Just like our bodies can get physically sick and impair our physical functions, our minds can also get sick and can alter our feelings such as anxiety, depression, etc. Sadly, we live in a culture that labels everything a physical disorder because then we can apply physical healing by medicating. So often the symptom is treated without getting to the root. Physical conditions are real but more often than not are an effect and not the cause of the underlining problem. Modern medicine fails to recognize that often physical symptoms can be linked to negative emotions. When a person becomes spiritually and emotionally healthy, these issues often go away.
Dr. Carolyn Lear author of “Who Switched Off My Brain” has found correlations between our thought life and physical and emotional illness. When you feel sad, afraid, angry or hopeful, your brain releases different types of chemicals. Depending on whether or not these emotions are toxic to your body, the chemicals will either help you or harm you. If they are harmful, they create conditions for a host of health problems that will manifest in both the body and the mind.
Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that will be the most damaging over time – unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief, and guilt. Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% of the diet, genetics, and environment. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies, just to name a few. Some Examples:
When you are at peace, chances are you are experiencing joy – your body produces endorphins, serotonin – these are the feel-good chemicals. These produce pleasure. This is conducive to an overall system of well-being, vitality, and health. This is positive.
Anxiety & Fear
These destructive emotions will cause the body to release harmful chemicals such as the stress hormone CRH and ACTH. These hormones race to the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline which cause extreme physical symptoms, heart palpitations, and breathing difficulties. Serotonin and endorphin levels can deplete which cause severe depression
All these emotions primarily begin with a thought, which if not taken captive can lead to negative and toxic thinking resulting in the release of the negative chemicals which in turn can result in a host of physical ailments. That’s why it is essential to rid ourselves of the contaminated belief systems that may have taken root throughout our life affecting our emotional life and relationships. Faulty belief systems are strongholds that have built up in our minds that must be demolished. How do we do that? We go to war against them. God’s word says….
”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Every negative thought, belief system, and lie must be replaced with truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and truth will make you free.” (John 8:32) We do not have to live in bondage to a hurtful past or negative emotional life. No matter our past experiences we can live a life of abundance in Christ. Give your burdens to Jesus. He is faithful to heal you from the inside out and give you rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)
Enablers are people that may appear to be extremely strong, independent and self-sufficient, but are in reality often very needy, insecure and in need of acceptance. This need for security and approval results in a strong sense of responsibility for others, dependence on people, people pleasing and performance. It also results in compromising morals, values, and beliefs as well as condoning sin. Enabling someone’s sin is the same as indirectly taking part in that sin, and 1 Timothy 5:22 says, “Do not participate in the sins of others.”
Below are some characteristics of people who are enablers.
(Think of the person that you are closely involved with, a spouse, child, parents, relative, friend, co-worker, boss, etc. and see if you identify with any of these statements).
- I feel responsible for the needs, feelings, and behaviors of this person.
- I try to fix their problems, even when it affects my emotional well-being.
- I know their needs and feelings but don’t know my own.
- I do things for this person they should and are capable of doing for themselves.
- I get angry when my help is not wanted, needed, or appreciated.
- I tend to come across rigid and judgmental.
- I am harsher on myself than others.
- I tend to deny my own feelings and needs
- I feel guilty when I stand up for myself.
- I find it hard to say “No.”
- I feel good when I give but find it hard to receive from others.
- I try hard to be perfect to avoid anger or criticism.
- I look for my value and worth in the approval of others.
- I find that I am attracted to needy people & they are attracted to me.
- I am defensive about my relationship with this person.
- I feel victimized and taken advantage of by this person.
- I feel stuck in this relationship with this person.
- I can’t live without this person.
If you can relate to many of these statements, it is most likely that you are engaged in a relationship where you are enabling the unhealthy behavior (sin) of another person. Interestingly enough, it may surprise you to know that you share many of same characteristics of the personality type of the people you tend to enable. More surprising to you may be finding out that enablers and those being enabled enter into the relationship with one thing in common – NEED! Both desperately need each other. Each is seeking to get a need met that each is incapable of meeting because there is only ONE who can meet our needs. Both have learned to function in an environment that is imbalanced where one is doing all the taking, and the other is doing all the giving. It has become their normal and breaking the dynamic can be extremely difficult.
But you can be free! Commit today to get help and get to the root of why you engage in relationships where you condone and encourage negative behavior by enabling. There is nothing that our God cannot do with a willing and surrendered heart.
Fear, betrayal, rejection, anger, unforgiveness, addictions, unhealthy relationships and relationship conflict, are just some of the real life struggles facing God’s children today.
Our churches are filled with believers who love Jesus, but are often overwhelmed and weighed down; bound up and defeated by life’s issues. So many are unable to live a truly abundant life in Christ and run the Christian race with endurance. These beloved brethren have this in common—they are painfully unaware that the untended roots from the past are creating issues in the present, and are preventing them from thriving in the fullness of God.
