The Hardened Heart of Self Protection

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.

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The Cravings of the Heart for Unfailing Love

We were born with a deep craving for love. Every human being if they were honest wants to be loved and accepted. We are looking for unfailing love. Love that says you are precious, valued, and have great worth. It’s a need put there by the One who created us.

The heart craves unwavering, unconditional, radical, deep, intimate, tender, affectionate, expansive, healthy and satisfying love. We are not wrong to desire this kind of love, but we are wrong to think we can find it in anyone else than in the heart of God.

When children are not modeled unconditional love, they grow up searching for it. As adults, they are like walking empty voids begging to be filled. Where there is a void, it’s going to be filled with something even if it’s destructive. Also, when we have never experienced healthy love, we will settle for the counterfeit often allowing people to hurt and mistreat us for fear of losing what we have redefined as love.

When we look to others to be the source of unfailing love it’s not only futile it’s destructive, extremely disappointing, and emotionally painful. God’s love sets us free. The counterfeit suffocates and enslaves us spiritually and emotionally.

The good news is that God doesn’t take away our need for love. He satisfies it the right way. Don’t settle for anything less.

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-20

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A Father’s Love

Children need a healthy sense of love. When a child’s need for healthy love and affection aren’t met, they grow up to be needy adults in search for the love they never knew as children. This is tragic, as it seems to be passed down from generation to generation. While both mother and father roles are important the role of the Father is of extreme significance to a child because He shapes a child’s view of love, self, relationships, protection, and it’s supposed to model the love of our Heavenly Father – the One relationship that is pivotal to core identity as a precious beloved child of God.  When Fathers fail at their roles, the consequences will follow a child into adulthood, resulting in unhealthy relationships and all kinds of relationship conflict. Most tragic is that a child learns a distorted view of God.

These lyrics seem so appropriate to those who were denied a healthy love:

Daddy, you’re the man in your little girl’s dreams, you are the one she longs to please.

And there’s a place in her heart that can be filled with her Daddy’s love.

But if you don’t give her the love she desires,  she’ll try someone else, but they won’t satisfy her.

And if your little girl grows up without Daddy’s love, she may feel empty, and it’s only because it’s her Daddy’s love that she’s looking for, don’t’ send her away to another man’s door.

Nobody else can do what you do, she just needs her Daddy’s love.

And someday if you hear her purity’s gone, she may have lost it trying to find what was missing at home.

Just let The Heavenly Father heal where you fail,

He can forgive you and help you to give her the Daddy’s love that she’s looking for, don’t send her away to another man’s door.

Nobody else can do what you do, she just needs her Daddy’s love. You know it’s true, she just needs her Daddy’s love.

If only dads everywhere would realize the need in their little girl’s heart for that healthy love.

God gave us parents to model His love, but all of us fail to magnify His heart of love. While every human relationship will fail us, our deepest yearning for love and acceptance can only be filled as we surrender, forgive, and rest in the sufficiency of our heavenly Father’s unchanging love.

Jan Frank

Door of Hope

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Authentic Love

He lies, you cry. He’s not sorry but says he is. He promises not to do it again, he does. You complain. He doesn’t change. Yet you continue to allow him to hurt you. Often going back and forth from feeling hopeful to despair, living life contingent on what he is doing or not doing. Your emotions are at the mercy of whatever is going on with him, and you’re always hoping that he changes and starts to love you how you need to be loved.  You might even be convinced that if he would just change, then you would be okay. That could not be further from the truth. No human being should ever have that kind of power and control over you, especially an emotionally unhealthy one.

God’s word says, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” Proverbs 27:7. Modern translation? Bad love is better than no love at all.

When we don’t know our value and worth in Christ, it is almost a certainty that we have not experienced the love of God that fills the void, fully satisfies the longing heart, and makes us feel accepted and complete in Him. So instead, we go looking for it in all the wrong places, in all the wrong people, and in all the wrong things.

