Biblical Counseling for Today’s Christian Family
By: Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min., M.Th.
People with low self-esteem tend to have little confidence in their own abilities or their self worth. They continue to carry the pain of feeling inadequate into each and every aspect of their life. While many have had to grow up with wounds and pain inflicted by others’ words or actions, the good news is many people have survived life’s rejections pretty well. In the conclusion of our two-part series, David developed a twelve-step process entitled Counseling and Self-Esteem[i] which is designed to help people build their self-esteem. We will proffer the 4-8 of the process.
4. Make Realistic Demands On Yourself. When one validates themselves, they are saying, “I can” be who I really am without pretense, fear, guilt or shame. I am free from thinking more highly of myself than is realistic and from thinking less of myself than my talents and abilities warrant. I do not have to deceive others or myself (Galatians 6:3, 4). Discover your own talents and then learn to love and appreciate the unique person that God made you to be!
5. Welcome the Truth About Yourself. In spite of Jesus’ assurance that knowing the truth will set a person free (John. 8:32) He offers no guarantees that the process will be comfortable. For some, like the rich young ruler and the Pharisees, knowing the truth was painful. Yet for others, like the woman at the well, the truth relieved them of guilt. Welcome the truth about yourself and don’t try to be someone else, but be proud of who you are!
- Give Of Yourself. Self-esteem builds when we give ourselves to the service of others (Matthew 25:40). This service to the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, and the widows should make us feel good about ourselves. In fact this is promised in Scripture: “And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday” (Isaiah 58:10).
- Live With God’s Love And Forgiveness. A foundation to self-esteem is the ability to forgive ourselves. As you experience God’s love and forgiveness, you can then love and forgive yourself. God encourages us to remember that we were loved even while we were yet sinners and that His love is unconditional (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-8).
- Be Patient. Paul says in Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Just as our spiritual life is a developmental process, so our self-esteem is an ongoing process. In our high tech society, fast and efficient answers set the stage for us to expect immediate answers in other parts of our lives. This is an idealistic expectation because personal growth is a lifetime process.
Having a healthy self esteem consists of positive thoughts and feelings about oneself and it affects how they think and feel about others. In order to build a healthy self-esteem we must be reminded that no one is perfect. God has gifted all of us, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, with certain gifts and talents. We must all work to identify and accept our strengths and weaknesses and remember that we are all of great value and worth to God.
[i]David E. Carlson, Counseling and Self-Esteem, Vol. 13, (Word, Inc., 1988).
Next Month: Fighting Childhood and Adolescent Obesity
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o Fellowship of Love M.B.C. at P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.
August 19, 2012 //
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