The King is Enthralled by Your Beauty…My Cinderella Story

 

cinderella_2015_movie_hd_wallpaper_desktop_a8sy2Today I want to address women. 

Men, don’t stop reading because I think you can learn something from this story when it comes to us women, so read on if you dare.

Sometime between the dreams of our feminine youth and yesterday a treasure has been lost it seems in so many of us, if not all.   And that treasure is our hearts, and how we were created to be.  God has set within us a femininity that is powerful and tender and alluring.   

 ella_and_the_prince_in_cinderella-wallpapers (1)I think every woman secretly longs for that Prince to come riding in to rescue her from the woes of life.   In unveiling the mysteries of a woman’s soul I find that we were all created to long to be desired.  We all long for romance and intimacy.  He created us that way.   It is nothing to be ashamed of.  

 It’s just that we have gone to great lengths to satisfy that longing in all the wrong ways.

 The longings God has written deep in our hearts actually reveal to us the life He wants us to live.   For so many of us those desires have gone unmet and long neglected.  Many of us live in fantasy worlds of addictions and men to try to fill that unmet need for escape into being valued and desired.   We try to numb the aches in our hearts.   But our hearts are still there crying out to be set free and to find the life we desire.  

 Jesus is the only One who can fulfill our deepest need and longings whether we are married or single.

Last week, my granddaughter Savanna and I experienced a disappointment together when we traveled to a place that we had planned to go and found we could not continue with our plans due to extenuating circumstances.  As we left to return home we both began to share our love for Jesus with each other and decided instead of being sad our plans were thwarted, that we would go see Cinderella instead.  

 What a plan, right?

 Then as we arrived we challenged each other to see the story in a different light.   We would watch it with the idea that Jesus was the Prince in Cinderella’s story and she would be us.  And the wicked stepmother and the 2 evil step-daughters would be Satan and his evil spirits trying their best to convince Cinderella was not beautiful, desirable, or loved..but instead a worthless woman who would never amount to anything.  

 Hmmmm…how many women really, deep down, feel that way?

 Do you long for your own Cinderella story?

 Who doesn’t long to rise from her humble past, discover the best in herself, and be appreciated by a true, lasting love.

 Yet, her own efforts to fill the yearning often ends in tatters. And no man can rescue her.

 The Cinderella fairy tale provides a powerful allegory for women’s deepest hopes and dreams and the God who longs to fill them. For all of us who have wrestled with disillusionment, abandonment, our own limitations, and the lies that whisper we’re not beautiful, there is someone who longs for us the same way we long for Him…and if we learn to follow his lead every promise He’s ever made proves true.

Cinderella was a beautiful woman with great potential, but she was bound by an environment and wickedness coming against her, and  that constantly put her down and tried to reduce her to nothing! 

One day the Prince knocked on her door.

il_fullxfull.522314485_19nlWe know about the Ball, the Prince and her Slipper.  The Prince never forgot her; she was unique.  He did not give up his search until he found her.   

There are a lot of women today living like Cinderella, bound to situations, living in insecurities and addictions that are robbing them of their peace and joy.

Maybe you have met the Prince of Peace, but you have fallen into emotional bondage or other traps of the enemy.

There is HOPE!

akiane-kramarik-jesus-painting

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, knows where you are and how long you have been there. His desire for you is that you walk in the freedom of His presence and provision and an intimacy with Him that has no end.

I believe that women today are waiting for something external to come along and transform their lives. We may venture into the world, travel, go to college, or make money. But underneath it all lurks a wish to be saved, a deep yearning for dependence on a rescuer. These largely repressed attitudes, I believe, are holding women down because they don’t yet know we already have a Prince standing before us…..waiting for us to take His hand.

There are so many parallels in the story of the Prince seeking her out with fervor.   He could not go on until he found her.  He had eyes for only her and when he saw her He knew she belonged to Him.  

dancing cinderellaHe swept her off her feet.   

We can see this as the church itself in a more general term.  For we are the Bride and He is the Bridegroom and He longs for intimacy with His Bride.  He seeks us out for relationship with Him.  But we are so busy trying to find that one thing to fill our deepest longings that we miss Him standing there with His hand outstretched for you…and that He is that ONE thing.

But in an even more personal light, as an individual, He has eyes for only you.  Can you even imagine it?

sho123234LARGEAt the end of the story both Savanna and I were amazed, since we were looking at it from a Jesus-as-our-Prince viewpoint, that when the slipper fit her foot, and the Prince took her in His arms, she knew she was to go with Him…her heart’s desire.  

And there standing on the staircase was the wicked stepmother with a look of shock on her face.  She was looking through the bars of the staircase.   It was the appearance of Satan bound behind bars, defeated once again in keeping the Princess from her Prince.

And the two evil step-daughters?   They were running around trying to look like the perfect sisters all along, chattering and looking like fools…just as the enemy always ends up looking.

