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 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.

 

For more information, please join me for regular tips about healing at:

https://www.facebook.com/healingourinnerchild/

 

God’s Unfailing Love

 

From the pit of depression, we call on the Lord to hear our prayers. We trust Him and know that without Him, we would surely die. We ask Him to reveal His lovingkindness with each new morning and to show us what to do and how to live through this latest trial that we are experiencing.

 

The key to survival in this world is to give our self completely to the Lord. We run to Him and hide our self in Him. When we do, He rescues us from our enemies. We trust Him with each moment of our life.

 

We know that we are not guaranteed a future. We only have this one moment of time in which to live. Do we really want to waste it in remorse over the past or fear of the future?

 

Do we really want to spend this one moment of time in any mindset other than singing the high praises of God? We may not live one more moment. We may be in heaven with our very next breath. O glorious day!

 

God teaches us to do His will and His gracious Spirit leads us on solid ground as we trust in Him. He preserves our life for His glory and for His name’s sake.

 

Through His faithfulness, He brings us through the darkest trial into His glorious light. He silences all of our enemies and destroys everyone who comes against us because we love Him with our whole heart and soul (Psalm 143:7-12).

 

We serve Him with our life and make Him our only priority. We work in the vocation to which He calls us and serve Him in the church to which He leads us. God’s unfailing love delivers, encourages and nurtures us.

 

As we totally surrender to His will for our life, He empowers us to overcome our depression, addictions and shortcomings and to accomplish all that He planned for us to do before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for Your restoration and healing, which allows us to break down the walls we erect in our life. We forge better relationships with people and enter a more intimate union with You than we ever thought possible.

 

Life’s trials are not challenges; they are great adventures with You at the helm of our life. Even if we experience future wounds, loneliness and dark valleys, we are assured that You are traversing them with us and working them all our for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

 

Thought for the Day:
When we choose to give God the obedience, preference, attention, love and praise to which He is due, He makes victories possible for us and triumphs and successes the normal order for our life.rture,

A Reasoned Response

Most of my answers are soft (Proverbs 15:1); however, my life was filled with people who took me for granted and ignored me unless I YELLED and unleashed the full fury of my Italian wrath every once in a while.

I always wanted to have a sweet response when someone stepped on my last nerve, or yanked my chain one too many times, but people tended not to take me seriously unless I yelled.

Therefore, when the people in my life changed, I had to practice giving soft answers, to practice choosing to give a reasoned response, rather than letting my emotions build within me until I simply exploded (Psalm 116:7).

In the ensuing years, God allowed my children to grow up into responsible adults who live in their own homes. He also gave me a husband who nurtures and cherishes me.

God helped me to understand that I do not need wrath to get my point across. All I need to do is to quietly say, “I really want you to take me seriously, and listen to what I am saying.”

Our authority is in Christ, not in our self or the intensity of our words. In Christ, quietness is our confidence and strength (Isaiah 30:15, 32:17). When two people disagree, they can always find a compromise.

When we speak with God’s authority instead of our own, people listen. We get the person’s attention, share our needs and then relax in quietness and confidence that the Lord will fight for us, as we wait on Him (Exodus 14:14).

We can trust that God already placed the seed for a miracle in every trial, which we will ever encounter. If we water this seed with faith, patience and confidence in God’s faithfulness, a beautiful plant of blessing will grow.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that Satan battles for our soul through our mind, choices and emotions. He knows he already lost our spirit to You, but he wants to destroy our soul, and our witness for You (Proverbs 34:13). Help us to choose to step out of our self-effort and into Your authority by the guidance of Your Spirit (Proverbs 16:23; Isaiah 45:22).

Wounds from our past and ever-occurring wounds in our present life – being belittled, discounted, deprived emotionally or physically, abandoned, insecure and frightened in our heart – will manifest in our words.

Yet, as we trust You, You help us to heal from our wounds. We will dwell in security and rest (Isaiah 32:18). May our thoughts and words be pleasing to You as we rely on You as our rock and Redeemer (Psalm 20:14).

Thought for the Day:
As God heals the wounds in our soul, as we relinquish our pet peeves and idols to Him, as we surrender control of our life to Him and realize that nothing can happen to us that is not already part of His plan for us (Isaiah 7:4), then we can think and speak quiet, confident thoughts rather than broiling negative emotions.

Let Me Tell You, Gentlemen

If you think that your marriage is good, or even perfect, that may be because all of your needs are met by your good and faithful wife. Have you ever asked her what she thinks about your marriage?

You may be surprised to find out that she is so busy caring for you and the home and children, that she has no time to fulfill her needs. She may have longings in her soul that are not realized; so make the time to discover her needs and help her to accomplish them.

You may criticize her for her irritability, insecurity, jealousy, rage, discouragement, etc., and view these negative emotions as separate from your behavior. They very well may have an outside source; but you could help to relieve them, even if your behavior and attitude are not causing them.

Do you ignore her when she talks to you, and only listen to her with half an ear? Do you take all of her needs seriously and ask her how you can help her? Do you provide her with a stable living environment full of cherishing, nurturing and acceptance?

She may need an hour to soak in the tub, some help with the dishes or bathing the children, a night alone to read or watch a movie in the sanctity of your bedroom, or a special date night. Take charge and give her that time.

