Healing from Abusive Behavior – Part 2

Victims of abuse may turn into abusers in order to erase the shame, fears and insecurities, which plague them. They neglect those whom they should cherish, and they allow negative emotions to control our life and theirs.

We may use anger as a means to protect our self from further abuse, but this sends mixed messages. People never know when we will patiently suffer as a martyr or blow up like a volcano at the least provocation.

We may not be able to trust people, but we can trust God. Rather than acting with bombastic and combative behavior, we find our strength and confidence in Christ’s quiet resolve within us.

Then we set boundaries, and firmly but quietly caution people not to cross the line (Isaiah 30:15). They may test our boundaries; but if we consistently remind them, they will soon learn to respect us.

The older we get, the more we tell our self that the abuse happened a long time ago and we should get over it. Yet the shameful effects of the violation and the loss of our innocence and sense of trust can last a lifetime.

We may even find our self questioning if the abuse actually happened. We live in denial and convince our self that our abuser is a revered person who could never do anything that horrific.

When a trigger reminds us of the situation, it is because our soul is crying out for validation and comfort. Our true inner self is desperately attempting to gain our attention and to make us take the abuse seriously enough to stop it or to simply acknowledge it.

Snippets of words, body language, the shape of certain plants, an over-reaction that we cannot explain, bizarre behavior that has no basis in reality are all ways that our soul uses to force us to face and validate the incident(s).

Journaling will enable us to get in touch with the episode(s) and tell our story of abuse without having to make it public knowledge. Journaling validates our feelings, nurtures our wounded soul and is extremely healing.

Prayer:
Father God, You collect all of our tears in Your bottle and avenge every one of them (Psalm 56:8). Even if we feel that we somehow caused or deserved the abuse, You wash away our shame and replace it with the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:7).

Remind us that forgiving our perpetrator actually helps us to heal by taking them off our “hook” and placing them firmly on Your hook. You are much better at rendering vengeance than we are (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35). Thank You for healing us from our past and giving us a bright future full of Your love and acceptance (Jeremiah 29:11).

Thought for the Day:
Loss of innocence means that a person who was supposed to protect, nurture and cherish us actually abused us and stole from us what rightfully belongs to us alone.

 

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Healing from Our Past

Humans often function on automatic pilot. We repeat tasks hundreds of times and pay no attention to the details along the way. Sometimes, “the devil is in the details”.

We get tied up in the details; and the good things we run around accomplishing rob us of the best things, which God called us to do with our life.

We wear different hats according to the requirement of the moment at work, home, church and play. We segment our soul and personality to meet the expectations of those around us.

Some of us dissociate from parts of our identity and suppress the expression of those personality characteristics. Sometimes, we experience trauma from which we use dissociative amnesia to escape the memory.

We cannot remember parts or all of our past; and, at times, even present events. We function on automatic pilot in multiple personalities in order to fit in or to cope. We lose part of our true self with every trauma we experience in life.

Some of us are schizophrenic, we hear our different ego states conversing with one another and we fear we are going crazy. One part of our self may sabotage or fight against the other.

This dissociative identity disorder attempts to save our life from the extreme pain of our past. Once the Holy Spirit moves into our spirit, He sorts through the various alter egos we create to protect our self.

He heals the pain of our past and allows us to release our grasp on various personalities we used to defend our self. We realize that God is here to protect us now and we have no need to hide behind alter egos.

Prayer:
Father God, the indescribable pain which human beings inflict on one another is caused by rampant sin and suggestions by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Regardless of what we experience, however, there is healing in Your wings (Malachi 4:2; Psalm 91:4); and we can hide beneath them until we heal and gain the strength to face this world with Your perspective.

We sing for joy as we snuggle into your feathers and find safety, comfort and security from this world, which often frightens us (Psalm 63:7). Help us to serve as a lifeline to others who also face traumatic events in this life, and give us opportunities to share Your comfort with them in very real and tangible ways.

Thought for the Day:
We can ask God to strengthen the inner being of those we love by His Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts and they may also find His eternal healing. – Ephesians 3:16

A Changed Attitude

At any given moment of the day, when we least expect it, circumstances arise that cause fear and despair to darken our attitude. Heaviness shrouds our spirit and joy flees in retreat.

Eventually anger may arise to shield us from impending pain and we explode and strike out at those around us. For the smallest offense, we react with severe sharpness that leaves the other person cut to shreds.

