From Frightened to Freedom

As a young wife and mother of three, my life was hectic at best. On top of this, I viewed life and reacted to its challenges and issues from a codependent and perfectionistic attitude – double trouble.

 

I wanted to please everyone, so they would like and love me; I thought that the only way to accomplish this feat was to be perfect. I was under the delusion that if I loved and served everyone – even to the detriment of myself – they would love me in return.

 

However, all I did was to teach people to take me for granted and to treat me like a doormat and their unpaid servant – chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter, housekeeper and problem solver. People took advantage of me, which stressed me out even further.

 

I even did this with God. I attempted to keep every “jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:18), hoping to please God with my undying service, in order to earn His love. I turned into a foolish “Galatian” and ran myself ragged, meeting myself coming and going (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Stress kept me from sleeping and sleeplessness made me grouchy, which caused me to be short-tempered with those I loved. I hated who I was…I hated me, but I had no idea how to change things.

 

My self-esteem was in the bottom of the tank and I felt like I was drowning in the details of life. Finally, in desperation, I started researching codependence: what caused it and how to get free from it.

 

I learned that I had to stop neglecting my own needs every day and to allow others to meet their own needs once in a while. The books promised that they would still love me anyway, even if I did not “earn” it.

 

I figured that even if they did not love me, then they had no true feelings for me in the first place. I also translated this into the spiritual realm. God already loved me when I was a lost sinner, and He would always love me unconditionally (Romans 5:8); therefore, I could enter His rest and enjoy His favor.

 

This fact stopped the codependence dead in its tracks. I did a 180 degree turn around and walked away from this driven lifestyle. God’s Spirit broke the shackles of expectations that I allowed to chain me to a meager existence.

 

When I entered into God’s rest, I found a security and warmth that I missed all my life. Over the ensuing years, the comfort of God’s rest brought me more peace and joy than I ever dreamed possible; and He continually supplies all of my needs with His glorious riches.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy, which lead us in Your everlasting way (John 10:28-30; 1 Peter 5:10). You teach us lessons all along life’s path and You bring us into ever-increasing intimacy with Your presence within us. When we let go of the impossible demands of pleasing people and focus instead on walking by the direction of Your Spirit moment by moment, we enter into Your rest, we receive Your gift of mercy and love, and we learn to trust in Your wisdom.

 

Due to Christ’s saving redemption on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer slaves of the demon of perfectionism. Instead, we follow the leading of Your Spirit and rest in Your goodness and grace. We trust in You with our whole heart; acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds; and glorify You as You direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

God invites us to bask in His love; abide in His peace and hide under His wings when life scares us (Psalm 91:4); we learn to accept love when it is given and to serve others only when God’s Spirit leads us to do so; this prevents burn-out and promotes joy in living regardless of our circumstances.

 

Emotional and Mental Health: Be a Kid Again

 

When was the last time you acted like a kid, did something just for the fun of it, or did more on your day off than catch up on chores? We all have our favorite things from childhood.

 

That favorite toy, or the one you always wanted, but never received is a clue to what made you happy as a child. Consider purchasing that toy now; just google it and see what you can find. Put it on a shelf as a knickknack, or if possible play with it.

 

Blowing bubbles, casting a yo-yo, jumping on a trampoline, swinging at the park, playing board games, catching the wind with a pin wheel (windmill), making crafts with grandchildren or the children in your church Body, racing cars on a track, finger painting, flying a remote plane or drone, etc. are all very therapeutic.

 

Gazing at that favorite Tonka truck sitting on the bookshelf in your den will feed your soul. Dolls come in all sizes and shapes; buy one that catches your interest and get a few sets of clothes to redress her now and then as she sits pretty on your bedroom shelf.

 

Some men go mudding in their truck; ever wonder why? It is therapeutic to their soul. Women love to dress up and wear extensive make-up, high heeled shoes and sparkling jewelry, because it brings out the princess in them.

 

Give yourself time to play with friends – laugh, love, relax and unwind. Take time to ride the attractions at theme parks or to see the shows. Attend a concert or view a production by your local thespians.

 

Go skiing, surfing, fishing, hiking, biking, boating, fly a kite, etc. Play in the rain or run through the sprinkler; model at your local clothing store; take a music, cooking, baking or woodworking class, etc.

 

Volunteer at the local animal shelter or rescue; and give those frightened, lonely animals some attention. Serve food at a local soup kitchen or visit a homeless shelter or nursing home and show care to the people there.

