Reality Minus Expectations = Esteem

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 102,600 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 


Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂 


Have you fallen into the trap of high expectations, and feel sad because you can’t achieve them? You aren’t alone. Too many people are on the same boat with you.

The neighbor has a new boat; now you want one. Mary has a better job, now you want a better job. You saw a guy drive by in a souped up hot rod, and now you want one.

It can go on and on. We seem to always want more than we have. We expect to be recognized as the most successful person in the neighborhood.

What this leads to is disappointments, depression, anxiety, etc. We have to face reality, and realize that maybe we can’t have that boat, job, or car that the other people have.

What we need to do is accept the spot where we are, and live a good life, of serving God to our fullest.

If we really live with that in mind that leads us to esteem. People see us as we are, and accept us as we are. They look up to us, because we aren’t trying to climb over people to get where we want to go.

So, Reality, (The way we are) compared to expectations, (Where we want to be) should look like this math problem solver.

Reality – Expectations = esteem. Simple math. Just face reality, and quite trying to reach such high expectations, and your esteem will be much higher.

If you are wallowing in the muck and mire, because you feel you are a failure. It may be because you expectations are above your reality that is right for you.


You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give  up!


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Dead Ends

We’d stopped for gas next to an Interstate that takes you at 75 MPH across long miles of desert. I love the west. That’s where I saw the sign: “Dead End – 3 Miles Ahead.” I thought, “I wonder if anyone ever said, ‘I’m not sure that’s true of that old dirt road. I think I’ll drive that way and check it out for myself.'” We got back on the Interstate, and of course, I had to see where that other road went. Sure enough, that bumpy road ended three miles later in the middle of nothing in the desert…right next to a road that speeds you to a lot of great destinations.

Why would anyone drive down a road that goes nowhere, especially when there’s another road nearby that takes you to some wonderful places? Sadly, people are doing it all the time. Not with their vehicle, but with their life! Maybe because they missed the dead-end sign or they didn’t believe it. Someone who’s listening right now may be making that very mistake and not even realizing it.

God has put up a sign that warns us to avoid the dead-end streets. In fact, He’s written in some big, bold letters. James 1:14-15. It says: “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

That’s pretty clear. Every sinful choice is a dead-end street. It leaves you dead at the end. Of course, temptation never announces where it’s taking you; only the “goodies” that it seems to be offering you. Sin says, “This may be wrong but it will give you love.” You go for it, and you end up more lonely or used than loved. Sin says, “Don’t worry. This will give your life some excitement!” You go for it, and you end up hating yourself for what you’ve done. Sin says, “Come on, you’ll feel better about yourself.” You drive down the road and you end up feeling worse about yourself.

Sin always kills. Always. It kills your self-respect, it kills people’s trust in you, it kills your reputation, people you love, your future, your closeness to God. First, sin fascinates you, then it assassinates you. But the road looks so promising that you blow by God’s “Dead End” sign.

Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13). What’s important is not how nice the road looks but where it’s going to take you, and God has made that ironclad clear!

Don’t waste any more time on a road that’s ultimately going to leave you in the middle of nowhere, even if you can’t see that now. God’s Word will prove true. When we don’t find what we hoped to find on a road we should never be on, we sometimes make a choice that only makes it worse. We decide we need to do more of what already hasn’t worked! God says to you, as recorded in Isaiah 48, “I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you…If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

 Now that sounds like where you’d like to be, doesn’t it? Then it’s time to turn back from a road you never should have been on in the first place. What’s ahead is only disappointment, despair and death. Within your reach is the Jesus-road; the one that leads to life! He’s waiting to welcome you, forgive you and then lead you onto the road you were made to be on! Here’s the choice you have in God’s own words:

 “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

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Building a Son

While this post is center around a Fathers relationship with his son, it could just as easily be applied to a daughter, How we treat and the example we show our children, will be what the guidline they follow while becoming an adult. As parents we can either be a positive influence or a negative influence, not only in their present life, but in almost all relationships they experience in their lifetime.

I guess it’s in the testosterone. Guys are just wired to build something; a business, a church, furniture, home improvement projects. Some men build a team, some build financial security for their family, and some just build a name for themselves. Even I’ve felt motivated to build a few things. There’s a reason that God put this building thing in guys. Some of us have a really big project to build!

