Guarding Our Hearts Through Boundaries


In the physical world, boundaries are easy to see, lines, fences, signs, hedges, these are all physical boundaries. They give the same message -THIS IS WHERE MY PROPERTY BEGINS. As the owner of the property, I am legally responsible what happens on my property line. Non owners are not responsible. In the spiritual realm boundaries are just as real only harder to see. Yet they serve the same purpose. They protect ownership.

Our bodies are the temple of the living God and His Spirit lives in us. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) We have been bought at a price…by the precious blood of Jesus . (1 Corinthians 6:20) Therefore, we belong to Jesus first and foremost and our identity is in Him and Him alone. Boundaries merely help guard and protect that relationship and our relationship with self and others.

Boundaries also defend us physically, emotionally and spiritually from intrusive or unwanted dangers. They also make it possible to engage and enjoy a mutually healthy relationships because they protect those relationships by setting the course for mutual respect, consideration and safety.

Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins….leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. If I know where my yard begins and ends, I am free to take responsibility for my life and it opens us options to pursue the person that God created me to be. It also gives me the freedom to allow you to be who God created you to be and take responsibility for your own life. This takes the burden off both you and me.

Healthy boundaries guard yourself from giving more than you should and protect you from others taking more than they should.

Boundaries help bring order to your personal world and the world around you and guard against enmeshment and codependency where you are controlled by others and stripped of your identity in Christ causing great conflict in all areas of your life.

Do you have healthy boundaries? If not ask God to show you how to put boundaries in place that will guard your heart and help you engage in mutually healthy relationships.

Counseling That Heals & Sets Free

There are many self-help books available offering various theories and approaches for overcoming negative emotions and behaviors. Modern-day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). That is the area that gets sick that drives belief systems and negative emotions. The rooted systems in our life can make our souls extremely sick. A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer solution.

However, since the solution offered is rooted in humanism and, therefore, man-made, there is no true long-term healing that can occur. At best, it can help change behavior and give you tools for self-discipline or positive thinking. That is not freedom. There is no lasting victory because it does not deal with sin. It does not allow for the blood of Christ to cleanse us and change us. It merely puts a band-aid over symptoms. It may address anxiety, depression, outward manifestations, and symptoms of deeper issues – but often, the first solution offered is medication and never gets to the root. So people are not getting the true healing they are seeking.

As Christians, we know that only God has the power to heal us from the inside out and set us free. That is true victory. He doesn’t just change behaviors; He transforms, renews, restores, redeems, and breaks the chains of bondage. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Isaiah also tells us that God is the “Wonderful Counselor.” John 14:6 says, “the Holy Spirit is the Counselor.”

Therefore, true freedom is found only by applying biblical truths to the wounds of our hearts. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.

 

Emotions & Your Thoughts


Emotions are tied to our thought life. Have you ever stepped back and listened to your thoughts? Have you been surprised by them and wondered where they were coming from? In his book ‚Wild at Heart,‛ John Eldredge wrote, ‚We are being lied to all the time. Yet, we never stop to say, ‘Wait a minute who else is speaking here? Where are these ideas coming from? Where are these feelings coming from?‛
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Satan is at war with God’s children. He is a crafty one and a deceiver and, he knows if he were to show up as a dark, scary figure, with a pitchfork, we would immediately flee, sensing danger. So, instead, he uses our fears, hurts, and insecurities to influence us through our thought life. He knows that if he can control our minds, he can control our behavior and, what is his most used weapon to do so? Lies! When we believe Satan’s lies, rather than God’s truth, it leads to faulty ways of thinking and wrong behaviors that enslave our souls. The only defense we have to protect our minds from being lost in the darkness of lies, is the truth: the inerrant Word of God.
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God’s word gives a detailed combat strategy for defeating the enemy. We are to pull down strongholds (rooted lies) and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Simply put, we must replace Satan’s lies with God’s truth. If your thoughts are telling you that you are not good enough that you are unworthy that you are ugly that you will always live in fear that you will never heal or that you will always live in bondage, stop for one moment and ask yourself, ‛Whose voice am I hearing? Who is it that is telling me that?‛
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God’s word tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and His voice protects them from the thief who wants to destroy them. Our beloved Savior would never harm His sheep by speaking such lies. If you hear that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy choose, instead, to listen to your Shepherd who says, ‘For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to bring you a future and a hope‛ (Jeremiah 29:11). The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth.

Do You Want To Be Made Well?

It’s easier to stuff pain inside, wear a painted smile and pretend that everything is okay, but masking issues of the heart only perpetuates our hurts.

Eventually, undealt issues spring up and defile all areas of our lives, including relationships. Inwardly our souls are crying out to be healed. At some point, we may grudgingly seek help. However, it is essential to understand that in order to be healed, we must be willing to be healed no matter how painful and difficult the journey.

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, emotionally feeling 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 minds. 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 you need and that you will encounter the Healer – your Jesus, in the deepest, most intimate way, at a heart level where change happens.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

Suppressed Anger

Anger can be overt – screaming, yelling, rage, throwing things, physical abusive, or it can be very covert– slow-simmering suppressed anger beneath that surfaces occasionally.

While hidden anger is usually rooted in past childhood hurts, what lies underneath is ready to erupt at any moment much like a volcano.

