It’s Not About You

People we love and care about sometimes mistreat us, say unkind things to us or about us, verbally or physically abuse us, neglect, ignore, betray, reject, or abandon us. Our first reaction is almost always to personalize it. Please understand that people’s negative behaviors are not about us and everything to do with what is going on inside of them.

We cannot react by taking ownership of their negative junk when they act out of their own unhealthy patterns that we are not responsible for.

What we can do is take ownership and responsibility for our own junk, ask for forgiveness when applicable, and impose healthy boundaries to protect ourselves from allowing their actions to hurt us physically, spiritually, or emotionally.  To do otherwise just gives unhealthy people way too much power in our lives. And last time I checked, only God is allowed to have that kind of power over my life.

We can’t make people’s problems our problems. When we do that, they own us! They will live rent free in our heads. They will consume us. And that only leads to bitterness, anger and resentments robbing us of our joy, peace and sanity.

 

“Above all else, guard your heart for out it flows the issues of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

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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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Healing Emotional Pain

Understanding that people are not responsible for our feelings is crucial in the healing process. Emotions are influenced by our own thoughts and beliefs that we choose to believe about ourselves, others and the world around us. We need to stop holding people responsible and allow God to heal our hearts.  God’s truth and claiming His promises is the key to combating negative emotions.

Many enter the healing journey feeling powerless and overwhelmed by circumstances and painful emotions that they try to control but can’t. The truth of the matter is that we are powerless to change anything, but God has the power to change all things. When we truly come to grips with that and stop trying to control everything; we enter into a sweet place of brokenness and humility before the Lord, where we can start surrendering our faulty thinking and painful emotions to Him.

Sifting through the unhealthy symptoms of emotional pain can seem overwhelming, but there is hope and healing on the other side. Running away from emotional pain will only deepen the hurt and keeps us in bondage to faulty thinking and negative behaviors affecting all our relationships, breaking intimacy with self, God and others.  We need to be set free from the things that have been hindering us from living the abundant life of a believer.

Prayer to Reveal Inner Wounds

Oh, Father,

I come to You as Your child for help.

Please calm my heart.

Enable me to see what I need to see.

Make me aware of my need for healing and show Your truth.

 

Bring to mind any buried pain……

Surface any hidden hurt and the exact circumstances that caused it.

I ask You to help my wounded heart to heal.

I know You have the power to make me whole.

I am willing to face whatever you want me to face

So I can be set free

In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”  Psalm 51:6

“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.”   Isaiah 61:1

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Emotions & Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever stepped back and listened to your thoughts? Have you been surprised by them and wondered where they were coming from? In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge wrote, “We are being lied to all the time. Yet, we never stop to say, “Wait a minute…Who else is speaking here? Where are those ideas coming from? Where are those feelings coming from?”

The Apostle Peter warned us “ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We have a real enemy, a cunning schemer, highly skilled in the art of combat whose chief goal is to destroy God’s children. But he is a crafty one, he knows if he were to show up as a dark, scary figure with a pitchfork we would immediately flee sensing danger. So instead, he is a master deceiver who uses our fears, hurts, and insecurities to influence our thought life. The enemy knows that if he can control our minds, he can control our emotions and behavior. His weapon is lies. When we believe Satan’s lies over God’s truth, it leads to faulty thinking and wrong behaviors that enslave our souls. Our defense is the truth of the inerrant word of God.

The Bible gives a detailed combat strategy for defeating the enemy. We are to pull down strongholds and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Simply put lies have become strongholds in our lives that speak death into our souls preventing us from walking in the fullness of Christ. Satan’s lies must be demolished and replaced with God truth. If your thoughts are telling you that you are not good enough, that you are unworthy, that you are ugly, that you will always live in fear, that you will never, heal, that you will always live in bondage, stop for one moment and ask yourself…”Whose voice am I hearing?” God’s word tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and protects them from the thief who wants to destroy them. Our beloved Savior would never harm His sheep by speaking lies.

