Recovering a Sense of Worth

As people start to respect and to honor themselves, as they begin to sense the uniqueness of their being, other positive things start to occur. Giving expression to creativity, people begin to have concrete examples of what they can do. In the context in which they are acting, they may reestablish or make new friendships. Once people have a sense of their own worth, they find it much less necessary to cling to others. Instead, a strength and firmness appears in their own characters. They do not need to cling to others; they can rely on their own strength.”

The recovery from depression can be very slow. Even if medication appears to be taking effect, the weeks may drag by with darkness a frequent companion. In this period and even after depression has started to lift, the cultivation of love and respect for self can be very beneficial. If making affirmations has effect, then the lilting repetition of “I love myself” may be a good one. If friends realize the importance of affirming worth in others, they may make it a practice to praise and to praise again the wonderful qualities of the depressed individual. Each of us is a unique individual called to manifest a beauty to the world that no one else can show. First we must be aware of this beauty and loveliness in ourselves. Then, without restraint, we should show it forth to others. This behavior is not proud or self-serving. Rather, we bring forth our best and let others enjoy it. We are a gift of the Giver and this gift is one that deserves to be cherished and shared.”

-Excerpt from http://www.mentalhealth.com/story/p52-dps9.html

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Beliefs required for appropriate boundaries in relationships…

I’m reading an excellent book on Narcissistic families at the moment and was stopped in my tracks by a profound few pages detailing the struggle that children of narcissistic families often face when it comes to appropriately expressing personal needs. The authors suggest that in order for an adult child (or any child for that matter) to understand how to have understand and express their own emotions and needs, they must first be taught their rights and how the world of emotions works. These rights, simple–yet profound, are the building blocks to good boundaries with others….particularly those who would want to violate them.

  1. “Correction, appropriately expressed, is not destructive, hurtful, or shame inducing.
  2. One’s needs cannot always be met by others, but they can always be appropriately articulated to others.
  3. Feelings do not need justification–one always has the right to one’s feelings.
  4. One does not always have the right to act out on one’s feelings: all actions have consequences, and these need to be thought about.
  5. Compromise means giving up as well as getting.
  6. Changing one’s mind is not necessarily a bad thing; a part of growing up is the ability to react based on new information.
  7. Making mistakes is often how we learn. There is no shame involved.
  8. Being able to “own” our mistakes, apologize if appropriate, and make amends where possible, is how we grow. “I’m sorry, tell me what I can do to make it up to you” is a statement of strength, not an admission of weakness.”

-Taken from The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment, by Pressman & Pressman (p.90-91)

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I Accept My Parents and Affirm My Independence From Them

For those of you who have encountered difficult home lives, or maybe are recently are working through the emotions of dealing with family issues, the following quote offers a unique perspective. This is taken from Rokelle Lerner’s book, Daily Affirmations for Adult Children of Alcoholics. This book, this quote, and this way of thinking are appropriate for all who may be working through parental dysfunction in some way. I found this little excerpt helpful and read it to clients on occasion.

 

“Today I will live my life as a person independent from my parents. My parents are separate people, with their own thoughts, emotions and behaviors.They do not control me and I do not control them.

I have my own thoughts, emotions and behavior. I am independent, but I care for my parents and I do not condemn them. They have their shortcomings and faults, as I have mine. My parents have praiseworthy qualities and they do the best they can, as I do the best I can. I will no longer try to change their thoughts and emotions.

My task today is to affirm my independence and to see the positive characteristics in my parents.”

-January 19 (Daily Affirmations for Adult Children of Alcoholics)

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RECAP! Come to the Well

Hello there! It’s so good to see you! I hope this post finds you enjoying a beautiful summer with plenty of rest and relaxation!

