#1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

Let’s explore the reasons people break off a relationship, quite a job, or divorce. When we know a cause then we can find a solution. I was the kind of person that was upset about everything though I wanted peace. I was quick to get angry. Why? After many years of research and thinking deeply about causes, I figured out the solution. After trying the solution I can testify it works.  I chose the picture above as an example of what is destroying relationships today and why,

Think back to a time you were upset about something. Why were you upset? What caused you to get upset?  Does the picture of this post upset you?  In this post I want to challenge you to think deeply about what causes arguments and strife. It is helpful to journal your thoughts concerning causes for strife in your relationships.

Let’s begin our exploration with the following understanding. Most of us are self-centered people, and we live and work with self-centered people, who want our own way.  And, we don’t know how to love well. Would you agree?

Whatever the reasons for strife, it always comes down to someone becoming offended, then getting upset. An offense is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, being ignored or not getting what they want.  Becoming offended can happen many times a day, especially when you have to share the road with other drivers or space with another person or watching the news. So, be mindful of the times you are annoyed, angry, miffed, irritated, frustrated, etc. Why? Really think about why. Why do you think you got offended?

A major cause of strife is pride. Pride caused me to be offended most of the time.  I would think the following thoughts: “How dare someone (fill in the blank).”  “They had no right to do that.”  “Who do they think they are?”  If you were honest as to why you get upset, you too would recognize a pride issue.  Please read my post on pride to learn more: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

Another cause for strife is when someone says something hurtful that creates an offense in our hearts. Often words hurt our pride. A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from offenses they have stored in their hearts. Read the following posts for a better understanding:  WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words  and WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

Another cause for strife is unrealistic expectations. For example, I became upset with my husband because he did not take care of me when I was sick like his father takes care of his mother. This is an unrealistic expectation because my husband is not like his father, and it is not reasonable for me to expect him to be. Once I realized why I was offended, then I could deal with it rationally. But before I rationally thought through why I was irritated with my husband, I said a hurtful things to him. My hurtful words caused him to become offended, then he said hurtful things back. Do you see how this situation could escalate quickly and dissolve the relationship?

Unresolved negative issues also causes strife. For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  The card reminded me of an unresolved painful issue with my first husband.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  When I dealt with the negative issue with my first husband that caused me to be offended, then I could resolve my offense and live in peace. To become free from the control of our past negative heart issues and painful memories, I invite you to visit my website and read my short book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

As soon as we recognize we do not have peace, we should ask if we are offended.  When we become offended, we enter the fight-or-flight mode. The fight-or-flight stress response stimulates the lower brain and we enter survival mode. Survival mode stops us from thinking rationally about the situation, which is why relationships dissolve quickly. You know you are in survival mode when you become upset when a goal or expectation is not met.  If you see yourself losing control of your emotions, walk back your emotions and ask, why am I upset? Why is this important to me? What is my part in this disagreement or unexpected negative situation? What solution do I need for a win/win? What am I willing or not willing to do?  Consider if the concern causing you to lose peace is within your circle of influence.  If it is not, then let it go or pray about it.  These are only suggested questions to help you think rationally and not reactively. 

Think about the last argument you were in or the last time you were frustrated. Using the definition of an offense, which is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from (fill in the blank), can you identify what you or the other person was offended about? As you may have already figured out, being offended is the single most destructive force in any relationship. But, once you discover the cause of the offense then you can work to solve it. My book called “Hope for Complete Healing” on my website identifies many causes for offense and the solution. I encourage you to read it so you can have stronger relationships.

Follow these seven actions for a great relationship; eight for SUPER GREAT!

1) Always stay in forgiveness and do not hold grudges. Expect that your partner/spouse/friend will let you down and may not meet your expectations from time to time. Being offended blocks love, kindness, peace, joy, and patience.
2) Be thankful for strengths and abilities and focus on these. It is easy to focus on what you don’t like and tell them about it.
3) Be committed. Genuine commitment is to be wholly focused on what is best and what will strengthen the relationship.
4) Communicate complete thoughts.  Don’t assume the other person heard you or understands. Have a respectful discussion to help you convey your meaning and expectations.  Don’t mind read and make assumptions.  Seek to understand what the other person is thinking without being critical.
5) Resolve conflicts using the “pen method.” The person holding the pen explains their perspective and logic. Then hand the pen to the other person, and they reflect on what they heard you say and explains their perspective and rationale. Go back and forth until you come to a win/win for both people.
6) Create a relationship vision or mission statement. Ask yourself and each other this question: “How do I want our relationship to be in 5, 10, 15, or 30 years. Write out a plan to accomplish your vision or mission.
7) Work through past issues, so your reactions and expectations are not controlled by your past.
8) Make the Lord and the Word of God a priority in your life and relationships.  The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so if you want to be wise, then God needs to be your source.

