Over the past many months, through some great emotional trials, I have leaned into Him… like in a wine press.
And you know what? He actually became my strength. The hardest times in our lives are the very times He most reveals Himself.
Well, I guess we do know it is because when all is going well we really don’t lean into Him quite as much as when we are desperate for relief.
I am just talking to you today from my heart.
Every issue you may deal with in life, if you would only allow Him into it, you will find extreme comfort, growth, and an intimacy with Him that will stay with you forever…why? Because once you experience it you won’t want to lose it.
Nothing compares to it..nothing!
Recently, I was very anxious about something that I had to do and the outcome for someone I love. I fervently sought Jesus for His peace to flood me. I was relentless to find His presence in the midst of my fear. I pressed into Him and would not stop. I figure if he says His strength is found in my weakness then I needed to believe it and literally not stop until I felt it.
Because I was sure weak!
And right when I needed calm most, it happened. It felt so foreign in the face of what was happening. I slept like a baby in His arms. I had no doubt He was right there.
Then, He started talking because I was so in the realm of listening to Him. He speaks to us all the time, by the way, but we aren’t listening; or we explain away what we hear, not believing that God is actually speaking to us.
Every night I pray before sleep taking authority over the enemy bringing in evil or fear into my mind and dreams…I, with the authority He gives us, post sentries (angels) over my unconscious mind while sleeping, to not allow anything in that isn’t from God. It works every night.
While in this trial, however, as I went to pray, before the words were out, I clearly heard Him say to me;
“Yes, Dixie, I have already posted My sentries over your mind tonight and no evil or fear shall overtake you.”
Well, now that was different….He knew my prayer and already answered it before I asked and spoke it back to me! How awesome is that?
“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” Isaiah 65:24 NLT
This was one time I wasn’t doing all the talking…I shut up and listened.
He then began speaking to me about the present situation and told me that He was actively involved in the outcome and that , “He had this.” Every single time I started to fear and take the anxiety back, I clearly heard Him say to me,
“I have this, Dixie”……or “Take a breath, Dixie” “Lean into me Dixie.”….. all day that day, His words were constant in my spirit.
It took everything in my will power to stay focused on Him alone when everything around me looked like it was crashing and I knew, that once again my faith was being tested with emotional pain like I seldom experience, and I found that He was more than enough.
Going back several years ago when my life came crashing down around me and it seemed all was lost and I thought my life was over….I even thought my relationship with Jesus took a hit that might never come back…even in that darkness and agony, I found Him there.
And He said, “Nothing will separate me from you, Dixie. My love for you and my faithfulness to you will become the most important thing in your life, even when all else fails.”
And there He was, ready to lead me into a world unknown to me then, but I found it was just the beginning of a new season of my life with Him….before I taught about Him…now I really know Him–intimately.
When our hearts long for Him alone,
When our souls thirst for Him,
When the yearning inside of you moves you towards Him,
…and you know that He knows the secrets of your heart and nothing is hidden from Him,
and He sees deep inside of you and every part is revealed,
And still He chooses to cherish you,
His love will dissolve you…
Do you desire this kind of relationship? Believe me, if I can find Him in these places, then so can you. Would love to hear from you about your walk into His secret place……….
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38 NLT
“In the park we step on this bright shiny red merry-go-round. Everyone is happy and ready for a lot of love, fun and a great future.”
But then something happens. A pattern has emerged. There seems to be something very binding about your relationship. You feel like you are in prison and you can’t get out.
Codependency is living the myth that you can make yourself happy by trying to control people and events outside yourself. A sense of control or lack of control is central to everything you do and think.
Psalms 139:14 says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are unique. You have dignity and worth. As you grow in this knowledge you will no longer need to use your codependent behavior to make you feel alive and worthwhile. You WILL recover………
There has been a lot of confusion on what real love is. On the surface, codependency sounds like “Christian teaching.”
Codependents always put each other first before taking care of themselves. (Aren’t Christians to put others first?)
Codependents give themselves away. (Shouldn’t Christians do the same?)