Cinderella turns and with a look of fulfillment on her face, simply says to the step-mother and the 2 step daughters,

“I FORGIVE YOU”…. 

Powerful words of freedom from the enemy.  No more lies. She now knows who she is and knew that this was the plan all along for her life.

The King is enthralled by your beauty.”  Psalm 45:11

A few months ago I went to a classical concert with a friend.   The orchestra was lovely and I enjoyed the music but soon became bored as I need more of a visual to entertain me.  Don’t judge me.  I just do.

I decided to close my eyes and let my imagination run with the music. 

And there I was in a beautiful ball gown entering the gates of glory.   My Prince was standing there in the most beautiful tuxedo I had ever seen.   It was white and shimmered like tiny diamonds sparkling off water.  He had eyes that drew me in.  Our eyes met and there was a depth of  love I had never experienced before…..as I stood there breathless and in awe. 

He only had eyes for me.

I walked over to Him and His arm was reaching towards me and He smiled.   I took His hand and He swirled me into a waltz that seemed to consume every inch of my being. 

maxresdefaultWe danced around and around and He lifted me higher and higher until we were dancing on mountain tops and over the seas.   The crescendo of the music kept rising to the plateau of complete immersion into Him as it swirled around us.

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. Psalm 149:3

 As He motioned for me to look down with his head,  there before me was the throne of God glistening with the colors of the rainbow and shooting off ceaseless jewel colored rays of piercing light that overflowed into  the atmosphere around us.  I looked into His eyes and the love that filled my every longing was there and that was all that mattered.  I rested my head on His shoulder and felt safe.

His fragrance filled my soul.

I became lost in HIM. 

Oh, the joy of it. 

The LORD your God among you is powerful— he will save and he will take joyful delight in you. In his love he will renew you with his love; he will celebrate with singing because of you.  Jeremiah 3:17

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nHave you met your Prince in this way yet?   He is standing right there.  Open your spiritual eyes and behold Him…….

Unhealed Relationship Wounds…The Patterns of Our Unhealthy Choices

Broken-ChainsGeorgia had finally reached the end of her rope when she came in for coaching.  She was on her 3rd husband and could not understand why he was so much like the former 2 husbands who were rageful, controlling and vengeful.  She longed for a peaceful marriage but her feeble attempts to ‘fix’ these men had made her feel like such a failure and her husband helped her along with that by saying that yes, she was a loser in everything she did.

But what Georgia didn’t understand was that she kept seeking her own healing from years of abuse by a rageful father through men that were just like him.  She would just jump into the first relationship that made her feel comfortable– without seeking healing from Jesus so she could walk away from her past and make wiser choices in who she connected with. 

relationship difficultiesThe problem was the men that made her feel comfortable only made her feel that way because they reminded her of her father.  She had this need to repeat the life she had with him– to try to make it come out right in order to fill the gaping hole her father left in her in her growing up years.

And the pattern was bound to be repeated in failed marriages over and over again until Georgia finally found her way to allow the  Holy Spirit into those wounded places.

Unhealed relational wounds drive us to compulsive attempts to repair the damage. Without being aware of it, we seek out people we believe can “fix” what’s wrong with us or help us find a piece of ourselves we feel is missing.

man-crawling-in-desert-dying-of-thirstWe function emotionally like the man dying of thirst who sees a mirage and hurries to it only to find it is dry sand.   His perceptions are driven by his need.

We are rarely aware that something in us wants completeness.  The truth is we long for Jesus continually because He is the one who  has really set eternity in our hearts. Within us, our spirits, we know the answer lies in Him. But our soulish realm, the mind , will and emotions has to be renewed and healed so we can change ourselves from the inside out.

But if we remain unaware of the powerful forces at work within us conditioned by our past emotional injuries, such as our family dynamics and how we responded to it, we can be blind to its influence and seek out the completeness we lack by making all the wrong choices. For example, consider the following scenarios:

  • The codependent person lacks assertiveness and the ability to confront, so she attracts controlling and aggressive people. (Georgia’s case)

  • The rageful person can’t bear to feel emotions that make her sad, so she finds empathic people who won’t confront her moods.

  • The rigid, black-and-white person with walls a mile thick is not able to let go of control, so he seeks out spontaneous, creative people who won’t try to control him.

  • The over-responsible, guilt-ridden person lacks self-care and feels like a loser, so she finds self-absorbed people who care for no one but themselves.

These kinds of responses do not reflect God’s intentions for us in any way. And they don’t lead to healthy or fulfilling connections.

But we are not complete without relationship with Him and knowing Him as our healer from the past.

303161_414645191931368_893377415_nWe have missing pieces— holes in us that we carry from childhood into adulthood.

The path to completeness or wholeness is to find a relational context and healthy relationships within community in the body of Christ…..finding those who you can trust and be vulnerable with and who can help you finish the emotional work that enables you to grow into the capacities you lack and become who you were always meant to be.

