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Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will offer practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about this organization, visit www.valianthearts.org
WEEK TWO: BREATHE
(Scroll down to read WEEK ONE: Value.)
Core Principle: We cannot overcome what we deny.
Foundational Scripture: "You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10: 10:27 NKJV). [emphasis added]
This week Dr. Robin Witt taught us the importance of proper breathing. Believe me, the moment a woman chooses to become an active participant in her own journey to healing, slow and focused breathing is something she will need to do a lot.
But don't let that freak you out! The good news, this is the way we should be breathing all day anyway, AND it is incredibly beneficial to the body, mind, and spirit.
"The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life" (Job 33:4).
"In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10 NIV).
"This is what God the Lord says--the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breathe to its people, and life to those who walk on it: . . ." (Isaiah 42:5 NIV).
Let's practice breathing and while we're at it, imagine that with each breath we take, God Himself is breathing new life into us.
- Breathe through your nose not your mouth. (In AND out.)
- Take slow, moderate and balanced breaths vs. long, deep breaths. When a person is breathing properly their breathing shouldn't be that noticeable. Ex. Have you ever peeked in on your child while sleeping and they were breathing so peacefully you walked over to make sure he/she was breathing? That's how we should breath throughout the day! Breathe like a sleeping child.
3. Breathing through your nose reduces carbon dioxide in the blood, serving as a natural purifier. When painful memories of abuse arise and levels of anxiety threaten to overwhelm you, remind yourself that with every slow and focused breath you take, you are being purified by God's design.
WEEK THREE kicks off this Tuesday, October 17. The topic will be POWER. Remember, week one: Value is a necessary foundation before you proceed. If you missed it, scroll down.
We get better together,
Published on Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 1:06 PM CDT
I recently kicked off a 5-week series for Valiant Hearts in Colleyville, TX. It's a closed support group, but I'll share it because I think you'll find it beneficial.
Here's a look at the overall series. (I'll update my blog as we wrap.)
- week one: Value
- week two: Breathe (Facilitated by Dr. Robin Witt.)
- week three: Power
- week four: Action
- week five: Success
Foundational Scripture: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10: 27 NKJV) [Emphasis added].
Core Principle: We cannot overcome what we deny.
In this particular series the emphasis is on as yourself because often times women express their love for God in Bible study commitments, church attendance, and service to others. And that's all good and godly, but it's not the whole picture. Somewhere along the way loving ourselves has become a distant after-thought. (And we wonder why we aren't healing.)
The well from which I draw to love others must first be filled with my love for God coupled with the love He gives me for myself.
The fulfillment of Luke 10:27 is challenging for most women I think. Throw a history of traumatic abuse into the mix and at times it feels impossible. But it isn't. I promise. More importantly, God promises. (Matthew 19: 26.)
Why break from social media long enough to read this blog? What's in it for you?
This is what's in it for you:
Learning to love yourself will require daily ventures outside of your comfort zone. Brian, the counselor for Valiant Hearts says, "The capacity to tolerate feelings of powerlessness is essential to healing."
I couldn't agree more. If you're not sure, practice what I'm teaching in this series and you'll find out in a hurry. Survivors of abuse must offer self-love (value) in three areas on a daily basis if they are to live in victory: physical, emotional, spiritual.
Physical: Are you indifferent to your physical needs?
- Recognize areas where you withhold physical needs from yourself. For example, when you're thirsty do you hydrate? When your bladder is full do you stop what you're doing and go the the restroom or do you hold it until you've completed the task at hand no matter how long it takes?
Personal reflection: What would it take for you to support your own physical healing?
- List ONE action that reinforces physical value: For ex., I will practice responding to my physical needs in a timely manner when my bladder is full. Or, I will hydrate when I feel thirsty.
Emotional: Are you indifferent to your emotional needs?
- Identify areas where you place unreasonable demands on yourself through self-abandonment, forced isolation, and the reliance of faulty support systems that foster anxiety. Emotional abandonment can be something as simple as putting off cuddle time your child and opting to wash the dishes. God hugs us through our children. To refuse counseling/help is a form of forced isolation. When you are in a crisis or hurting do you call the person who has the capacity to encourage you or do you call the "friend" who consistently adds fuel to the fire and increases your level of anxiety?
Personal reflection: What would it take for you to support your own emotional healing?
- List One action that reinforces emotional value. Ex. When I'm washing dishes and my child wants me to read her a story I'll either A. invite her to be my helper in the kitchen and read together in ten minutes or B. drop what I'm doing, read to her, and then finish the dishes afterward. Another example is to take time to rest. If you have 15 minutes to yourself what do you do with it? Do you put your feet up, breathe deeply, and say a little prayer, or put one more load in the wash?
Spiritual: Are you indifferent to your spiritual needs?
- Does your path to healing foster authentic trust in God or merely sharpen your survival skills? You can read your Bible every day, attend church regularly, and even serve in church, but if your spiritual life does not require you to step out of your comfort zone your capacity to trust God will go under developed and your healing hindered.
Personal reflection: What would it take for you to support your own spiritual healing?
- List One action that takes you out of your comfort zone and causes you to rely more heavily upon God. (Spiritual value.)
You did it! You know have three actions that foster the growth of self-worth on a daily basis.
- Back each action up with a supporting scripture.
You're on your way! Next week, Dr. Robin Witt will teach us how to breathe and reduce anxiety. We'll need this as we move forward.
We get better together,
Published on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 @ 12:23 PM CDT