If you hearing that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

If you are hear that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

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Physical Effects of Negative Emotions

Just like our bodies can get physically sick and impair our physical functions, our minds can also get sick and can alter our feelings such as anxiety, depression, etc. Sadly, we live in a culture that labels everything a physical disorder because then we can apply physical healing by medicating. So often the symptom is treated without getting to the root. Physical conditions are real but more often than not are an effect and not the cause of the underlining problem. Modern medicine fails to recognize that often physical symptoms can be linked to negative emotions. When a person becomes spiritually and emotionally healthy, these issues often go away.

Dr. Carolyn Lear author of “Who Switched Off My Brain” has found correlations between our thought life and physical and emotional illness. When you feel sad, afraid, angry or hopeful, your brain releases different types of chemicals. Depending on whether or not these emotions are toxic to your body, the chemicals will either help you or harm you. If they are harmful, they create conditions for a host of health problems that will manifest in both the body and the mind.

Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that will be the most damaging over time – unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief, and guilt.  Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% of the diet, genetics, and environment. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies, just to name a few. Some Examples:

Joy

When you are at peace, chances are you are experiencing joy – your body produces endorphins, serotonin – these are the feel-good chemicals. These produce pleasure. This is conducive to an overall system of well-being, vitality, and health. This is positive.

Anxiety & Fear

These destructive emotions will cause the body to release harmful chemicals such as the stress hormone CRH and ACTH. These hormones race to the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline which cause extreme physical symptoms, heart palpitations, and breathing difficulties. Serotonin and endorphin levels can deplete which cause severe depression

All these emotions primarily begin with a thought, which if not taken captive can lead to negative and toxic thinking resulting in the release of the negative chemicals which in turn can result in a host of physical ailments.  That’s why it is essential to rid ourselves of the contaminated belief systems that may have taken root throughout our life affecting our emotional life and relationships. Faulty belief systems are strongholds that have built up in our minds that must be demolished. How do we do that? We go to war against them. God’s word says….

”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Every negative thought, belief system, and lie must be replaced with truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)  We do not have to live in bondage to a hurtful past or negative emotional life.  No matter our past experiences we can live a life of abundance in Christ. Give your burdens to Jesus. He is faithful to heal you from the inside out and give you rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)

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Let Go of The Past

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.“ Phil 3:13

Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another. So instead of running the race with endurance – they limp along the way.

There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,-negative behaviors – addictions, immorality, anger, etc.

The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing –  often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never deal with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies behind the pain.

Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.

Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10

How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work….sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.

Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go! Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.

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

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The Root of Negative Behavior

People even in the church can behave in very unloving and ungodly ways. They can act out in pride and holier than thou attitudes or lash out in anger, addictions, slander and malice towards others grieving the Holy Spirit in whom we were sealed. It’s easier to judge the sinful attitudes and behaviors on the surface without taking a step back and gain God’s perspective on the matter. But doesn’t Scripture tell us that God judges the heart and not the outward?

People don’t wake one morning with a hardened heart. What could have happened to an individual who acts out so negatively, rudely and hurts self and others? What kind of hurts are they carrying around inside? Please understand that whatever hurts are buried deep inside a hardened heart does not excuse the sinful behavior. God hates sin, and we are allowed to hate it too. Nevertheless, by peering into the heart of God and seeing things through His eyes, it will help us understand the reasons why people act out and will help us gain compassion and not personalize the sinful behaviors of others.

Painful wounds in our hearts can always be traced back to the effects of sin, whether our own or someone else’s. Disguising pain with either good or bad habits, or addictions create 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 allowing sinful negative behaviors to continue. 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…”Do you want to be made well?” Healing is a choice.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.…”

Ephesians 4:30-32

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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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Do You Want To Be Made Well?

It’s easier to stuff pain inside, wear a painted smile and pretend that everything is okay, but masking issues of the heart only perpetuates our hurts.

Eventually, undealt issues spring up and defile all areas of our lives including relationships. Inwardly our souls are crying out to be healed. At some point, we may grudgingly seek help. However, it is essential to understand that in order to be healed we must be willing to be healed no matter how painful and difficult the journey.

Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “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, emotionally 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 in our own mind. 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

DO YOU WANT TO BE MADE WELL?

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