You are God’s beloved. His precious jewel.  Your precious Savior wants you to know your value and worth in Him, and experience the fullness of His love for you so you stop allowing others to hurt and mistreat His beloved child, and stop trying to get your need for love met elsewhere. Only God’s love satisfies.  You are loved beyond measure. Stop settling for the counterfeit.

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The Ripple Effects of Bitterness

“Bitterness is like a rock thrown into a placid pond; After its initial splash it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with.” (Pastor & Dr. Chuck Lynch)

People hurt, mistreat, abuse, abandon and betray us.

God sees and validates our pain. But he also tells us to pursue peace so that we do not fall short of His grace and let bitterness take root to defile us.

Bitterness comes when we hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. It affects everything around us and causes us to have a hardened heart. We can even take on a victim mentality where we feel constantly wronged by others. It will pollute our overall view of the world and affects how we treat people.

No matter what we are not entitled to our sinful responses to how others have hurt us. Doing so only causes separation between God, ourselves and others. We can’t change people or make them see the error of their ways but God can. But we can take our wounded hearts, bitterness, and unforgiveness to the one who has shown us how to love mercy instead of demanding justice.

Bitterness hinders repentance and forgiveness in relationships. The cure for bitterness starts with our hearts. It’s not something we do flippantly or dismissively without considering the cost of the sin committed against us, its effects and the wounds left behind.

Ask Jesus to help you process the hurts and choose to forgive. You will then have a beautiful gift to offer others – true forgiveness from the heart. A heart that says what you did to me hurt me deeply, but I choose to forgive you and release you from a debt you cannot repay just as my precious Jesus forgave me and released me from mine.

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The Greatest Human Need

The greatest human need is for love. It’s a legitimate need placed in us by our creator. When this need is not met it can create a void so deep we go through life trying to fill it. It causes us to crave the approval and acceptance of others and drives us to engage in imbalanced relationships where we attach to unhealthy, emotionally unavailable people who often abuse and mistreat us.

We will often compromise our morals, values, and beliefs for fear of losing them.This creates a vicious cycle of feeling used, devalued, unappreciated, victimized opening the door to bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, and hopelessness.

The only way to stop the cycle is to get a healthy dose of real love – the love of Jesus. Love seeks the highest good for another. Our Savior demonstrated this perfectly at the cross. We will never be able to engage in healthy relationships unless we receive the fullness of God’s love. Only His love satisfies.

If you are desperately seeking the love and approval of those who continually hurt you it may be a sign that you have not encountered the Love of Jesus in your heart where you see yourself as He sees you – A precious child of the Living God.

When you remove barriers that hinder the ability to live in the fullness of His love for you, it will radically change the people you attract and allow close to your heart. You will desire to engage in relationships that honor God, bless you and seek the highest good for others.

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Love Seeks The Highest Good For Another

Love Does No Wrong To Its NeighborThe greatest human need is for love. It’s a legitimate need placed in us by our creator. When this need is not met it can create a void so deep we go through life trying to fill it.It causes us to crave the approval and acceptance of others and drives us to engage in imbalanced relationships where we attach to unhealthy, emotionally unavailable people who often abuse and mistreat us. We will often compromise our morals, values, and beliefs for fear of losing them.

This creates a vicious cycle of feeling used, devalued, unappreciated, victimized opening the door to bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, and hopelessness. The only way to stop the cycle is to get a healthy dose of real love – the love of Jesus. Love seeks the highest good for another. Our Savior demonstrated this perfectly at the cross.

We will never be able to engage in healthy relationships unless we receive the fullness of God’s love. Only His love satisfies. If you are desperately seeking the love and approval of those who continually hurt you it may be a sign that you have not encountered the Love of Jesus in your heart where you see yourself as He sees you – A precious child of the Living God.

When you remove barriers that hinder the ability to live in the fullness of His love for you, it will radically change the people you attract and allow close to your heart. You will desire to engage in relationships that honor God, bless you and seek the highest good for others.

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