I am a Person too – Part 1 – Freedom from the Tyranny of the Past

Our whole life consists of relationships with our loved ones, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, authority figures, friends, family members and even with our self.

 

We have a chance of receiving wounds and/or blessings from all of these associations; and our past, even our subconscious conflicts, influences each of these interactions as well.

 

Our relationship with our self includes our body, soul and spirit. Our body has internal and external influences, our soul includes our thoughts and feelings and choices, and our spirit is either dead in sin or free in Christ (Colossians 2:13).

 

Events in our life, involving this multiplex of individual influences, add flavor to or diminish our joy in life. The way people react to us helps to form our concept of our self. We learned to love or despise our self from their actions and opinions.

 

Subconscious memories of these interactions continue to create our self-concept and the way we relate to people as an adult. We may live with a wounded, defensive attitude or a carefree, happy outlook or an angry, combative defiance.

 

Trauma changes the way we see our self and our future. We can diffuse and disarm these subconscious memories and the way they affect our relationships today by surrendering our life to Jesus Christ.
 

We do not have to blame current issues on our self or anyone else. They usually occur from woundedness in one or both of us. Issues in adult relationships often stem from childhood suffering; but childhood wounds do not have to control our adult life.

 

We can learn a new way to set up boundaries, exercise discernment, stop victimization, redefine our attitudes, change our behavioral patterns and gain a new perspective on priorities and what is important to us by allowing God to expose Satan’ lies and to renew a right spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

Prayer:

Father God, You want to create a clean, pure, simple heart within us; one not tainted by the world and painful experiences, but one of freedom in Christ (John 8:36). You delight in setting our soul free from the pain of the past and giving us a bright and promising future (Jeremiah 29:11). Teach us that when people are not trustworthy, we can still trust in You.

 

As children we were more vulnerable and had fewer choices in the actions perpetrated on us by others. As adults, we can take a more active role by surrendering our future to You and listening to Your Spirit each moment of the day. Thank You for giving us Your wisdom in place of our human reasoning and for teaching us to have boundaries and how to ensure that we have input into our daily experiences.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our past has power over us only if we give it permission to do so; coming to Christ for healing helps us to find freedom from the tyranny of the past.

 

Let Your Insides Out

 

Who are you behind the masks you wear? Do you wear your feelings on your shoulder for other people to see who you really are? Do you try to act one way when you really feel another?

Or have you learned that it does not matter what other people think about you? Are you free from the tyranny of their opinions? Do you let your insides out?

Our fears and insecurities define who we really are inside. Due to our spirit and soul, we may have a strong spirit, but a very wounded soul. We appear strong, yet most of us are really weak.

When people reject us for our weaknesses, we feel worthless and damaged, which increases our fears and insecurities. We feel too vulnerable and build walls around our heart.

My former husband disdained the inner me. My adult children tolerate the inner me. My current husband dwells with the inner me with patience and understanding.

The good news is that Jesus died for the inner me and His Spirit is transforming the inner me into a new creation from one glorious stage to another (2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:17).

He slowly peels away the bandages, which I applied to the wounds of the inner me. He exposes the raw emotion and anxiety and puts the salve of God’s unconditional love on each one of them.

He teaches us that the only opinion of us which really matters is God’s, which frees us from having to hide behind masks. He continually encourages us to let our insides out.

Prayer:
Father God, we can love and live with a person, but only You completely love, live with and accept us just as we are. Sometimes we have idols in our life, but they are not really perfect. Jesus is the only one who belongs on the throne of our life. Only You completely and unconditionally love the inner us.

We will leave the significant others in our life when we die, but we will live with You for eternity. Your love is ours now and forever and ever. As we keep You as our best friend and the lover of our soul, we will have Your blessings in our life and Your love will flow over us like a waterfall every day of our life now and always (Matthew 16:26).

Thought for the Day:
No person can completely understand or accept us for who we really are inside; Jesus lives inside of us and He knows and loves us better than we can even know and love our self.