Our soul pours forth a storm of abuse that drenches the recipient to the point of drowning! Then we feel guilty for over-reacting and causing someone else pain and unhappiness.

Our anxiety and depression deepen and we withdraw into a stoic abyss. James did not believe in his half-brother’s deity until after His resurrection.

However, God used James mightily to further His Kingdom in Jesus’ footsteps. He remembered things Jesus taught and shared them with the Body of Christ both then and now.

One very famous concept was something very similar to what the apostle Paul taught. James reminds us that when we are tempted to sin, we can consider it a joyous time.

This occurs because we know without a doubt that when our faith is tried, the circumstances allow God’s Spirit to use our faith in Christ to work patience into our life.

As we learn patience, we lose much of the anxiety and grief which circumstances used to spawn in our life. Life is much simpler; we want less of this world and more obedience to His Spirit.

We realize that regardless of issues we are experiencing, we have need of nothing. God is our supply, and He has everything in His control (James 1:2-4).

Prayer:
Father God, You are the same Creator who made the majestic mountains, the depths of the sea, the myriad of galaxies in the heavens and the variety of species of plants and animals on this earth. You also have a wonderful plan for each of us, filled with love and peace through our Rock, Jesus Christ.

Most people prefer to make our own rules and live according to the dictates of our own heart, rejecting You for much, most, or all of our life. Some of us totally spurn Your offer of love and lead a hate campaign against You. Others attempt to earn our salvation by our good works.

A few of us will receive Your free gift of salvation through Christ (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Even then, we look to You to forgive us each day for transgressing against Your will and way for our life.

Thought for the Day:
As we allow God to sanctify our carnal nature, we grow into a more mature Christian, exhibiting the fruit of His Holy Spirit and having the nature of God as we readily and fully surrender to God’s sanctifying process.

The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness in circumstance, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, church, etc. we are continually elated and then disappointed.

In disappointment, we even give in to fear, anxiety and feel apprehensive when we consider more than the one moment of time which we are experiencing.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us into a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. There is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis, however.

We can continually dwell in an emotion much deeper than happiness. This emotion is not contingent on circumstance and is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life.

This deep seated emotion is also our strength to traverse the negative path in life, which we occasionally experience. There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

If we choose to focus on the negative circumstances, or if we adopt a negative attitude, our joy will hover just outside of our soul, waiting in our spirit for us to change our focus to the joy, which is always set before us (Hebrews 12:2).

The world-wide Body of Christ, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and joyfully trust our amazing God for His constant provision, even during dire circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). We can never thank You enough for continually filling us with Your presence and Spirit, and for helping us to maintain a heavenly mindset rather than a carnal, earthly one.

Thought for the Day:
Our constant joy depends on our focus on the eternal Christ and our attitude of total dependence on His perfect will for our life.

Searching Moral Inventory

A searching moral inventory is an intense evaluation of the thoughts, words and actions in our life at any moment of time. This is a very helpful practice, because it rids us of negative issues, which plague our life.

We ask God to search us and to examine our heart as if it is on trial, so that we can see if there are any wicked intents in our thoughts, which God needs to redirect (Psalm 139:23).

The cauldron filters silver and the furnace refines gold in the same way that the Lord purifies the hearts of His people (Proverbs 17:3). He sanctifies our soul, so that we can speak as one approved and entrusted by God to share His Gospel message.

It is in our best interest to walk uprightly before the Lord, blameless before Him and in our testimony to the world (Job 31:6). We no longer need anyone else’s approval, because God’s opinion of us is all that really matters (1 Thessalonians 2:4; Psalm 26:2).

We cannot always know our hidden faults and failings, but God’s Spirit will bring them to our attention if we take the time to listen (Psalm 7:9, 19:12). A searching moral inventory reveals negative emotions, thoughts of regret and revenge, as well as shameful deeds for which we need to make amends.

It will relieve repressed stress and it will cause new stress until we repent and surrender control of our life to God. Once we fearlessly confront our issues and submit our self to God’s healing scalpel, we are free from the bondage in which the past held us captive all of our life (Hebrews 4:12).

When we commit our ways to the Lord, He judges us righteously, tests our heart and metes out vengeance on those who misjudge us. He rewards each of us according to what our deeds deserve (Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10, 20:12).

We confess the root cause of the destructive behavior, which once dominated our life and God sets us free to live in His victorious grace and love. We mend relationships and are ready to face the future in the center of God’s will – the happiest place on earth.