The first step is admitting to the pattern and seeking help.

 “You complete me” is a great line from a movie, but it doesn’t work in real relationships.  Another human being is simply not capable of making you feel complete.   Your sense of worth has to come from God and His complete work in your life.   Our pasts to not have to dictate our futures.

That is why most of us need to put less energy into romance and more into personal growth. It pays off later in romance.  I recently saw this posting on Face book that got a resounding “YES” from me.

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek HIM to find her!”

Complete people attract other complete people.

We all need relationships that are supportive and caring in order to thrive. And while there can be excitement and drama with a person who follows your old patterns of dysfunction, it will ultimately be exhausting, if not debilitating. Setting boundaries and expressing your needs clearly will not only detract unhealthy people from seeking you out, and make them less attractive to you, but it will also attract people who are healthy enough to be there for you as well.

10997005_10206299093105369_4155483824397253812_nAnd that is where the real passion, excitement and God’s love will emerge.

Don’t let unhealed relational wounds or the pain of a past relationship affect your future.

You CAN prevent the past from repeating itself. 

4 Steps to Healing “The Father Wound”

Father-and-child-holding-hands-247x300Caden had trouble just being himself…He always had to wear a mask of perfection for fear of not being accepted.  No one knew the real Caden.  Inside he yearned for love and validation and thought the only way he could do that is be someone other than who he is.  Underneath he had violent anger always brewing.  What is at the root?  His father left him when he was 6 and said he wasn’t ever coming back to live with him again.  In the ensuing years his father would come to town to visit his new wife’s family and wouldn’t even call Caden.  Caden found out through his friends.  It was a small town.  So, Caden had a split personality.  One side of him was raging, but he kept it carefully hidden…most of the time.  The other side of him was the perfect family man loved by all.   He was a walking time bomb.

Maddy has spent her life yearning for her Dad’s attention, but time and again his attention went to alcohol instead.  She adored her dad but he was always distracted with his heavy need for a numbing agent because of his own pain and his own father wounds.  When she was a  teen, Maddy’s dad was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and went to jail….now,  Maddy lost all sense of who she was in this world.  It took her many years to learn her worth outside of her Dad.  He loved her but alcohol ruled him most of her life.  He was an absent Dad.

Joyce’s dad left when she was a adolescent.  Joyce was molested when very young by another family member.  Her dad couldn’t handle this so left the family to go out on his own.   When her dad abandoned her, Joyce sought male attention through her boyfriends and was led into a world of sex and drugs, and eventually married an alcoholic, which ended in more rejection. Joyce thinks today that there is not a man that can be trusted.

Tom heard his dad rage at his mom for years.  As a little boy, he would lock himself in his room and put his head under the pillow to try to drown out the yelling.  He became very introverted and quiet.   He isolated himself and was afraid to trust anyone for years.  He began to feel his dads rage and struggled with his lack of direction in life with no role model.  Today he is not sure how he feels about God.

There are many father’s that are physically available but not emotionally. They satisfy the material needs for their families, but are incapable of fulfilling the need for intimacy and connection in their children. 

Father-holding-child-with-delight-300x300‘Every man carries a wound. And the wound is nearly always given by his father.” ~ John Eldredge

All of these people I have talked about have a hard time relating to God as their Father…their “Abba, Daddy.”

I, too, for many years, had a hard time relating to God as Daddy– but more to Jesus as my constant companion.  I was a victim of incest by my dad and spent my years growing up avoiding being alone with him. It is hard to relate to what an earthly dad should be like, or one who makes you feel safe when you are with him.

father-and-child-google-images-300x150A father is one of the most important role models in our lives. To feel loved and accepted by your dad is vital to you having a healthy relationship with God and with others.   Unfortunately, there are many of us who didn’t have that. 

Does that mean we are exempt from having a healthy relationship with our loving God, the Father if we didn’t have a Dad that was trustworthy?  Of course not!

There is nothing impossible with God.  We just have to be willing to do the work!

Some of our deepest wounds stem from a lack of intimacy with our earthly fathers.

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nIf men don’t seek God’s healing from this wound they will likely repeat this pattern in their  own lives with their children.   If women don’t seek God’s healing from lack of intimacy with a safe Dad, they, too, will repeat the patterns down through the generations of their families by choosing men that is like their Dads in order to somehow to fulfill her own needs of a dad by repeating the process. 

But, good news….

You have the power to break this generational pattern starting with your own healing!

If you struggle with understanding and receiving God’s love, it may be related to the internal pain caused by the lack of affection from your father. The father wound will block you not only from knowing God’s love for you, but also from your ability to love others fully.

But, good news, there are some steps you can take to find restoration for your broken heart.  Your past does not have to dictate your future.  Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to be everything we need!