If you ever get a chance, go to a Mark Gungor marriage seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”  My husband and I went to one of Mark’s seminars and he is funny and to the point. https://markgungor.com/.  On this website is a test that determines what motivates you the most.  He calls it the Flag Page, because it determines what country you are from: Control, Perfect, Peace, or Fun.  Finding out what motivates me is very helpful to understand why I do what I do.  It was also very helpful to know what motivates my husband.

I also encourage you to read about the adapted summary of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

Many of the women I minister to feel there is no hope for overcoming their situations. And sadly, I often meet women who are put in jail right after having a baby that tested hot for drugs. Equally sad are the women whose children have been taken away from them, which drives them to use drugs and alcohol to escape that emotional pain. These women feel defeated and hopeless. When I asked them why they use, 99% of them say it is to avoid feeling emotional pain. They know the drugs and alcohol takes them further away from the life they desire. But, they feel they have no inner strength to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. Their hearts are full of emotional pain from unloving acts from those who should have loved them. Unfortunately, most people do not realize they have a love hunger that they are trying to satisfy with everything but the true source of love.

You may not have a drug or alcohol problem, but if you are honest, you also have some mechanism for escaping inner pain (e.g., binge eating, shopping, watching TV/movies, workaholism, etc.) For example, I was a workaholic, and my accomplishments helped me feel good, which concealed the pain in my heart. I also felt helpless to control my anger when I was offended. As a result, I believed I was unlovable and worthless. I have good news; with God’s help, I was able to transform my unhealthy beliefs and wrong thoughts with His truth.  Read about my transformation here.

The following five facts have helped the women in jail have hope to achieve lasting peace, love, and victory.  I pray they help you as well:

1. Know the source of offenses that steal your peace, love, and sense of worth.

a) Taking an offense to something is when you feel resentment for something done or said which often causes hurt feelings or displeasure. These resentments build up in our hearts throughout our lives.

b) The demonic powers around us are destructive forces in our lives. In Ephesians 6:12 it says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Also see Eph. 2:2; 2Cor. 4:4.

c) The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). The lies we believe cause us to be offended, which results in resentment and hate. For example, my oldest son believed the lie that I hated him because I disciplined him. He believed the lie that my discipline was abusive, therefore, he says he hates me. I can’t change what he believes because resentment is consuming and the demons keep it stirred up in him to keep him in bondage to these destructive thoughts.

d) The demons want to keep you defeated by destroying your peace, self-worth, and ability to feel loved. Children are their favorite target because they are so vulnerable, then as adults we wonder why we have so many offenses in our hearts, also called unresolved childhood issues. Feeling unloved and offended can lead to various destructive actions and addictions, which result in feeling more defeated.

For instance, when I am offended and get upset, I desire to binge eat, especially chocolate, or I get angry and tell the person off. Both responses are destructive; binge eating is destructive to my body and anger destroys my relationships. We can choose to respond with peace and love, which may sound impossible. Choosing a non-destructive action requires us to constantly check our thoughts and control them, though I still need to improve. Awareness of how we are offended is the first step.

2. Know your source of help to resist the demonic attempts to destroy you.

a) Jesus knows what it is like to suffer demonic attacks and temptations. He overcame the devil and defeated the enemy of our souls, and is able to help us overcome (see Hebrews 2:17&18; Heb. 4:15&16; and 1 John 3:8).

b) To receive this help, we need to put off the pride of being self-focused and the lie that we don’t need Jesus.  Then, humbly ask Him by faith to transform our lives. When we do this, then we will be rooted and grounded in His love and nothing can separate us from His love (see Ephesians 3:17; 1 John 4:9-10; and Romans 8:35-39). Also, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit who is our helper (see John 14:26; 15:26; and Romans 8:24-27).  To learn more about pride, read: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

c) After receiving Jesus into our hearts and submitting to God, which is to obey Him, then we will have all the divine promises in Christ Jesus. We will also have his divine nature and power to have lasting victory over all our issues and addictions. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4) For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” We tap into this divine power by faith through prayer and believing. We do not see the divine power in us, but we know it is there by faith and that it is ours through prayer.