 When God trusts a man with a son, He is putting in his hands probably the most important building project of his life. If a man builds a mighty empire or a billion dollar enterprise and loses his son, can we call his life a true success? A boy will decide what the word “man” means based on the first one he knows and the one he knows best – his dad. A boy will likely decide what God is like, and whether or not he wants anything to do with Him, based on how his dad treats him…because God has introduced Himself to us as our Heavenly Father.

How a man treats the women in his life; what he thinks really matters…what he thinks really doesn’t matter, he’ll get that from copying the biggest man in his life – his dad. And how many boys have grown up into men who are never sure they were good enough, always insecure, and always feeling like they’ve got something to prove, because the main man in his shaping years failed to make him feel loved and confident and valuable? Building a son – now that takes a real man. Tearing one down – that’s not much of a man at all.

There’s a revealing picture of how a father builds a son in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 3:16-17. Jesus, God’s Son, is about to launch into the earthly ministry that His Father sent Him to earth for. His first public act is to be baptized by John the Baptist. It’s there that we get an incredible glimpse behind the veil at the awesome relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The Bible tells us: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water… And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.'”

Here’s the Father affirming His approval of His Son – a vote of confidence that must have meant a lot to Jesus as He headed out into battle. It’s a demonstration of the power of a father’s praise at the highest possible level. It’s what your son desperately needs from you, Dad. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 describes in three action words how a father should treat his children: “encouraging, comforting and urging.” The question is, Dad, how do you try to motivate your children; especially your boy? With shame? With silence? By giving love when they perform and withdrawing love when they don’t? By never letting them know where they really stand? That’s not building a boy. That’s dismantling a boy.

He needs your praise – frequently. He needs the kind of focused time with you that says to him, “I like you, son. I want to be with you.” Your son needs your undivided attention when he’s talking so he learns that what he says is important to you, just because he’s saying it. And often your son needs to hear your compliments, your pleasure, your pride in him. You can give him the courage that he’ll need to lead, to say no to the pressure, to attempt great things, to treat other people like they’re important.

You build a son by building up your son, by often helping him see the awesome thing God did when He created that boy. Even God the Father launched His Son into life with His public approval. How can you do any less for the son He’s given you?

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The Real Reflection in the Mirror

“Self esteem doesn’t come to you…you go to it.”

What is personal self esteem? How can I maintain it, and sustain it within myself? Where does self esteem come from? Does it ultimately originate from our soul, from our ego, or our humanness?

If we can examine, and find the answers to these types of questions, perhaps along the way, we will really also see how important it is to possess, and to operate from a good overall level of self esteem.

Self esteem is important to us as human beings. It effects our daily lives in many different ways. Self esteem can be the determining factor in the outcomes of or work performances, relationships, and sports.

Self esteem is our sense of self worth. It is how we feel about ourselves in relation to the world our around us. Low self esteem is caused by numerous factors which can include abuse, failure, drugs, alcohol, or loneliness.

Someone told me that the most hated object in the American home today, is a mirror, and while the mirror is undoubtedly unwanted it is ironically irresistible. Mirrors are everywhere, constantly reminding us of who we are, and for the majority of people, constantly reminding them that, what we see is not enough.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Take a good, long look. Do you like what you see?

If you don’t you might have low self esteem. That’s not a good thing.

But if you do – if you really do, to the point that you love yourself more than you love anybody else, then you have high self esteem. And that’s not good either.

Self esteem is a delicate matter. People lacking it also lack contentment with their lives.

Nothing they do will make themselves happy. Every act, from choosing a partner to deciding what they should have for dinner, runs through a filter of doubt. They don’t think their decisions are right, and consequently may second guess themselves – or make no decision at all. Such self doubt can lead to depression, shyness, anger, self-hatred, bodily illness and substance abuse in some cases.

People with an overabundance of self esteem are insufferable. Their egos make them feel infallible, leading to hasty decisions based on the assumption that they can do no wrong. Their social skills suffer, as they can talk about themselves without showing interest in others. They may miss out on a lot in life as they ignore the outside world.

There are a number of things that effect self-esteem the least of which are the words we use to ourselves and others. Words have an amazing or devastating effect on self-esteem whether intentional or unintentional.

The words we hear affect the way we perceive ourselves whether we realize it or not. Those in abusive relationships will usually have lower self esteem than those that are in non-abusive relationships because of the words that used daily in the relationship. The difference in these relationships is that in one you are being told negative things about yourself in an attempt to gain control over you and in the other you’re given encouragement.

