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

 

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?

 

Healing The Roots

image

Painful wounds in our hearts can always be traced back to the effects of sin, whether our own or someone else’s. Disguising your pain with either good or bad habits, or addictions creates a vicious cycle of guilt and shame.

Whatever the coping mechanism, until the root of the hurt is dealt with the wound will continue to fester. God wants to heal your broken heart. No matter what you have been through, God is bigger than anything you have experienced or are experiencing now.

No matter where you’ve been, what you have done or what has been done to you … the Master Healer, Jehovah Rapha, can transform your innermost hurts into conduits of His blessings.

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can heal and restore you. He only asks one thing…”

Bad Love Does Not Satisfy

bitter thing

Only God’s love satisfies. Searching for love in anything other than the steadfast, unfailing love of Christ is not only fruitless it is disappointing, destructive and can lead us into bondage.

That’s because when we don’t know true love – God’s perfect, unconditional, fulfillimg  love, it will cause us to seek after the counterfeit allowing others to mistreat and abuse us while calling it love.

You see, in our brokenness and desperate search to fill the love void in our hearts we may reason that bad love is better than no love at all.

Let God’s love fill you and reveal to you how precious you are in His sight. When you encountered real love, you won’t settle for the counterfeit.

The Critical Spirit

Critical SpiritReckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 18:21

When others criticize us as difficult as it may be to handle, 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 are acting out of woundedness causing them to sin against you.

Guard your heart against believing lies about yourself, 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.

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.

A Crushed Spirit

StonesThink of a precious child. Maybe it’s your grandchild, a friend’s little boy, the little girl you teach at Sunday school who God leads you to lavish extra love on.  Now picture someone screaming  “You’ll never amount to anything!” “I wish you had never been born!” “You’re worthless!”  into their innocent little heart. It’s unimaginable that people could hurt a child in such a way. Unfortunately, it happens every day in homes across America. And the wounds in the heart of that little child can last a lifetime. Maybe that child was you long ago.

Often because all the child knows is abuse they will be drawn to people in adulthood who will abuse them much in the same way where control is at the forefront of the abuse.  Angry threats like “If you leave me, I’ll kill you!” Or, “You and the kids won’t get a dime from me.” Both are examples of verbal and emotional abuse and are controlling tactics in abusive relationships

Abuse can also happen without a spoken word – it can be degrading looks, threatening stares, aggressive body language or other threatening behaviors. These actions are meant to inflict fear with great success leaving the person who is on the receiving end with emotional pain that stunts emotional growth.

In some circles even Christian ones people don’t want to talk about emotions and when they are discussed the importance of emotional health and wholeness is minimized. Yet, we know that with deeply wounded people negative emotions are at the center of thinking, feeling actions, and poor choices.

Emotional abuse attacks at the core of a person’s value, crushing their confidence, and chips away at their self-worth, breaking their spirit in the process. God’s word says “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries us the bones. “(Proverbs 17:22)

Stop the cycle. Seek help. God takes broken things and makes them whole. Run to the Balm of Gilead. Jesus is the balm who can heal the wounds of God’s children.

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

Life Beyond Emotional Pain

life beyond pain“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Cor. 1:4

It is in our greatest struggles and pain that we encounter The Comforter – Our Jesus in the deepest intimate way. And we emerge on the other side with a heart of compassion for those who face the same hurts and struggles.

Our God not only heals and restores our broken hearts and lives, but He is faithful to turn our pain into a ministry of compassion to reach the hurting so we can comfort others as we have been comforted.

He truly gives us beauty for ashes.

Do You Want To Be Made Well?

do youJesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:6 “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, 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 of emotional pain. 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 that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.

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