Prayer:
Father God, at times we are afraid to search our heart too closely. We know that there are wicked thoughts, desires and attitudes lurking in the dark corners of our soul. We are often afraid of these emotions; preferring to ignore them rather than to ferret them out, discover their cause and find a resolution to these unresolved conflicts.

Help us to bless those who hurt and curse us, and to allow You to take vengeance on these ignorant people who do not realize to whom we belong. You are the King of the galaxies and You ride the wings of the wind to come to the aid of all of those who trust in You (Psalm 104:3).

Thought for the Day:
Let us take a frequent searching moral inventory of our soul, to repent of our sins, to return to the everlasting arms of the Lord from which we strayed and to ensure His blessings on our life both now and in eternity.
– Lamentations 3:40

This Life So Often Scares Me

Growing up as a melancholy personality, I viewed life from an overly dramatic lens. Intense fluctuations in emotions warped my perception of events in my life.

Living with an overbearing and controlling father made me fear my own shadow. My mom enroll me in Girl Scouting, and even served as troop mom when necessary, to help me to develop self-esteem and confidence.

I still felt like a little mouse in a huge and frightening world. What I viewed as overwhelming difficulties hung like anchors around my neck. Trials devastated me.

As I aged, I viewed life and people suspiciously. I taught people to abuse me because of my insecurities; then, I followed my dad’s behavior and used anger to protect myself.

Thankfully, God redeemed me at age 18. He started to sanctify me from one stage of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18) and brought increasing healing to my soul ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

I gradually realized that I am already dead, and my life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4). I have an everlasting refuge under His wings, which shelter me from life (Psalm 91).

He taught me not to depend on human might and reasoning to solve problems, but to wait on Him and to trust in Him (Matthew 28:20; Proverbs 3:5-6). He will successfully settle every issue for my eventual good (Romans 8:28).

Now, I embrace life’s negative events with faith and serenity, knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ dwells within me with all the power of the triune Godhead (Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for teaching me the Serenity Principle: You give us healing, courage, wisdom and divine revelation to resolve issues, which arise in our life; or the opportunity to give them to You by leaving them in Your capable hands.
(http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/famous_prayers/god_grant_me_the_serenity.html )

Remind us to realize that You already pre-arranged for a solution for every problem, which would ever happen to us. Help us to realize that we are just fine in this moment of time, and You abide within us to help us in every trial. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and You have a perfect plan for each and every life (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
God gives us a seed for a miracle with every trial He ever permits in our life; we just have to look for it. – Job 42:12

Walking in the Spirit

There is a fine line between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. Our human soul – our mind, emotions and will – has definite opinions about everything, and wants to be heard in the midst of our day.

Of course, this is a very important exercise. We often neglect our body and soul. We push our body to the limit, ignoring warning signs. We discount the cautions of our soul.

We grab a protein bar instead of eating a balanced meal. We fail to exercise, because we have one more item to accomplish for work. We do not realize that we are full of destructive negative emotions.

Yet, our body, soul and spirit work much better when they are all in sync with God’s Spirit. We care for our body, pay attention to the way in which life is affecting our soul, and we stay in tune to God in our spirit.

God used the game of Scrabble to give me an object lesson on listening to the Spirit rather than obeying the thoughts in my mind.

Rather than to look for a word I already know, I listen to the Spirit and place the letters He tells me to use. I learn new words, earn more points and learn to discern between the voice of God and the voice of my own human reasoning.

When we walk in the Spirit, we stop making our own plans and trust in the Lord’s plans for our day instead. We stop considering our human reasoning and seek only God’s will for everything that we do and say as we follow His desires (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit allows us to more easily discern His prompting throughout the day. The voice of our soul eventually dims, and it is easier to hear the direction of God’s Spirit for each moment of our day.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us an example of Your love and deliverance by freeing Israel from Egyptian control. In our similar dire circumstances, You always give us Your comfort, which increases our joy (Psalm 94:19). When we are overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and fears, You are right there within us.

You care about Your children who honor and obey You (Psalm 15:19). Our only true joy is in You, because You give us triumph over life’s hurdles as we feast even now on our inheritance as Your children (Isaiah 58:14).

Thought for the Day:
When we walk in the Spirit, we listen for His peace, which surpasses human understanding; therefore, we have less anxiety, because we pray about each moment of our day. – Philippians 4:6