The purpose of this post is to familiarize you with a following series of posts that I talked about way back in November. They are lessons from the Thursday night Bible study on Liberty University’s campus, and they are called “Come To The Well”. Come To The Well was a 2 semester-long bible study led by my incredibly talented (and beautiful) friend Hilary, and myself with a group of gorgeous (inside and out) college gals who constantly taught and encouraged me throughout our times together. I still remember the day Hilary first mentioned the idea of the group to me and what a thrill it was! She was listening faithfully to the Lord’s prompting in her heart to start a bible study for the young women in her residence halls as a Resident Director, and I had been praying about an opportunity to lead growth and support groups! Little did we know what the Lord was really up to, and after 2 amazing semesters I can say that I have never enjoyed spending time with young women more in my life than I did with the girls He blessed us to know and interact with.

In our journey from September 2012 to May 2013, we examined the tough issues of what it looks like to be a godly woman and how biblical womanhood plays out practically in our day-to-day Christian journey. This included examining everything from Self-Concept, to Emotional Health, to Relationships, to Addictions, and Anxiety. In the entries that follow, you can find the lessons from these studies. Feel free to use them, I pray they are a blessing to you.

Each entry is categorized according to what part of the blog it corresponds with (Come To The Well, My Soul Will Rejoice), and is tagged topically if you’d like to search that way! You can also scroll down to the very bottom of the page and look through the topics or archive there!

Thank you, as always, for reading and for your contributions to and support of this blog. I pray today that you are reminded of how perfectly UNIQUE you are created to be by our Father, and that there is no one like you. And most of all, He loves you deeply and completely. You are loved, friend. Always remember! I pray the Lord blesses you abundantly in His grace, mercy, peace, and joy. See you next time!

CTW: Anxiety

Today on the blog we’re going to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart- sometimes so near that it feels like an annoying life-sucking parasite!

Anxiety– did anyone’s heart just skip a beat when I said that word?? Did anyone suddenly feel the air flow out of their lungs or begin to experience anxious or worrisome thoughts??

It’s ironic- working on this week’s lesson and praying through has actually been in the midst of one of my most anxious weeks in the last couple of months. Funny how the enemy works, yes? What I want for us to do is to be able to think openly about anxiety, worry, and stress.

“There’s no shortage of troubling circumstances in life that can make you feel anxious and depressed. Whether you’re anxious about the future or depressed about the past, your negative emotions will prevent you from living the healthy life God wants you to enjoy right now.” ~ Bob Phillips

We must give up the illusion of control.

  • Understand that both anxiety and depression stem from attempts to control either the future (through worrying) or the past (by trying to change what has already happened). Realize that all such attempts are futile and a complete waste of your time and energy. Acknowledge that only God has the power to control the future and bring transformation out of what happened in the past. ~Bob Phillips (http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/overcome-anxiety-and-depression-11563116.html)

Q: What are some things that cause anxiety in our lives?

(i.e. school work, family trouble, finances, overloaded plates, lack of sleep, exercise, unmet expectations, weather)

Q: What is your normal response when you feel anxious?

  • Do you feel like those responses help or hurt the situation?
  • Often times other physical responses such as panic can ensue. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know the terror that can come with that. For the sake of space (it would take ages) we’re not going to talk about panic, or panic attacks here today, but rather focus on anxiety, stress, and worrisome thoughts.

Let me ask you an uncomfortable question first: do you believe that anxiety is directly related to salvation or not? For example, would you say that if someone is experiencing anxiety, they must not be saved or depending on God, or would you say that if someone is experiencing anxiety it has nothing to do with whether they are saved or not?

Anxiety can have many roots: biological, unconfessed sin, lack of coping skills, situational (circumstances)

Without boring you with scientific research, I’ll make this statement: anxiety has a wide range of causes, none of which have been proven to be because someone is not saved. Scripture itself speaks to anxiety as part a part of life. The neat thing is scripture also tells us what we can do with those anxious feelings!

Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Q: Based off of this passage, what should our responses to anxiety in the moment be?

This passage is really the best advice that we can get on how to handle anxiety in the moment!

  • “Do not be anxious” – it’s an action, a choice.
  • Prayer and petition
  • Thanksgiving
  • Peace of God will guard our hearts and minds!

If this passage is the best way on how to handle anxiety in the moment, let’s look at some things we can do either preventatively or in the long, drawn out stressful times.  What are some things you do or can think of to prevent or help during times of stress, or anxiousness?

