been said that if you live for the acceptance of others, you will die
from their rejection. If your sense of self-worth is based on the
approval of others, your value is at the mercy of what others think
about you. Your identity, who you are, how you see yourself is
determined by how others see you and respond to you.
In our brokenness, we tend to give people a lot of power. People on the outside control my thoughts, feelings, and my will. They own me. I don’t know who I am, and I live in fear of failing to meet their approval and being rejected.
We need to give our fear of rejection over to the Lord. He created us and established our worth. When we let His love pour into us, we learn to trust Him, and He will turn our fear into faith, and we will find full acceptance in the arms of our precious Savior.
If you believe that you may be living for the approval of others, evaluate the following statements and see if you identify with any of them.
”I am not good enough.”
“I have to try harder.”
“I have to earn love.’
“I flatter people so they will like me.”
“I have to be perfect.”
“I always feel less than.”
“I know what I think is not important.”
“I know that I am not likable.”
“I never feel like I belong.”
“I don’t measure up.”
If you can relate to any of the above chances are that there is a deep root of rejection driving your need for approval and acceptance from others. Please understand that just because you have been rejected in the past, you don’t have to walk in fear that you will be rejected again by others. We can be so crippled by the fear of being rejected that without realizing it we can push others away, or create situations where we will be rejected fulfilling a self-imposed prophecy which causes us to continue to believe lies about ourselves and feel alone and rejected.
Others may have done things in the past to make you feel angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used. Indeed, you may have a valid reason to feel anger.
You may have been taken advantage of and victimized by others. You may have been unappreciated by others. You may have been used by others. These are common experiences of just about all people.
However, when these kinds of occurrences happen in life we have a choice to make. We can choose to be drawn into the darkness put upon us by others or we can choose to stay out in the light and love of Christ.
If you are truly a child of God, others may try to do things to make you angry but you do not have to respond or feel angry.
In Christ, others may try to victimize you but you do not have to be a victim. In Christ, others may not appreciate you but you do not need the appreciation of others.
In Christ, others may use you to their advantage but you do not need to feel used because you have given over all of who you are to Him who died for you.
The power we live under in Christ is an insulating power for our hearts. This insulating power keeps us from feeling angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used by others.
There is a direct correlation between relationship conflict and negative emotions. We were designed for love and intimacy. Sadly, many of us were not given healthy forms of love. So we enter relationships with baggage full of skewed love systems and unmet needs expecting the other person to meet our emotional needs. However, since unhealthy people tend to attract unhealthy individuals into their lives who enter the relationship with their own emotional baggage – unmet needs and skewed forms of love expecting us to love them as they think they should be loved, it’s a great recipe for emotional pain and conflict. People enter relationships with all kinds of learned negative patterns of behavior for dealing with relationship conflict.
Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another.
So instead of running the race with endurance they limp along the way.
There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,negative behaviors, addictions, immorality, anger, etc.
The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing and giving often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never dealt with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies.
Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.
Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10
How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work – sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.
Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go. Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.
“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
A deep wound, a broken heart, disappointments, bitterness and unforgiveness can cause the heart to become hardened with time. It causes us to put up walls. Our defenses go up. We self protect and we don’t let anyone in including God.
Self protection leaves us running on reserve and is the cause of intimacy issues and conflict in relationships. It seems that it’s easier to be hard than soft and vulnerable, because we don’t want to get hurt. But you were not created to live that way. God made you to be tender and responsive.
It’s hard to shape stone. As long as your heart remains hard you will miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to give. So let the living God come into your heart, heal your wounds and tear down your self protection and defenses.
The amplified version of Ezekiel 11:19 says “And I will give them one heart, a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within them and I will take the stony, unnatural hardened heart out and give them a heart of flesh, sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.”
Give your hurts to the Lord. Let God shape you. When you do that…He will leave His fingerprints all over your heart.
The pain of unmet needs, thoughtless words, hurtful actions, to overt abuse can linger for a lifetime manifesting in various negative, behaviors such as addiction, unhealthy relationship, and abusive patterns. This toxic system can pollute everything around us and
Behind the violation and the physical pain of the trauma of abuse, there is a message that was sent to the hearts of victims that have left deep open wounds which continue to fester. These messages speak lies to us and skew beliefs about ourselves and others. These lies lead our wounded hearts to adopt faulty reactions and faulty behaviors to hide our intense hurt and build walls that act as barriers to intimacy with God. Yet the Lord lovingly uses our current struggles, failures, and our problem relationships to reveal unresolved emotional pain as God calls each one of us to account. His desire is to break down those walls of self-protection and heal our hurting hearts in order to set us free. Take a moment to meditate on the following scripture and let it resonate deeply in your hearts.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
If you have found yourself the prisoner of a painful past, there is hope for your hurting heart. God’s word says…
“In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
No trial – no abuse is wasted. Your pain doesn’t have to be pointless; it can be full of purpose. Because you know the pain of abuse you have the ability to have compassion for others who have been wounded and abused. Thank God for what He is teaching you through the very difficult situation and the pain. Allow the Lord to take your pain and turn it into a precious ministry – a ministry of compassion to comfort and exhort others who are hurting.
Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, feeling emotionally that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.
Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.
Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.
If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict. Some lash out; others become critical, defensive and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether. None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict adding layers of bitterness and resentments causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.
What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized. If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance was the name of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this. It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.
God’s word says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter. Nothing gets through unless it contains grace. Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships.
There is nothing wrong with the flour it’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.
The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships. Let’s get to cooking with grace.
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”