Embracing the Father’s love is at the core of living the abundant life that Christ died for you to live.

hidingAs painful as it may be you must re-visit the past and find where the gaps are. Go back to the times you felt rejected or hurt by your dad and face those painful memories. Maybe he didn’t protect you or keep you safe, or maybe he was never around. Whatever the case, write down any thoughts you may have. This is an important step towards resolving your pain.

What emotions do you feel when you see the pictures I have posted on this blog site?   Does it reflect what your relationship with your father ought to have been? Do they make you feel sorrow for what you didn’t have.

When I look at them myself I feel numb.  I can’t relate to them because I never had that.

Many years ago, I did this exercise in a small recovery group I was leading.

father-and-son-4-300x200We looked at photographs of fathers loving their children. The room was silent as each woman reflected on her own relationship with her earthly father.

The only sound we heard was the sound of tears and for some you could see blank faces or angry faces. For the first time ever, many of the women allowed themselves to feel the pain that night because they were willing to imagine  what an endearing relationship with their dads would feel like. They told me later it was a very painful but healing exercise for them.

Try to discover and face the emotions you have carried with you due to the lack of love you’ve received from your father.

Allow yourself to grieve for the little child that was robbed of the rich relationship that comes from an attentive, caring father.  It was a loss you must recognize so you can allow the Lord to now come and fill that empty place.  Here are some steps to help you get there.

  1. Step one in your healing from the father wound is to face your pain and to step out of denial.  Admit you have been wounded.

  2. Step two, once you can admit that you have been wounded by your father, then you can start the process of recovery.

  • jesus-with-children-0408Go to your Father in Heaven and talk to Him about your sadness and pain. The truth is that He is the only one that can heal the father wound you carry. He is the only one that you can count on to never fail you or leave you.

  • You can trust Him to carry you through your journey of healing. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the areas of your life that are bruised or damaged.

  1. Step 3 is to forgive your dad.

  • This step may be the most painful one, but it is the most critical one.

  • Forgiveness is a process that starts with prayer. Pray through gritted teeth if you have to, but push yourself to pray and ask God to help you to forgive your dad. Remember, forgiveness is not saying what you did to me is okay.  It is saying I release you to God so that I am no longer tied to the pain.

  • cupped handsExtend grace to your earthly father for all the imperfections he has. Forgive him for every pain he has caused you. Say it out loud. Cry if you need to cry.

  • If possible, have a friend with you for this step for support and encouragement.

  • Set yourself free from the father wound by faith and allow your heavenly Father to heal you.

 

  1. Step four is to recognize that only God the Father can fulfill all your needs through His son, Jesus.

  • It’s never too late to let God replace His love for that which was missing from your earthly father.

jesus and boy“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.”  Psalm 68:5-6

Take a risk, open your heart and fully grasp the Father’s love for you. He is your ultimate Daddy and He adoringly calls you His child

And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. 6:18

May the Lord guide you and comfort you as you surrender your father wound to Him, and may you be healed forever so that you can live a rich and satisfying life.

 “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father.‘” ~ Romans 8:15

I want to tell you that despite the depths of your wounds, and I know for many of you those run dramatically deep, that you are not defined by your genealogy. 

As you process and pray through your “father wounds” you will experience the love and delight of your Heavenly Father. You are His! You are the Beloved! You are precious in His sight!

530443_10150790377567355_563857079_n“Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.” 
–Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved.

The Gnawing Ache of Our Restless Discontentment

o-WOMAN-WRITING-facebookMy prayer:

“I’ve been in a slump Lord and wondering why I feel bored with my life and finally realizing the One I miss is You.  Interesting because I feel You with me all the time.  But You are teaching me that if I don’t take the time to sit and listen to You,  my intimate needs of connecting with you will wane.

You are who I miss.  It is You I need. 

When I can’t put my finger on what I’m lacking then I can always know it is You.  Oh, for the body of Christ to learn this truth!  There wouldn’t be so many needy people. 

So, here I am my Love.  I long for You in the deepest places.   In the depth of my soul. 

Fill my cup back up Lord.  Fill me up and make me whole.  Give me energy again, and health, and vitality.

Hope and vision.

Thank you for Your patience with me and your long-suffering.  Thank you also for the vision of me as an uncut diamond that You are in process of chiseling away the dark coal–which is causing the light of Yourself to shoot off of me in so many ways. 

Wow!  I can see it!

As I waited on Him, He replied,

jesus-christ-widescreen-wallpapers-04Yes, my love it is about your depletion of me.  This is the next step of intimacy.  You already know that I walk with you every moment, but now you must remember that when you are feeling lonely, sad, bored, and have a lack of vision it is me you are being called to connect with.

Your reserves are depleted when you give out of yourself so much of the time and you get distracted.  You forget to move all distractions out of the way and just sit with me, so I can fill you up.

I am your very life line.

