The healing at the pool of bethesda teaches us how to position our hearts for a miracle healing.
Today we look at the area of victimhood and how this hinders healing. I’ll suggest 5 ways in which we can easily shift from victim to victor.
This poor man had suffered for 38 years which caused him to spiral down into pity. His eyes were on the severity of his situation. He was closed to any forward thinking. (In all honesty, I think I’d be exactly the same.)
Can you identify with this?
When I was unwell, I thought it was so unfair that my friends could experience marriage, holidays or careers whilst I could barely function.
All I could see was all the things that had been taken away from me. The loss and grief consumed me so much, I ended up crossing over the line into pity.
‘My life is terrible whilst their’s isn’t…no-one understands…where is God…my life is over…’
I lived here for such a long time. My eyes were on my reality.
Prior to the miracle healing at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus addressed the lame man’s victim mentality. He knew the man’s pity was hindering him from his miracle.
HEALING AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA
The paralysed man was comfortable feeling sorry for himself.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?””Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.
In other words, ‘I’m a victim and no-one is helping me. It’s not my fault…the world is against me….I’ll be like this forever…I’ve given up…’
Being a victim is easily done when you’ve been ill for a long time. I can understand why he was thinking and feeling these things.
He’d developed a coping strategy of pity which was helping him manage adverse circumstances.
That’s understandable, right? I do feel for the poor guy.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t move in someone who is in a place of victimhood. I guess this is because it’s not who you are.
Image: Rebekah Ballagh Journey to Wellness
I’ve yet to meet someone who has received a healing miracle when they’re stuck within a ‘poor me’ mentality.
I used to have a khaki green jacket. I loved it as it was so expensive and on trend. Then I saw myself in a photo wearing the jacket. My face was a sick shade of pasty green. It just didn’t do anything for my complexion! I looked ill. From that day onwards, I never wore the jacket again.
Self pity is a bit like that. We wear it, without realising the impact it has on ourselves and others. It’s not attractive to be around. It’s repelling.
Through the healing at the pool of Bethesda God is teaching us how to position ourselves to receive such a miracle. He’s showing us the need to be free from the power of pity.
ARE YOU PLAYING A VICTIM?
The mindset of self pity tells us that life is happening to us. We are helpless. This can become programming that communicates to our bodies.
We tell ourselves it’s not ok for this to be happening. This creates an inner conflict contributing to dis-ease.
“bad things keep happening to me…..I’ve tried everything and nothing works…..I’m just going to isolate myself from the rest of the world…..when will something good happen to me?…I always pull the short straw”
If the illness is the persecutor, and the individual is the victim and those, this then invites those in the person’s world to be the rescuer. All of this takes place on an unconscious level.
I find it interesting that Jesus chose a paralysed man to heal. He was immobile, unable to move.
We all know people who want attention for their problems. It gives them comfort when we rescue them from the pit of despair, only to find themselves back down the pit of pity once again once the attention has died down.
They expect to be carried.
Unfortunately the church can often begin to rescue people who are in this place, which keeps them in that place of victimhood. We can feed the victim mindset thinking we’re being loving and compassionate.
I find this useful. At any moment, I can check in with myself and ask myself the question ‘which life position am I in right now?’. It’s not who I am in Christ. It’s not my identity in Him. This is my cue to either change my nervous system state (see below), or change my thinking.
I’M OK AND YOU’RE OK
I think prior to his healing, the man at the pool of Bethesda had an unhealthy life position. He viewed everyone else as ok, just not him.
‘ I am not OK. You are OK’.
Self pity makes us blind to the world around us. He was waiting for someone to come and rescue him. A true victim.
I imagine there were other people there who also couldn’t make it to the pool.
Others with all sorts of diseases and sicknesses. He wasn’t the only one. Maybe he’d lost his friends due to his pity! I guess we’ll never know.
His situation was not OK, but he was OK. When I look at my own life, I realise now it took a long time to realise this. My situation was not OK, but I am OK. I am not the illness.
I find this useful. At any moment, I can check in with myself and ask myself the question ‘which life position am I in right now?’. It’s not who I am in Christ. It’s not my identity in Him.
This is my cue to either change my nervous system state (see below), or change my thinking.
5 WAYS TO SHIFT FROM A VICTIM MINDSET
The healing at the pool of Bethesda is about empowerment. Your strength and confidence comes when you stop relying on others and begin to recognise that God has given you what you need yourself.
How do we allow God to restore us from this place?
1. REGULATE YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM
Is Self-Pity a sin?
In all honestly, I think most people would say yes. But personally I think this is unfair.
From a nervous system perspctive, I believe the lame man at Bethesda was either in his dorsal shut down state or in a perpetual state of freeze.
These are survival states, they help us survive stressful or traumatic experiences. It’s not wrong to be here.
See WHAT IS THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM?
Our story follows our state.
The way we come out of our survival states is by using regulating resource tools and to allow God to heal any past trauma stuck in our systems. (I will write on this soon).
This step may take a long time depending on how long you’ve been dysregulated for and how much past trauma is stored in your system.
If the man at the pool of Bethesda was in his Dorsal shut-down state or Freeze state, then he needs to introduce a some movement into his system.
Engaging in regualting activities like slow stretching, mirroring a dolphin swimming or watching and listening to waves, will support your nervous system into shifting from a place of shut-down and collapse to a place of social connection and rationality.
2. LOVE YOURSELF
Give yourself the love and compassion your loss or situation deserves, the way you would give someone else empathy.
What would you say to someone else in your situation?
What would support you in this moment? A bubble bath? an early night? time spent with friends?
Could you try reading scriptures on how much God loves you?
3. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
There is no hopeless situation when you believe God for healing. Can you see your situation from God’s perspective? He is greater than any chronic illness.
Could you answer the following?
- In what ways is this situation good for you?
- What is God saying to you about this?
- How do you think God can use the your present circumstances?
This guy received a healing after 38 years.
Seeing God’s perspective will edify and lift you and a fresh new excitement and expectation will spring forth in your heart as you start believing again.
Can you use your imagination to dream once again?
4. KEEP A GRATITUDE DIARY
The lame man had eyes to see, ears to hear and the ability to talk. There is always something to be thankful for.
Image: Rebekah Ballagh Journey to Wellness
This is more than just feeling good. You’re retraining your brain to focus on the things that are right. It’s hard because problems steal our attention.
You don’t need to necessarily fix the old roads, just build new ones.
YOU CAN DO THIS VICTORIOUSLY with the help of the Holy Spirit.
An activity I try to do at the end of each day, is to review the day and record anything good, nourishing or uplifting to help my thinking go in a healthy direction.
5. KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
When you’re in victim mode, you’re disconnected from you’re identity in Christ. You’re unlikely to manipulate others into loving you when you know how much God loves you.
You begin to operate from a place of low self-worth when you’re in victim.
The Bible says that you and I are ‘more than conquerors’ that we are victors and never victims. Circumstances may be against us but we are still children of the most High God.
We are ‘the head and not the tail…..above only, and not be beneath…’
Could you spend some time each day in meditation on your identity in Christ? You need to identify more with Jesus than with sickness.
Can you imagine the difference it would make, if chronically ill people grasped the truth that they are empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep on moving forward?
What difference would this make to your own situation? as bleak as it looks in the natural, if you saw it through the eyes of faith?
How would this situation be different if you saw yourself according to who you are in Christ? You are not your illness.
I hope this helps you a little today.
Have a great day
If this encourages, do check out other posts in the series about the healing at the pool of Bethesda: