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 Others will react the opposite, becoming rebellious, withdrawn, and angry.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

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Raising Mature Sons and Daughters

fullsizeoutput_75dWhen God created humanity, He created family. His desire for a family, I believe, came from the relationship within Himself, the Trinity. Though we think of and refer to God as being male, Scripture tells us that He created both men and women in His likeness. Without going into a lot of detail, I believe the Holy Spirit displays the feminine side of God. I wrote an article on this some time ago, if you haven’t read it, you can do so here. So family, humanly speaking, is an extension and overflow of the family that exists within the Trinity.

We are God’s sons and daughters. We are capable of producing sons and daughters, both biologically and spiritually. Everything in the natural is a picture of a far greater spiritual reality. (1 Cor. 15:46) As biological, or natural, parents, we are responsible to help guide and teach our children, disciplining them as we see fit, until they reach maturity. The same is true of spiritual parents. Parenting is not about controlling our children. When children are raised by controlling parents, they become controlling parents, as the sins of the father and mother are passed down the family line. It matters not if they are our biological or spiritual children. (I’m not ignoring adopted children here, the same applies to them as well).

In order for children, natural or spiritual, to reach maturity, they must be given the freedom and opportunity to make choices for themselves. This is of critical importance, even when those choices are poor ones. Failing to do so will create victims, people who refuse to take responsibility for their choices, who blame shift when they make mistakes. Our society is full of victims now, we certainly don’t need anymore. I’m not saying we should let them do things that are illegal, obviously; if they are doing something to hurt themselves or others, we should intervene whenever possible.

People, including children, learn best by making mistakes and then dealing with the consequences of those mistakes. If we continually correct them, chastise them when they fail, or bail them out when they get in trouble, we are robbing them of their chance to develop wisdom. Yes, it is hard to watch our children suffer, but we must if they are going to become mature. Parents who must control their children’s choices and behavior do so out of their own insecurity and fear of their children reflecting negatively upon them. This, in essence, is putting your own needs and desires above those of your children. In addition, it is helping to foster a fear of failure that is difficult to get free from.

Children need lots of encouragement and affirmation. I’ve heard it said that it takes twenty positive statements to counter one negative one. As parents, we should be our children’s biggest fans and greatest cheerleaders. They sure won’t get that from the world, and if they don’t get it from us, they will live life always looking for it in their relationships, accomplishments, career, etc., none of which can substitute or satisfy that need. Scripture says that if God is for us, who can be against us? He is for us even in our weakness, brokenness, and sinfulness. When we have the assurance of our parent’s love and acceptance, we will have confidence to face the critics that are out there.

When a child knows his parents love him unconditionally – no matter what – they are free to grow into their mature identity as a much loved child. When they know they will not be rejected in the face of failure, they will feel the freedom to take risks which are so important to walking by faith. All good parents want their children to exceed what they have accomplished in life, and will do all that is in their power to help them do that. If you want to raise mature biological or spiritual sons and daughters, you will make whatever sacrifices are necessary. We must remember they really belong to God and are given to us as gifts we must steward wisely.

 

 

Recognize and Get Free From Unrealistic Expectations

Have you ever expected something from someone that they didn’t live up to? I’m sure reality-check-ahead-sign-unrealistic-stealing-dreams-blog-e1407820920643-400x400every person that has ever lived or ever will, has. I suppose it is just part of our human nature. We expect things from the people around us all the time, mostly without realizing it. We expect our friends and family to be there when we need them. We expect our spouse or significant other to always love us. We expect our children to adopt our values. We expect others to be grateful when we help them. These are just a few examples.

It’s not necessarily wrong to expect certain things from others. But when we expect more than they are capable of giving or doing, our expectations are unrealistic. When we have unrealistic expectations, we set ourselves up to be hurt and disappointed. Years ago when I was very wounded, I actually expected my husband to be able to read my mind…no joke. I had some pretty serious issues. Each time he failed to do so, which was pretty much all the time, my heart was more deeply wounded. As I later learned, no one is capable of reading my mind, other than God. It wasn’t my husband’s fault or intention to hurt me, it was my own naivete or stupidity that was at fault. It was a lie I was believing from the enemy.

