Compulsive Behaviors

Compulsive Behaviors

Compulsive behaviors such as gambling, hoarding, pornography, shopping, overeating, the internet and social media obsession are emerging as behavioral addictions — people can depend on them as severely as alcohol or drugs. Some activities are so normal that it’s hard to believe people can become addicted to them.

Yet, the cycle of addiction can still take over, making everyday life a constant struggle that can lead to the same destructive behavioral patterns that wreak havoc on lives, families’ and relationships. Whatever the coping mechanism, it’s the byproduct of deeper seeded issues requiring attention, self-evaluation, and healing. There is some void or need being met through the compulsive behavior outside God’s design rooted in the flesh apart from the Spirit.

Whether substance or behavioral, addictions can appear to be bad, meaning they are not socially acceptable and can be very harmful – like immorality, gambling, excessive spending, compulsive eating; Or they can look very good and are socially acceptable but may be just as harmful- like perfectionism, work holism, caregiving, serving in ministry out of the wrong heart, staying busy, overly giving, etc. When people give and serve out of the wrong motive, they can overextend themselves and wear themselves out becoming bitter angry and resentful at those they serve and those in leadership.

On either side of the coin – the addiction or compulsive behavior comes down to this – I have to have this! I have to do this! There is an obsession – a compulsion at a root level that fills a need and their identity is very much on what they do. It is the most important thing in their lives. It defines them and rules them. It is bondage. But God can break the chains of bondage and heal all.

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
(Luke 4:18)

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Christ Centered Counseling

Counseling That HealsThere are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches to dealing with the rooted issues of negative emotions and behaviors. Modern day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). This is the area that gets sick. 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, manmade, 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 heart. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.

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Barriers To Forgiving Others

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A huge barrier to forgiving others is the misconception about, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Many people believe that by forgiving they will continue to live as doormats allowing sinful behavior when nothing has changed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Forgiveness focuses on the offense. It only involves one person and has nothing to do with what the other person chooses to do. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship. It requires two people engaged in the process.

Forgiveness is the choice to release the offender. Reconciliation is the choice to rejoin the offender. It’s being brought back into a relationship where there has been a wall of separation erected. Restoration is the process that makes that possible. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It requires confession, repentance, and a strong commitment on both sides to work on the relationship and rebuild trust. And it often takes a much longer time.

For example, if a loved one is engaged in drugs, alcohol, abuse or some other harmful behavior they may ask us to forgive them. Of course, God’s heart is always that we forgive but if they ask that we go back to the way it was the answer is a resounding NO! That’s not what we do at all. Love holds people accountable. Love protects. We do not have to allow harmful behavior that hurt us and our families. Thus, there may be extremely toxic, unhealthy people who may need to be removed from our lives.

An example of this would be a relative who sexually molested us as a child. We can forgive them as God has called us to but having a relationship with them may endanger ourselves and others. So forgiveness does not mean we have to have any kind of relationship with the offender ever again. Forgiveness is an act of obedience that blesses the heart of our Father in Heaven and sets us free. And like Beth Moore is fond of saying “Sometimes you just gotta love people from a distance.” There is great wisdom in that.

“And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.“ (Ephesians 4:32)

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Love or Need?

SadPeople in love engage in healthy mutually satisfying give and take relationships. They want the best for each other and bring out the best in each other. They know that love requires sacrifice from time to time and they know what it means to die to self. They don’t expect the other person to fulfill all their needs because they understand that no human being is even capable of doing that because only God can meet all our needs. Only His love truly satisfies. People in love are emotionally healthy individuals who find their value and worth in Christ alone not looking to others for self-worth and identity. True love brings forth life and grows deeper and stronger with time.