Struggling to Survive

At the root of sin and degradation is pride and rebellion. These often stem from unresolved conflicts in our past. We hide our pain behind a veneer of self-reliance in order to avoid further injury.

We do not want to take a chance on being vulnerable again. Struggling to survive, we choose self-absorption and arrogance instead of living a life of humility and self-sacrifice.

We live within the parameters of our sinful nature and set our mind on what our flesh desires (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is dead in sin and we cannot help our self (Ephesians 2:1).

Even church attendees who claim Christ as their savior play along with worldly culture, advice and popular demands. They came under conviction at one point, but their life was never converted.

Political correctness, religious pluralism, humanism and other new age lies color our concept of holiness. We take the path of least resistance and follow the crowd.

We lack discernment, spiritual understanding and perception. Caving in to the struggles, strain and stress of everyday life, we turn away from Biblical wisdom, God’s love and devotion.

Jesus is the perfect example of a humble, yet powerful life. He said that no one could take His life until He was ready to lay it down (John 10:18). By following Jesus’ example we truly convert from hedonism to holiness.

Jesus illustrates for us that the Lord is our portion, provider and protector as we obey His Word. We seek His face with our whole heart and God is gracious to us according to His promises (Psalm 119:57-58).

Prayer:
Father God, we invite Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, heal our memory, calm our fears, and direct our goals and plans. We trust that in our pain and suffering, You are working out Your will and purpose for our life, giving us opportunities to share Your love and to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

Teach us discernment through our life experiences; heal our raw emotions of discontentment, loneliness and anxiety; give us hope to overcome anger, unforgiveness and bitterness; and help us to walk in Your will with faith for each moment of our day.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit wants to direct the details of our day, so let’s step aside, stop obsessing and trust and obey; there is no better way to enjoy the joy of the Lord.

Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

Mental, emotional and physical pain and stress, loss and grief, and wounded individuals put us at risk for reaping negative results in life. In addition, unresolved childhood trauma increases the effects of our current distress. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

With repeated trauma, we can even develop various degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and we view the world as a painful, alarming, treacherous place.

Separation through death, divorce, rejection, abandonment, etc. will affect our future relationships. We lose our sense of safety and security and may even live in continual fear and insecurity.

Our breathing is shallow, which affects our lungs, diaphragm and heart. Stomach, heart, lung and nerve issues cause us problems. Our mind can even affect us with physical symptoms, which have no physical source.

On guard in every situation, we are in a constant state of “fight or flight”. This makes us combative and easily angered when we feel vulnerable and helpless.

A lack of trust causes us to build thick walls around our soul. Then we feel lonely, disheartened, hopeless and overwhelmed. We may even blame our self for what happens to us.

Attempting to prepare our self for the unexpected, we delve into worse case scenarios to prepare our self for any contingency; yet, we only provide our self with a false sense of power and protection from future trauma.

When events in our life are going well, we tend to rely less on God and more on our self. We have the idea that we deserve God’s love and blessings, because we are so good.

However, with this attitude, we will never feel totally secure in life. We will live in constant anxiety, because we fear that if we fail in some area, we will lose His love and be lost for eternity.

The opposite is actually true. God loved us while we were still sinners, is our everlasting Savior and continues to love us unconditionally (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:9). He is the same yesterday, today and for eternity (Hebrews 13:8).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for allowing us to fail and to learn from our mistakes, to suffer trails for Your glory so that people can see our love for and trust in You regardless of our earthly status. Teach us to rely totally on You and not to pursue the world or the flesh.

Remind us to stop depending on our self and to begin to depend solely on You for every step we take (Proverbs 3:5-6). Help us to do only the works, which You ordained for us to achieve, rather than asking You to bless our works (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
When we rely on God’s Holy Spirit for direction and strength, we listen to God’s Spirit, step out in faith, and find all the resources we need to achieve all that God ordained us to do.
– Philippians 2:12-13, 4:13; Matthew 7:7-8

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

Worry Never Helps

Worrying is the world’s favorite pastime. Our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental powers diminish when we give in to worry. We make our self sick in body, soul and spirit by worrying.