Instead of turning to everything else, including connecting with people, you must turn to Me.  If you do this, you will find your rest and peace and restored hope for the life I have called you too. 

diamond 2Yes, you are My diamond. The rays of My light shoot off of you as I have been chiseling away on everything that obscures my light.  This will continue to manifest more and more as you walk on in the face of the chiseling.  Your suffering for me has not gone unnoticed and your maturity in rising above the flesh in the many hardships you have faced has made Me delight over you with joy. 

Feel My smile, Dixie.

Feel My love, Dixie.

Feel My presence enveloping you, Dixie.

I love you!”

 I have shared with you my most recent conversation with Jesus.  This came out of a time when I was needy and not realizing what it was I needed.

So I asked Him!

Do you stop and just ask Him what it is you need at those confusing moments.  Sometimes we just don’t even think about asking Him what our problem is.

 Jesus sees you as His precious treasure….. and He longs to have a close relationship with you.

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nMore than anything He wants you to have an intimate love relationship and friendship with Him. God wants you to spend time with Him and intimately communicate with Him, to enjoy fellowship with Him, to trust and follow Him, and to give your life meaning and purpose by giving you the privilege of joining Him in His life here on earth.

All of humanity, can be defined as a vast, gaping need. Looking across the globe of this generation we witness men and women, young and old, throwing themselves into entertainment, recreation, technology, food, music, friends, and a host of things as they grope for the answer to the riddle of why they are alive and seek to silence the screaming voice of yearning in their souls.   

has-gaming-lost-its-humanity-20110927075056174And throw in these troubling times of terror and the unknown of what we will face before we are taken out of here is gripping people with fear…and distracting them from the very One who can give them peace when our world is seemingly falling apart.

No matter how much we buy, who we know, or what fleeting pleasures we experience, we find that none of it can quench the insatiable thirst in the depths of our being. So it is that day after day we go about panting and groaning for something that will satisfy the desires that dominate our inner man.

sadIt is in the gnawing ache of this restless discontentment so familiar to us all that the subject of intimacy with God finds its significance.

Intimacy is a word being thrown around a lot in our day, both inside and outside of the Church.

 Some of us are afraid of it.

 We all know that we want it because, on some level, we believe that only God can fill that void in our hearts. Still, for most of us, we don’t know quite how to get it, and what it actually means when we’re referring to intimacy with God Himself.

 We must realize that it is not just a certain way of speaking about God nor is it merely a feeling we experience.

 Intimacy with God consists of relational knowledge – we are most intimate with those whom we know at the deepest levels. Jesus stands at the center of this pursuit because in His face we see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God and that is what intimacy is really all about.

 One of the most common disillusions  relates to how He feels about you.  From years of various and sundry teachings born out of our organizational churches, deep inside we think that Jesus is mostly unemotional and distant, except for how disappointed He is with us – that is the one feeling many of us are convinced He does actually feel.

 Yet the truth is that His heart is full of love and desire for you. This isn’t just an idea or a sweet sentiment, but a reality that He put on display in every moment of His life.

 545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1In drinking in the wild beauty of this Man, your soul will at last find its rest. This is intimacy, and this is what you were created for – to enjoy and adore the splendor of His glory forever.

So forgetting what is behind, let us press on to know Him.

Sugar Coated Anger….15 Ways to Recognize Passive Aggressive Behavior!

7699943_f260My belief has always been, when the dark and hidden areas of our minds are exposed to light and truth, the darkness has to go.  Light and darkness simply cannot dwell in the same place. 

So, as a Life Coach, I endeavor to ask the right questions that will uncover areas in ourselves that will ultimately answer our questions and set us free from bondage.  Or to help us see the truth within relationships that perplex us, that also sets us free from the actions of others.

Sometimes our communication and conflict management patterns can be out of whack.  

This can be for a variety of reasons based on our background and learned behavior.  Those patterns can change with some insights, skills and relationship help.

And if you want it to change. 

You have to want it to change. 

It is always about a choice, isn’t it?

So, if this post helps you see your own passive-aggressive behaviors, you will understand why others find it difficult to be around you, trust you, and respect you as you would like to be trusted and respected.

passive-aggressive-spouse (1)You confuse them.  People move away from folks who purposefully confuse them — if they are smart.  It can be such a drain.

Or if it answers your questions or rings a bell in some of your relationship conflicts with the other people in your life who have these traits this will help you realize you are not really crazy–and it is not you!

Just becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that our behavior patterns change overnight.  The minute we become believers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are born anew.  We get brand new hearts, alive unto God.  And we are saved by His grace, not by our own goodness, but by His. 

But our souls, (mind, will, and emotions) have to be renewed on a daily basis by a continued pursued relationship with Jesus.  His spirit helps us to change and it is never ending growth.  We have to learn how to recognize old coping skills from the past and allow the Lord to show us how to move past them and find our security, comfort, and value from Him alone.