For instance, when someone does or says something wrong, the one with hidden and suppressed anger often overreacts, an innocent mistake may unleash a magnitude of anger out of proportion with the simple mistake.

If you have hidden anger, you may find yourself at one extreme or another – hopelessness to extreme hostility and yet be completely unaware why you are experiencing these feelings and may even be clueless to the severity of your outbursts of anger towards others and how they are being hurt emotionally in the wake of your anger.

Unresolved anger causes deep wounds in your relationships with God and others. It hurts little ones who are caught in the aftermath of a parent’s anger. Children learn that anger is an acceptable way to deal with conflict, and often take this modeled behavior into adulthood negatively impacting relationships at all levels.

This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace, joy and steals contentment from your spirit.

It’s never too late to get to the root of anger and allow God to heal your heart. A willingness to admit you have hidden anger is the first step to freedom. God is faithful to heal and restore those who come to Him for healing.

Grieving Is Healing

Have you seen someone smiling, yet within the smile you recognized sadness? Have you heard someone laughing, though you knew the heart was not healed?

Repressed grief occurs when a person has reason to grieve and needs to grieve but does not grieve.

The person with repressed grief exhibits negative lifestyle patterns but does not know why. Examples may be distancing from others, playing the clown, using mood-altering substances like alcohol or drugs, engaging in mood-altering behaviors like gambling or compulsive spending.

Only by facing the truth of your painful losses in life and by going through genuine grief will you have emotional healing.
In the bible, the Psalmists prayed this prayer….

“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me.” Psalm 43:3

When you are ready to grieve your hurts and losses, Jesus will apply his healing balm. He is The Balm of Gilead – The Ointment that can heal your wounded heart and give you emotional healing.

Are You Experiencing Loneliness This Christmas?


Christmas is a time of good cheer, excitement, expectancy, warmth, busyness, and feelings of joy surrounded by family and friends. But for some, it can be a time of extreme loneliness. Loneliness can be described as a feeling of emptiness in the pit of your stomach when someone you love has left you either through death or broken relationships. You may feel abandoned, unwanted, or unneeded as if you’re all by yourself when you are actually surrounded by all kinds of people. You may feel like no one really cares.

These feelings can intensify if you begin to believe that your loneliness is a result of something being wrong at a core level with you – that you are somehow unacceptable, unworthy, don’t measure up, or unlovable.

When this happens, you may feel hopeless and have nothing to live for. Your pain can erode your self-worth and drain you of strength. Loneliness puts a huge wall around your heart and prevents you from allowing others in including God.

When you feel as if the entire world has abandoned you, and that no one understands your pain and sorrow God’s Word promises that the Lord is with you and He will never leave you.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

In your loneliness and despair, have you distanced yourself from the Lord? It is never too late to draw near to Him again. You are His precious child. And when you return to Him, you will be welcomed with open arms. You will have heartfelt joy when returning home to the shelter of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. You are never alone!

 

The Cure for Bitterness

When we are hurt emotionally, the fastest way to stop the emotional bleeding is to put on the band-aid of bitterness. It keeps us from feeling the pain and on guard from being hurt again. It also keeps us from feeling God at work in our lives or His call to do His work.

God’s word warns, “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springs up and cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15) Once bitterness has taken root, it causes the wound to fester and grow. Anger, depression, anxiety…all grow out of bitterness.

To get rid of the ban aid of bitterness, we need to allow God to come in and clean the wound so that it can heal properly. Because even though it’s been covered up through various coping mechanisms, it is still there, and it still hurts. Like a cut that got infected, emotional wounds have to be cleaned to get rid of the infection and heal.

Like poison, bitterness can slowly kill us. It can harden our hearts when God points it out to us, we turn our back on what we need to do to get rid of it. The good news is that we have a Savior who can heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds to no longer have to pretend that everything is okay and stop putting on a happy face when we are crying on the inside. Take your hurts to Jesus. He can clean out the wound, causing the infection of bitterness that makes your heart sick and prevents you from giving or receiving forgiveness and living in the fullness of His love and grace.

Relationship Conflict

God cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain.

Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others, and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18).

We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others. We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross. We need only take ownership of our wrongdoings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible.

Are you struggling with forgiveness?

Sometimes all it takes is to go to Jesus with a sincere heart and ask

Him to give you a willingness to forgive, make amends, and pursue peace.

 

Guarding Your Heart Against Critical People

When others criticize us, as difficult as it may be to accept, God may be using them as ‘heavenly sandpaper” to teach, correct, and refine us. But constant harsh criticism, the kind that leaves us feeling demeaned, discouraged, and devalued can cause emotional wounds, strain relationships, and stunt emotional growth especially when it comes at the hands of those we love and trust the most.

We are called to build each other up not tear each other down. Sadly, those who have a pattern of tearing down may be acting out modeled behavior of harsh criticism from early childhood.

Don’t personalize a person’s critical spirit.  They may be acting out of woundedness causing them to sin against you. Their hurtful behavior has everything to them with them and not you.

So what can you do? Guard your heart against believing lies, set healthy boundaries to protect yourself, don’t retaliate, hold fast to God’s truth, pray for your offender, and release them to Jesus. You are His precious child. He will lift you up dispelling the lies with the truth of His Word. Let the Balm of Gilead bring healing to your heart.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 12-17