Freedom from the Snares of Disrespect, Unworthiness, and Failure

Have you been disrespected, demeaned, and feel like a failure?  Do you feel unworthy to be respected?  Do you find yourself being disrespectful when others fail to meet your expectations or know someone who is disrespectful to you when you fail? Do you bad mouth people and treat them as lower than yourself? Do you feel unworthy of respect, or are you treating others as unworthy of respect? All bad behavior has a source. So, don’t make excuses, but ask God, “Why am I behaving this way?” “What is the root or source behind my behavior?” “Why am I being disrespected and am I attracting disrespectful behavior?

The following example shows the connection between disrespect, unworthiness, and failure.  If my husband or anyone else did not meet my expectations, then I would demean them, which is not godly behavior. To be godly is basically to be like God.  And, God wants us to value others and to honor them; therefore, being disrespectful is not loving and is a sin. So, I asked God to show me the root of why I was being irritated. He revealed that I had unresolved painful memories of not being valued as a child or by my first husband.  God showed me that I had disdain for my first husband because of his abusiveness. Additionally, I was influenced by my mother’s disrespect and contempt for my father. Therefore, I developed unhealthy beliefs and wrong thinking that caused my sinful behavior of disrespect.

God also revealed that I felt like a failure as a child, especially with schoolwork and reading. I was told I should have been in special education classes, but my mother fought against it. I’m sure, you can think of the times when you failed, and others may have treated you as unworthy and disrespected you as well. Failure was the outer mental stronghold that reinforced the inner stronghold of unworthiness. Both mental strongholds protected the authority seat of disrespect, which held the memories of the offenses I had of disdain, dishonor, and rude behaviors. I also realized that disrespect was a generational sin because I observed the same responses in other family members.  To understand the role of strongholds and authority seats read this post: STRONGHOLDS PART I—What are they and how do they affect us?

The following are some of the unhealthy beliefs I had. “I am not worthy of respect, and no one else is worthy of my respect.” “I am inferior to others and deserve to be treated as inferior.” “I have no value and what I have to say is not valued.” “Men are not worthy of respect because they fail to meet expectations.” There are many other unhealthy beliefs associated with these two strongholds.  I replaced these unhealthy beliefs with the truths found in the section on my website called MEEKNESS/HUMILITY ISSUES.  Can you see the connection now between failure, feeling unworthy, and disrespect for yourself and others?

There is hope for complete healing and transformation, please read the pages on my website to learn how.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

 

PEACE—A Parenting and Marital Goal

What would it be like if our children lived in peace with each other and we had a peaceful marriage?  Let us take a moment to imagine that the people in our lives are serene, tranquil, calm, undisturbed, friendly, kind, and helpful.  How does this make you feel?  Does this make you feel relaxed?  Does this describe how you relate to people?  Consider, with me, three causes that deprive us of peace and how to restore peace.

Peace was the only Mother’s Day gift I would ask from my children, which never happened.  The reason was because I never sowed peace into my children.  Have you ever heard the saying, “you reap what you sow?”  A farmer sows seed into the ground and depending on what the seed is that is, what the farmer will reap.  So, if you don’t have peace in your family and marriage then maybe peace has not been sown.  If there is strife in your life, consider where the source of strife is coming.

The first and main source of strife comes from past offenses stored in our memories and unforgiveness in our hearts.  Because I was an angry person inside from the many painful memories of being abused, I could not live in peace with anyone, though I desperately wanted to.  After God healed my painful memories, offenses, and unhealthy beleifs, I no longer was upset about everything all the time.  I can now live in peace with those around me, including myself.  Had I known about this when I was raising my children, I would have dealt with the strife differently.  I would have located the offenses in their hearts from disappointment, instead of reacting in anger.  To learn more, read the chapters of my book, listed in the right margin.  Also read: The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control

The second source of strife comes from daily offenses that we react too.  Just drive in the city, and you will have plenty of reason to be offended.  Being around people offer many opportunities to be offended.  These little offenses steal our peace, and the best solution is to take those thoughts captive by first, recognizing them, acknowledging them, and then taking hold of them.  Next, ask God to remove those thoughts of offense, forgive if necessary, and then ask God to give you patience and love for those around you.  Again, I elaborate more on this in my book on my website.