Discussion

1)       At what point do you think we as women choose to allow anxiety, stress, or worry to define us? And what does that look like?

2)      Would anyone like to share a time where you experienced a lot of anxiety or stress situationally, and what the outcome was?

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CTW: Addiction and Idolatry

Addictions, Idolatry

Over time, we’ve discussed many important concepts and struggles that are unique to us as women. Prayerfully, you’ve seen the Lord reveal and expose areas of vulnerability and insecurity in your own life, as well as provide comfort and truth in the hardest parts of who you are! We can rejoice in knowing that our Christian walks are always continually on the road toward knowing Christ perfectly, and being grown and developed as children of Light. A difficult part of growing in maturity is having the courage to say “no” to certain things, and also calling sin for what it is in our lives. But because Jesus has such an incredible future for us, we have the strength and ability to do this through His power because He’s called us to a higher standard of living.

In this lesson, we’re going to hit on another hard area that brings conviction, but hopefully which also includes a behavioral change that is pleasing to God and one that will continue to break chains of bondage and allow us to have freedom to pursue Him harder and afford exponential growth in our lives.

The topic in today’s blog is on an area that can sometimes seem so innocent, but that when removed from our lives—provides a gigantic and clear pathway for seeking Christ that may not have been there before.

It is the area of addictions and idolatry. What does that do to your heart when you hear those words? Is some part of your life instantly brought to your mind? If so, there’s a good chance, the Spirit is prompting you to remove that thing from your life so He can communicate more effectively and lovingly with you. Let us gently, but truthfully examine this area of life.

Addictions:

What are they?

  • Definition of addiction: “to occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively.” This speaks of an unnatural (for the Christian, at least) obsession with anything other than God: sports, work, shopping and/or acquiring “stuff,” even family or children. We are to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), which is, according to Jesus, the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).” http://www.gotquestions.org/addiction-Christian.html#ixzz2Q9iD3OAk
  • According to an article from Bible.org, “Addictions hold us in their grip. They shuffle our priorities and restrict our freedom. They corrupt our decision-making ability and often foster a secret, guarded lifestyle. Whereas God commanded us to subdue the earth and rule over it, addictions subdue us and rule over us. We don’t control them; they control us. And the Bible clearly teaches that we should allow nothing to control us except God alone.
  • Are you enslaved to something that has an addictive presence in your life? Or know of someone who is?
  •  “We can conclude, then, that an addiction to anything other than God Himself is wrong. God is the only thing we can (and should) occupy ourselves with habitually. To do so with anything else draws us away from Him and displeases Him. He alone is worthy of our complete attention, love, and service. To offer these things to anything or anyone else is idolatry.”http://www.gotquestions.org/addiction-Christian.html#ixzz2Q9iD3OAk

So then, is an addiction idolatry?

  • Philip Yancey – “what the Old Testament calls idolatry, enlightened Westerners call ‘addictions’.”
  • Gerald May – “addictions make idolaters of us all”
  • So the answer is a huge, resounding YES! Addictions, or distractions (according to Western civilization) are a form of idolatry if they take our focus, attention, and affection off of Christ, and lead us to believe we can fill our need for Christ with something else.

Idolatry:

So let’s take this concept a little further. If addictions are a form of idolatry, can we conclude then that distraction is similar in that it takes our focus and affection away from Christ? Then it must hold that distraction is a form of idolatry.

How does this distraction look like in our lives? Ideas?

In a TIME magazine article, researchers refer to an epidemic amongst children and young adults known as “continuous partial attention”. The idea is that attention is given to too many things at once, but no full amount of attention is given to one thing at a time, resulting in a constant subliminal feeling of being in a haze and bombarded by information.

Do we worship distraction? Is distraction an idol in your life? Are you addicted to it?

What are some harmful consequences of allowing distractions/addictions to have lordship and control over us?

