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 Others will react the opposite, becoming rebellious, withdrawn, and angry.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!

4 Keys to Prepare Our Hearts for the Coming Days

Charlene S Hughes

As a believer, if you pay much attention at all to current events in recent years, it is 4keyseasy to see that the world we live in is rapidly changing. Every day it seems, there is another headline about Christians being martyred, children being abducted and sold into sex trafficking, racial riots, celebrities changing their gender, and others. It is as if we are living in the days of Isaiah 60:2, See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,…” It can be hard, at times, to stay focused on the Lord and His promises as we watch so many sliding deeper and deeper into depravity. 

Even the Church is becoming more divided over basic biblical truths such as the institution of marriage, denying the reality of sin, hell, and eternal judgment, and claiming that all are already saved without the need for repentance. Certainly, all…

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4 Keys to Prepare Our Hearts for the Coming Days

As a believer, if you pay much attention at all to current events in recent years, it is 4keyseasy to see that the world we live in is rapidly changing. Every day it seems, there is another headline about Christians being martyred, children being abducted and sold into sex trafficking, racial riots, celebrities changing their gender, and others. It is as if we are living in the days of Isaiah 60:2, See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,…” It can be hard, at times, to stay focused on the Lord and His promises as we watch so many sliding deeper and deeper into depravity. 

Even the Church is becoming more divided over basic biblical truths such as the institution of marriage, denying the reality of sin, hell, and eternal judgment, and claiming that all are already saved without the need for repentance. Certainly, all is not lost, nor is the Church doomed to fail, but we must be aware of the signs of the times in which we live. In fact, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day for being unable to discern the signs of the times unfolding before their eyes, saying, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (Matt. 16:3b)

The danger in not being familiar with the signs of the times we live in is that we will be unprepared to face the difficulties, and take advantage of the opportunities that the signs are foretelling, when the time of their fulfillment comes. We could possibly be among those Jesus prophesied would fall away (Matt. 24:10-11). Many people, including believers, choose to turn a blind eye and not think about what could happen. Others give in to fear and self-preservation by stockpiling food, water and other material goods, hoping to somehow avoid any coming crisis. Still others are counting on being raptured away before the real troubles begin. Do any of these choices reflect the nature of Jesus?

I believe the best thing we can do to prepare ourselves for increasing difficulties is to spend time preparing our hearts. By that I mean, spending both quality and quantity time in the Lord’s presence, meditating upon His Word. The more we do this, the greater our faith will become, enabling us to stand no matter what comes against us. We also need to seek inner healing and deliverance in order to recapture any legal ground the enemy has to attack, torment, and deceive us. It also helps break lies we’ve believed about God, ourselves, and others so we can have healthier relationships. We need to be a part of a life-giving community, whether traditional church or small group, with people we know and trust. We are called a body because we need each other. We need to spend time in worship and prayer, not just at weekly meetings, but in our homes every day. Worship and prayer help us refocus on how big and awesome our God is, taking our focus off of our situations or the latest world crisis. Whatever we focus on grows.

I’m sure there are other ways, but these are a great place to start preparing your heart. Each of these require time, and time is short. We can’t afford to put off or wait until we feel like it to begin this critical preparation. Step out in faith, and trust the Lord to meet you and help you; it will be worth it!        

Shame – The Identity Thief

One of the most powerful and destructive tools of the enemy used to keep shamepeople trapped in bondage is shame. Shame has been around since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:25, an interesting statement is made: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Interesting, because it is the first mention of shame in Scripture. It seems evident that God clearly wanted to highlight this fact to us. Not only does nakedness refer to their physical state of being without clothes, but I believe it can also refer to their total emotional vulnerability. There were no barriers to intimacy between them, or in their relationship to their Creator. They had nothing to hide, no fear of being exposed, no reason to withdraw or withhold themselves from one another. What a contrast to our lives today!

By the time we get to Chapter 3, verse 7, things have changed dramatically. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and the first of many results occurred immediately: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Although both verses contain the word “naked” in English, in the Hebrew, two different words are used. The first one, found in 2:25, means to be without clothes. The second one, in 3:7, comes from a root word meaning crafty, subtle, or shrewd. I believe this is referring to their sense of wrongdoing, not just their physical state. Suddenly, they went from a state of perfect bliss, joy, and peace with one another and with God, to feeling something completely foreign to them – shame – that arose from their disobedience. In an instant, everything was distorted, corrupted, and perverted. Today, the enemy still uses this powerful weapon against God’s people.

Shame lies to us and tells us we are defective, flawed, evil, and shameful. There must be something wrong with us, it whispers in our ear. No matter how much we feel we are living to please God, one perceived wrong word, thought, or deed, and it rears its ugly head again to beat us down. Not only does it lie to us to try to steal our identity, it also convinces us that we must hide the so-called “truth” of our shamefulness from others, or we will surely be rejected, abandoned, criticized, judged, etc. Those who fall for the lies, therefore, are afraid to share their struggles with those who could help them get free. Instead, we turn to control to protect us from further pain, by wearing a mask, withdrawing, isolating, putting up walls, and other ungodly behaviors rather than taking that risk.