 

Purchase an adult coloring book and felt markers to take time to color. Play a video game. Construct a cardboard puzzle, or buy a book of word puzzles and use it to wind down before bed. Giving the kid in us a chance to play improves our physical, mental and emotional health.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we are Your children, co-heirs with Christ of Your Kingdom, and You delight over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). You spoil us by providing all of our needs in abundance and keeping us safely tucked under the shadow of Your wings. As Christians, we tend to be stuffy, overly serious and we spurn good, clean fun.

 

Help us to connect with the child in us that You created, and who even now still dwells in us (Matthew 18:3). As we age, we often lower our defenses and allow the child-like part of our personality more freedom of expression; but please teach us to embrace the humility, creativity and innocence of that part of our self regardless of our age.

 

Thought for the Day:

Allowing our Inner Child out of whatever box, hole or closet we hid them in, so they would not embarrass us, is a very healthy step to take; we put away childish things and don the responsibility of an adult (1 Corinthians 13:11), but we should not attempt to murder or imprison that creative, fun-loving aspect of our personality (Psalm 131:2).

Emotional Honesty

Emotional honesty is an oxymoron. We are so adept at hiding behind masks that we do not even know how we really feel or how to express that to other people. Journaling our true feelings is a good way to start.

 

We can also meet regularly with a trusted friend and verbally express our true feelings and deepest thoughts. We may even surprise our self when we discover our deepest feelings.

 

Talking, drawing, music and writing releases our soul from the bondage of playing games and pretending to be someone other than our true self. We release pent up emotional energy that formerly robbed us of physical energy.

 

Then, staying in touch with our true feelings allows us to find the root causes of all of our negative emotions. We can deal with the issue, or put it in God’s capable hands.

 

Imperfection brings with it a certain vulnerability, shame and fear of not surviving. Perfectionism is a demonic plague on humanity. Once we rid our self of the need to be perfect we can breathe a refreshing breath of pure air. We allow God’s Spirit to do His perfecting work in us (Matthew 5:48).

 

We also learn to accept life as God allows it to play out in the moments of our day. We stop resisting and attempting to control the issues. Instead, we find out what God is saying to us through them. We look for the seed of a miracle in each one of them.

 

When our perspective on life changes, so do our attitudes, thoughts, feelings and actions. We stop trying to force God into our box. Our paradigm, expectations and goals remain fluid in order to obey the leading of God’s Spirit.

 

We learn to cherish every aspect of who we are, even our failings. We are kind to our self and learn to have more compassion on other people. We see life from their perspective and stop judging them and our self, but relate to them with God’s mercy and grace.

 

Prayer:

Father God, our fears are not rational or logical; and often, not even conscious. We react in fear because our current circumstances trigger the memory of an event from our childhood. People look at us as if we have two heads and judge us as emotionally unstable, unpredictable and unbalanced. Yet, the fact is that we are simply wounded children.

 

Help us to rid our soul of the painful memories which litter our past. Teach us to cling to You as our defense rather than to defend our self. That way, no enemy can prosper against us (Isaiah 54:17). You are our comfort and the lifter of our head (Psalm 3:3). You heal us from the inside out and cleanse us all over. You make all things new and bring us into Your holy hill in Your perfect time and way (2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 24:3-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we pass judgment on our self or someone else, we are taking God’s place and abusing and wounding our self and others more deeply than the pain we already experienced in our past.

 

Healing from Abusive Behavior – Part 1

Abuse, even a one-time moment of rage that used abuse as punishment or an attempt to control the victim, robs us of our innocence and makes us feel powerless over our own life.

It drives us into a codependent role – attempting to please others to keep them from abusing us. The problem with this faulty thinking is that it often has the opposite effect.

People tend to continue to abuse our good nature, take us for granted and treat us with contempt. A lack of appreciation and more verbal, mental and physical abuse may follow.

We strive throughout our life to lay down our life in hopes that someone will love us; but we actually teach them that it is okay to take advantage of us, because we constantly put our needs last.

Trauma does not always make us stronger. It may also make us a ball of nerves, fear and insecurity. We are actually weaker, because we are always on the defensive.

We may develop PTSD, much like any survivor of a battle zone, and react to life with this fractured thinking and behavior. Medication may be necessary to help us to remain calm and lucid until God heals us.

Journaling helps us to heal by allowing our Inner Parent to understand the deep wounds we experienced and to nurture our Inner Child as we turn our words into a prayer for God’s healing.

