The Root of Our Issues

eaf686b0b3662bef021b18454c375595If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know I’ve been involved in every form of healing ministry there is, physical, emotional, and spiritual, for about twenty-three years now. I’ve heard more stories than I can remember, stories that greatly disturbed me, saddened me, and some that angered me. It is difficult, if not impossible, to listen to people’s pain and not be impacted by it in some way.

I feel that I’ve seen it all and heard it all, and that nothing really shocks me anymore. I have learned much about human behavior and why we do the things we do. Along the way it has become apparent that we all share a common “root” that is often the culprit behind dysfunctional patterns. In some way and to some degree, we have all experienced abandonment and rejection, and it affects us similarly, yet we respond according to our unique personality. The more I minister to hurting people, the more I believe this is the root of all, or at least the majority, of our issues.

Abandonment and rejection cause us to feel alone and unwanted. We feel as though we are always excluded or left out. This belief contributes to feelings of insecurity, fear, shame, anger, and control, to name a few. It often leads to a victim and poverty mentality and orphan spirit. In order to find acceptance, we may turn to performance, perfectionism, and people pleasing. Others will react the opposite, becoming rebellious, withdrawn, and angry. Both reactions are forms of control.

This destructive duo will often draw people into addictions to numb their pain. Those addictions can take many forms, such as substances (drug, alcohol, food), sexual (pornography, promiscuity, fantasies), accomplishments (workaholism, drivenness, selfish ambition), performance (affirmation, praise, recognition), idolatry (materialism, appearance, pride), and these are just a few. Even good things like ministry, fitness, success, education, etc., can become addictions and, therefore, idols. Any activity we participate in can be taken to an extreme when our motive is to gain acceptance and affirmation.

Some have experienced abandonment and rejection far worse than others. It can happen to children whose parents divorce, or when one parent dies young. Sometimes it may not be physical, but emotional. Emotional abandonment can happen when one or both parents are emotionally detached and unavailable for their children, usually because they are so bound up in their own pain. Abuse is also a form of rejection and abandonment. These two traumas will lead to all kinds of fears, and a lack of identity, which produces insecurity. Insecurity produces jealousy, envy, competition, pride, anger, and many other issues.

Other problems that result from abandonment and rejection are shame, fear, and control. When the people who are supposed to love and care for you the most abandon or reject you, it gives place to the lie, “What is wrong with me?” “Something must be wrong with me, or my parents wouldn’t have ________,” (divorced, died, beat me, left me, etc.) Shame tells us we are hopelessly flawed, defective, and shameful. These lies lead to fear, fear of being discovered, exposed, rejected, abandoned, abused, etc. And fear motivates us to control. Control takes on many different forms, such as, anger, withdrawing and isolating, rebellion, rage, passivity, domination, manipulation, and intimidation, among others.

It is important to have at least a basic understanding of these things, not only for our own well-being, but so we can learn how to better relate to others in a healthy way. Abandonment, rejection, and all their ensuing issues will affect every relationship we have, at least until we receive some healing and possibly deliverance. Patterns of broken relationships are a sure sign that we are believing lies that may stem from these issues. Seeking godly counsel and inner healing and deliverance ministry can certainly help you get free and prevent further damage. Jesus paid the price for our healing – spirit, soul, and body – and we bring Him glory when we gain the freedom He willingly and lovingly paid for!

The Power and Purpose of the Gift of Discernment

In over twenty years of ministry, I’ve run into a lot of confusion and misunderstanding fiery dovewhen it comes to the spiritual gift of discernment. I don’t claim to be an expert on it, by any means. Most of what I have learned about it has come the hard way, by making mistakes along the way. I hope this brief article will provide some clarity.

The gift of discernment is listed in the spiritual gifts list found in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, where it is referred to as “discerning of spirits.” It is also mentioned in Hebrews 5:14. Both of these verses use the same Greek word which literally means, “to separate, discriminate; to learn by discriminating, to determine, decide, a judging; judicial estimation.”  In 1 Corinthians 14:29, it is used of “discerning” what is of the Holy Spirit in a gathering of believers where prophecies are spoken. It’s primary purpose is to discern what God is doing and/or saying in a meeting or situation.

In 1 Corinthians 11:31, the same word is used in judging oneself, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” This refers to discerning whether we are operating in the Spirit, in our soul, or in the flesh. This is its second purpose. This includes discerning if other people are, as well. However, this is not for the sake of making a character call of anyone. Discernment can tell you what someone is operating in, whether Spirit, soul, or demonic spirit, but it doesn’t tell you how they got to that place.

It’s third purpose is for discerning the operation of demonic spirits. In Acts 16:16-18, we see Paul operating in this kind of discernment. “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future… This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.” Though the spirit speaking through her was telling the truth, Paul’s spirit was troubled and he recognized it as an evil spirit and set her free from it.

When God reveals something through the gift of discernment and we mistakenly use it to judge or accuse someone, we are partnering with the accuser of the brethren, Satan. This grieves God’s heart greatly, for His purpose in revealing it, especially if it’s negative, is so we will partner with His heart in intercession for that person to be set free. I have ministered to many believers who have been deeply wounded by brothers or sisters who used their “discernment” to call them out and judge them. Others have been ostracized and slandered because of gossipers who often share what they believe they discerned as a “prayer request” for a backslidden brother or sister.

Discernment is not suspicion; there is no spiritual gift of suspicion. If we are operating in suspicion, we need healing and possibly deliverance. Discernment is not judging for the sake of condemning. In Hebrews 5:14 we are told discernment comes with maturity. “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” It is God’s way of sharing His heart with us for those who are wounded and trapped in bondage. Our response should be the same as His, mercy and compassion that fuels our prayers that He would heal and deliver them. If we are found faithful, we may be privileged to be the one He uses to set them free!

The Value of Stillness

I love stillness. Maybe it’s because of my age, or my personality type (mostly introvertedstill waters melancholy). I haven’t always loved it, though. When I was younger I hated being alone or having nothing to do. I was more comfortable with continual noise than silence. Looking back on where I was and where I am now, I can see God has taught me the importance and great value of having regular times of being still and quiet.

Stillness is not necessarily external. I’ve discovered that one can be inwardly still when surrounded by people, loud noise, and even chaos. It has taken many years to learn this. The greatest determining factor, I believe, is learning to quiet the soul. This first requires some inner healing and deliverance from damaged emotions and tormenting thoughts. Once that has been taken care of it is easier to tune into your spirit, which is in union with the Holy Spirit. Because He typically speaks in a still, small voice, it is very difficult to discern what He is saying when we are unable to quiet our soul.

When we struggle to quiet our souls, it is easy for confusion to enter in, causing us to think God is saying something that is really coming from our own desires. I have done this many, many times, and seen others do it as well. This usually leads to inner turmoil, discouragement, and disappointment with God when things don’t turn out as we had hoped.

In contrast, a quiet soul is a trusting soul. When we learn to still the inner turmoil, we can rest in God’s faithfulness and provision. David spoke of this in Psalm 131:2, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” A weaned child no longer cries for its mother’s milk. He has learned that his needs will be met. 

When we are able to be inwardly still and take regular time to do so, we hear God more easily and learn to trust Him as we enter into deeper intimacy. The deeper we go in Him, the greater our desire for more of Him becomes, and the more quickly we are transformed into His likeness. The stiller the water, the clearer the reflection. We can actually accelerate our spiritual growth and maturity by taking time to learn and practice stillness.

If you struggle with stillness, what is hindering you?