The truth is, we have all sinned and fallen short of what God intended us to be. We’ve all made mistakes, done stupid things we’re ashamed of, and made choices we now regret. We are all equally in need of Jesus’ blood, shed at the cross. No one sin is greater or worse than another. God knew all of this before any of us were ever created. He could have chosen not to go through with His plans. He could have decided to create beings that were programmed to obey Him perfectly. He could have elected to exist for all eternity within His own triune nature, with perfect love and harmony between Father, Son, and Spirit. But He didn’t!

Knowing all that mankind would do, He chose to make us His very own sons and daughters. He willingly agreed to pay the highest price possible to deliver us from all shame, guilt, and condemnation – and every other work of the devil! If you struggle with sin and shame, how much longer will you allow the enemy to torment and steal from you? Help is available, and freedom is your inheritance as a beloved son or daughter. Jesus already paid the price, and He deserves to receive the reward of His suffering – you!

 

Peace that Surpasses Understanding

Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by secret gardenprayer and petition, with thanksgiving. Then God’s shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua. – Philippians 4:6-7

Shalom is total well-being and wholeness; spirit, soul, and body – something that can only come from God. It is who and what He is; His nature and His character. He is the Prince of Peace/Shalom. There is absolutely NO discord within Him. This same shalom is available to all God’s children. The key is prayer with thanksgiving. Paul doesn’t say God will immediately answer every prayer, however; or that He will answer in the way that we hope He will.

The word translated “passing” can also be translated as, “superior; to excel; better than; to be above; to stand out.” When we bring our requests and concerns to God with thanksgiving, the shalom, or peace He gives, is superior to understanding. So often, we want to understand what He is doing, or why He is allowing certain things to happen, or why He hasn’t answered our prayers yet. When we experience His surpassing peace, we no longer need to understand. We resolve to trust Him because He is good. We rest in the truth that He always has our best interest at heart. He works ALL things together for our good, so we have nothing to fear. Being grateful, even in the midst of trials, is proof of our trust in Him and His leadership.

This peace keeps our hearts and minds safe in union with the Lord. The battle is not necessarily the trial we are in, but keeping our soul in union with God. Not giving in to fear, worry, doubt, unbelief, offense, etc. When our spirit stays in union with Holy Spirit, we are able to keep our soul in check. If we lose that union, our soul is unguarded and open to attack from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Prayer and thanksgiving enable us to keep our spirit in union with God, for they help us to focus on Him rather than the trouble we’re facing. We face Him, not the trial. Staying in union with Him is our place of safety and refuge. It is the secret place found in the shadow of His wings, where the enemy cannot touch us, and we are dead to the world and the flesh.

Have you experienced this kind of peace? Share your comments below.

How to Get Free From Fear

In over 20 years of ministry I have found one of the most common issues we all struggle lovefearwith is fear. Fear is defined as, “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” Fear is debilitating for many people, paralyzing them from living a fully productive life.

Fear entered the human experience in the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, Scripture says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Gen. 3:7-8) Never before had Adam and Eve tried to hide from their beloved Creator.

There are multitudes of fears that can plague us – fear of death, fear of punishment, fear of loss, fear of the dark, fear of rejection, fear of poverty, etc. Fear stems from a lack of faith, or trust in God. I have heard it said that there are 365 verses in Scripture saying, “Do not fear,” or “Do not be afraid.” This clearly indicates that God understands our tendency to be fearful, and desires we become free from these fears. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Fear does not come from God; it comes from the enemy. He uses it to control God’s people, hindering us from walking in obedience and thus, receiving God’s blessings.

When we walk in fear on a regular basis, not only are we being controlled by the enemy, but we also become controlling ourselves. We try to control others and our circumstances, believing that by doing so, we can avoid pain. There are many forms of control – isolation and withdrawal, anger and fits of rage, wearing a “mask,” passive aggression, passivity, taking on a victim mentality; these are just a few.  This is a great deception for we cannot control anything or anyone other than ourselves. The only legitimate form of control is self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7, quoted above, the word translated “sound mind” literally means self-control.

The good news is that God has given us a way to get free from fear and the control that comes with it! The Apostle John tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) God’s love is the only perfect love because He is Love. The way to get free from fear is to receive the revelation of His perfect love for you. Revelation comes from the Spirit and far exceeds mere head knowledge. If we lack this critical revelation, we must ask Him for it, knowing it is His will for us to be free – free to be loved by Him, free to love Him, others, and ourselves as He does.

The more we experience and receive His love, the more secure we will become. Our faith and trust in Him will grow stronger and deeper. We will no longer fear what others can do to us, for we will truly believe that He works all things together for our good. (Rom. 8:28) His love enables us to surrender more fully to Him, letting go of our need to control. We will be free to love and serve Him wholeheartedly. Then we can love ourselves because He does, and love and serve others with the love we have received from Him.

What effects have fears had in your life and walk with God? Comment below.