3. Know the true source of love, peace, and victory.

a) God will always love us and He gives us His worth. (See Colossians 3:12). He is our only source of love; not our parents, not our boy/girlfriends, not our family, not our spouse; no one can love us as God does. Our love is flawed because each of us has wounds and hurts (offenses) from the sins and weaknesses of those around us.

b) God is our only source of peace. Isaiah 26:3 says “You keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he/she trusts in You.” Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Also see 1 John 5:4) The key to lasting peace is to keep our minds on God through continual prayer.

c) God is our only source of victory over the demonic world; James 4:7,8 says, “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.” Victory occurs when we submit to God and resist the devil through prayer and standing firm in our faith.  Victory also requires that we remove sin from our lives. Also see 1 Peter 5:8,9a.

4. Know the truth and pray the truth to stay in perfect peace, love, and victory.

a) Our responsibility is to keep our minds on the truths of the Word of God and remain with Him through prayer. As we stay in prayer, we will be victorious over the many temptations to believe the devil’s lies and become offended (see John 15 and Colossians 3:1-3). But first, we need to humbly confess our sins through prayer and seek God for forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9). You see, sin blocks our prayers and God will not hear our prayers because He is Holy (see Is. 59:2).

b) If we keep our minds on our problems and what we don’t like, then we will be worried, fearful, angry, depressed, etc. So, when you find yourself focused on a problem or an offense, then turn it into a prayer of repentance and submission to regain your peace, love, and victory. For example, we can get upset with a family member for the things they did or said or how they said it, and it can consume us. But when we turn the problem over to God and trust Him with it, then we will be filled with peace and love again. I have also found that being thankful keeps me in peace. As you know, when you don’t feel peace in yourself, you are not at peace with others around you.

c) Our prayers and words have power and we can take every thought captive in the name of Jesus and command them to be gone. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh (live in the world, NIV), we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (this world), but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (strongholds). We are destroying speculations (arguments) and every lofty thing (pretensions) raised up against the knowledge of God (truth), and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Taking our thoughts captive is critical to have lasting victory over our destructive emotions and actions.

5. Lastly, remove the many offenses in our hearts through prayer and forgiving.

a) Offenses hinder love but purifying out hearts by removing offenses allows us to feel love and to love others. Purifying our hearts begins with obeying the Word of God, that is, to do what it says. 1 Peter 1:22 states, Having purified your souls (heart, mind, and conscience) by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” We are able to love with a pure heart when our soul wounds are healed as outlined in my healing booklet found in my website (hopeforcompletehealing.com).

b) One of the truths we need to obey to be victorious over offenses is to forgive those who offended us. Then to put off the lies we believed. (See Matthew 6:12; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32). Our unforgiveness perpetuates the inner pain we feel and keeps us in bondage to it. We will never have lasting peace, love, or victory if we do not forgive.  If you find it hard to forgive, read: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE

I hope you found these five facts helpful and know that lasting peace, love, and victory is possible. In my website, I list many truths concerning key character traits to help you replace the devil’s lies with truth. I encourage you to take a look at these and be blessed.

You may be interested in reading: #1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

 

 

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 when I was raising my children, I would have dealt with the strife differently.  I would have located the offenses in their hearts, instead of reacting in anger.  To learn more, read the chapters of my book, listed in the right margin.

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

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, unacceptance, 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.  Beause 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 past down.  By journalling, you will better understand your parent’s 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.  Reading my 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.  As I am mindful of what I say and how I react, I am able to correct my behavior, so I can love from a pure heart.  I am constantly refering to the “issues” worksheet pages on my website to resolve the negative issues from my past, that are creating 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 prevented 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.

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 only happens 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 remain with 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.”

 

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 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 could 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