A Hardened Heart

A Hardened HeartA 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 11:16 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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Unhealthy Boundaries

unhealthy boundariesGod’s boundaries are everywhere throughout scripture. They separate light from dark, land and sea, good and evil, holiness and unholiness. They also define ownership. In our personal lives, they protect what we value and assign worth to.

God’s word says that we are the temple of the living God. This means that we are precious and of tremendous worth. We belong to Jesus. Sadly, many believers don’t see their value so they allow people to hurt and mistreat them.

Healthy boundaries are essential in establishing healthy relationships. Unhealthy boundaries lead to unhealthy relationships, and broken boundaries result in broken relationships.

People with unhealthy boundaries allow wrongful behaviors that hurt them and others, compromise values to please others, expect others to fulfill all their needs, feel guilty when they say “no,” and feel used, taken advantage of, unappreciated, threatened and victimized by others, they feel responsible for others feelings and allow others to tell them how to think, feel and behave. They also struggle with being afraid to disapprove of others, receiving criticism, or losing the love of others.

When we allow God to heal our hurts and show us the unhealthy ways we have been operating in relationships, we will start to see our value and worth in Him, and we will no longer wish to engage in the negative patterns of behaviors that ruin relationships. He will teach us how to set boundaries to guard our hearts and temples against getting defiled with bitterness and resentment.

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Painful Breakups

What A Person DesiresWe were all created with three God given needs – for love, security, and acceptance. When people fail us it can cut at our self-worth because we look to them to meet the needs only God can fully meet.

Losing a relationship is always painful but can be devastating for some. God does bring people in our lives to reinforce our inherent needs but they are not meant to take His place as the only source of love that truly satisfies.

It we are dependent on people to meet our love needs what happens when they leave?

If you are feeling lost and rejected over a relationship loss turn to Jesus. He offers you love and acceptance. He will never reject you. Ephesians 1:6 says you are accepted in the beloved. The Lord wants to reaffirm your value and worth in Him. But it won’t be found in anyone or anything other than Him.

True identity does not come from relationships but from a relationship with our precious Savior Jesus Christ.

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No Longer A Victim

Pokodot HeartSome who have been victimized by a painful past feel fearful, lost, disconnected, broken, without hope, and need comforting.

There are many self-help groups in modern day society offering support for victims. While helpful they often throw a “victim” label on the wounded, and it becomes their identity. Some even take on a victim mentality always positioning themselves as the victim whether real or imagined.

We did not have a choice in becoming a victim but we have a choice in staying one. The bible says “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

No matter what has happened God can heal, restore and set us free from the painful effects of the past. You can rise above having a victim mentality and become a conqueror in Christ. We are not without hope.

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Decisions…Decisions…

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Decisions, Decisions, we all have to make them. Hopefully as believers we want to seek the will of God in matters of the heart. But how do we do that?

Decisions are choices we make based on our thoughts. If the thought process is wrong the decisions we make will be off. Faulty thinking results in negative choices. We will always live in the consequences of our choices.

Decisions are also based on what we value. If we don’t place worth on ourselves chances are the relationships we engage in will almost always cause us emotional pain and turmoil.

To discern God’s will in any given situation it’s crucial to remember that the will of God never goes against His word. Should I marry this person even if he’s not a believer? Well what does God’s word say about being unequally yoked?

Put on the mind of Christ. Change your thought process. Align your thoughts with His thoughts through His word, in prayer and by the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation for God’s will in your life. It will guard against making painful destructive choices that hurt yourself and others.

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

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A Time To Heal

a time to healA time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.

Children who suffer abuse or trauma whether physical or emotional will often suppress their emotions in order to survive. However, the pain, sorrow, anger, and despair are still there and manifest in different ways in adulthood – either through negative behaviors or seemingly good behaviors. Both mask the reality of the painful wounds they carry inside.

Some who shut down their emotions often can’t feel at all even pleasant things such as joy, tenderness, mercy and even love. Sometimes we make vows never to be hurt again putting walls around our hearts.