The third reason we lack peace can also be from the following peace robbers.  In fact, these peace robbers greatly affected my health and your health.  I share my testimony of how I transformed these peace robbers in my book found in my website.

  • Tension: mental or nervous strain
  • Fear of something bad happening:
  • Dread: to fear greatly; be in extreme apprehension
  • Fright: sudden fear or terror
  • Nervousness: emotional tension; agitation
  • Anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
  • Worry: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret
  • Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath
  • Terror: intense fear

For example, my husband took my two young sons (10 and 12) spelunking in an abandoned cave.  I objected greatly but the boys wanted to go, and my husband was an experienced spelunker.  Needless to say, I experienced all the above peace robbers.  Thankfully, the Lord was watching over my children and husband as there were many dangers.  My husband had fun but my children to this day never want to go spelunking again.

Not only do we need to pray and ask God to remove these peace robbers from us but also the associated unhealthy beliefs.  The following are some examples of unhealthy beliefs that need transforming through prayer and truth:

  • Something bad will happen.
  • The future will be like the past.
  • There is no peace for me.
  • I don’t deserve peace.
  • Why even try to get peace? It is useless to try.
  • I lost any chance for peace when I lost _____.
  • I caused ____ to lose peace.
  • I am afraid I will never have peace.
  • If I have peace, bad things will take it away.
  • If I can just get more ____ I will have peace.
  • My lack of peace is due to my lack of ____.
  • Other people have taken my peace from me.
  • If only others would leave me alone I would have peace.
  • They don’t deserve peace.

The following truths can be used to transform the above unhealthy beliefs and any other unhealthy beliefs that God shows you when you ask.

  • The peace of Christ rules in my heart, and I am thankful. 3:15
  • I pursue peace and do what is good. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:11
  • I can be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for others. Titus 3:2
  • When I make peace, I will be blessed and be called a child of God. 5:9
  • The peace that comes from God is beyond understanding when I give my troubles to Him and thank Him. 4:6
  • God fills me with all joy and peace as I believe and trust Him, and I will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 15:13
  • I will have great peace and will not stumble when I love God’s Word. 119:165
  • I can be at peace with others. 9:50; Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14
  • Peace comes when I trust Jesus, and I will not let my heart be troubled or anxious. John 14:27; John 16:33; Phil. 4:6, 7; 26:3

Minimize Memory Clutter

Do you know any minimalist? My husband and I read a book on being a minimalist. The author said that a minimalist sells, throws away, or gives away possessions they do not use or does not have sentimental value. Minimalists say that decreasing ones possessions will reduce stress and free up time. My husband wants to be an extreme minimalist and reduce our possessions to the smallest amount possible. I think he wants to get rid of my things that he thinks is unnecessary. I told him to start with his things, such as the crow decoys in the shed and hunting blinds in the basement that he never uses. Do you have an attic, basement, garage, spare room, or shed full of stuff you know longer use or need? For more information, watch the YouTube videos on being a minimalist.

So, can our memories be mental clutter that keep us from being productive and stress free? I learned from Dr. Caroline Leaf that most of our memories are in our subconscious mind and we are not even aware of how much they are controlling our thinking.  It is my experience that my subconscious painful memories dominated my life and caused tremendous stress. The reason was because my memories controlled my thoughts, which often led to emotional stress and dysfunctional reactions.  To learn more read: HOW MEMORIES INFLUENCE OUR THINKING, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR

So why should we minimize painful memories? First, you will think more clearly, that is, your memories will not control your thoughts. Secondly, you will be free to choose loving and kind responses during stressful situations instead of following programmed memory behavior scripts.

When to minimize memory clutter.  Do you think about the painful things done or said to you? Do you feel angry, impatient, irritated, or frustrated? Do you complain? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then you need to clean out the unloving and unkind memories that do not help you be a loving and kind person.

