God says you are worthy. You have to fully believe this in order to receive a healing.
Today’s post is about the relationship between self esteem and healing. The story of blind Bartimaeus shows us that how we see ourself matters if we are to receive healing.
By reading this post, I’ll suggest the main causes of low self esteem and why this hinders healing. I then give you 7 actionable steps you can take that will support you in your self-esteem journey.
Let’s dive in:
Have you noticed, that in every community, there is always the ‘in’ crowd. You know, those who tick the right boxes.
Then there’s those who feel like a square peg in a round hole.
I remember being at a baby shower. The organiser gave a speech and said ‘Having a baby is what unites us….’ I was already aware that I was surrounded by mothers. Of course my heart sank at these words.
When you fall into the minority, it’s easy to feel invisible, like you’ve failed in life somehow. Have you ever felt like this? The story of Bartimaeus shows us that God says you are worthy regardless of life circumstances.
GOD SAYS YOU ARE WORTHY
Pain drags me down, restricts me and stops me living. I often feel I’m sitting on the sidelines, watching people live.
The healing of Bartimaeus is a story of a man who is sat by the wayside. He didn’t tick the right boxes either.
How has your illness affected your self esteem? Do you also see yourself as inferior or as though life has somehow forgotten you? Do you believe God when he says you are WORTHY?
a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.
In those days, beggars were considered ‘less than’, generally ignored by society and thought to be subservient. His posture was one of smallness and on the periphery of life.
When life is going well it’s easy to feel good about yourself.
But when the opposite occurs, when you’re living with a disability or unable to work because of illness, or living a life full of physical restrictions, feeling like a second class citizen is understandable.
You can no longer do what those around you can and you feel different.
(Image: Rebekah Ballagh. Journey to Wellness)
I love that Jesus didn’t see Bartimaeus that way. (And He doesn’t see you like that either). When Jesus heals him, he is saying ‘Bartimaeus, you are worthy’. He says this to you too.
The healing of Bartimaeus shows us that we need to see ourselves through the correct lens in order to receive our healing.
CHANGE YOUR POSTURE
Jesus’ disciples instruct him ‘Rise, He is calling you.’
You see, Jesus doesn’t talk down to people. He doesn’t view us as inferior members of society. But he wanted Bartimaeus to ‘stand tall’ so to speak, infilling him with a sense of eligibility for his healing.
This reminds me of when Jesus heals the leper. He touches him, something no-one else would consider doing. He infilled him with a sense of love, connection and worthiness.
The healing of Bartimaeus is not just a physical one, but an emotional one.
So if you’re feeling unworthy or not good enough because you live with a debilitation, then I wonder if you could begin the journey of self-love?
If we are not actively thinking about and shaping our identity, we will be shaped by the world around us.
Everything in the world right now may be telling you that you’re not important, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can see yourself the way God sees you.
You are a strong, mighty, child of God. The righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God says you are enough and worthy of every blessing because of who and whose you are.
Why not take a read of ARE YOU CLOTHED IN CHRIST OR CLOTHED IN SICKNESS?
CAUSES OF LOW SELF ESTEEM
I know from my role as counsellor, feeling inferior often stems from our upbringings. As children we develop a self concept which is so dependent upon the environment we’re in.
Perhaps your care-givers were unable to attune to your needs for some reason causing you to feel unlovable.
Maybe you grew up in an environment that was incredibly stressful; a parent was ill, unemployed or maybe just dealing with their own struggles.
Often we can develop a low self esteem if we endure some kind of trauma in early childhood. This then distorts are relationship with ourself or those around us.
You start to see others as ‘better than’ or ‘superior’.
You may attribute feeling inferior to your heath condition, but often you were already predisposed to feeling this way, the illness or present circumstances has just brought it further into the light.
When you’re living with any kind of disability, it’s easy to become a victim. As a child of God, you are called to be ‘the head and not the tail, above and not beneath’
The victim mindset robs you of your true identity. It stops you from believing that God says you are enough just as you are.
The post HEALING AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA: WHY SOME DON’T HEAL may help you with this.
In counselling, we talk of the 4 Life Positions. In other words, how do you see yourself in relation to others?
If you have a poor self-concept, you are in the position of ‘I am not ok, you are ok’ (demonstrated here in the pink box).
Please remember you are not to blame, you were surviving within an environment in the only way you knew how.
I invite you, like Bartimaeus, to ‘arise’ and step over into the Healthy Life Position. (Seen here in green). because God says you are enough and worthy of healing.
How to develop our self esteem
1. RECEIVE GOD’S LOVE
My first suggestion would be to focus on how much God loves you. Bartimaeus received God’s love prior to his healing.
You have a perfect Father in Heaven, who gave up everything for you. You are the apple of His eye and His treasured possession.
