Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘dysfunctional behaviors’

You Can Triumph Over Fear

SOURCE:  Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones

Fear is a powerful emotion, one that’s often difficult to control.

It can freeze us in our tracks making it hard to protect ourselves. It attacks our ability to trust and compromises our ability to relax in relationships. It takes over our thought and decision-making processes, interfering with our ability to focus and learn. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, fear also impacts us in ways that are subliminal and, therefore, hard to identify.

We often repress intense fears. We push them deep and cover them up with other emotions like anger, depression, and anxiety. We overcompensate with pride, arrogance, humor, or a laid-back attitude.

If we grow up with unrecognized fear as a major organizer of our emotional life, we can have difficulty developing trusting relationships. Even when we overcome that and connect successfully with people, we still have trouble being natural or genuine with them. Sometimes we let them in partially, but build a hard-to-see inner wall, which is difficult for them to get through.

Satan wants us to be afraid of people. He doesn’t want us to be vulnerable in relationships. Instead, he wants us to cover up and react in ways that pull us away from relationships for what looks like self-preservation.

As we “practice” these dysfunctional responses over and over in the first 12-15 years of life, we get very good at them. Then when it’s time to start to really open up to God in deep and meaningful ways, those repressed, intense fears put us on guard so we actually resist giving ourselves to God.

You see, we don’t want to be hurt again, so we find other ways to cover up. We distance ourselves from dependence on God by being aloof to Him, being angry for what He hasn’t given us or our loved ones, feeling bitter about His “unfairness”, blaming Him for all the mistakes we made, and many other behaviors as well. It’s just where Satan wants us! In fact, it’s part of Satan’s battle strategy. We get sucked right into it, hook, line, and sinker.

Are you plagued with fear?

Today’s scripture makes it clear that God is telling us we can triumph over fear. He has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. He also tells us in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love drives away fear. God’s love is perfect, and He loves you.

As you grasp hold of that truth, you will be able to trust Him more. When you begin to understand how much He loves you, the power of the things you fear will wilt in comparison to the omnipotence of God. It’s like fear melting away when a loving parent comes into your darkened room during a thunderstorm to hold you and give you security.

Today, talk to God about everything. Believe that He loves you … and thank Him for His love. Recognize that His strength is stronger than any fear. Only then will you be able to walk in peace, not fear.

Remember that this is not a one-time event. We need to give all our cares and fears to Him daily, and commit to trusting in His love. Whether you conquer life or you fear it is your decision, so choose well.

Dear Father God, thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving me a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. And please direct me to be a better steward of these gifts. Help me to trust You more and to accept Your perfect love. I know that only then can I overcome fear. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One sent to forgive my sins and remove my fear, Jesus Christ; AMEN!

The Truth
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.   2 Timothy 1:7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

Enabling: Good Intentions Gone Wrong

SOURCE:  Taken from an article by  Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones

Sadly, we have all seen a loved one making destructive decisions. When someone we love is in the grip of a harmful pattern, we naturally want to help so they will have less pain. But in spite of our best intentions, our efforts sometimes end up being more harmful than helpful.

The official psychobabble term for this action is “enabling,” otherwise known as “good intentions gone wrong.”

In this sense, enabling means, even though you are trying to help the person prevent or stop their dysfunctional behavior, your action provides them with the power or means to continue their dysfunctional activities. In essence, your enabling makes it a lot easier for those who are struggling to persist in their self-destructive behaviors.

A major component of our enabling behaviors is they keep our struggling loved one from feeling the natural, painful consequences of their conduct. These consequences could significantly influence them to stop their dysfunctional decisions before their problems spiral out of control. Today’s Scripture cautions us that if we start to rescue people from the consequences of their choices, we’ll just have to do it again … and again. We are then called a “nag” or a “martyr” when we try to “undo” the enabling or hound them about the behavior.

Here are some common scenarios that enable others:

  • Do you find yourself covering up or “living with” the behavior of a friend, child, or loved one, or bailing them out of trouble?
  • You might make excuses for them or even blame yourself for their problem.
  • Are you reminding them to do certain chores or tasks so that they don’t get the consequences they deserve?
  • Do you find yourself giving them “one more chance” … over and over again instead of giving them the consequences they should receive?
  • Do you care more than they do about the consequences they might get?
  • Do you feel you are being held hostage by their behaviors?