Prayer:
Father God, I pray for victims of abuse of every type. Give them the deep comfort that can only come from Your love. Restore to them their joy in life and remove from them the fears and insecurities, which plague their life. Redeem their heart and mind and give them a new outlook on life.

Teach them that although people may not be trustworthy, You are always trustworthy. Help us to remain vulnerable and kind, yet wary and wise (Matthew 10:16). Show us the balance between serving others without teaching them to take us for granted by always putting our needs last.

Thought for the Day:
God’s perfect goodness and love find expression in the midst of wickedness and degradation; because He experiences every slight right along with us and carries our pain and burden for us, if we will relinquish it to Him.

I Just Want to Die

Aging, chronic pain, financial setbacks, loss of a loved one or home or job, rejection from a friend or mate, and a myriad of other issues all contribute to the depression, which can cause suicidal thoughts. We want to escape the physical, mental and emotional pain, which is often more than we can bear.

We contemplate methods of ending our life, believing the lie that suicide is our best option. However, suicide is a coping method, which is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Most suicides fail, and some leave us disabled; but if they succeed, they cause our family and friends more pain than we ever experienced in our whole life.

God has an answer for our pain. If we cast our cares on Him, He takes care of us (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). He will lead us to the perfect food, medication, therapist, doctor or friend who will help take the edge off our pain. For instance, liquid Cherry Flex may relieve your chronic physical pain, prayer may relieve mental anguish, and making new friends or learning a new hobby may just kick emotional agony out of our life.

God created each of us for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10). He has the days of our life numbered (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16). If we terminate our life ahead of time, we deprive Him of our services for His glory. He has people for us to meet and ministry for us to accomplish before our life ends. His ways are perfect and He provides for all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31; Philippians 4:19).

Prayer:
Father God, life is too hard sometimes, too full of negative issues, which drain our energy and make us weary and depressed (Isaiah 40:31). Help us to look into Your face to find the light of life we need to reap and not faint (John 1:4; Galatians 6:9). Give us a greater measure of Your grace to lift our soul out of the depths of sorrow and pain, and to direct our life for Your glory (Psalm 130:1). Remind us to lend a helping hand to fellow sojourners on planet earth, to encourage them and to help them to find meaning and purpose in their life as well.

Thought for the Day:
Our light affliction is fleeting and temporary. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

The Inner Child – Part 1 – Who Is Our Inner Child?

Psychologists today are recognizing the influence our Inner Child has over our life. The Inner Child is that part of our self, which developed since birth and will always remain in our soul as part of our personality. The distorted memories of our Inner Child, stored in the subconscious mind, affect every part of our life.

The wounded Inner Child uses immature body and verbal language, throws temper tantrums, is overly sensitive, acts and feels helpless, hurt, guilt-ridden, inadequate, unlovable, and a victim. This ego state is needy, deprived, impatient, rebellious, manipulative, and has unrealistic expectations in life.

By acting in a temperamental or unreasonable manner, our wounded Inner Child may cause irritable, angry and critical reactions in others. This Inner Child is fearful and insecure about many issues in life, and does not want to integrate with our Inner Adult and Inner Parent. This part of our self is very vulnerable and needs to feel cherished and included in our daily decisions.

Some people believe that as adults we put away childish things, but Jesus said we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless we become as a little child (). As doctors realize, we cannot put away and ignore our Inner Child without detriment to our self mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The more we nurture this part of our self, the more joyful and fulfilled we will feel.

The healthy Inner Child is unrestricted, instinctive, spontaneous, creative, inventive, resourceful, imaginative, emotional, gullible, hopeful, fun-loving, tolerant of others, and wants to please everyone and to be loved. This healthy ego state will find ways to cooperate, be flexible, and prefer other people above our self.

As we spend quiet time analyzing the conversation going on in our mind, we will recognize the transactions which come from our Inner Child. We begin to understand some of the underlying issues that contribute to our present feelings, and which are currently creating unhealthy behavioral patterns in our life. Our Inner Child holds the keys to the healing of our soul.

Prayer:
Father God, as we read the Bible, converse with You, submit to Christ’s sanctifying work within us and walk in Your Holy Spirit every day, these haunting, negative issue stored in our subconscious mind will surface to our conscious mind. Then Your Spirit will speak Your truth and deliver us from the bondage to our past. Thank You for transforming our mind, replacing our negative personality traits with the fruit of Your Spirit and conforming us to the image of Christ, who abides within us by Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
As we submit our subconscious thoughts to the Holy Spirit, He will reveal Satan’s lies, which are holding us in bondage to these past, unresolved issues.