So how do you minimize memories? Romans 12:2 states, … but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.  The last blog I posted was on this topic of inner self transformation and renewing your mind. So, I will not repeat what I wrote and would encourage you to read that post to learn more. WHAT IS INNER LIFE TRANSFORMATION? My Story  Also, 2 Corinthians 4:16 states, So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

We minimize our memory clutter the same way we minimize our physical clutter; one item at a time. The only exception is we need God to search our minds and to bring those memories to be eliminated out of our subconscious. I explain how to do this on the pages listed on my website.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Reducing memory clutter of all the negative, painful, and disappointing experiences in my life freed me to enjoy my life, love others, and to be thankful.

 

WHAT IS INNER LIFE TRANSFORMATION? My Story

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 Story

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. Identify and eliminate generational curses and sins that prevent the transformation of dysfunctional patterns.
  5. 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.”

Related Posts:

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

 

12 JOY Stealers

I suffered from all 12 joy stealers. In fact, I was so miserable that my husband often threatened to call me “ce” instead of Joyce (true story).  I wrote in my last two posts about suffering well.  For many of us, we do not suffer well and we relive painful memories, thus, perpetuating the pain that robs us of joy in our present life.  The links to my last two posts: 7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1) and Joseph, an Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well

12 JOY STEALERS

Sadness: sorrow about the loss of love, honor, respect, innocence, and not being accepted. It is a feeling of dejection, which is a low spirit of depression and discouragement.

Depression: brooding on one’s problems

Apathy: absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement (I don’t care attitude)

Despair: loss of hope

Discouragement: having no courage, confidence, or hope

Grief: keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss

Hopelessness: having no expectation of a favorable outcome

Despondency: being in very low spirits due to a loss of hope and a sense of futility about continuing one’s efforts

Misery: a condition of great suffering because of pain, poverty, etc.; distress

Feeling Inferior: below average; low status, rank, etc.

Feeling Worthless: without worth; of no use, importance, or value

Complaining attitude: to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault

I spoke with an elderly man who spent his whole life reliving his past hurts. Have you ever been around people who have to tell you how bad they had it and the terrible things that happened in their life? How does that make you feel? Do you relive your past hurts and disappointments? I too suffered a lot of hurts, disappointments, abuses, rejections, betrayals, etc., which was why I had no joy and was always angry. I didn’t like living with myself and I made everyone else miserable. My website, hopeforcompeletehealing.com, contains my story and how I discovered the secret to overcoming these 12 joy stealers, plus so much more.

I asked the elderly man what the purpose was for telling us these terrible things. He said he can’t get them out of his head.  I told him the first step was to forgive each person who caused him pain, and then to ask God to take that memory out of his head.  I overcame my painful memories by doing this. In fact, just today, I was complaining again. By the way, complaining is a symptom of a painful memory. So, I asked God to show me why I was complaining.  I waited until God brought the memories to my mind of how my father often let me down.  Next, I forgave my father and asked God to lose (untie and remove) the negative effect of each memory from my mind related to the unmet expectations and the resulting disappointment. This process is explained in detail on my website. I invite you to visit my site to learn more. https://hopeforcompletehealing.com

This man, and many people, are only focused on what they don’t like and the bad things that happened, and they remain stuck in misery.  Do you see yourself stuck in the pit of depression and misery?  Maybe you feel sad, humiliated, or shame, which is stealing your joy.  See the following page to transform these negative heart issues with transformation truth: JOY Issues

You may also be interested in reading my story of Freedom from Humiliation and Mental Strongholds of Shame and Sadness

Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well

Have you ever thought about being molded by God?  Have you ever considered how the outcome of trials and sufferings mold us into vessels that God can use? Isaiah 64:8 states, “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”  God uses experiences and imperfect people to shape us into vessels of honor.  For example, a potter kneads the clay to get the air pockets out.  He then forms the clay ball into a desired vessel by pinching it into the shape he wants. Next, he puts it into a hot kiln for many hours. In the same way, God uses trying circumstances and imperfect people to shape us and to make us more like Christ. No one will say they like suffering but when we keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him, He will strongly support us.  Sometimes though, we cause our own suffering because of our own wrong choices, even so, God can still use it for good if we allow Him to.  For example, if you tell your boss off and you lose your job, well, that suffering could have been avoided.  Even so, God can mold you into a more patient person.

