When you view yourself in the mirror what do you see; a beautiful butterfly or an ugly caterpillar?
Before my life transformation, I looked in the mirror and saw a lonely, hurting, and unlovable child in an adult body. I desired to be a person who would know, feel, and show love. I wanted to be joyful and not sad and disconnected. I wanted to feel peace instead of anxiety and anger. Because of the many offenses in my heart from my abusive and dysfunctional past, I developed unhealthy beliefs and unloving thoughts that controlled my emotions. But, before I continue with my story, I want to explain what the terms abusive and dysfunctional mean. And what are offenses? The following definitions are from the Webster dictionary.
Dysfunctional is to be abnormal and/or emotionally impaired. A dysfunctional person is not emotionally stable, secure, or peaceful. They are usually full of unreasonable anger and anxiety. Also, a dysfunctional person is someone who can be impaired by alcohol, drugs, mental illness, addiction, etc.
Abuse is the mistreatment of others that causes physical, emotional, and mental harm. Abuse also includes using insulting, coarse, or bad language about or to someone.
Offenses are resentments, hurt feelings, and displeasure from the pain of unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, nonacceptance, and being ignored.
My transformation began at eight years old when I heard the good news about Jesus Christ, and I believed. After asking Him to come into my heart, I felt His life come into me, and I felt hope for the first time. I continued to live in a dysfunctional and abusive home where painful memories and the related emotional stress continued to build up. Because I didn’t feel safe, I became anxious. In addition, I was lonely and discontent, which led to different escaping behaviors. And, I became angry from the mistreatment. Though both my parents professed to be “Christians,” they continued to sin because of offenses in their hearts from the repressed painful memories of their dysfunctional pasts.
My first marriage was to a hurting “Christian” man, who would be abusive because of the offenses in his heart. As a result, I became depressed, even more insecure, angry, and controlling. I realized I needed to change for the sake of my children, students, and friendships. So, I went to several psychologists; read many self-help books; and attended several bible-study groups, but did not experience any change in my life. These activities only exposed the depravity of my heart. And since my repressed painful memories weren’t transformed, I continued to act out of my wounded heart. I ended up having to separate from and then divorce my first husband. Because I trusted in God, I saw many miracles as He helped me go through the divorce and custody battle. This story is in the post called: Trust God to Keep His Promises.
Because we live in a sinful world with self-centered people, not one of us can escape from having painful memories and negative heart issues. Therefore, we all need inner life transformation. Unresolved negative issues affect all our relationships and even our destiny. You can expose them by paying attention to what you think, say, and do.
I encourage you to keep a journal of your thoughts, words, and reactions for several months. In a separate journal record as much as you know about your family as far back as you can remember. Ask your parents and grandparents to tell you what they know. Write about relationship dynamics and any dysfunctional patterns. Record any major events that shaped their lives and yours, such as a death, divorce, addiction, mental illness, disability, or a major change that was upsetting. Every detail will give you a clue about how your family dynamics were shaped and any dysfunctions that were passed down. By journaling, you will better understand your parents, and their unresolved negative issues that may be affecting them, which is also affecting you.
Next, write as much as you can remember about your life, even the beginning of your life, which your mother could tell you. Record the relationship dynamics between you and your parents, siblings, and extended family. Some memories will be painful, and they need to be healed for you to be healed, which is the purpose of exposing them. Like cancer treatments or heart surgery, they are painful but necessary for healing and experiencing life. Reading my short book on my website will help you heal these memories. To learn more about memories, read HOW MEMORIES INFLUENCE OUR THINKING, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR.
Working through unresolved negative issues takes time, but it is well worth the time. I have been working on my negative heart issues for the past 20+ years, and I have seen incredible results in my life, marriage, family, and workplace relationships. Now, I am mindful of what I say and how I react, I can correct my behavior, so I can love from a pure heart. I am constantly referring to the “issues” worksheet pages on my website to resolve the negative memories from my past, that create negative issues in the present. I am also quicker to recognize when I become offended from other people’s negative issues, so I can forgive and remove the offense out of my heart. To learn more about how our words have power read: WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words and WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy.
I was the perfect person to test what worked and did not work for transforming a hurting heart into a loving heart. With each negative issue, I asked God to show me why I reacted with unloving behavior, and how I could change. God showed me how to heal the hurts and offenses in my heart with truth while using specific prayer requests as outlined next. This process is described in detail in my website called hopeforcompletehealing.com.
For each negative issue, I asked God to:
- Uncover repressed painful memories that caused the offense. Then I asked Him to heal the image and to help me forgive those involved. If you struggle with forgiving, please read WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE.
- Identify and eliminate the unhealthy beliefs created by the painful memory that causes wrong thinking and then replace them with the truth. For more details read UNHEALTHY BELIEFS PART 1: What are they and where do they come from?
- Identify and eliminate strongholds that protect the painful memories and unhealthy beliefs from being healed. To understand what strongholds are read STRONGHOLDS PART I—What are they and how do they affect us?
- Identify and eliminate generational curses and sins that prevent the transformation of dysfunctional patterns.
- Eliminate the oppressive spirits (negative energy) associated with the painful memories and beliefs which perpetuate the offenses and attract more offense and pain.
Now, I look in the mirror and see a happy, emotionally healthy, and content woman; not a hurting, lonely, and unlovable little girl. When you view yourself in the mirror what do you want to see?
Ultimately, the Bible is the most important book to read for complete healing and transformation of our minds, hearts, and health. 2 Corinthians 4:16 states, “Do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” Ephesians 4:23 and Colossians 3:10 tells us to renew our minds to reflect the image of God, which can only happen when we read the Bible.
Furthermore, for our prayers to be effective, we need to have a right relationship with God, because it is God who ultimately heals and transforms us. If you have issues with God, I would ask that you believe the fact that He wants to heal your hurts and give you a new life. This begins with spiritual healing by believing and confessing that Jesus Christ is God the Son, who died on the cross to pay the debt for sin and who forgives our sins and frees us from sins control (See Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 4:15; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Col 1:14; & Gal 5:1). When we confess this with our mouth and believe it with our heart, then God the Holy Spirit enters our hearts and fills us with the love, life, and light of Jesus (See Gal 4:6 & 1 Cor 6:17). If you have not made this confession, then do it now to begin the transformational healing process (See Rom 10:9-13 & Eph 2:1-10). Moreover, we are transformed by the love of God the Father as we stay close to Him and trust Him to transform our lives according to His truth. See John 17:17.
Our sin, and especially the sin of pride, also blocks our prayers from reaching God. Psalms 66:18 states, “If I have cherished sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 states, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear.” To know if you have sin, ask God to search your heart and mind. Jeremiah 17:9-10 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10) ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” (Also see Revelations 2:23.) But we can become free from sin by confessing it to God. 1 John 1:9 tells us “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
How to heal your soul: WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL? and Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul
Becoming self-controlled: Self-control and Maturity and The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control and How to be Self-controlled in What We Say
Becoming free from anxiety disorder: Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE
Becoming free from pride and negative feelings: The Core Negative Heart Issue