There may have been a season for self-protection but now is the season for healing your heart. Give yourself permission to feel. It’s time to let go of the hurts of the past. Run to Jesus – The Balm of Gilead who heals the wounds of God’s children. He is waiting with arms wide open to mend your heart and wipe your tears. Do you want to be made well?

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Are You Self Protecting?

refugeA 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. And we are unable to trust.

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 especially to His touch. If you have developed a pattern of self-protection, there are reasons why. Get to the root.

Let God tear the wall of separation and self-protection down from around your heart. We cannot truly live free unless we allow Jesus to be our Rock and our defense. Are you ready?

But the Lord is my defense, and my God is the rock of my refuge.

Psalm 94:22

 

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The Prison of Denial

tearsThe dictionary defines denial as an unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings. In other words, we run to denial, so we don’t have to feel the pain.  People will often check out or run around trying to fill the void in their lives and run away from the painful truth of their past through negative behaviors and coping mechanisms.

It is heartbreaking to see the lengths people will go to cover their pain. But God says in Jeremiah 6:14 (TLB), “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!” We have fooled ourselves into thinking that denial protects us from our pain. In truth, denial deepens our suffering, because it causes the wounds to grow, fester, get infected and spread. It prolongs our pain and allows shame to take root.

When we don’t deal with the roots of our pain, the coping mechanisms continue to pile on layer upon layer, and our problems get worse not better. There is a saying — we are only as sick as our secrets. Truth like surgery may hurt for a while, but it heals. God promises us in Jeremiah 30:17 that He will give us back our health and heal our wounds.

Living in denial allows hurting people to run away from their pain giving them a false sense of security, but they are in bondage because their past continues to affect every area of their lives.

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (Psalm 51:4)

Everywhere we find the word truth in scripture it points to freedom, salvation, and life. It points to Jesus, the Word, the Truth, and the Life. That’s why God desires us to know truth in our inward being. He knows that it’s the truth that sets us free. He further knows the enemy who is the father of lies desires for us to stay in denial because we can’t heal unless things are brought into the light.

Yet we are not alone. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth even the hurtful things that are hidden that need to be exposed so that we can heal and be set free.  Are you ready?

 

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Are You Controlled by Fear of Rejection?

photoAre you controlled by the fear of rejection from others? It’s been said that if we live for the approval of others, we will die from their rejection. People are flawed and carry skewed ways of looking at life and engaging in relationships from the way they were raised.

Often in our brokenness, we go to these same people for approval and our value and worth is at the mercy of what they think about us and they determine how we should think, feel and behave even if they are unhealthy.  Not wanting to lose their love and approval we often compromise our morals, beliefs and often allow others to hurt and mistreat us.

Finding our value and worth in anyone or anything other than Jesus is not only fruitless but emotionally damaging.

Quit putting your trust in man for love and acceptance. Trust in The Lord. You were made in the image of the living God. He loves you with His steadfast love and established your worth in Him.

If you are having trouble grasping this truth, then there is something hindering you from experiencing the fullness of Christ. Go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to remove the barriers preventing you from living the abundant life. 

Jesus is faithful to pull out the roots that He did not plant and replant seeds watered and nourished by His uncondioanl love and grace that will cause the rejected to feel accepted firmly rooted and planted in His unfailing love.

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Letting Go of The Past

imageWe are told in scripture to let go of the past and reach forward to what’s ahead. But what if we can’t?

Some of us have been so wounded that we are crippled emotionally, and the past continues to affect every area of our lives. So, instead of running the Christian race with endurance, we limp and struggle along the way often overcome with self-loathing, guilt and shame for not ‘getting it’ like other Christians.

Some mask their wounds with out of control negative behaviors, others by staying busy “being good’ so as not to deal with the pain.

Neither has ever fully accepted the love and grace of God. Only when the wounds of our hearts are deal with that we can truly put the past behind us, and are able to run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling and purpose for our life.

“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run the race with endurance that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith “Hebrews 12:1-2

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