  • Escape from reality—buying into the lie that if we ignore it, it will go away
  • Emotional Distance—inability to connect to the Spirit emotionally/head knowledge only
  • “Nodding-Off” spiritually—becoming lethargic and passive spiritually
  • Inhibition in connecting with/serving others
  • Deafness/blindness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit
  • Stunting spiritual/personal growth—spiritual malnutrition

But the Lord has called us to mature and bold femininity! The call is to embrace truth and walk away from distraction and give full attention to the end goal—the hope of glory. What then, would it look like for you to just….get….still?

Quiet your heart for a moment. Wipe your mind of intruding thoughts; invite peace into your heart. Take a deep breath. Think about this for a moment, if Philippians 1:21 is true (“To live is Christ, and to die is gain”), then how does distraction fit into that picture? What does addiction look like in the light and presence of Christ?

There is a huge need for exposure in our generation and culture. The truth is that the bombardment we constantly encounter about what should fulfill us, what we deserve, and what will make us happy—is actually wrecking our world in a way that is exactly what Satan wants. If he can set us off-balance with things to worship, things to habituate in our life, things to crave and have an appetite for other than God—he is doing his job.

How does the Lord address this in His word?

  • Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  • Rom 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to [fulfill its] lusts.”
  • Galatians 5:24, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
  • Romans 8:5-14

The truth about what we need:

  •    Phil. 4:19 – “God shall supply all your needs…in Christ Jesus”
  •    John 8:31 – “the truth shall set you free”
  •    Gal. 5:1 – “It was for freedom that Christ set us free”
  •    II Cor. 3:5 – “not adequate in ourselves…adequacy is from God”

If our sufficiency and fulfillment is from Christ alone, how can we rebuke Satan and forbid him from doing his job in our lives?

  1. Live in the Spirit!
    1. Why is it crucial to walk by the Spirit?
    2. Read Romans 8:5-14 again
    3. The mind that is set on the things of the flesh is death and hostile to God, but the mind that is set on the things of the Spirit is life and peace
    4. We cannot do this life in and of our own power, it is only through Christ that we can walk obediently in righteousness and honor Him, we MUST live in the spirit
    5. What does it look like to live in the Spirit? IDEAS? (Prayer, study scripture, fellowship, accountability, removal of sin…etc.)
  1. . Call your addictions/idols what they are
    1. What can you pinpoint in your life that you know is distracting you from God?
    2. How do habitual things in your life look like in the Light of God’s presence? This is a good indication that they are God-honoring or displeasing to Him
    3. Get angry! Don’t continue to be fooled by sin
  1. Take action! What do you need to do when you leave here tonight to be in control of sin, rather than letting it control you?

Read Galatians 2:20 again: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Discussion

  1. What does idolatry look like for you in your own life? Where are your priorities?
  2. Think futuristically, when you picture your life in the years to come, what does that idolatry look like? Is it there?
  3. What needs to take place in your life for you to live a life of devotion to Him?
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CTW: Emotional Health–Part IV

Over the last few lessons we’ve looked at what it means to be an emotionally healthy person. We’ve looked at what it means to be bound by guilt and shame in a negative way, and what it means to respond to healthy guilt and come to repentance and confession before the Lord.  And lastly we talked about what it means to embrace joy; to choose joy during everyday life.

Q: Have you had an experience that you can remember where you felt the joy of the Lord overwhelm you?

All of our study thus far has been introspective. Meaning, to be focused inward. If you remember a few lessons ago we looked at what it means to understand and accept our created uniqueness in God. Then we looked at what our oneness, our relationships with others looks like. For our last discussion on emotional health, we’ll choose to look at what an outward expression of an emotionally healthy person in accordance with our oneness is.

When we think about our oneness we think about our relationships with people.

Q: What kind of relationships do we have throughout life?

Q: How do you think our “emotional health” affects our relationship with these people?

Q: What words come to mind when you think of relationships with other people?

Ex: respect, honor, unity, compassion, cohesiveness, strain, frustration, communication, understanding

As an emotionally unhealthy person, my relationships with other people will be tainted at best. Only once I understand my created uniqueness in the Lord, and I work to be emotionally whole, (meaning to understand my emotions, not be bound by shame, have proper and appropriate confession before the Lord, and embrace joy) then will I be able to appropriately have edifying relationships with other people.

Honoring Others

Q: What do you think it means to honor other people?