So, I am offering you a list of what you can look for in a passive aggressive person, or to even recognize some of the traits in yourself.  If so, I hope you find it home-hitting and immediately revealing and you start the journey to correct it.

passiveaggression1If these traits describe you as you usually are, I invite you to sit up and take notice.  You likely do not even realize you are doing these things.  Once you read them and ponder your own behavior, you may finally understand why you are having difficulties having the relationships you most want, at home and at work or in the church.

More good news, the more willing to work on yourself you are, the greater your chances of having the life with others that you crave.  When you realize how you are pushing them away by your crazy-making behaviors, you can change things within yourself. When you are trustworthy within yourself, you will be perceived as trustworthy by others.

Although men and women express their passive-aggressive behaviors somewhat differently, generally, you are behaving in passive-aggressive ways if you are regularly:

1. Unwilling to speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone.

How this shows up in communication is being “assertively unassertive”.  You say “Yes” (assertive) when you really mean “No way” (unassertive).  Then, you let your behavior say “No way” for you.  People become confused and mistrusting of you.

2. Appearing sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath and your actions are just off enough to the point that those close to you sense it.  It makes those around you annoyed and confused.

sb_passiveagressive2People who do not get along with others are interested only in themselves; they will disagree with what everyone else knows is right.  A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Pro. 18:1&2 NLT

 3. You fear direct communication because you fear rejection. You then often push away the people you care about because you don’t want to seem in need of support.

relationship difficultiesAll the while, you are afraid of being alone and so you want to control those around you so they won’t leave you.  Very confusing!

4. Complaining that others treat you unfairly frequently.  Rather than taking responsibility for stepping up and speaking your truth, you set yourself up as the (innocent) victim.  You say others are hard on you, unfair, unreasonable and excessively demanding.

5. Procrastinating frequently, especially on things you do for others.  One way of controlling others is to make them wait.  Ouch!!  I know that speaks to so many of us.  You have lots of excuses why you haven’t been able to get things done.  You even blame others for why that is so.  It’s amazingly unreasonable, but you do it even though it destroys relationship, damages careers, loses friendships and jobs.

And, you tell others how justified you are in being angry because, once again, others treated you unfairly.

6. Unwilling to give a straight answer.  Another way of controlling others is to send mixed messages, ones that leave the other person completely unclear about your thoughts, plans or intentions.

Then, you make them feel wrong when you tell them that what they took from your communication was not what you meant.  Silly them!

depositphotos_21157319-Man-telling-spooky-story7. The silent treatment.  Passive aggressive behavior is recognizable by the disconnect between what is being said and what is being done. Nothing highlights this more than the famous silent treatment. Silence generally signifies agreement but not in this case.  When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you realize that the other person is far from agreeable.  They have a big problem with you and just to allow themselves the victory, they have no intention of telling you what that is.

There are 2 other common versions of the silent treatment.  One is to answer the question ‘What’s wrong?’ with ‘nothing’, when there certainly is something wrong.  The other is to answer any question with just one word.  This is intended to signal that there is a problem, without you having to say it.

8-Examples-of-passive-aggressive-behaviourBoth expressions say “You poor confused person. You’re not worth talking to.”  But the real reason for their behavior is that they have not, cannot, or will not take responsibility for their own behavior.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 ESV

8. Frequently feeling inadequate but covering it up with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity. 

bully-free-workplacesWhether you set yourself up to be a self-sabotaging failure — “Why do you have such unrealistic expectations of me?” or a tyrant or goddess incapable of anything less than perfection, “To whom do you think you are speaking?”  You are shaking in your boots from fear of competition and being found out as less than perfect.

9. Often late and/or forgetful.  One way of driving people away is to be thoughtless, inconsiderate and infuriating.

And, then, to put the cherry on top, you suggest that it’s unrealistic to expect you to arrive on time, or, in your words, “think of everything”.  Being chronically late is disrespectful of others.  Supposedly forgetting to do what you have agreed to do is simply demonstrating your lack of trustworthiness.  Who wants to be around that for long?

Pro. 16:7   When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.

10. Making up stories, excuses and lies.  You are the master of avoidance of the straight answer.  You’ll go to great lengths to tell a story, withhold information, or even withhold love and affirmation in your primary relationships.  It seems that if you let folks think you like them too much, that would be giving them power.  You’d rather be in control by creating a story that seems plausible, gets them off your back, and makes reality look better from your viewpoint.