Make sure that you inundate her with continual focused attention; date nights which you help to plan; and little gifts, notes, cards, emails and phone calls to let her know that she is not only in your heart but in your mind as well.

Never take her for granted. Bless her with words, which affirm your appreciation of her, but back the words up with actions too. Celebrate her successes along with her and show her your care and concern when she is discouraged or ill.

If she works outside of the home too, help her with the household chores and make sure all of your children have assigned duties, so that the whole family cooperates to keep your home clean, harmonious and running smoothly.

Never allow your children to speak to your wife with disrespect, and model this respect by your behavior. Find a church to attend with your family, have daily devotions with them all and disciple them in Biblical truth to help them to withstand the devil’s temptations.

Prayer:
Father God, You created the husband to serve as a role model in his family as he patterns his behavior and attitude after Your character and nature (Galatians 5:15-25; 2 Peter 1:4). Help him to consider the needs of his wife and children above his own (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, give him the boldness to express his needs as well, so his family can uplift him as he supports them.

Meld the husband and wife in such unity that they provide a positive and cohesive home for their children. This will give more security to the children and reduce rebellion in them as well. Remind us that You are the reason we are alive on this earth, and that serving You as a family is the greatest privilege, which life affords us.

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer one another, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

Our Strong Tower

As an infant, most of us are properly cared for by our parents; although, more often in these days in which we live, children are no longer cherished and nurtured.

Regardless of our upbringing, however, life rarely pulls its punches. It deals out a lifetime of hard knocks, abuse, neglect and disappointments.

We learn to keep more to our self, in order to give people and circumstances fewer chances to hurt us. We want to stay safe from a world, which often frightens us.

We continue to reach out to other people, and to help them in any way we can; but suspicion taints the way we view people and opportunities, which come our way.

We are programmed to believe that the good times will never last, because they never did in the past. We stop looking forward to things; and we never believe promises, because they rarely if ever happen.

We miss opportunities, which we would enjoy, because we are afraid to trust the leading of God’s Spirit. We stay home rather than to take risks to meet new people and to share God’s love with them.

We learn to build walls to hide behind in an attempt to protect our self. However, these very walls only serve to keep us restrained in the confinement of our own making.

We try to escape these walls through addictions, the wrong friends and mate, busyness, hobbies, projects and over-achieving in areas, which do not really matter.

We imprison our true self behind those walls, which were meant to keep us safe. We can never live a full life as long as we continue to hinder our whole body, soul and spirit from living free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we wall up our heart, because vulnerability makes us susceptible to victimization and neglect. You advise us to guard our heart from sin, but not from other people. You actually expose us to disappointment in this life to show us the magnitude of Your continual love and nurture for us.

Remind us that when we are the weakest and the most vulnerable, then You are the strongest and closest to us in order to fight on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

Therefore, we can entrust our body, soul and spirit to You and Your protection and care (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). We can run into the safety of Your everlasting arms (Isaiah 41:10).

Thought for the Day:
We fear vulnerability; therefore, we hide our true self behind walls of our own making; but God protects us from our enemies and is a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. – Psalm 18:2, 10

Our Personal Story

From the moment of our conception, a multitude of experiences influence the story of our life. Our significant others, birth order, nurture and nature all play a part in how we view our self as we mature.

In every traumatic circumstance, Satan plants his lies, which weaken our concept of who we are and what we are meant to do as adults. He cripples us with self-doubt, fears and insecurities.

Negative issues, spoiled plans or broken relationships color our view of life and may give us a pessimistic attitude, as well as unrestrained or reclusive behavior.

In adulthood, we rely on the stories we built up in our mind about our self, more than we rely on the story, which God wrote for our life before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13).

We can change our life by living God’s story for us, rather than one of our own making. In God’s story of us, His presence gives us hope (Colossians 1:27), and His Spirit guides us each moment of our day (John 16:7, 14:26; Acts 1:5).

As we walk in the Spirit, we do not follow rules, ritualism or regulations, we live in a reciprocal relationship with God and obey His Word and Spirit. (Galatians 5:15-25; John 14:15).

We cooperate as the Holy Spirit replaces our old, carnal nature with His fruit; and we learn to depend more on God than the stock market, our employer or the sales at the supermarket (Galatians 5:22-23; Proverbs 3:5-6).

We experience one divine appointment after another, even if we do not realize it. God uses our smile, a kind word, a helping hand, a bouquet of flowers or an interested question to change another person’s life.

We are just the nudge they needed to change their mind and question their plans. We will never know until eternity how God uses us through each moment of our life.

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for our salvation through Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. We appreciate Your plans for our life, and we want to live by Your Spirit each moment of our day. Remind us not to depend on our self or to make our plans, but to depend on You and to decrease so that You can increase within us (John 3:30).

Heal us from the lies, which the devil uses to control our thoughts, words and deeds. Help us to walk in Your Truth and to live out Your story for our individual lives as members of Your Body, Your Bride and Your Church.

Thought for the Day:

When life goes our way, we tend to rely less on God and more on our self, coasting in our prayer life, neglecting Bible study and missing worship services with fellow Believers; until the next trauma or catastrophe sends us running back into God’s waiting arms.