Q: Who are the people in our lives that we should honor?

*Honor: 1) a good name or public esteem, showing of usually merited respect, 2) privilege, one whose worth brings respect or fame, 3) an exalted title or rank, 4) a keen sense of ethical conduct or integrity

  • When we understand out created uniqueness and our emotional wholeness, we understand that we are no better than anyone else. Sin is sin- in our lives and in others. When we understand what Christ Jesus instilled in us- the ability to feel hope and joy, we can understand what grace is. Once we understand God’s grace and choose to accept it, we have the opportunity and ability to show that to others in our relationships.

~Read 1 Timothy 5

Q: Why is this so hard to do?

Ex: Hurt feelings, having been wronged, thinking respect must be earned.

Colossians 3:12-17

Q: According to this passage, how can we choose to honor others?

Q: Why must honoring others be based off of a choice rather than rote actions?

Activity

  • Write down the name of one person you are around on a daily basis. Come up with 1-2 ways that you can honor that person this week.
  • Write down the name of one person in your life who it is hard to honor. Come up with 1 way that you can choose to show this person honor regardless of their response.

Honoring others is not just about outward actions, it’s about inward responses! If I choose to not be frustrated with someone close to me, but I harbor bitterness in my heart, what has that thrown off? My own emotional wholeness- I’m guilty of being in bondage to bitterness, and I have not chosen joy during a difficult circumstance. My thoughts toward that person are not pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Do you see how wholeness within our oneness affects wholeness within our uniqueness and vice versa?

As believers, we like to think we practice Colossians 3:12-17 really well. However, we often don’t.

Q: When we think about relationships, what is the stereotypical answer to why there is conflict?

Communication– however, communication is simply a manifestation of a deeper problem. That problem is rooted in the heart- not honoring one another. Sometimes people don’t deserve our honor. Their actions and their behaviors have been anything but deserving of dignity or merited respect. However, throughout the book of 1Timothy, Paul urges believers to honor one another based on one fact alone- each individual is created in the image of God. They are love by God, and pursed by God.  The cross was borne for everyone. That knowledge alone is deserving of honor.

Discussion

1)      Can you think of a person in your life that is hard to honor? What emotions rise up within you when you think of honoring that individual?

2)      Based off of what we have learned the past four weeks, what do you think is the most important aspect of emotional health to cultivate?

3)      What type of effort or commitment will it take for you to look back at your list and choose to work to honor those around you this week?

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CTW: Emotional Health–Part III

Intended for JOY:

As we’ve looked through the past few lessons of what emotional health looks like, and what it does not look like, I think we can safely say that Emotional Health is a Choice.

  • What do you think about that statement?
  • How does God intend for us to live? John 10:10 (“The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and that they may have it abundantly.”)
    • THE PURPOSE OF THE COMING OF JESUS INTO THE WORLD WAS TO GIVE TO US THIS LIFE, THIS TRUE LIFE, THIS AGE-ABIDING LIFE, AND THAT MORE ABUNDANTLY.
      • It is a life of joy (Commentary by Chuck Smith on John 10:10)
        • At His birth the angels announced, “Joy to the world.” Note they did not say, “Happiness to the world.”
        • There is a great difference between happiness and joy.
        • The world can give you happiness, it cannot give you joy.
        • Happiness is an emotional feeling.
        • Joy is a spiritual feeling.
        • Happiness is then a variable.
        • Joy is a constant.
        • Happiness is dependent on pleasant outward circumstances.
        • Joy is independent from outward circumstances and is dependent on your relationship with God.
        • Thus you can have joy in the midst of sorrow.
        • He came to give us joy more abundantly.
        • Jesus spoke of the fullness of joy that comes through abiding in Him.
    • Jesus came to give us life (JOY), which is something only attainable through Him, this life can only provide for us temporary “happiness” which is pleasurable, but empty, non-eternal.
    • This life He came to bring us is also a life of peace and tranquility
      • The peace that He gives is not like the calm after the storm, but calm in the storm.
      • One day Jesus said to His troubled disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We can’t stop the emotions we experience in response to life’s storms (because they are God-given emotions), but we can choose healthy expression and openness to growth and the ability CHOOSE Peace and Joy.

