Have you ever noticed any recurring patterns in your life? Here are some examples. Every boss I’ve ever had was out to get me. Every friend betrays me. Every teacher belittles me. Every church rejects me.
Here’s a hint. In the real world, words like “always,” “every,” and “never” almost never apply. These are classic tricks of the enemy of our soul. He loves to lie to us and blow things out of proportion. He loves to get us trapped in self-defeating cycles. For example, the girlfriend who is just waiting for this latest guy to let her down, and therefore keeps creating the circumstances in which he’ll have no choice but to let her down.
Usually, these sort of self-fulling prophecies (note big professional psychology term) originate in lies that Satan told us at some vulnerable time in our lives. Imagine them like tinted glasses that color and distort everything we see. Or better yet, imagine it like a unruly bush growing out of your heart and blocking you from properly seeing the world.
Of course, you might ask, why shouldn’t the word of God be enough? The reason is surprisingly simple. Words are the language of the mind, but pictures are the language of the heart. We wash our mind through the water of the word. So knowing the word and renewing our minds is always an essential step in overcoming any problem. For some people this seems to take care of all of their issues. But for many others, somehow those words fail to reach all the way to the feeling places in their hearts. At some time in their lives, usually during their childhood, they believed a lie from the devil deep in their heart that opposes the word of God in their head. There is a disconnect. So while they try to do right, something just feels terribly wrong.
We shouldn’t live according to our feelings, right? Well, no, not when they oppose God’s word. And yet, wouldn’t it be so much better if we could get down deep into that feeling level and teach our hearts to feel as God would want them to feel? Wouldn’t life become such a joy? Remember my last post? You were made for joy. You were made to live in the ecstasy of God’s presence. You were made to live freely and lightly in the flow of the Holy Spirit.
Now comes the hard part. In order to learn to live freely and lightly in that flow of the Holy spirit—in order to live life with clear vision unclouded by lies—you must dig out the roots of those lies.
How do you do that? Well, this answer is simple on paper but harder in reality. You have to ask God to reveal those lies and replace them with his truth. Because these lies are rooted in pictures and emotions, sometimes that means reentering a hard time in your life and really picturing it in your mind and allowing yourself to feel those emotions again. In that place, you ask God, what lie did the enemy tell me? What truth do you want me to know? And in that place, God can give you a new picture, new feelings, a new perspective. Often at a time of trauma or abuse, we think God isn’t there. We cling to fear or unbelief. We harden our hearts. We cling to unforgiveness. We believe we are worthless or somehow to blame. We make inner vows to ourselves.
While each of these reactions is exquisitely human, at the core, each is rooted in sin. As I mentioned a few weeks ago (click here for part 1 of this series), sin is our human attempt to relieve pain and return ourselves to joy in our own strength. No wonder God is so merciful when we sin. He understands our sin is rooted in pain. He loves us, and yet he longs for us to be free of it. Over time, these deep internal sins can begin to manifest in all sorts of troublesome behaviors, and the self-defeating cycles we long to escape.
But here’s the beauty to which I can personally attest, getting to the root creates real change from the inside out. Suddenly those areas of your life that seemed weighty, difficult, downright impossible, can become free and light. As God speaks his truth deep into your heart giving you new pictures and emotions, your brain actually begins to rewire. It’s not unusual after a significant counseling session to feel sluggish and sleepy (and a bit worthless) for several days while your brain “reboots,” not at all unlike when your computer freezes up while it works through something difficult.
Then one day, you’ll look at the world with clear eyes, and suddenly it will all make sense. Like when you get a new pair of contacts or glasses and say, “Oh, so this is what the world is supposed to look like. I’m actually supposed to see leaves on the trees and not just swaying blobs of green.”
Does it hurt to pull out the roots? Yes, the process can be painful, but it is the most worthwhile process you can ever undergo. Get to the roots in your life.
For more info visit Christian inner-healing resources like http://theophostic.com/ , http://www.cwgministries.org/2-How-to-Be-Emotionally-Free.htm , http://www.christianinnerhealing.org/ , and http://www.elijahhouse.org/ , http://lifemodel.org/. If you feel like you would benefit from a trained counselor, study the issues first so that you can make a wise informed choice. I recommend counseling with a strong Christian trained in both prayer ministry and psychology.
Have you had any experience with Christian inner healing, prayer counseling, or bondage breaking ministries? What have you found that brings about true change in your life? Are there any self-defeating cycles that you long to escape?