At the foundation of our enabling behavior is our inability to tolerate negative feelings, both in others and ourselves. These feelings are generated when someone struggles and faces potential consequences. We feel very uncomfortable when they feel sad, hurt, or have to endure a consequence, or when we anticipate their sadness or enduring consequences. We may feel at fault, or feel they will be mad at us for giving them a consequence. So we keep nagging, threatening, or pushing them to accomplish their task. Sometimes we even do the task for them. Perhaps it’s their homework or project, driving them to school after missing the bus, or giving them one last chance – for the third or thirteenth time.

Today, be mindful that your responsibility to your troubled loved one is to be supportive and to facilitate their growth, not to inhibit growth by facilitating their struggle. You need to empathize and pray for them, but not fix their problems. They need to learn how to fix it themselves. You aren’t going to be around all the time. You need to encourage them when they have made an error, but not protect them from the necessary consequences. You must allow them to learn from the natural consequences of their actions and not rescue them. All of us need to look at whether we are helping or harming the struggling people in our lives. And then we can begin the process of being a supporter instead of an enabler. Let God, not you, determine the consequences that will open their eyes, change their behavior, and hopefully, transform their hearts.

Dear God, stepping aside from my loved one’s problems is so hard. My urge is to come to the rescue instead of letting her suffer the consequences. I realize now, that when I rescue her, I am actually crippling her from learning skills to rescue herself. Then I have to come to the rescue again and again … and nothing really gets fixed. Teach me to be a supporter instead of an enabler. Help me guide her to You … help me to trust You more. Give me the peace to tolerate my own uneasiness and the discomfort of others. Help me to allow Your consequences and lessons to play out. I pray this in the name of the One who gives me strength in all circumstances, Jesus Christ;  – AMEN!

The Truth
A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. Proverbs 19:19

And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. Luke 15:16-18

God’s Prescription: Pain Relief & Healing

SOURCE:  Taken from an article by  Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones

Life Abundant: Pain Relief and Healing

All our dysfunctional behaviors, our poor decisions, our sin can be boiled down to one issue.

We don’t like pain, we are addicted to comfort, and instead of following [God’s] instructions for pain relief, we reach out to the store shelves of the world and pull out world’s salve that falls way short of the advertisements and empty promises.

The Holy Scripture tells us that Christ’s mission in coming to earth was to forgive and to save … to provide “eternal salvation” for us. He came to deliver oh so much more than just our redemption. He brought us eternal freedom, fulfillment, peace and joy. Healing in every area of our being is now available for us.

You see, often times, we have a hard time believing the healing He brings is actually available for us here on earth. I know that not all our physical and psychological illnesses will be made whole now. But even though we struggle, His peace and comfort can melt away pain and renew our mind in powerful, relieving ways. Our biggest illness is spiritual, so connecting with Him and maximally absorbing Him will have a powerful impact on our other ills. (Our science actually shows this to be true.)

The prophet Isaiah tells us the Messiah will come to bind up and heal, to release and set free (while we are here on earth). Jesus Himself referenced this passage as captured in Luke 4:17. Think about this: Christ came not only to forgive you, but to restore and release you. This is the central passage in the entire Bible about Jesus. He fulfilled every prophesy, testifying to the truth and then dying for us, bringing ultimate healing and shalom to our lives and His relationship with us.

Today, take Jesus Christ at his word … as the healer of all the broken pieces within you … Who unites them into one whole and healed heart. Think what life would be like if you believed that promise. Think about what keeps you from believing His promise? What do you believe in more strongly than His promise and the incredible body of evidence He has compiled? Why do you believe that something else?

What you will believe — Jesus’ promises and teachings, or your own theories — is your decision.  So choose well. Your life depends on it.

Dear Father God, I pray and ask You to release me from all bondage and captivity, as You promised to do. Open my eyes to the cheap imitators that promise healing, but only lead to more pain and distance from You. Take all my broken pieces and give me an all-receiving heart … make me whole. I know, Father, that You will not do this at a distance, so I desire to be as close to You as I possibly can be … show me the way to You, my Lord, and Savior. I pray in the name of the One You sent to forgive me, save me, and heal me, Jesus Christ–– AMEN!

The Truth
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.  Isaiah 61:1

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

Tag Cloud