Have you seen the billboard ads for IAMSECOND.COM? I was attracted to it because Josh Hamilton is advertised so I went to check it out. It’s a site that wants to get the message across that God must be first in all that we do, in who we are. I listened to stories from Hamilton, from Brian “Head” Welch and a few others and it’s powerful to hear people talk about their journey from the edge of hell back to God.

It got me to thinking about the emphasis our society puts on self-esteem. Self-esteem puts a focus right where it advertises, on self, and I think that causes a problem for a lot of people. As a parent, my greatest fear of failure is not leading my children to understand that God must be first, that He made them perfectly in His image and that no matter what happens in life, they will always be loved unconditionally by their Creator.

Of course, the key is that they have to accept that. I have known God loves me all my life but haven’t really understood it or accepted it. I have been worried about how I was perceived by others and that worry affected how I felt about myself-not putting God first. Thankfully, I have come to that place where I have begun to grasp God’s love for me, His unconditional, constant love and in that, I am more and more focused on what He is seeing in me, not what others see.

As I begin another year of life, I am more thankful than ever for God’s love for me. I am thankful He made me the way He wanted me, that He is always the same, always waiting for me, arms open. No matter how others see me, no matter my blunders and failings, no matter what I want to think of myself, there is One who will always lift me up and as long as my focus is on Him first, I know I will have little trouble worrying what others think because my Creator also gave me the Savior.

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