Emotions That Bind

Who or what controls your emotions? Is it you, someone or something that happen to you? The book of Proverbs warns, “Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Behaviors that bind that hurt self and others start early in life. Many people, even in the best of homes, are living on “leftovers” – emotions and attitudes left over from the way they were raised.

For instance, those who as children felt they could never measure up to expectations are likely to experience feelings of inadequacy, rejection, shame, and guilt as adults; they may also deal with resentment and hostility.

And grown people who walk away from responsibility or commitments when they don’t get their way are frequently the ones whose parents caved into their every desire. This is why it’s so hurtful to give in to children’s temper tantrums and demands. They learn the world is their oyster and grow to be demanding, entitled, selfish, self-centered adults.

Those who struggle with low self-worth or low self-esteem are often a byproduct of lack of childhood acceptance and affirmation. It’s important for children to learn they are of tremendous value to parents but most importantly their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Their sense of security should come, not from possessions, whether they are “good” or “bad” but from a personal relationship with Him that says they are valued and loved for who they are no matter what. Otherwise, as adults, they may operate out of shame instead of the precious gift of God’s never-ending grace.

“Do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

Colossians 3:21

 

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Profile of An Enabler

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.

 

 

 

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Healthy Love

People 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 only God can. 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 a 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 involved 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 Christians don’t truly 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). This is the key to engaging in healthy mutually satisfying relationships. It’s the biblical formula that has the power to heal and transform and empower us to engage in love based not need based relationships.

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The Snare of Rejection

It’s 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.

Only God is allowed to have control over our lives. 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.

 

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