11. Constantly protecting yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, dependent or simply human.

12. Complaints of injustice and lack of appreciation

13. Dragging your feet to frustrate others.  Again, a control move somewhat like procrastinating, but the difference is you begin and appear as though you are doing what you said you would do.  But, you always have an excuse why you cannot continue or complete the task.  You won’t even say when it will be — or even might be — done.  Do you know anyone like this? 

people-running-scared-clipart-1044249-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Fearful-Man-RunningEverything is viewed as an attack on you.  When something doesn’t go your way, it is seen as unfair or an injustice.  It’s all about how the world impacts you.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1-20 ESV

14. Disguising criticism with compliments

At first, passive aggressive people may seem pleasant and warm.  They often appear to be complimentary.  It is only after they have left that you realize that the compliment was actually disguising a cheap jibe.

15. Always getting in the last punch.

Passive aggressive people love to throw the last punch.  So much so, that even when an argument has been reconciled, they slip one last insulting remark into the conversation. This remark is often more subtle than the ones which went before but it is still an insulting remark which allows them to feel victorious.

gods-willWe belong to God.  It is time for us to step into maturity and begin to face truth about the strong holds in our lives that hold us back from producing His fruit in us. 

The answer always lies in Jesus.  Our renewed minds will flow out from Him if we are willing to admit the truth of our actions to ourselves and then to Him.  It is not in our own power but in His.  In our weaknesses He is made strong, but we have to be willing to get out of denial and face our truth.  He will help us with the rest! 

loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

5 Things I Know By Experience About Actively Letting Go–And the Agony of It!

Letting-go21Actively letting go is a little more pro-active than when you are forced to let go. 

It’s a practice.

It’s being awake.

It can bring great relief.

Except for the agony of it!

It is not the same as “passively letting go”.  Like when you have no choice…whereby life rips stuff out of your grip, or you paint yourself into a corner, or life gets suddenly interrupted by a sudden loss.

gi-letting-go-butterfly11I’m talking about a decision to let go of something that only Jesus can heal or take care of. 

We are not saviors.  He is! 

5 Things I know by experience about actively letting go:

1. There’s always more to let go of.  Our life is a journey of surrender.  The sooner we realize we are not the fixers, the sooner we are released from the burden of trying to figure it all out.  And sometimes we have to let go of the same thing 100 times or more.

2. Letting go is painful – in varying degrees, and it is going to stretch you until you feel pain.  It leaves an emptiness, a place that the thing took up,  that you then have to ask Jesus to fill up for you.

3. When you find the strength in your spirit to be tough enough to let go, you cross over a sacred line.  And on the other side, His tenderness is waiting for you for He has just been waiting for you to release it, (or them, or whatever it is that you were holding onto).

4. Baby steps are okay, but you can’t avoid the pain that surfaces when you commit to the letting go and the longer you wait, the longer it takes to see Him fixing the thing you had a vice grip on.

5. Acceptance is obedience and obedience means intimacy with the One who stands there waiting patiently for you to get there.

emotional-painWhen you just accept that the pain of letting go is part of the deal, your let-go wound will heal faster.

I’ve had to let go of a dizzying amount of things in a relatively short amount of time:  

Our joint investigation business, a steady income as a result, my picture of what my ministry should look like by now, my books selling as fast as I wanted them too, adult children (whom God-is-doing-amazing things-in-their-lives-but-only-after-I-gave-up-trying-to-make-it-happen by-myself, and got out of His way), my house, my mother, our joint income, vacations as I knew them, Grandbabies growing up, a lifestyle I cherished, friends moving on…need I go on?   

Painful things. 

But I’ve surrendered to the endlessness of it.  And it’s a resolution that softens my spirit.  It is a solution of surrender…which means growth and trust and intimacy with the One that I trust to handle it all for me; the things out of my control…

Where I got in the way!

cupped handsDeep, deep, deep in my soul, beneath limits of time, and fantasies, and things I “captured” along the way that I thought I could fix, is the freedom that has been pulling me forward my whole life.  Forward right into His lap. 

jesus-and-meGazing into His eyes with my spirit, even though each and every time it is like cutting off an appendage, I let go of my priceless treasures that are outside of my control, and give it all to Him.

So I’m still shedding — taking deep breaths and actively letting go.  I’m not waiting until I’m ready to let go.  I’ve waited long enough.  Carried stuff long enough.  Longed long enough.

For lightness.

For that tender place, dancing with Him, on the other side of courage.

And you know what?  In each and every case after actively letting go, I have found the reality of truly living by faith…for He has never let me down.  

And I have delightfully discovered that He does a much better job of fixing than I can. 

378095_526317080764178_826390852_n-3So, take a deep breath, and as an act of faith, share with me those things you have truly let go of too! 

I would love to hear from you!

Who Has the Power in Your Life~Boundaries!

She sat in my office crying her heart out seeking an answer for depression.  A young mother of 3 children who just coPerson-under-doormatuld not seem to get it together or define why she was so unhappy and miserable.  She said she loved being a mom and her marriage was just fine.  I was stumped and began to just call on the Lord to help me, help her!  

Finally, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Ask her about her mother.”  Up until that point her mother had not been mentioned.  So I said, “Tell me about your Mom.”

