Changed from the Inside Out

As I learned to enter God’s rest and walk in His Spirit, I experienced intense withdrawals from my former codependent lifestyle. I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

One moment I would say or do something codependent and the next moment I would step into my new role as a Spirit-led Believer and say or do the opposite. I confused people by this dual personality.

 

Gradually, I decreased in my role as a codependent and Christ increased in me. I learned to say “No” unless God told me to say “Yes.” He taught me to let the job go undone; so others whom God was calling to that role would step up and do it instead of me.

 

I started to see and appreciate the gray hues and tones in life, rather than seeing only black or white. My flexibility increased and my rigid extremes decreased.

 

The demon of perfectionism left my soul and I found joy in the messes of life as I had more time to enjoy other pursuits, which God called me to do. I actually left dishes in the sink and went to bed.

 

God’s Spirit slowly changed my perspective from a carnal, earth-bound outlook to a spiritual, heavenly-minded one. He also healed my wounded soul, traumatized and dysfunctional since childhood and young adulthood ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

 

I released the shame and feelings of defectiveness attached to the wounds of the past and accepted His divine character and the fruit of His Spirit in their place (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for exposing Satan’s lies, which made me believe that I had to earn love by my behavior. Your Agape love opened me up to expect unconditional love from the significant others in my life. The fear, insecurity, defensiveness and over-sensitivity, which plagued my life decreased as I learned to trust You in spite of the untrustworthy people in my life.

 

You taught me the reality of the fact that You work out everything for our good, even the negative experiences in our life, which threaten to choke the very life from our soul (Roman 8:28). You trained me to look for the seed for a miracle in every trial. You are our worthy, benevolent Father and we are completely loved by You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Self-destructive behaviors – driven by frustration, anger and a wounded soul – diminish as we learn to enter God’s rest and bask in His peace and joy, which are our true source of strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

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I am not the Savior

As we all serve one another, we all get served. I read in the Bible that God wanted it this way. As a perfectionist codependent, I always put everyone else’s needs above my own.

 

However, it did not work that way in the first 45 years of my life. I did all the serving and others did all the taking with rare expressions of gratitude or encouragement for what I did.

 

I grew to resent the lack of reciprocation and my constant physical and emotional exhaustion. I felt like a hamster on its wheel, going round and round day after day and getting no place fast.

 

One day I realized that I was actually teaching people to expect me to do everything and not to respect me or my needs. I had a savior and martyr complex a mile wide and high.

 

The fact is, however, that I love to serve others. It is my main ministry in Christ’s body. Thankfully, I started working for a recovering codependent at this same time and she spoke truth to me that set me free.

 

She said, “You are a person too, and you can minister to yourself and meet your needs in the same way you meet everyone else’s needs.” WOW! That gave me food for thought.

 

She reminded me of Jesus’ words to love others as we love our self (Luke 10:27). I realized right away that I did not love myself in the same way that I loved others.

 

This opened up a whole new world for me. I went to the library and checked out books on how to be a nurturing parent. I learned to nurture myself and how to nurture others in a healthier manner.

 

Prayer:

Father God, so many times we take Your words at face value and skip over the minute details of the verse. We miss so much of the meat of Your Word because we do not take them in context with other verses in the Bible. We miss the whole picture, which You intend for us to see.

 

As we follow the leading of Your Spirit each moment of the day, we stop allowing the good things to become the enemy of the best things. We stop spinning our wheels by so much busyness and we live productive lives that bring us joy as we also give joy. We develop a closer relationship with You and people see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we walk in the Spirit, we stop enabling others to be less than they can be by allowing them to do hard things for themselves and to learn to lean on God instead of on us, so they can live productive lives.

 

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.

Healing Relationships – Part 1

There are four types of human relationships. We all fit into one of them, or a combination of several:
Independent – self-sufficient
Codependent – live for others
Dependent – despise living alone, have no personal identity                                 Interdependent – mutual, reciprocal relationships

These relational types describe how we relate to other people. If we are already functioning in interdependent relationships, we are healthy and have healthy interactions.

Otherwise, we are in needy, dysfunctional relationships, which are unhealthy for us and the other people in our life. Changing our beliefs about life and our self, and altering our attitude will bring needed healing to our soul.

In dysfunctional associations, we expect the magic of a fairytale existence; we pride our self in living as the martyr or savior; we give sacrificially and then feel anger and bitterness when we do not receive the love we believe we are owed in return.

In unhealthy relationships, our self-worth is based outside of our self, in people, places and things. We desire financial security, privacy, status in society, respect, degrees or popularity. We resent any change or adjustment required of us.

However, everything in life is fluid, temporary and undependable. We even disappoint our self. We cannot look to external values and relationships for our security.

When we concentrate on maintaining the status quo, we fail miserably every time we try. That is why the Serenity Prayer has grown in popularity.

Following its advice will ensure that we keep our focus on eternal matters, rather than on temporal issues, which cannot help but to disappoint us. We will also walk in God’s will each moment of every day.
Serenity Prayer:

“Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.
– by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Thought for the Day:
Attempting to control our environment and relationships will guarantee that we suffer from stress-related issues, as well as to alienate those who mean the most to us.

New Strides in Life

American youth grow up under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream. We go to college and we obtain job experience to guarantee our future success. However, life often careens out of our control. We pull our self up by our bootstraps and try all over again, shaking off the depression and hopelessness nipping at our heels.

Time after time, life sends us debilitating storms. We end up treading water, feeling like we will drown. There comes a time in everyone’s life that we eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life. Some people give up, and end up with physical and mental illnesses; some turn to addictions; and some realize that we need a savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a higher power. Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out, because our spirit is still dead in sin.

Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within their soul, and they are yearning for their spirit to be reborn (John 3:1-21). Once we come to Christ as our Higher Power, He helps us to clear our conscience of the dead works of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness, etc. He is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

He also reminds us of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24). We can obtain Christian counseling or find an accountability partner to continually hold us responsible to walk in God’s Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12).

As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). We come to know Him intimately, and He progressively exchanges our carnal nature for His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). God assures us of His love, which transcends our human understanding. Filling us with His Spirit He slowly and deliberately floods our entire being with Himself (Ephesians 3:19).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect, and we can forgive those who harmed us and ask forgiveness from those whom we have harmed. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for each moment of our life, and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your law and for sanctifying us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. – Romans 12:1

Powerless to Control Life

We usually start life under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream, but life often careens out of our control. We eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life, and we realize that we need a Savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a power, which is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out. Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within his or her soul, yearning for their spirit to be reborn (Romans 1:19-23). We all have a body and soul – our mind, will and emotions, but our spirit is dead until we come to Christ (John 3:1-21).

Once we come to Christ, He helps us to clear our conscience of dead works. Feelings of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness and more melt away at His presence in our life. He also helps us to think of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24).

It is wise to obtain Christian counseling and discipleship, and to share with someone who will continually hold us accountable as we walk in God’s Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12). As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect. We can forgive those who harm us and ask forgiveness from those whom we hurt. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for our life each moment and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your ways. Sanctify us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. – Romans 12:1