterpieces 

Now I am no painter. I cannot (on most days) draw a circle, much less paint. But I wanted the girls to experience drawing/painting a self-portrait and seeing themselves in new ways. So after watching clever videos on YouTube I was able to walk them through a simple and fun way to teach the kids how to draw a self-portrait. I have to say the outcomes were better than I could have expected. 

Each girl focused on what was honest and true about them, not the negative things that they could have focused on. Each one created portraits of themselves that may never hang in galleries, but for all their childish brushstrokes and cartoon-esque technique they created moments of creative affirmation and embraced themselves as the masterpieces God designed. 

My self-portrait came out looking more like Heather Locklear than I meant, but I am okay with that. There is grace (and some humor- don't ask what the dots are- I have no idea!) in that. But I do smile. I do have great blue eyes and I am beautiful to my Father. This is the grace I can give myself. 

The girls gave themselves some grace when it came to their artistic abilities, but that small lesson makes room for them to grow in grace as they grow in the Lord. For me, this was the main objective of the project: to see ourselves and our abilities as masterpieces in progress: to embrace grace and trust in God's design for our self-esteem and not what the world says about beauty. We are well on our way. What about you? 

Join the Conversation

In what way can you give yourself some grace today? 


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