God’s children are in desperate need of practical, step by step, biblical solutions. Hurting Hearts Restored offers that hand of help. Written according to God’s powerful Word and inspired by the promptings of The Holy Spirit, this book is intended to lead you into God’s unending love and grace—to His perfect plan for you—life more abundantly! Filled with easily understood explanations, examples, journal questions, and real-life stories, Hurting Hearts Restored will walk you through the healing process — a journey with Jesus into the depth of your heart where change happens, page-by-page, with all the resources you need to get to the roots that bind.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
If you have been a victim of any form of abuse, neglect, abandonment that is still affecting your life and crippling your ability to walk in the fullness of Christ, then you should consider seeking out help through Christ-centered professional or pastoral counseling to be mandatory as soon as possible.
In seeking help, seek out those persons who are specifically trained to help you deal with your particular issue and fully rely on the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit through the inerrancy of God’s Word to help you replace the faulty message left behind by acts of abuse or neglect with God’s truth. It is the truth that sets us free. Only the authority of God’s living word has the power to heal, change and restore hearts and lives.
Other resources are available to you like support groups designed to help those who have been victimized in various ways. What you must remember is the sinfulness of other persons visited upon you is in no way an act of God. In no way were the acts of sinful abuse, neglect, and abandonment put upon you the will of God. Remember God loves you beyond measure. God wants you protected and sheltered from any form of abuse, neglect, hurt, or abandonment.
Beyond professional help and counseling, a substantial part of your life will need to be devoted to surrendering your pain and heartache to Christ. Christ is the son of a loving God. Christ and His Father in heaven possess a wrath to be visited upon those who take advantage of and hurt others. Your place is not to even the score or get revenge with others.
To find healing from the abuse, neglect, or abandonment you suffered, the focus of your life should be surrendering up your hurt and pain into Christ’s nail-scarred hands.
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.”
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 to deal with relationship conflict.
The truth is we will never be able to enjoy healthy mutually satisfying relationships until we deal with the issues of our own heart. When we can identify the cause of our emotional pain, we can then process the effects they have on our life, and we can stop blaming others, take ownership of our negative feelings and behaviors and stop allowing others to control our emotions.
People are not responsible for the way they make us feel. Understanding and accepting this enables us to let others off the hook and give them permission to take ownership of their feelings and stop blaming us for how they feel. Jesus heals and restores one heart at a time.
Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they may genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment, but nothing changes.
The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between feeling sorry for what we do and repentance, regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.
Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to hardened and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly softens the heart and brings forth life.
If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling.
We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others. That’s where true change begins.
There are many causes for emotional wounds. Whether it be betrayal, a loss of a loved one, childhood abuse, abandonment, divorce, physical or emotional abuse, or a broken relationship. In order to heal, the pain must be acknowledged and dealt with.
Deep wounds can also affect relationships and choice of a marriage partner. They also distort and skew our natural God given gifts and abilities –
Truth distorted becomes deception.
Love distorted becomes codependency.
Passion distorted becomes obsession.
Hard working becomes workaholic.
Strong leaderships becomes controlling.
Excellence becomes perfectionism.
These traits will poison relationships, marriages and affect how children are raised.
The question is “Do you want to heal?”
You are not without hope. Never forget that our God is Jehovah Rapha – The God who heals. He restores what is broken, is able to change your destructive thought patterns, and give you an amazing life filled with hope, joy, and the abundant life Jesus came to give.
All you have to do is stop running from the pain of emotional wounds and start seeking the wound healer.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
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Suppressed negative emotions take root early in life and accumulate and are buried over time but don’t go away. They manifest in all sorts unhealthy thinking and behaviors. This is an opportune time for Satan to set up strongholds in our minds. A stronghold is a way of thinking that holds us bondage in our minds, and it strangles the abundant life of a believer. Over time, each negative emotionally hurtful event in our lives can add another layer of woodenness and unless it is brought to the light can rob us of our joy and peace in our walk with the Lord and affect our emotional health and well-being.
The first step to achieving emotional healing is being honest and recognizing that rather than blaming others and staying a victim, we need to take accountability for how we have been dealing with past hurts.
“Jesus says if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and truth will set you free”….”So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32,33)
How can we experience this freedom if we are still carrying around a backpack full of emotional hurts and pain? In order to know this freedom, we need to acknowledge that we have not dealt with these buried emotions and need them brought to the surface so our Lord Jesus can sever them at the root.
Then and only then can God take us from a broken, hurting, anxious individual and restore us so that we can finally experience the peace and joy that the Lord desires us to have in our walk with Him.
“He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him.”
(Daniel 2:22 Amplified Bible)