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Adult Children, Bible Studies
"...We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace." Jeremiah 30:5
"Fear" is spoken of over 500 times in the Bible. So, to me, that signifies it's a topic worth noting.
I believe the 1980's science fiction film, "Bladerunner" makes a powerful statement on fear.
There are various discussions about the story and the complexity of the Roy Batty character in particular. He's often viewed as the villain. But, if we dig deeper, perhaps there's more to the story.
Batty is a kind of futuristic robot who has an expiration date of four years. This tactic is implemented to ensure that, in the event a robot develops troublesome feelings, emotions and agendas, humanity is safeguarded by the possible destruction the robot could cause.
However, Roy Batty has apparently experienced these turbulent human emotions firsthand; hence, he is viewed as that much-feared threat to human beings.
Therefore, the "bladerunner," a robot killer for hire, is assigned the task of destroying him before it's too late.
And, after Batty's rampage and search for knowledge about his existence, he eventually shares his observation on fear.
Scripture tells us we are to be a peculiar people:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
And, most of the time, that doesn't seem to stack up well against our limited definitions of beauty.
Yes, we have opened up more variance with image, reflecting multicultural, unique features. Still, we often seem to like to fall back on what is widely known, accepted and comfortable. Ergo, for example, tall, thin, blue eyes, blonde hair, on Caucasian skin tones.
Karla Downling is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, Bible study teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, scriptural misunderstanding, and emotional pain personally and relationally. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues. She also desires to equip ministry leaders and lay counselors to reach out more effectively to those that are struggling with difficult relationships. Karla’s website is http://ChangeMyRelationship.com.
karladowning: Ok. Let's start off with a definition of acceptance. It is "taking or receiving what is offered, giving approval, believing, or accepting. It is putting out your open hand and allowing the thing or circumstance or person to be put into it and then closing your hand and pulling it toward you. The meaning of "accept" is "to receive as adequate; to receive with approval or favor; to take or receive."
The opposite of acceptance is refusal or disapproval. It is like putting out your hand and pushing it away. think about your life and the things you don't want; don't like; struggle with accepting. Are you opening your hand to receive them or pushing them away? I know for myself that I pushed them away for years and struggled with refusing to accept them. It took lots of energy.
There's a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:
1) to learn
2) to cope.
Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.
The First Job: To Learn:
Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition...
While sifting through my childhood toys, I happened upon some Weebles.
What are they - and what do they do?
"...an egg-shaped Weeble causes a weight located at the bottom-center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravitational force brings the Weeble back into an upright position... The popular catchphrase, 'Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.' was used in advertising during their rise in popularity..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeble
As I was reunited with these toys, I remembered how, in my playtime, I often tried to put my Weebles to bed, lying them on their sides, only to watch them quickly spring to their vertical stance again. There was no keeping these suckers down.
"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."
You better believe it.
Therefore, reacquainting myself with them in my adult life, I now view them through the recovery/struggle context and the famous Serenity Prayer:
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7
Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of "The Daily Show," recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:
"My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature."
Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.
And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.
So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.
First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn't require much work. You just let your feelings rip.
One of my favorite television series, "Mad Men" offers up a scene in which one ad mad conveys this message to another character:
"Stay out of it."
Hmmm. Sometimes, that is sometimes spot-on spiritual advice, isn't it?
Meddling or helping- which one is it each of us are doing at any given time?
This becomes an especially valid question concerning our own self-interest. And, c'mon, be honest, most of us are EXTREMELY self-interested.
The entertainer, RuPaul states it this way:
"Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business."
Years ago, there was a popular song, "Feelings."
As the lyrics go, "feelings, nothing more than feelings...whoa...whoa...whoa..."
(It's bad Karaoke, let me tell ya).
Anyway, I've been giving some thought to the feelings factor. I've seen how it has done some damage in my own life. Temper tantrums, crying jags, meltdowns of epic proportion- whatever you want to call them - feelings, let's be real, rarely lead us to make great decisions which improve our lives.
But wreck our lives? Well, that's a different story.
For those of us in recovery, for those of us coming from abuse, the feelings thing is a tricky course to navigate. In my case, because feelings weren't safe in my home, growing up, I learned to suppress, stuff, until...boom! Explosion happened. Not a good coping mechanism.
And so, a girl of extremes, when life moved on, I was determined to fully express my feelings whenever I had them. Oh yeah. This was fun and games. No one was going to control me!
Hence, I was OUT of control.
The cliché in life is true: it's about balance and moderation. And that was NOT something I was good at. I was not good at dealing, in a healthy with my emotions.
Scripture tells us, like it or not, we all need to do this:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
Years after the immediate damage of both my eating disorders and my childhood abuse, God has patiently- and gradually- led me into honestly looking at my heart, the factory producing all of these blessed feelings in the first place.
I must admit, my favorite question is "why?"
I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.
And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.
Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.
It's not merely a question; it's a statement... about the significance of urgency.
And this is right up addiction's alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?
Why is this my answer?
Why will this solve things?
Why will nothing else do?
Why must I be instantly healed?
It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.
"...and that's when I became a warrior!"
I recently caught this statement trending on social media. It's no surprise why it has caught on. With so much suffering in the world, taking on a fighting perspective can be empowering.
No matter what we've experienced in our lives, God has placed within each of us a warrior spirit. He knows full well of our challenges, setbacks, relapses, pain and loss. He also knows of our mighty purpose as well.
And it is precisely that reason why the warrior emerges. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It's that kind of thing which attaches itself to our every breath. It's that thing which does not give up, no matter how many times we feel we cannot go on.
Whatever you have survived in your life - loss, trauma, addiction, abuse, extraordinary pain- God wants you to do something with it, in spite of it.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9
He wants to turn those ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61:1-3).
But He doesn't stop there. He doesn't just want you to fight for fighting's sake. He wants to give you the Victory as well!
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
God wants you to experience overcoming that enemy. He didn't say it would be easy, instant or painless. But He has assured us that Victory is ours.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
And that is often what awakens the warrior within us, often, without our own awareness. Some call it "instinct." But again, it's "that thing" which keeps going when everything and everyone else tells us to give up. It's God given.
And because it is God given,