“…Again, I say to you whatever you ask God on this assembly ground, just believe and God would give you!” That was primary three class teacher’s voice. We resumed the term today and in our happiness, we had sang our hearts out (most of us were just playing though) Still, Aunty Kate had told us that today was a day of grace and we should ask for anything we wanted.
I thought about all I needed to pray for and somehow at age seven, my top prayer point was, “God, please make my fingers as thin as Lolade’s own. Make me taller too oh Lord! I believe that as I open my eyes, it would be so…..”
I opened one of my eyes after a while and peeked at my fingers outstretched and opened the other almost immediately. My fingers were longer or so I thought (now I know my mind was playing tricks on me). My faith increased and I started to jump and pray shaking my head here and there asking for the tallness, my other prayer point. At the end of that day’s assembly, I didn’t grow taller even in my mind.
Many people like me then have one a thing or the other they wish they could change. For so many people, this becomes a matter of how they see themselves. Some people would tease, some really just joking, others sincerely seeking wrath. Still in the end, you are totally in control of your reactions and how you see yourself. Having a healthy self-esteem, regardless of what you have or don’t have is a sign of maturity.
I have come to learn that anything that opposes the truth about God’s word is a lie. Click To Tweet So, yeah the devil in form of some friends or even trusted believers would say things or suggest thoughts that are derogatory. And then you begin to think you are lesser than the standard and before you know it, the battle of self-esteem has started. A lot of times, it is good to look beyond those people and attack the devil beyond their actions.
Now, you don’t do this by shouting in the faces of those people or by yelling at the devil. It is a mind battle. You really can’t stop those thoughts from coming but you can stop them from developing further in your heart.
We treated the topic: suicide some weeks back in church and how even some believers get to the point where they think there is nothing worth living for. As we looked at statistics we realized a lot of suicide cases are due to identity crisis – majorly low self-esteem.
After church that day, I asked myself: “How do people come to this point, especially believers?” And then I realized, it is a little bit here and some other bits there. It is a gradual process. One doesn’t just fall into the trap of low self-esteem one day. It all starts with a comment from someone, maybe, “you are too fat” or “you are not as smart” and then we gradually start to believe these things. Over time, panic attacks come in and you begin to perform below average.
So how then do believers deal with this issue?
First, know who you are. What is your identity? You need to know this because if you don’t have a basis, you’d fall for anything.
As a believer, only one thing defines and completes you. Christ and Christ alone. Click To Tweet That means you don’t get your definition from your height, weight, skin color, nationality, CGPA, or bank account balance. Jesus is the sole, the very center of the man in Christ. If he seeks validation elsewhere, he is off track.
Next, you need to know that the devil won’t stop. Whether you like it or not and whether you admit to it or not, the devil won’t stop on your case. I must say, this isn’t to make you overly conscious of the devil. Trust me; he isn’t worth that attention besides the way to live as a believer is by focusing on Jesus. No matter how long you have been a Christian, so long as you remain on this earth, the devil would keep tempting and suggesting ill thoughts to you. Knowing this, it is not enough to just keep running away from people or situations who give you panic attacks.
So when it comes, what to do?
Let us look at what Jesus did when He was tempted of the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4). Each time, he replied, “It is written…” Jesus, our perfect example resisted the devil with the Word of God. That is exactly what we should do also. When the fear of not being adequate arises, rebuke the thought and reassure your heart in God’s words.
For instance, when someone says you aren’t good-looking enough. Remind yourself that when God created you, he looked you over and said, “You are very good” (Gen 1:31) and as if to reassure you, It is there again in the Psalms that: “You are wonderfully and fearfully made…”(Psalms 139:14)
When you choose to believe anything contrary to what God says about you, You are calling God a liar. Click To Tweet James 5:7b says “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
2 Cor 10:5 also says, “Casting down imaginations, every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ…”
So you have to consciously run all these thoughts by God’s words.
Refute thoughts contrary to God’s Words.
Refuse to believe anything other than what God has said about you in His word. Anything that exalts itself higher than God’s Word should be refuted irrespective of its source.
Fear and anxiety are the bedrocks of low self-esteem. God has said severally in his Word that you should not be afraid and that you should be anxious for nothing. And those are instructions of God to His children; it is walking in disobedience to live in perpetual fear or anxiety. Whenever you find yourself falling off into fear or anxiety, renew your focus on God and bring yourself back to the safety of God’s Word.
There is the need for you to realize that the spiritual realm is more real than you know. In fact, it is more real than what you can see and touch. So look beyond the physical and whatever flaws you think you have. Focus of what God says. God sees you as extremely valuable. And even your weaknesses are made perfect in God’s strength. All of this is humbling and empowering: that the creator of the whole world would take interest in you.
Finally, you need to see yourself as God sees you.
God gave His only son just to save you. Yes, you. Even if it was only you, God did see so much value in you that he refused to see you perish. And now the life of God is in you. You bear God in your DNA. You are royalty! You shouldn’t think less of yourself. One who is born of a sheep is a sheep. One who is born of a lion is a lion. Same way, one who is born of God is definitely God. Walk and live with that mindset.
Don’t see yourself lesser than this. You are indeed who God says you are. Refusing to accept that is pride. That is why Paul prayed in Eph 1:18 that the eyes of your understanding are enlightened, so that you know what it means to be a child of God and all that is yours by virtue of who you are.
If you truly know who you are in Christ, You'd never feel inadequate. Click To Tweet In the same vein, don’t overestimate yourself. All you are and have comes from God. That is a humbling fact. Remain within the confines of God’s love and authority. Don’t think you are better of that other people… That is pride and another form of identity crisis.
I hope this helps you. Like always, please add other ideas of yours in the comment boxes. We’d really really love to hear from you….
Read next: Identity Check