She looked at me in shock and literally crumbled into a sob that went on for quite a while.   She finally was able to tell me that her mom controlled her entire life.  She had no freedom to make her own choices with her own children.  Every day her mom showed up at her house to come in and make sure she was handling her life according to what her mom wanted.   She disclosed she was not free to go out with her husband unless her mom approved and was the babysitter and knew what she was doing every minute.  It was causing problems in her marriage and her husband hated her mom for it. 

I could see the guilt and shame come in as she talked, and the little girl qualities emerge.  This girl had spent her entire life letting her mom rule everything she did.  Her mom never let her grow up and she allowed it.  She hated her weakness for not being able to tell her mom no, or being able to just grow up and take care of her own children or make her own decisions.

She was stuck.

I wish I could say I was able to help her.  Once I began to share with her about boundaries and how the power was hers to learn to say no, she began to back track and make excuses.  Her fear of her mom was palpable and it wasn’t long before I got a call that she just couldn’t afford any more sessions.  I knew she just could not handle making this shift of saying no to her mother. 

door matHow sad we give others so much power over us!

Being set free is being willing to learn to let go of controllers in our lives. 

Even when it is family. 

There are plenty of people out there who live their lives through controlling others.

Self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit. When we have self-control, and you get it from being with Jesus and asking for His self control to fill you, by faith, we maintain the ability to stand up to aggressive controllers who try to tell us who we should be and what we should do.

Do you have any controllers in your life? 

Consider the following situation in the Bible where Peter, Jesus’ disciple, acts in a controlling manner:

Mark 8: 31-33 “Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

bourndariesOne of the most important benefits of having boundaries is that we do have the ability to stand up to others when they try to control our lives.  It is hard to confront but it is absolutely necessary if you want to move forward with God at the helm of your life.

It does take courage.  But God has given you all you need to step out and take control of your own life. 

Peter wanted to impose his own design for Jesus’ life onto Jesus, but Jesus had good boundaries; he stood up to Peter and rebuked him.

Jesus showed that he was in control of himself and would not be defined and controlled by Peter, no matter how good Peter’s intentions might have been. The truth is that Peter was thinking, not of God’s purposes, but of his own agenda. Peter was trying to rescue Jesus instead of turning the situation over to God.

Are you defined by controllers or by God? 

Although we are wise to listen to others and be open to their feedback, we should never allow someone to be in control of us and define who we are.

Setting appropriate boundaries with people helps us to retain that kind of freedom and self-control.

gods-willOur actions have consequences, but If you take responsibility for things that aren’t yours–by not having boundaries, for instance–you put a roadblock into one of God’s best teaching instruments He has for His children.

The young mother I was coaching said her mom was prone to anger if she stood up to her. So, in her timidity, she walked on tiptoes around her mom, trying to placate her, and then when the mom would be pushy or tell her what to do the little-girl-mom-herself would apologize and try to repair the relationship with her mother..thus letting her mother have her way once again. 

She was the one who was reaping the discord in her home, not her mother.

 Enabling someone to control us is NOT walking in the love of God with them.  They do not have to confront their own issues as long as you give them control over you.  Their issues become yours.  How can God work in their life if you are reaping the consequence of their choices and not they themselves?

 That is why they can throw major manipulative fits when you finally say NO to their demands!

We aren’t meant to reap the consequences of the controllers actions of disobedience.  We are supposed to let people bear the consequences of their own actions.

We are each responsible for our own stuff.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus set limits on Himself. He didn’t heal everyone all the time; often He left areas where there were still people who needed His help because it was time to move to the next place. He carved out time to pray, away from His disciples, to spend time with God.   He carved out time away from the masses, just with His disciples, to train and minister to them.

 If Jesus had let His schedule be determined by what people needed Him to do rather than by what He was called to do and what He was able to do, His ministry would not have been as effective. He needed time alone to rejuvenate and time alone with God, and He took it. He knew that He couldn’t do everything–even if other people needed Him.

 He had His limits.

 

Support Groups PicWhen people join support groups for other family members of those suffering from addictions, such as Al Anon, one of the first things they are told is that you can only change yourself, and you must not take responsibility for changing another person.

But at the same time, you must also allow that other person to reap the natural consequences of their actions, or they will not change. You must stop enabling bad behavior.

 Why is it that Christians think that being a pushover, or letting others get away with wrong behavior, is Christ-like?

doormat He didn’t call us to be door-mats.

God’s will is that we look more and more like Christ.

loveIn your family, are your actions encouraging others to look more and more like Christ, or are they covering up and enabling others to look more and more un-Christlike?

 

If you aren’t setting healthy boundaries of responsibility in your own life, then it’s quite likely that others who are allowed to control you will be looking less and less like Christ, rather than more and more like Him.

Queenism photo posted by permission from http://QueenofYourOwnLife.com/