Codependents martyr themselves. (Christianity honors its martyrs.)
But true codependents aren’t really healthy, giving people. They learn to get their validity from other people rather than from Jesus! And they hinder those people they try to “fix” in their lives and their walk with God.
It is actually the opposite of God’s love!
In its broadest sense, codependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control inner feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control or the lack of it is central to every aspect of life.
” Then Denial, Delusion, Justification, Rationalizations,
Reverse Projection… emerge…these are all signs and symptoms of a co-dependent and addicted personality…”
Jesus taught the value of the individual.
He said we are to love others equal to ourselves, not more than ourselves. In fact, it is the 2nd commandment after loving God with all your heart, mind, and body.
“ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”Mark 12:31
The love of self forms the basis for loving others in the truest sense of the word.
The differences between a life of service to others and codependency take several forms. Motivation differs.
Do you give your service freely or because you consider yourself to be of no value?
Do you seek to “please people?”
Do you act out of guilt or fear?
Do you act out a need to be needed (which means you actually use the other person to meet your own needs)?
In their book, “Love is a Choice”, Drs. Hemfelt, Minirth & Meir” state that “Codependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control, or the lack of it, is central to every aspect of life. When it comes to people, the codependent has become so elaborately enmeshed in the other person that the sense of self— personal identity — is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person’s identity and problems.”
I see signs of codependency in many clients who come to me with relationship problems…they are worn out and exhausted and feel trapped in a relationship that makes them feel totally controlled.
The Lord has shown me that when we can’t put up our personal boundaries and we continue to rescue people by rushing in when they have a need and become their Savior, we are actually not only deceiving ourselves, but we allow the other person to make YOU their Jesus instead of them learning to turn to God to meet their needs.
In fact, we enable them to continue on with their neediness in our lives and drain us of our energy-while we take the place of Jesus….and they never get their needs met.
There will always be another episode of control if someone doesn’t get off of the Merry Go Round and say “enough of this.”
When no one gets off, the Merry Go Round spins faster and faster until it is out of control. When the crisis is over then everyone is remorseful and say their sorry until the next ride. And it begins again.
When the addicted person continues the same behavior over and over again expecting a different ending, and we make threats or promises that we don’t keep… it is insanity.
Someone has to keep their promise and follow through in order to stop the Merry Go Round.
This is not about confrontation, this is about stopping the cycle.
You are aware that you do this but you have gotten away with it for so long that you have developed a false power. In the midst of your pain.
Do you see these tendencies in yourself? Or in someone who is reaching out to you?
Have you asked God to bring this into the light so you can deal with it or help someone else?
You know as well as I that it is never easy to expose darkness.
But if you want freedom again, you have to get off the Merry-Go-Round once and for all.
If you will take this issue to Jesus, you will find that:
We have worth simply because we were created by God.
Our self-worth is not based on the work we do or the service we perform–but on what Jesus so freely gives us.
Our service is to be an active choice. You can learn to “act” rather than “react.”
Our faith shows how to live a balanced living and how to take care of ourselves.
As you seek His wisdom you will learn to choose balanced behavior rather than addictive behavior and to allow others to be in charge of their own lives
You can learn how to set and hold healthy boundaries and to set limits for yourself, not allowing others to compromise those boundaries.
You can actually learn to help others in appropriate ways, by allowing others to act independently, rather than making others dependent on you.
You can learn to be God-directed and free from compulsiveness, knowing that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, brings the ultimate results.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1
(If this blog has left you feeling like you need help with codependency tendencies in your life, you might want to consider Life Coaching! Contact me through my home page.)
When I posted this picture on face book a few days ago it so resonated with my soul–my life has been so like this illustration and I know yours has too….the more I thought about it however, the more I kept asking myself if I, indeed, can consider my life pure joy. Or have I been caught up in looking at the depth of pain and the depth of trials and sometimes pure craziness in my life, and thought, “Why the heck me, Lord.” Have I not sown into your Kingdom? When is my time coming?
Yes, I am really being transparent here.