So in order to cultivate this PEACE and JOY that Christ came to provide for us, we have to ask ourselves the following question!

What is sabotaging my emotional health/What is ROBBING me of JOY?

Think about your unique emotional health for a moment and ask yourself this question. Below are some examples of what may be robbing us of joy:

  • Poor connection to self and others: Feeling lonely, isolated, unsafe, confused, or used. Not accepting our “uniqueness” in Christ and the person He has specifically and intentionally created us to be. Listening to Satan’s voice about who we are, versus God’s.
  • Emotional “drama”:  Are you currently in a situation that you find yourself constantly feeling on edge or a negatively heightened sense of emotion? With friends? Family? Dorm life? Relationships? Are you holding on to something in your past, such as a hurt or personal pain?
  • Learned helplessness: Do you believe that you’re helpless? Do you believe you have little control over your life or the situations in your life? Do you find yourself waiting for whatever is thrown into your lap instead of being proactive about the path your life follows?
  • Sin: Especially when it’s chronic and causes constant shame or is a pattern of sin we can’t seem to break free from. Or sin that isolates us because we retreat from God’s presence, when in fact we should be coming into glorious light to find healing and cleansing from sin!
  • Stress: Is life beating you up? Or are you punching stress in the face by cultivating the type of life that is not prone to stress in the first place? Do you say “yes” to too many things, and find yourself constantly swamped with responsibilities and exhausted? When was the last time you were still and quiet before the Lord and taking time to simply be in His presence rather than being busy and distracted?
  • Addiction or abusing some type of coping mechanism (ex. A relationship, internet consumption…etc.). These things can cause further problems and make preexisting emotional problems worse if we use them as methods of coping and superficial Band-Aids to cover the root issue. WE’LL TALK MORE ABOUT THIS IN THE WEEKS TO COME! Ask yourself the question, do I replace something that seems harmless, for something that could be better?
  • What are some other things that might be robbing us of joy?

As the realization sets in, that JOY and PEACE are emotions the Lord intends for us to live by, what does that mean for you in terms of how you live your life?

What would look different in your life if you were perfectly and confidently choosing JOY and PEACE? Do you deserve JOY and PEACE? Yes, because that’s how God intends for us to live.

Exercise:

Take a piece of paper and write the following question: “What in my life is robbing me of the joy Christ intended for me to live by when he said the words of John 10:10?” Honestly and courageously evaluate your life before the Lord and answer this question between you and the Lord! When you are done with that, write out your very own JOY list. Write down ways you can choose joy in a way that not only sounds good, but in real/practical ways that will result in behavioral change when you lare finished. Don’t hold back!

Discussion:

  1. In what area(s) is the Lord showing you your need for joy and change?
  2. How will your life look differently if you are obediently and radically choosing to live a life of joy in the face of a world that is discouraging and challenging?
  3. How does it change your perspective on life when you hear that God’s intention for you is JOY and PEACE?
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CTW: Emotional Health–Part II

Guilt vs. Shame

A theme that may have come up after the last lesson is the battle between guilt and shame, and how those two emotions spring up in our everyday lives. When we talked last time about being an “emotionally whole” person, we discussed 5 principles of Emotional Health.

As we talked about in the last lesson: Our emotions are deeply rooted to our heart and spirit. Just as our emotions react to our physical circumstances (good news, getting a good grade…etc.), they also respond to our spiritual circumstances. All of these emotions, whether positive or negative, are God-given; our Father uses these feelings to push us closer to Him. Just as physical pain tells us something is wrong with our bodies, so emotional pain may be God’s way of telling us all is not well with our spiritual relationship with Him.

Guilt and shame are two of the most common emotions that have come up in my conversations with students or have had the most impact on my life.

Healthy Guilt vs. False Guilt

Have you ever heard the term “healthy guilt?” It may sound a bit like an oxymoron, however, healthy guilt leads to repentance. Let’s look at guilt on a deeper level.

Q: What does guilt feel like?

