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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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.

Renewed Mind – Part 2 – Healing for Our Wounded Soul

Satan plants lies in our soul throughout the experiences of our life. These misconceptions cause us to over-react irrationally and with intense emotion in our current life situations.

There are personality issues and woundedness in every person’s soul, which may trigger our wounds and hinder us, or our partner, friend or relative from changing or growing spiritually.

We need to see life through their eyes, not only through our own. God will give us His agape love to accept them for exactly who they are. Then we can also pray for them to be all that God wants them to be.

If we put their needs above our own, He gives us the patience to love them through their episodes. We realize that they are reacting from fear and woundedness, which our behavior triggered; and we do not take their rage or sullenness or impatience personally.

We pray for them and love them even more when they are behaving badly than we do when they are rational and kind. They have no idea why they are acting this way, but God does.

All negative behavior is a red flag to alert us of the woundedness in our soul. It may also be a false belief that is now an idol in our soul, because we give our pet peeves and misconceptions too much importance in our life.

We can take these irrational beliefs to God and gain His perspective on them, asking Him to change our focus about them until they lose their importance to us.

During rational moments, when no one is in a hurry or in need of our time, we can offer to pray with our spouse, friend or family member about their negative emotions.

They may be as clueless about their behavior as we are. They can start by journaling what they were thinking during their outburst. What thoughts were going through their mind? What did we do that triggered this reaction in them?

As we pray together, these problems are resolved as God reveals their root and origin, uncovers Satan’s lie for us to see and then speaks His truth to our soul.
( http://www.theophostic.com )

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our soul longs more for a relationship with You than with a person. We often go from one person to another in this life, trying to find our soul mate, or someone to complete us.

Yet, the only way we can feel fulfilled is through deepening our commitment and our relationship with You. This is true even for married people. The more we find acceptance and develop satisfaction in our relationship with You, the more we can serve our mate out of our love for You (Ephesians 5:22, 6:7; Colossians 3:18, 23-24).

Thought for the Day:
Our support and acceptance of our partner’s, friend’s or relative’s shortcomings will do much to improve our attitude, as well as to improve their behavior through our love and consideration of their needs above our own.

Loving the Unlovable

Too often we judge people for their peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. We categorize them, box them up in neat little packages and stick them away on a shelf in our mind, ignoring them as much as possible.

Once in a while our paths cross again, and we are forced to interact with this peculiar individual once more. We take down our box, stick new labels on them and place them back on the shelf as quickly as possible. They may be our neighbor, spouse, child, sibling, relative, church member, co-worker or even our employer.

Please realize that within each of these precious people is a wounded soul. They are a product of a lifetime of events, which molded their personality to give them unique characteristics, which may irritate or even wound us deeply.

We may go so far as to harbor bitterness toward them and possibly even dismiss them from our life as a lost cause (Ephesians 4:32). However, these unlovable people are diamonds in the rough.

They are created by God, and He has a special plan for their life, just as He has for us (Ephesians 2:10). God put them in our life for us to minister His Agape love to them and to give them a secure and nurturing place to live (Matthew 5:47).

We are all fallible and have our own weaknesses and peculiarities. How would you want this person to treat you? There is healing for everyone at the cross of Christ.

Sometimes, people are unaware of God’s grace, and He gives us opportunities to give them unconditional love, patience, security and friendship to model God’s character to them. His plan for this relationship may be for us to help heal the deep wounds within their soul.

Prayer:

Father God, You create everyone in Your image. We are all unlovable until You redeem us (Ephesians 1:7). In fact, You loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Teach us that when we allow Your Agape love to flow through us to someone else, it is hard to stay angry at them or to consider them worthless.

Remind us to pray for them and to look for opportunities to bless them. You may just use this individual to bless us in some way too, if we look beyond the aspects of their life which irritate or hurt us, and love them anyway.

Thought for the Day:

Don’t throw people away, because God wants us to use our freedom in Him to love and serve one another, just as He died for and blesses us. – Galatians 5:13

Paybacks

We experience trauma in this world in so many different ways. Even Jesus suffered in every area that we do; yet, without sin (Hebrews 4:15). We too can handle trials through Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).

There are people in this world who willingly, knowingly and purposely inflict anguish upon other people. They feel no remorse for the wounds they perpetrate.

They even take some perverse pleasure from hurting someone else. These people are wounded souls who find solace for their pain in demeaning, degrading and depriving others.

God tells us to be kind to our enemies because this uncharacteristic response to cruelty will prick the conscience of the offender, and may even cause them to turn from their wicked ways (Proverbs 25:22).