Whether we feel good about ourselves or not is largely dependant upon the perception that others have about us. We tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter what others say about us; words can’t hurt us. That’s not true, words can hurt and are sometimes used with the intention to hurt. Little by little our self-esteem is either boosted or dwindles away because of the words of others.

When we attempt to achieve things in our lives we have a tendency to feel reassured when the things being said are positive. When we hear positive things we gain confidence in our abilities but when we hear negative things we begin to doubt the abilities we know we have. Over time we begin to believe that there isn’t a need to try since we begin to think we can’t do anything productive anyway.

The affect of words on our self-esteem are more powerful than we realize. What we say to our children can effect them for the rest of their lives; while it’s not a requirement that we baby them all of thier lives we do need to choose our words carefully to avoid permanent damage. The words we say don’t matter near as much as the tone we use.

Positive words have a positive effect on self-esteem just as negative words have a negative impact on self-esteem. It’s easy to tell someone to ignore what’s being said about them but actually doing it can be rather difficult. The words we use can be encouraging or painful; either way they have an impact on self-esteem of those they touch

Self Esteem is a quality of your personality type, and every personality type has self esteem, or self confidence linked to it. But we know that there are different personality types, and there are actually differing amounts of self esteem that can interact, and match with your personality. Personality is based on a link between your soul, and your ego, and it arises from your heart, if you have good healthy self esteem.

This is because self esteem, comes basically from your heart, and so is the God given ability, you have in the first instance to love yourself. All people have this capability in them, but parts of your personality can dampen your self esteem. And then, so can your life experiences, which can color your beliefs, thoughts, and your mood. The subconscious then holds these thoughts, and beliefs, and if left unexamined, these will also tend to weaken your resolve in life, and so also your self esteem.

These thoughts, that are continually coming forward, usually negatively, telling you what you can do, and what you cannot do, they will then either blast, or support your self esteem. When you learn to ignore negative thoughts and beliefs, and follow what the Bible says about you, That you are wonderfully made, and the feeling that that places on your heart, and mix your self sense with God’s purpose for you, with a real love from God, and from your own heart, then self esteem levels can grow, as you allow them to shine, with the love, that really, all self esteem only is. Just be careful to remain humble in the growth process.

It is the God given ability to love, and be loved, and from there to be positively happy with your life, and to see positiveness, coming out from every life experience, and every part of your life, as self enhancing, and therefore only ever helping you to build, an ever growing level of self esteem for yourself.

I came across this quote:

“Self esteem doesn’t come to you…you go to it.”

And I think that this sentiment is pretty correct

It means, that you cannot really expect to find self esteem by looking for it, and it will not come to you, if you are looking for it. And this is simply because, as you look for it, you actually tend to push it away. You already have self esteem. You only need to go to the source in your heart, and so learn how to live from it. Self is the real you, and when you esteem, or love yourself, then and only then, will you also find, that you now possess a healthy self esteem, based on love, and really displaying, who you really are.
A person with built in self esteem, which can be lived through your heart, by following the love in your heart. And when you do this, you will experience your own self esteem. And then you will realize the importance of self esteem, and the importance also, to be you.

Self-esteem is how we see ourselves whether our visions of ourselves are good or bad. We can have high self-esteem, low self-esteem or somewhere in between.

When we have low self-esteem we do not have confidence in our ability to meet the challenges we face or the desire to undertake something that might appear difficult. Instead, we are fearful and not willing to take the risks and steps necessary even if we very much want to

Each time we take on a challenge and meet it, we add to our sense of worth or self-esteem. We gain confidence and are ready to take on the next challenge. Over time this adds up to a stronger self-image and we begin to believe we are worthy of happiness in life. That’s a very good place to be.

The key is maintaining good self esteem – not bad, not great, but good –

Most importantly, have fun. Relax. Make friends, attend social events, find new hobbies and learn as much as you can about the world. Never forget that there’s always more to discover.

Good self esteem makes for well-rounded individuals. Healthy relationships develop easily and friends come with little effort. It’s easier to focus on the things that are required of each day.

Of paramount importance, however, is the emphasis on positive thinking. People with good self esteem can deal with their mistakes. They’ll improve on what they did wrong or simply move on, rather than defer blame or accept it to the point of self hatred.

We’re only human. We can err from time to time. It’s important we handle our mistakes properly if we’re to enjoy long, happy, healthy lives.

Excerpt from:

Hope in the Shadows by Michael Clark

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