Q: What type of circumstances would warrant guilt?

  • Guilt says: I feel conviction. I know what I have done is wrong.

1)      Guilt is caused when we do not agree with God about the sin we have done.

  1. Psalm 69:5 says “You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you.

2)      For guilt to lead to repentance, we must acknowledge our sin, seek forgiveness, and go in the opposite direction.

  1. 1 John 1:8-10
  2. Hebrews 10:22-23

3)      Replace guilt with proper thinking.

  1. Philippians 4:8 **Going to come back to this point in a few minutes!

4)      Understanding that guilt is no longer necessary.

  1. Isaiah 1:18
  2. Micah 7:18-19
  3. Psalm 103:12

                                                               i.      Q: have you ever experiencing true repentance over a sin or a circumstance? Have you ever felt such brokenness that when you’ve cried out to the Lord for His forgiveness for ­­­___, it’s as if He said “for what?”

                                                             ii.      Q: What is it about this concept that we find hard to grasp?

  1. Isaiah 43:25
  2. Isaiah 38:17

False guilt, or shame, is an all too common weapon used by the enemy. Emotional healthiness requires emotional stability in the Lord as we saw a couple of weeks ago. Just as confession and repentance lead to a healthy lifestyle, shame inhibits this healthiness and leads to destruction.

Q: What does shame feel like?

Q: What do the circumstances look like surrounding shame?

  • Shame says: I feel worthless. I am what’s wrong.

How to recognize shame:

  • Shame is focused inward.
  • Shame is consumed with self. (Ex. “I” statements)

–          False guilt consumes our thinking while awake and asleep, and creates in our lives both spiritual and psychological cataracts, stopping us from seeing our relationships with God, others and ourselves clearly. (**This is the difference between healthy guilt and false guilt. Feelings of guilt, or conviction of sin are always coupled with the knowledge that God has been wronged, disobeyed, or disappointed.)Through false guilt, we lie to and bare false witness against ourselves. It’s still a sin. We judge ourselves inaccurately and always too harshly. We become like the Pharisees whom Jesus chastised and corrected with the strongest language throughout his ministry (Matt. 23). Like the Pharisees, who represented false and abusive religion, false guilt (shame) is also abusive. It puts heavy burdens upon our backs, burdens we were never intended to shoulder. False guilt is self-abuse. People who suffer from false guilt nearly always have difficulty being truthful with how they think, feel and act.

Q: What do you think some consequences of false guilt or shame could be?

“False guilt has nothing to do with what’s true and accurate, nor is it related to true repentance. Rather, it is usually the fear of disapproval in disguise.” ~Paul Coughlin

Looking back at the 5 principles from Part 1, how do we address guilt and shame?

  • Principle 1: nowhere in scripture did Christ experience shame. He did experience sorrow, pain, and confusion, but never shame. How should this affect our view of shame and emotional wholeness?
  • Principle 2: we are human, born sinful. We acknowledge that we have physical bodies with spiritual souls. Sin is always going to be a struggle and a battle as long as we’re on this earth.
  • Principle 3: share an example of how guilt or how shame are powerful emotions?
  • Principle 4: get to the root cause. Guilt- confession and repentance, shame- self-abuse and healing.
  • Principle 5: emotional stability based on God.

Exercise

For relief and healing, we need to put our guilty feelings under the microscope of our sober minds and see if they are real or counterfeit.

  • Quiet our minds, close our eyes, breathe deeply, then ask ourselves, “Am I really guilty of what I’m telling myself, or is this another case of false evidence appearing real?” And another question we need to ask ourselves, which carries with it the potential for blessed freedom, is, “Who owns me?”

Discussion

1)      Have you ever experienced a time of guilt that led to repentance? If so, what were the emotions surrounding you at the time?

2)      Have you ever felt in bondage to “false guilt” or shame?

3)      What stood out to you from the exercise? Or what feelings surfaced when you thought through the questions?

4)      How do you think “false guilt” or shame can inhibit you from being an emotionally healthy person?