“Haven’t I served you all my life? Why so much suffering. Starting from my childhood of abuse and ending up here, years later….still struggling for a reprieve.”
Woe is me.
Don’t we just get so wrapped up in ourselves sometimes?
I like what Michelle Perry says: “Storms are invitations to dance with Jesus. When you get high enough above the squall, even the most turbulent storm has beauty. And every storm has lessons.” Michelle Perry!
The scripture is actually in James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The answer is yes, I have, at times, been caught up in feeling sorry for myself at times and even justifying my right to do so.
We have these preconceived notions in our heads as to how our lives will be, and when it doesn’t fit our pictures we feel frustrated and defeated. Have we ever considered that the Lord has a different plan for us than what we thought?
Maybe the very trials we are in now are what is training us for the journey right into His plan for us in the next season……
“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Galatians 6:9
Jesus tells us over and over in this life we will face many adversities and trials and temptations.
We cannot get through this life without Jesus, friends. I don’t know how people who have no trust in Him do it. Do they just give way to fear?
Yes, I think so.
Without our faith in Jesus to guide, protect, and rescue us…without Him to rush to in times of pain and grief….without knowing His extreme love for us, who do we turn to?
And what about this scenario? When it looks like everyone around you is being blessed and seeing the fulfillment of God’s blessings in their lives and yet, you are still struggling and nothing is happening. What do you do with that. Well, in Psalm 37: 1-11 it says:
Do not trouble yourself because of sinful men. Do not want to be like those who do wrong. 2 For they will soon dry up like the grass. Like the green plant they will soon die. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good. So you will live in the land and will be fed. 4 Be happy in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Give your way over to the Lord. Trust in Him also. And He will do it. 6 He will make your being right and good show as the light, and your wise actions as the noon day.
So, we hold on and bear up under the pressures of life and make a choice to put on perseverance…which is a fruit of the Spirit that He freely gives us when we ask for it.
We WILL reap what we have sown if we don’t give up!
And look at this as Psalm 37 continues:
Rest in the Lord and be willing to wait for Him. Do not trouble yourself when all goes well with the one who carries out his sinful plans. 8 Stop being angry. Turn away from fighting. Do not trouble yourself. It leads only to wrong-doing. 9 For those who do wrong will be cut off. But those who wait for the Lord will be given the earth. 10 A little while, and the sinful man will be no more. You will look for his place, and he will not be there. 11 But those who have no pride will be given the earth. And they will be happy and have much more than they need.”
Do we believe this? This is why we have to be diligent in His word and in talking to Him.
It boils down to a choice. Not a feeling!
I choose to believe that in due season I will reap if I faint not…
I can feel it in my very bones. How about you?
Are you ready to give up?
Hebrews 12:2 in the Message says it this way: “ Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Because I am a healed survivor of my own past of childhood abuse….
I once again feel the need to speak up on behalf of that group of people that even the church tries to shush up…because the disclosure is so uncomfortable for them…so it is easier to sweep it under the rug and pretend we don’t know these things are happening every day.
When are we going to start confronting the elephant in the room that most will ignore and pretend it is not there?
Silencing victims by saying that this shouldn’t be talked about, or should remain within families, says to a victim that this is something to be ashamed of.
That they are in fact damaged goods.
When these crimes are called out and discussed in a public forum, the offender alone should bear both the responsibility and the shame. These matters need to be discussed not only for prevention, but also for healing.
Victims need to be heard. They need to be believed. They need to know that what happened was not their fault. We bear witness to their suffering when we give them a voice.
The only way we can ever hope to stop abuse is if we are willing to talk about it and admit that it happens. We need to allow them to speak out! To be transparent without fear of reprisal or shame or embarrassment. We also need to acknowledge that the Christian community is not exempt from this horror. But it is not something that is often spoke about or expose within the church gatherings.
I believe this will change.
As Ann Voscamp so adequately puts it, “Because People of the Church are to be those who stand up so safe places open up, who lead by always going lower, who expose and confront abuse everywhere they find it, so the hope of the Gospel can be of use anywhere it goes.