I have seen many others fall into this same trap. Maybe you have, too. So how do we avoid making this same mistake? First, ask the Lord to show you any unrealstic expectations you may have towards anyone. One possible sign is continual conflict in relationships, or a pattern of broken relationships. Another is continual feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, or betrayal. Be honest with yourself when you are hurt by someone. Ask yourself what you were expecting from that person. If your expectation seemed reasonable, then try talking through the issue or get counseling from a third person if needed. If you were expecting more than was humanly possible, take responsibility for your mistake, apologize, and seek forgiveness.

Sometimes it may help to put yourself in the other person’s place. How would you feel if they were expecting from you, what you were expecting from them? Ask the Lord to show you the lies you may be believing. Renouce and break agreement with them, and receive His truth. Avoid blame shifting; it never resolves anything but only adds to the problem and the hurt. Look to the Lord to fulfill the needs only He can meet. Some needs aren’t meant to be fulfilled by people. God designed us to be dependent upon Him first and foremost. What we receive from others is then just icing on the cake. Expecting others to be your all, to make you happy, complete, satisfied or fulfilled will only lead to hurt, anger, and disappointment. It isn’t that others may not want to be that, but that they cannot. They aren’t made to, and neither are you made to be someone’s all in all.

Take responsibility for your unrealstic expectations and do whatever is necessary to change them. This will set you free to love and enjoy your relationships without the weight of those expectations being placed upon them. Changing your beliefs will also help prevent unnecessary hurt and disappointment. Remember that even those with the best intentions will let you down at times, all of us do. We are all in need of God’s infinite grace and mercy!

 

Breaking the Pattern of Codependency

Broken people produce broken relationships. You don’t have to look far to see them. codependentMost of us have, no doubt, been a part of one – or several. One of the most destructive patterns is called codependency, or enabling. This type of relationship is very common, even among believers. The term codependent is defined as, “of or relating to a relationship in which one person is physically or psychologically addicted, as to alcohol or gambling, and the other person is psychologically dependent on the first in an unhealthy way.” Codependency is “a state of mutual dependence between two people, especially when one partner relies emotionally on supporting and caring for the other partner.” 

Codependent people suffer from a lack of identity; therefore, they take on the identity of caregiver to the other person. Often, the other person is looking for someone to “fix” them, because they are unwilling to take responsibility for their own behavior. They usually have some type of addictive behavior, like drugs, alcohol, sex, etc., that they feel powerless to overcome. These unhealthy actions feed off of each other. The enabler needs to be affirmed and validated, and they seemingly find this by taking care of the helpless one. This pattern produces two victims – the first eventually resents the constant demands and control of the other, the second is allowed and enabled to continue in their dysfunction with no confrontation or requirement to take responsibility.

If this sounds familiar, the good news is that we can find freedom from these unhealthy patterns of relating. The enabler needs to understand that their affirmation, validation, and identity only come from God. The need to feel significant is one of our basic human needs, so He wants to give it to us; we just have to ask. Song of Solomon is a wonderful example of how He affirms us over and over until we become secure in His love and our identity as His beloved.

The person who struggles with addiction needs to know that Jesus paid the price for their freedom. Scripture says that, “…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Joel 2:32) People cannot save, heal or deliver, only God can. These ones must repent for seeking deliverance from someone other than the Lord and turn to Him. They must be willing to take responsibility for their behavior and no longer blame others.

God wants us all to fully depend upon Him for He is our Father and longs to relate to us as one. He alone is faithful and true and will always act in our best interest. People with even the best intentions will let us down. Others can help us along the way, but they cannot be our source for that which only God can give us. He will save, heal, and deliver when we call upon His name!