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CTW: Emotional Health–Part I

Emotional Health: An Overview

“When God created us in His image, that image included our emotions. God gives us all things to enjoy, and healthy emotions bring color and zest to our lives. His Word says, “God . . . richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Tim. 6:17). We’re also told in Scripture to enjoy our work, our mates, our children, our good health, our material blessings, and our God. Without emotions, that would be impossible. (http://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-1-nurturing-our-spiritual-and-emotional-growth)

-Bible.org [Facing Your Feelings 1] Nurturing Our Spiritual and Emotional Growth

Study By: Vickie Kraft

 So then, if God gave us all things to enjoy, and we need emotions to enjoy those things, what is emotional health? (“holism”, the ability to enjoy life , create balance in activities, express emotions appropriately, and cope with the stresses of life)

What, therefore, does an emotionally healthy person look like? Which of the following do you think are healthy factors?

  • Joyful
  • Positive
  • Freedom
  • Stressed
  • Guilty
  • Angry
  • Coping skills
  • Accepting
  • Peaceful
  • Self-care
  • Stressed
  • Depressed/Anxious
  • Lonely
  • Bitter
  • Self-destructive

Which of these  do you mostly align with or feel you experience the most?

Are you an emotionally whole person?

Which of these do you struggle with?

Ponder this question to yourself: Where—if at all—am I not emotionally health?

Our emotions are deeply rooted to our heart and spirit. Just as our emotions react to our physical circumstances (good news, getting a good grade…etc.), they also respond to our spiritual circumstances.

But what if I feel like I can’t control my emotions? Like they’re a runaway train? Maybe you often feel overwhelmed by your emotions and you see yourself in the following descriptions:

  • Have you experienced rejection or been treated unfairly, or are you struggling with emotional pain from the past?
  • Are you in a friendship or relationship that has soured and is causing bitterness?
  • Do others say you seem to “have it all together,” but underneath the surface negativity is seeping?
  • Are you overwhelmed with guilt and regret for things you have done and you just can’t forgive yourself?

Emotions are God-given; our Father uses these feelings to push us closer to Him. Just as physical pain tells us something is wrong with our bodies, so emotional pain may be God’s way of telling us all is not well with our spiritual relationship with Him.

So, what then, are some guidelines to understanding emotional health as we delve into this topic?

Principles of Emotional Health

  • “Neither denial of our emotions nor blind obedience to them will result in well-developed personalities.”

The Bible tells us how to manage our emotions in a godly manner:

1. God has emotions and created us in His image with a similar emotional capacity.

God loves, is joyful, feels compassion, sorrow, and anger. Jesus Christ, as a human being, revealed to us the heart of God. He expressed sorrow, anger, frustration (Luke 9:41), disappointment and amazement (Luke 7:9), grief (John 12:39), and joy (Heb. 12:2). Our emotional makeup is one of the ways God’s image is seen in us.

2. Human beings are physical, spiritual, and emotional unities.

“Just as we are able to experience physical pain or pleasure, so we have the capacity to experience emotional pain or pleasure.”

3. Emotions Powerfully Affect Our Lives

Imagine what it would be like to be intelligent, volitional beings without emotions. We’d be like computers, machines with no sensitivity, no ability to relate, no sorrows, and no joys. Our emotions were given not to control us but to enable us to enjoy life.

We often think we can solve our spiritual needs with a change in our physical circumstances. We take a little vacation. We go to the mall, or we live merely for pleasure. But these things are just Band-Aids. We can’t simply treat symptoms—because it often makes our circumstances worse.

4. God wants to heal our emotions by working through us rather than by adjusting our circumstances.

The things we put in our lives for escape (distraction), they never touch the root cause, which lies much deeper. God wants to heal the cause, not just relieve the symptoms of our emotional pain. And that can certainly be scary!

5. God wants our emotional stability to be based on our relationship with Him rather than on any other means of stability we might try to find on our own.

Discussion

  1. In your life, what would true emotional stability in the Lord alone look like? How would your life look different?
  2. Are you okay with your emotions?
  3. Does your answer change when you hear that emotions are God-given?
  4. What’s the general overview/state of your emotions in your life right now? And how does the Lord view your emotions?
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