Rom 8:28, 29a states, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,…”

One of my favorite stories on suffering well and God’s response is the story of Joseph in Genesis, chapters 37-50.  Joseph had an understanding of the eternal perspective of God’s plan and purpose.  I encourage you to read this whole story.  The following is a very short overview of his story and some reflective questions. As you read, imagine if you were him.

Joseph was the second youngest in a family of 12 sons.  His brothers were jealous of him because their father favored him.   His brothers dislike him even more when he told them about dreams he had and how they were bowing down to him.  After some time had past, his father sent him to check on his brothers in the fields. They desired to kill him but one of the brothers, who had compassion, convinced them to put him in a dry well instead.  He suggested this because he wanted to get him out later and send him away to safety. When a band of Egyptian traders came along, the other brothers sold him to be a slave.  

?? How do you think Joseph must have felt, not knowing what will happen to him or if he would ever see his family again?  How would you feel if you were him?

Joseph behaved well and accept his fate and God blessed him by causing everyone to give him favor.  His first owner made him head over his entire household.  In the meantime, his owner’s wife wanted Joseph to sleep with her.  But he refused because of his faith in, and fear of, God.  One day, she grabbed his coat as he fled and she then lied to her husband and said that Joseph tried to rape her.  As a result, his owner sent him to jail.  Once again, Joseph behaved well, even when suffering an injustice, so God gave him favor with the head jailer.  Then God provided an opportunity for Joseph to interpret the dreams for two of Pharaoh’s servants.  He then asked them to remember him to Pharaoh when they got out of prison so he could get out too.  But, the servants forgot Joseph.  

?? Did Joseph have the right to be bitter, resentful, and angry at his brothers or the servants who forgot him, or his master’s wife who lied? Would you have if you were Joseph?

?? Is there a situation in your life that you are bitter and resentful about? If you answered yes, then please visit my website, hopeforcompletehealing.com, to learn how to work through the issues that have caused you to be resentful.

One day, Pharaoh had a dream which no one could interpret. One of his servants remembered that Joseph had interpreted his dream in prison and told Pharaoh, who then sent for Joseph.  Joseph interpreted the dream which was about seven years of abundant crops followed by a seven-year famine. God caused Pharaoh to make Joseph second in command of Egypt to prepare for the seven years of famine. Now that is a promotion. During the famine, Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy food for their families. They did not recognize Joseph, but he recognized them as they were bowing before him. Remember his dreams? Not only did Joseph give them food, but he also gave their money back, by putting it into the grain bags. He forgave them and blessed them.

?? Did Joseph have the right to be prideful and rub his success in his brother’s faces instead of blessing them? Would you have?

?? Is there someone who has humiliated, dishonored, or wronged you and you are still struggling with the painful memory and offense? Again, I encourage you to visit my website to help you overcome these painful memories.

Genesis 50:20 records Josephs confession to his brothers, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.What a fabulous attitude. I want to have that same attitude, how about you? Please read the rest of the story in Genesis to see how he saved his family and the nation of Israel.

?? How will the choices you make affect the outcome of your life or the lives of others?

The following is an example in the Apostle Peter’s life:

Luke 22:31-32 Jesus said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you , that he might sift you like wheat, 32) but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Remember, Jesus is also interceding for each of us (see Romans 8:34) that our faith does not fail. Therefore, one of the purposes of going through trials and sufferings is to encourage and strengthen others when they are in the same or similar trial. See my blog on “7 ways to suffer well.”

7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1)

Having gone through much suffering myself, and I can make seven suggestions on how to suffer well since suffering is inevitable.

