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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
When I attended group therapy for survivors of child sexual abuse, I was taught to counter my negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Similarly, my Bible studies instructed me to apply Scripture to my circumstances. I did both. And at the risk of offending a professional counselor and a professional author, I must confess, I didn't experience the full empowerment of either plan until I confessed my thoughts and feelings to Jesus. Everyday, in my walk-in closet, I told Him everything. Everything. Who I hated and why I hated. Every time ugly arose, I bowed at the feet of Beauty and confessed. Then I invited Him into the center of whatever dreadful thing I'd just confessed. Jesus, I invite You into the center of my hate and rage. You are my only hope.
Over time and under no condemnation, I became aware of my destructive re-actions to the harmful acts against me. How I treated the ones I loved the most . . . and I didn't like what I saw. Divine light had pierced the darkness inside of me. This is a practical illustration of John 3: 19-21, which says when we come to light, our deeds are exposed.
And so I confessed what was revealed in the light. As I confessed, Jesus gathered the fragments of my heart. As He gathered, He healed. And the more He healed, the more I felt compelled to pray, Jesus, will you forgive me for attempting to guard and heal my wounds in my own strength? And of course, He did.
If you've been deeply wounded and now face the challenge of "taking every thought captive" (Corinthians 10: 5) this post is for you. To have negative thoughts and beliefs about what you've experienced does not make you "bad." It makes you human. But as Christians, we must return to Him with our whole hearts. The good, the bad, and the ugly. In the absence of humble confession, we refuse our own repair and run the risk of giving birth to sinful re-actions. I have a friend who insists that his body never takes him places his mind hasn't gone first.
If you're bound to destructive thoughts and feelings you can take them captive and make them obedient to Christ. First with honest confession. Every day. Every time ugly arises, bow at the feet of Beauty. Second, invite Christ into the center of your pain and confusion, then search the Scriptures for timely passages that will nurture your spirit. (Additonally, if you need counseling or therapy--get it, but don't stop talking to God.)
We cannot overcome what we deny. So fess up. Jesus knows what you're thinkin' anyway. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
What thoughts do you have that need to be taken captive and made obedient to Christ?
Published on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 1:00 PM CDT
- Drink water when you're thirsty.
- Do not skip meals when you're clearly hungry.
- Allow yourself a bathroom break when you first feel the urge to go.
- Allow for 8 hours of sleep each night.
For many years, I denied myself the simplest of human needs. If I had chores to do, I worked until I completed them--to the detriment of my health.
One day a wise woman asked, "If the needs you had today were the needs of a child in your care, how would you say you cared for that child today? Did you give her a glass of water when she was thirsty? Did you feed her? Did you allow her to go to the bathroom, or become impatient with the interruption? Did you tuck her into bed at a decent hour?"
I thought it over . . . the truth was staggering. I made a decision then and there to take care of myself. And do you know it proved to be one of the hardest things I'd ever done? I had no idea this simple exercise would stir so many emotions. The very act of taking care of myself physically became my earliest steps toward emotional healing. God works through everything. Everything.
Care for yourself each day. You are a priceless gift from God. These four steps are simple, but not easy. I encourage you to take these steps and allow God to heal you in unexpected ways.
Ask yourself at the end of each day: If the needs I had today were the needs of a child in my care, how did I care for her today?
Published on Sunday, July 8, 2012 @ 8:26 AM CDT