Because People of the Cross are to be witnesses for the suffering, and responders to the victims, and testifiers of Truth, no matter the cost, no matter the risk, because Christ is The Truth — and where there isn’t Truth, there isn’t Christ. Why ever hide or cover-up the Truth?”
And to those still walking in their victimhood:
Our wounds from childhood abuse bring messages with them…they have a common theme of “your worthless, you have no value, you are a flawed person, no one will love you, you are ugly” ….
And when those wounds were delivered to you with such pain, they felt true.
They pierced your heart.
So, you accepted the message as fact. You embraced the worthless verdict on yourself.
The vows of silence we made as children act like a deep seated agreement with the messages of our wounds. Because it was all about survival. There was nothing else that could penetrate that agreement with our pain. The vows we made acted like a kind of covenant with the messages that came with our deep wounds.
We know that the word tells us where 2 or 3 agree on a matter it shall be done. This can work in the negative as well. When we, as victims of our past, set ourselves in agreement with the enemy that there is something wrong with us, we begin to live in exactly that place.
Those childhood vows are very dangerous things. They change the course of our life.
We have to renounce the messages as lies ….it is the way to unlock the door to Jesus. Agreements lock the door from the inside. Renouncing the agreements unlocks the door to Him….
He will move into those heavily veiled places within our soul and be there with us in that place of pain and abuse…..and deliver us and heal us from the past. I don’t know how He does it. But I can attest to the fact that He does.
Because he did for me!
(If you want to read my story of being a child victim of incest, you can find my memoir “Climbing Out of the Box.” on Amazon.)
To you precious abuse survivors reading this:
Never forget that there is hope for healing. Although life after trauma is messy and working through the pain is difficult, it is absolutely worth the fight.
May you rest in the hope of a God who cradles his wounded children in his arms as his own body is wracked with tears for the suffering you have endured.
And He will heal you to the point that the past will not affect your future.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd: He will gather the lambs in His arms, He will carry them in His bosom and will gently lead those that have their young. Is. 40:11
Jesus I give myself to you. I give my life to you. I surrender me…totally and completely. Forgive all my hurtful ways. Forgive my self- protecting ways and all of my chasing after other comforters. Come and be my savior, healer, my love……
(If you are a survivor of childhood abuse and haven’t worked through the steps to healing please contact me for coaching on my home page above or leave a comment here.)
Have you ever suffered from burn out? I have and when I was in the middle of it I didn’t know what was going on…until I talked with a friend, who happens to be a therapist, and she said it sounded like I was suffering burn-out.
I felt like everything was the same as always, but, in actuality I had been experiencing major blows of loss, emotionally, in my personal life….family, and disappointments and lack…that just kept happening with no end in sight.
And still is, actually.
And when this happens we know that we don’t fight flesh and blood but evil wickedness in high places. But knowing is not enough. We still feel exhausted and weak. One after another I felt like my walls of strength were being beat upon by an enemy who is trying to beat me down to the point of just not caring anymore.
It seemed like everyone else was experiencing changes, good changes, in their lives. To me, watching them, I felt as if life was moving for them and for me it stands still.
And will it ever change?
Your head says one thing and your heart knows better, but you just feel
tired and kind of don’t care anymore. Even though I know we are on a journey and being at this place is only preparing me for good things ahead it still “feels” tiring.
So, have you been there? Or are you there right now?
You just want to go to bed. Or just zone out in a book. (which can be good depending on what you are reading.)
Here are the 4 things I have found that is really helping me with this struggle and I think they may help you too:
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. It really goes back to the choice doesn’t it?
In those moments when I choose to stop complaining and instead give thanks to God for the good in my life, the parts that seem bad start to seem much less significant. Choose to keep a positive attitude and thankful heart regardless of what you’re going through. Just keep standing and waiting.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Remember that your struggles always lead to strength and faith. Every difficulty in your life, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strength, faith and perseverance in you if you let Him! All your pain has a purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Remember that God’s timing is always perfect.
God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect! Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own.
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Remember that God will never leave your side.