People in need operate out of brokenness, not wholeness. They attach themselves to unhealthy people who they think have the power to meet their desperate need for love, security and significance. But because brokenness attracts brokenness they tend to draw emotionally unavailable people, who are often abusive, struggling with addictions or have an array of other issues, who do more taking than giving and are incapable of meeting even the basic of needs required for a healthy relationship. This causes a lot of pain and heartache and brings forth death and destruction resulting in extremely toxic and unhealthy relationships that only get worse with time. And yes! Even Christians can operate out of need instead of love. The church is full of hurting people engaged in unhealthy relationships.

Are you in love or are you in need? If you are in the latter, understand that relationships will not work until you start operation out love. Sadly many believers do not fully understand what love is because they have never been modeled it, never have experienced it. They don’t know their value and worth as a precious child of God because their basic human need for love was not met growing up. So they take matters into their own hands and like the song says go searching for love in all the wrong places and settle for the counterfeit version that never satisfies.

Oswald Chambers wrote —-“No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.” The love of God has the power to change us from the inside out. But there is a marked difference between knowing about the love of God and receiving it into our hearts. It is only when we truly encounter and accept the authentic, undefiled Agape love of our Savior that we are then able to “Love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and love others as ourselves.” (Mark 12:30). “ We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) This is the key to engaging in healthy mutually satisfying relationships. It’s the biblical formula that has the power to heal, transform and empower us to engage in love based not need-based relationships.

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What Is Emotional Healing?

What is Emotional Healing

What Is Emotional Healing?

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 our backpack 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)

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Grieving To Heal

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Many wounded believers are bound and shackled in their souls, carrying invisible scars from a painful childhood or past. They have mastered the art of medicating through various means so as not to face the awful reality of the roots of their hurt and the excruciating emotional pain that it brings. What they don’t realize is that they must connect with the emotion of the event so they can grieve and heal.

When we are unable to connect emotionally, we are in denial – minimizing, protecting to avoid the pain. This is what most of us have been doing all of our lives – running away thereby bypassing the grieving process altogether unable to move forward. However, it is the grieving process that gives Jesus access to step inside our pain – to love us, comfort us, wipe away our tears, as He lovingly begins to replace the lies, the messages that have polluted our hearts and minds which have robbed us from seeing ourselves through our right identity as precious children of the living God.

To grieve means to mourn a loss, sorrow, express feelings of grief, sadness or regret. It’s a cleansing process that heals the soul and allows us to come to terms with the wreckage of our past. As we sorrow and weep over the losses, the walls of self-protection begin to come down and the burdens we have carried are removed and given over to the Lord. Then God’s word begins to come alive in our hearts in a real and tangible way. Our faith is renewed and hope is restored as we start to take God at His word as He heals and restores our hearts, while we hold fast to His promises.

““The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To console those who mourn in Zion, To give beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for heaviness. That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3

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Sowing Seeds of Hope – Life Beyond Abuse

beyond abuse
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. These low hanging toxic fruit from our tree of life pollute everything around us stunting emotional growth.

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.”
Luke 4:18

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.

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Insecurity & Relationships

insecurity and relationships
Love is the answer to all our insecurity and relational issues. When we accept God’s love, we can recognize our tremendous value and worth in Him and in turn recognize others’ value. But because of our past wounds and experiences, we are often unable to accept God’s love, and it leaves us struggling with insecurities. Insecurity is a big culprit in how we get along with others.

When we are insecure, we easily become threatened by others, and find it hard to honestly esteem others with the value and significance they deserve as God’s beloved children. Women especially suffer in record numbers with insecurities and low self-esteem. Even in the church, women silently suffer from feelings of being less than.

When you begin to grasp God’s great love for you, and that reality goes from your head to your heart, you will become convinced that you should honor others with that same amazing love.

If you are struggling with insecure thoughts and feelings of worthless, spend time soaking in God’s love for you. Scripture tells us that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Despite the lies the enemy has made you believe about your value and worth that is hindering your ability to love and be loved — when you go to the source of love, He will remove every barrier hindering your ability to receive His love. Then you will be able to fulfill our Christian calling to “Love God with all your soul, heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. “(Mathew 22:37) We cannot give what we don’t have.