1.  Accept that suffering happens to everyone in the world, and we can’t control when, how, or what happens to us.  We can only control how we react to it, so acceptance is the first step to suffering well. The reason for suffering is that we live in an imperfect and unpredictable world with imperfect people. Often we cause our own suffering from the wrong choices we make.  Suffering can be called a trial, a tribulation, or an affliction.

1 Peter 4:12-14 states, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery (painful; NIV) trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13) But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

2. Allow suffering to strengthen you and to make you more compassionate. For instance, when you endure afflictions well, then you can support and comfort others. For example, others, who had been through similar difficulties as I have supported, encouraged, and helped me. Their encouragement helped me to become stronger and to then be able to comfort and support others who were going through similar suffering.

3.  Don’t take it personally. Embrace suffering as a part of life that reveals your personality or character flaws.  Personality flaws are often the result of painful memories, which generates unhealthy beliefs, that then controls your negative reactions.  My website, hopeforcompletehealing.com, explains how to discover, transform, and reprogram painful memories and unhealthy beliefs, so that you can deal with difficulties in a healthy way.

4. Forgiving is the key to suffering well. Forgiving those who cause or have caused your suffering is the only way to keep your peace and joy. When you don’t forgive, then you become angry, bitter, or resentful because you are self-absorbed and focused on the injustice of the suffering. For example, I could have resented my ex-husband for allowing my son to go down the wrong path but, I realize my son is responsible for the wrong choices he makes. I could have resented my son for making wrong choices, and bringing embarrassment and shame to the family but, I realize I am no one special and I am not alone. My point is not to take offense, because of another person’s weakness or sin. Be quick to forgive and practice the truths in the Word of God. Refer to my post on forgiveness WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE.

5. Turn your suffering over to God and allow Him to work in your life. Difficulties perfect you, strengthen your faith, and increases your ability to endure. Submit the outcome of the trial or difficulty to God and don’t lose His peace and joy. Remember, you cannot control what, when, or how difficulties happen, but you can control what you do when they come.

James 1:2-4 –Count it all joy, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3) for you know that the testing of your faith produces1 steadfastness2 (endurance; patience). 4) And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect3 and complete4, lacking in nothing.” (ESV)

** 1) Produce means to bring forth; create; bear (as a plant bears fruit and seed); etc..

** 2) Steadfastness means firm, fixed, settled, or established. 2. Constant; not changing.

** 3) Perfect means complete in all respects; without defect.

** 4) Complete means lacking none of the parts; to make entire, thorough, or perfect

** 5) Endurance means the ability to last, continue, or remain b) ability to stand pain, distress, fatigue, etc.

** 6) Patience means the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, or irritation.

?? Why is it important to test our faith?

Testing our faith reveals what we really believe. Testing also strengthens and purifies our faith. Trials and suffering give us the opportunity to practice the truths in God’s Word, which strengthen our faith and transform our thinking, attitudes, and character.

Romans 5:2-4 states, “Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3) Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” (ESV)

6. Stay focused on the truths and promises of God’s Word and do what it says.  When we do this, then we avoid depression that often accompanies suffering.  Grief is healthy, but depression is not. Depression is inner anger, caused by focusing on what you don’t want. Looking up and finding the rainbow, and maintaining a positive view, helps you suffer well. The Bible says to “be thankful in everything, pray without ceasing, and rejoice always” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). This sounds hard to do, but with God’s help, all things are possible.

Philippians 4:6-7 states, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And, 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

7. Stay humble. Suffering will often leads to pride, because we think we didn’t or don’t deserve it. So suffering well is to humbly seek God’s help and strength to endure and overcome. Remember, Satan also causes afflictions to draw us away from God, read the story of Job. Satan wants us to become angry and depressed, which is why we need to resist him and draw near to God.

James 4:6-8 states, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it states, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ 7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

None of us likes suffering, but it happens. What you do during times of suffering will either make you stronger or miserable; it is your choice to suffer well or not. Also, keep suffering in proper perspective. I often say, “This too shall pass.”

Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 states, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Read about how Joseph suffered well: Joseph, an Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well