Doctors write a score of prescriptions each day for anxiety-related illnesses, such as: anxiety, apathy, headaches, decreases in our immune system, increases in blood pressure, insomnia, and even bad habits such as grinding teeth and biting nails.

Worry is a negative emotion and is very self-destructive. I believe that worry comes from a subconscious fear that we are basically vulnerable and unprotected.

Worry influences our thinking, decisions, opinions and reactions to life. People who worry cannot relax and enjoy life. We fail to trust God with our life (Matthew 6:25-34).

Most worriers grow up in dysfunctional households and/or have traumatic negative experiences in life. Worriers have low self-esteem caused by one or more shaming incidences perpetrated by our parents or someone we respect or love.

Worry takes our mind off the here and now and keeps it as either a prisoner of the past or trapped in an imagined future full of worse case scenarios. Surrendering them all to God is our only hope.

Understanding our worries can diminish their intensity and possibly eradicate them completely. Ask yourself, “What is causing me to worry?” “What is bothering me right now?” “What happened to put this fear in my mind?” Journal the answers and pray about God’s resolution for each one.

Prayer:
Father God, we worry because we believe that we have to maintain control over every aspect of our life in order to keep our self and our loved ones safe. Parents worry about children, wives worry about husbands and career, husband’s worry about their family and work related issues, and everyone worries about having their basics needs met.

Remind us that the best way not to worry is to follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB) Lord, we trust You to make even the bad events in our life to work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Worry can paralyze us into inactivity and limit our productivity and inventiveness.

Understanding Emotions

God gave us emotions to express our self and the mood we are experiencing at any given moment. They are an important part of our soul, which includes our intellect, emotions and choices. Each emotion has many variations of intensity and nuances of feeling, such as annoyed, angry and enraged. We often think that we are too vulnerable when we express our true feelings, so we hide behind masks, which help us to pretend.

We suppress our feelings in an attempt to be patient and to get along with people, trying not to nag or to complain. Once our patience runs out, however, this usually compounds the problem due to a rise in the intensity of our feelings. Prior to the point of frustration and anger, it helps if we will calmly express how someone’s negative behavior or words are affecting us and making us feel. No one is perfect, and we all have value and worth.

As we take frequent stock of our emotions, we get a clue as to how we are really doing in that moment of time. If we are not being treated properly, our emotions give us a clue that this abusive behavior is not acceptable. Our underlying thoughts fuel our behavior. We simply need to get alone and take the time to journal or to think, in order to get in touch with how we really feel at the core of our soul.

Sometimes, following the roadmap that emotions give us leads us back to the disturbing incidents in our past, which still affect us today. Then, once we understand the cause of our emotions, it is much easier to explain to others how we really feel. Their offensive behavior may be just a misunderstanding, or a lack of discernment or manners on the part of the other person. That is why relationships work out better if we express how we really feel before our soul hides behind a mask.

If the other person sees no problem with their words or behavior, or if they consistently disregard our needs, we can erect boundaries to protect our soul from their painful words and behavior. Putting distance between them and us, or changing our focus about how their actions, opinions or beliefs affect us, will ensure that our heart is not constantly bombarded by their insensitivity and callous behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to choose our words carefully and to speak up when we are violated by another person’s words or actions. Help us to change our focus about their behavior, so that we can maintain the relationship without severing the unity between us. When the whole world misunderstands or criticizes us, You are holding out Your arms, ready to pour out Your love and grace on us in our time of need. We can unburden our heart to You, sharing with You our deepest feelings without any fear of censure or ridicule.

Thought for the Day:
We can pay attention the red flags that our negative emotions give us and use our words to express how we really feel before we let our emotions dictate our behavior.