When we struggle to forgive someone, because they are being blessed in spite of their behavior; this causes us to feel further abuse. However, God protects His own (Matthew 5:45; Psalm 121:7).

If evil-doers remain bent on their course of destruction, they will reap paybacks for what they sow, either in this life or the next (Galatians 6:7). Eternity is the great equalizer (Psalm 37:7; 73:3).

Everyone is rewarded for their deeds, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). God promises to take revenge on those who inflict pain upon His children, and God never breaks a promise (2 Corinthians 5:10; Numbers 23:19).

Prayer:
Father God, when we view trauma from Your perspective, we realize that our current issues are nothing when we compare them to Your glory, which these trials reveal in us (Romans 8:18). This glory is a witness to a lost and dying world around us.

They see that we suffer with grace, dignity, hope and even joy (James 1:2); and it impresses them. Help us to always look for the seed of a miracle within each trial, which You allow to come our way (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
When we draw our security from the Son, instead of some substitute, our serenity in spirit and soul lasts for eternity.

Health and Well Being – Part 3

Our Spirit, Body and Soul are all interconnected and depend upon one another for complete health. God shows mercy on our troubled soul and infirmed body; and He wants us to respond when He calls us to help each other (Psalm 6:2-3). If we see the anguish in someone’s soul and do not obey the Spirit’s direction to help alleviate that distress, God finds us guilty of neglect (Genesis 42:21).

With God as our gentle shepherd, there is nothing we need, which He will not supply. He gives us more than we need physically; and He also restores our soul, after we experience a wounding and upsetting situation (Psalm 23:1-3). As we wait on God, He feeds our body and spirit as He delivers us from the prison of our wounded soul (Psalm 62:1, 142:7; Proverbs 13:25).

The more depressed our soul is, the more God encourages us to hope in Him and to praise Him through our trials. He brightens our emotions and body language, while He delivers our soul from grief (Psalm 42:5-6, 11). As we grow spiritually, we long to walk in the courts of our living God, and we cry out for a deeper union with Him (Psalm 84:1-2). Our intimate relationship with Him gives us a new perspective on life.

Attending church services, reading our Bible, praising God continually, fellowshipping with Christian friends and staying in tune with God all day long, through communion with His Spirit, will help to strengthen our spirit. This causes our soul to blossom and brings health to our body all at the same time (3 John 1:2).

Prayer:
Father God, Your sound wisdom and discretion give life and grace to our soul. You allow us to walk safely without stumbling, even during treacherous experiences throughout our lifetime (Proverbs 3:21-23). Remind us to be aware of our own and also our neighbor’s need for nurturing; and lead us by Your Spirit to help us in these times of necessity. We incline our ear to You and follow hard after You, so that we may hear Your life-giving Words (Isaiah 55:3).

Thought for the Day:
Our soul clings to God for comfort in times of both stress and distress. – Psalm 63:8

Forgiveness Sets Us Free

How do we forgive someone who hurt us? By hearing and following God’s advice to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us and to pray for those who abuse us. When someone takes something from us, we give him/her more of what they want. We treat others the way we want them to treat us (Luke 6:27-31).

Forgiveness does not take the offender off the hook, but it does set us free (Romans 12:19). Our fellowship with God is broken by unforgiveness and His blessings cannot freely flow into our life. With God’s help, we can gain freedom from Satan’s strongholds in our life as we readily forgive those who hurt us and walk in God’s Truth.

We also learn to exhibit patience with other people who mistreat us, because we realize that their behavior comes from their wounded soul. Once we forgive those who hurt or offend us, the fruit from the root of bitterness ~ anger, anxiety, depression, irritability, meanness, pride, indulgence and doubt ~ are pulled out of our soul.

The Holy Spirit can then move into our spirit and plant the seed of His fruit in the place of our old carnal nature. As God’s chosen people, His holy ones, we cooperate with God’s Spirit and put on the cloak of love, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience. We bear with one another and forgive each other, just as the Lord forgives us (Colossians 3:12-15).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to put on Your love, because it binds everything together in perfect harmony. This allows the peace of Christ to rule in our heart, and we live in gratitude for all You do for us each day. Help the word of Christ to richly dwell in us. Whatever we do, in word or deed, we will perform it in Your name (Colossians 3:16-17). Once we find Your forgiveness for our self, we can give it to those who hurt us, and receive healing from the lies Satan planted in our wounded soul.

Thought for the Day:
Satan wants us to live in bondage to the law of sin and death, but Christ already freed us by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. – Romans 7:22-8:3