When you think about “self,” is the first thing that comes to mind is the concept of “me, myself, and I.” How many of you believe that for your life, it’s all about “me, myself, and I and forget about everybody else?” Well, that’s what I want to talk about in this post, the concept of “self,” and the restoration of “self.”
There are so many words that can go after the word “self.” What comes to mind are as follows:
Those are just some words, and there are many more that I didn’t mention. Self isn’t arbitrarily a bad thing, but it can be if you rely on “self” more than you do God to the point of making your “self” an idol. The late Stephen Covey talked about a centered life, and one area was “self-centered.” A self-centered life in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective people consisted of the following:
Self-centeredness is probably the most common center out of the other centers (money, family, spouse, church, work, pleasure, friend/enemy, etc.) and it’s obvious form is “selfishness,” which violates the values of many people. When you are self-centered, you accept and never give (in other words, “what’s in it for me,” “if it feels good.”). Your security is constantly changing, and you view the world by how decisions, events or how circumstances will affect you. In fact, your ability to act is limited to your own resources.
According to Stephen Covey, self-centeredness also breeds self-justification and self-interest. Before I forget, the two types of self that I really want to focus on for this blogpost are “self-worth” and “self-sabotage.”
If you look at Numbers 13, it’s a familiar story; it’s the story of Moses sending spies to survey the land. Ten of the twelve said that they couldn’t do take the land, even though God said it was given to them. Only two heeded the word of God. Now, here’s the interesting part (especially in the last two verses – 32 and 33): So they gave the Israelites a bad report about the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we went, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants. And all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Did you notice something? Their enemies rarely can detect spies and what the spies did was cause the nation to take their side (with the exception of Joshua and Caleb). They said, “We were like grasshoppers.” They discounted themselves out and saw themselves a way that their enemies may not have seen them. Have you ever known people (or have you even done it yourself) to discount themselves before others when they probably weren’t thinking that way about them? Using myself as an example, “I may think that a particular woman may not like me because I’m so unusual. So I don’t even introduce myself, when the truth may be that she really likes me.” I missed an opportunity due to self-sabotage because of low self-worth. That’s what the children of Israel did. They sabotaged their own success.
Don’t self-sabotage your self-worth because of somebody else. People will hate you whether you do/say something or whether you don’t do/say something. In short, people will hate you just because. This message here is to not be defeated from the start due to a low self-esteem (self-worth).
May I use a gruesome example: A woman is in a marriage with a man who claimed he loved her but physically and emotionally abuses her. During the course of the marriage, he wants her to worship him, talk to nobody by him, and is extremely jealous of her to the point that she has to look down at the ground whenever they are in the public eye. You can tell right there that this woman’s self-worth is destroyed and possibly her view of God may be skewed as well. When this happens, it’s easy to start self-sabotaging yourself to thinking, “this is what God wants from me, to suffer and stay in the marriage till death do we part.” It’s also easy to start thinking this abnormal life is normal. Even if she gets out, she will do whatever she can to gain control over everything around her (especially her life), and fears any loss of control due to what she experienced. Do I understand the rationale behind it? Yes. Does her life need to be repaired? Absolutely. Will it be difficult for her to go through the process and will she really want to go through the process? It will be difficult, and will do everything possibly in many cases to avoid the process. When this situation happens, it will be easy to mistaken what’s God when it really is self because of the control component. In other words, whatever good happens may sometimes be God, and every bad thing we blame God for it, especially when it doesn’t go the way we want it to go.
So, how do we restore self-worth to stop self-sabotage? It’s a great question, and here are some things to help along the way. If you are someone who believes in God (or even if your view of God is skewed because of traumatic events), your self-worth can actually be improved when you understand God’s principles for what they really are (in other words, read it as if you were a little child – and do what you can to throw away every teaching that was legalistic and condemning). When you become engrossed in His principles, it will improve your self-worth. Let me give you some examples from His Word that confirm who you are:
- You are a fellow heir to a divine inheritance among the saints (Ephesians 1:18)
- You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)
- You are crucified with Christ, nevertheless you live, and the life you now live, you live by faith (Galatians 2:20)
Another way to improve your self-worth is to serve others, like mentor a child who’s coming up in this crazy world. So, I close with two questions to consider:
- What can you do to serve others? When you give, you actually open yourself up to so many blessings to you (please, don’t do this just for the blessings, let it really come from your heart).
- What are areas in your life where your pride needs to be swallowed (when I say pride, I’m referring to the concept of, “I’m a self-made man; I’m a self-made woman and I got here by myself”)? Of course that’s not true, we all received help at some point. What are some areas where you need to humble yourself? Remember, pride comes before destruction, and before the Lord, we must humble ourselves. He does know what’s best for us, and He’s the only one who can restore your “Self-identity!”
Will you let Him do that? He wants to restore your “self” into what He originally designed for you. He wants to place blessings and not cursing on you (in fact, it’s our “self” that cause them to come, not Him). The enemy wants you to “self-sabotage,” which cause “self-defeat!” Jesus wants to restore the “self-esteem” and “self-worth” that was destroyed by the enemy.
The Mayne Man