As God washes you with His word, He will fill your with His thoughts and truths, and equip you for loving others because you will understand the very nature and depth of His love.

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Healing From Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexua Abuse
Every six minutes a child is sexually abused in homes, schools, cars, hotels, sport fields, locker rooms and yes, even churches and Christian homes. No child is immune. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 and only 1 in 10 ever report it. Abuse ranges from inappropriate sexual talk to being exposed early to sexual images, to actual physical violation, and produces extreme emotional, physiological and spiritual damage.

Over 90% of child sexual abuse is committed by someone the child already knows, loves and trust – parents, step-parents, guardians, friends, babysitters, teachers, coaches, pastors, clergy, etc. Child sexual abuse is seldom a one-time occurrence and lasts an average 1-4 years.

Nothing cuts at the heart of a child like the violation of sexual abuse because it robs a child of their innocence, defiles their purity and leaves them feeling dirty and traumatized. The effects will last a lifetime unless healing is sought. Victims may experience fear of relationships, anxiety, hatred and distrust for the opposite sex, and an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt, loss of self-worth, difficulty with sex in marriage, a tendency to promiscuity, and an inability to relate to God. Often, victims of sexual abuse will feel powerless and out of control and may become sexual abusers themselves to gain power and control. People who hurt others were often scared little children who were also abused. It’s heartbreaking.

Despite the pain of past sexual abuse, In Christ, there is healing from the damage it leaves behind. You don’t need to carry the burden alone. You no longer have to carry the secret. God can bring cleansing to defilement that brought damage to your soul and crippled your ability to love and feel loved and know your value and worth in Jesus Christ. God can heal all wounds and give you a life of purpose and identity beyond the pain.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for rejoicing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Psalm 126:5-6

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The Needs of Children

Needs of Children
All human beings have three basic needs for love, security and acceptance. Out of all of these needs, love is the most essential nutrient a child needs to develop emotionally, mentally, spiritually healthy and whole. The other two needs are the byproduct of experiencing authentic love.

How can a child’s need for love be met? According to Lana Bateman, founder of Philippian Ministries, children from birth to about eight years old can only grasp love in one of two ways.

Touch – a child needs lots of warm, healthy displays of affection. They need to be cuddled, kissed and shown how much they are valued and loved. The importance of human touch should never be overlooked.

Time – a parent needs to show a child that they are willing to invest time to get to know them, communicate with them to draw out feelings, to laugh with them, talk about what they think, fear, what makes them sad, cry, what interests them, etc. The message sent is that they are valuable, precious and worth the investment of time, all the while seeds of love and security are being planted into their little hearts and minds. They will begin to grow secure in the knowledge that they are accepted by the most important people in their lives.

Beyond these two displays of love children, do not comprehend more sophisticated forms of love such as a house to live in, clothes, money, food, and toys. Sadly many parents think that they are meeting the needs of a child if they merely provide their physical needs. Children need so much more in order to grow and thrive.

When the needs for love, security and acceptance are not met, children will learn to redefine love. For example, a child who was showered with material things but little forms of touch and time may redefine love to mean that material possessions are the only things that satisfy. As adults they may go to great lengths to buy, earn, and store up material wealth, causing extreme feelings of failure and disappointment when those things are unattainable. Another child who never received affection from a mother exhausted from working long hours to provide and care for the physical needs of her family may redefine love as having to work hard to prove or earn love. Other children may not get much of anything and are left with a ravenous craving in their heart for love leading them to search for it in various unhealthy ways.

Children are a gift from God and need to be loved and cherished. If your were a child whose need for love was not met in a healthy way, it’s never too late to let your Abba Father nourish you with His perfect and satisfying love. Your past does not have to define you or affect you. Jesus can heal your wounded heart and meet all your unmet needs.

“When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me. “ Psalm 27:10

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