God says you are worthy because it’s the Truth. He joys over you with singing and His dream for your life far exceeds any dream you have in your heart.
As you grow in revelation of God’s love, you’ll become empowered to love yourself more.
Not all Christians know and believe God’s love. Do you have a good opinion of God that’s not just cognitive?
Perhaps you struggled with your earthly father so you find seeing God as Father difficult.
Through meditating on God’s word, his love replaces any wrong mindset or hardness of heart.
Bartimaeus’ position, was not his identity, not from God’s perspective.
This is why Jesus asked him to change his posture.
2. BASK IN GOD’S PRESENCE.
This isn’t praying or reading the Word. This is a stillness you experience when you make space for God. You may have Instrumental worship on in the background if that helps.
You set the intention and your attention on God.
The idea is to simply be with Him with no agenda other than to rest in His presence.
What can you do, either on your own or with others, that helps your system feel more present and connected in the here and now?
You need nervous system regulation in order to make rational choices, to sleep well, be attuned accurately to others…Basically, if you’re not regulated, you’re in survival which is not God’s best
You cannot receive a healing unless your Nervous System is regulated.
You need to co-regulate in order to function healthily in life. This is when you allow another nervous system to influence your own.
Have you ever noticed, that spending some time with someone who is safe is all the medicine you need? Some ideas may include: hugs with loved ones, chatting and spending time with loved ones, joining a group, watching a podcast / YouTube / TV character.
Even people-watching might cause you to feel more regulated.
Once you know how to co-regulate you’ll be able to self regulate. Here are some ideas: time in nature, listening to music, driving, exercise, orienting, breathing exercises, art and crafts, swimming, humming, reading, meditation on God’s Word. Stretching, dancing….
YOU NEED BOTH CO AND SELF-REGULATION IN ORDER TO FEEL SAFE: a pre-requisite to healing.
How does inferiority or low self-esteem play out in your world? Is it all the time or just in certain circumstances?
Do you feel bad about yourself with a certain person or group? Authority figures? Those well-educated or earning lots of money?
Are you overly self-critical, a people pleaser or maybe you over apologise? Can you accept praise?
Perhaps you are grieving the loss of those things you can no longer do and the loss is heightened when you’re with certain people.
In what areas do you shrink back?
If you spend time journalling each day, you’ll become aware of all the toxic belief systems and thoughts you may be carrying.
5. CHALLENGE UNHELPFUL THINKING
Journalling is crucial when it comes to identifying belief systems that hinder you.
Most of our behaviour is driven by unconscious thinking. If we change our thoughts or beliefs at the root, we’re more likely to make those long-term changes.
My understanding is that it takes at least 28 days to change a habit (or belief) and even longer for it to be a lasting change.
This is not a quick fix.
The good news is that our brains are malleable. We can replace those unhelpful and limiting thoughts with realistic ones.
My suggestion, is to take one thought at a time. (Image: Rebekah Ballagh Journey into Wellness)
6. STEP OUT OF THE BEHAVIOUR
When journalling, you will identify areas that are hindering you or keeping you bound. Once you know how your low self-esteem is impacting you, you can step out of those toxic behaviours.
Perhaps you’re avoiding certain people or places because you know you’re going to feel worse.
Maybe you’re used to keeping quiet and just conforming to the expectations of others.
How low self esteem shows up for you will be unique.
Once you are self aware, you can then make changes in your behaviour. How can you step out of the default behaviour in a tolerable way?
7. PRACTICE SELF LOVE
Make a list of all the things that you enjoy and do more of them.
This sounds so simple, but for those people with a poor self-concept, especially if they’re had lots of trauma in their life, they really don’t know what they enjoy.
Now is the time to explore. Perhaps you need to learn what you enjoy.
People who love themselves, don’t feel guilty about carving time out for self. This could mean listening to your favourite music or eating your favourite food.
It might mean learning a new hobby or visiting new places.
SOUL PROSPERITY EQUALS PHYSICAL HEALING
Wouldn’t it it be wonderful, if every person with an illness or disability saw themselves through the lens of their identity in Christ, and not the label that society gives?
God says you are worthy despite any ‘weaknesses, failings, any minority factors’ and gives you permission to be yourself. You have a right to belong in the world and to own the emotions he has given you.
Could you allow yourself to just be and to show up authentically, seeing yourself the way God sees you. To receive God’s love so deeply that you cannot help but fall in love…with Him and with yourself!
(Image: Rebekah Ballagh. Journey to Wellness)
(Image. Rebekah Ballagh. Journey to Wellness)
I wonder if this would make a difference to your physical health as a healthy self concept goes hand in hand with soul prosperity.
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
3 John 1:2
I hope this helps you a little today.