God's Will for Us

The Under-Discussed Damage of Spiritual Abuse (Part 2)

This is a two part article. See: Part One

Therefore, concerning what is being asked of or expected from us, which approach are we seeing from the particular leadership in question?

This?

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity. Titus 2:7

Or this?

And many will follow after their sensuality, through whom the way of the truth will be maligned. 2 Peter 2:2

The Under-Discussed Damage of Spiritual Abuse (Part 1)

This is a two part article. See: Part Two

When someone mentions the term, "spiritual abuse" today, sexual molestation of a child often comes to mind. We have too many accounts of priests, pastors and Sunday school teachers preying on the children in their care. And yes, sadly, that is spiritual abuse.

But this kind of abuse can also take on a more subtle form as well. Its definition hinges on the manipulation of power enforced by a spiritual authority figure, with the abused party feeling helpless and coerced.

Children, of course, spring to mind as the most vulnerable. But the net spreads wider.

And a heartbreaking reality emerges: loving God does not exclude us from being hurt, even in the seemingly Godly setting of church. We are all susceptible when it comes to spiritual abuse.

"...Many spiritual abuse victims find themselves struggling to make decisions, and may even have a hard time disciplining themselves to do basic everyday functions such as getting out of bed and brushing their teeth. For so long, we allowed the group/leader to think for us, formulate our opinions for us, and make decisions for us. No wonder so many of us struggle for many years learning how to find ourselves again after leaving a spiritually abusive situation..."
"Spiritual Identity Crisis?" www.churchabuse.com
Used with permission.

A Time Comes in Your Life When You Finally "Get It"

A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shutter once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for, happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact she is not Cinderella and you are not Prince charming , and that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings or beginnings for that matter, and;

That any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. And in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love,

Appreciate or approve of who or what you are and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own Views and opinions).

And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and ...sense of newly found confidence is born -- of "self-approval."

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) – And you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that

Not everyone will always be there for you, and that it’s not always about you. So, you

Do You Overindulge During the Holidays?

I cracked up when I saw this image, stating, "This is me, thinking about Thanksgiving."

When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.
Proverbs 23:1-3

We're in the sea of overindulgence holidays. We're polishing off the Halloween candy; now we're headed into the choppy waters of Thanksgiving. And then there's more fun: Christmas and Hanukkah, followed by the reinvention promise of New Year's.

My raft is overturned.

Admit it, these holidays are raging seas for our appetites.

We often struggle not to drown.

For, we often believe the lie of the satisfied appetite.

Being this long in the game with my own issues, I'm learning that, when it comes to our tricky carnal natures, there's no such thing. When it comes to matter of the appetite, the name of the game is more, more, more! And then some more piled on top of that! There! That'll fix everything! That'll make everything all better!

So, we consume whatever, however and in whatever amounts we desire.But it's all deceptive; the appetite we struggle with seems to act as a spiritual barometer. It registers as our chosen God substitute. And, because it is only a substitute, a counterfeit attempt, at best, it never fulfills us. So, what's the answer we choose if we're not careful? Gimme more!

Deception and Recovery

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20

The cute social media post thing strikes again. I came across this fluff ball the other day:

"Nope, I haven't seen your lipstick."

Adorable. Humorous. Human.

Indeed, this deceptive attempt at convincing did not start with our adorable pup. Rather, we need to look at history, a little further back. Let's peek in on a power couple.

Once upon a time, there was Ananias and Sapphira...Acts 5:1-11

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.

Celebrating Our Peculiar Selves

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.

Learning How to Wait

The Lord is not slow about His promise.

First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!"... But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:3-5, 8-9

We live in a fast food society. There are many places now that have put time clocks at the order windows. If your food is there in less time than promised, you get a reward...a free meal, a coupon, something. We are not used to waiting.

The Lord wants us to learn how to wait, to wait on Him. There are some things about waiting that I need to learn. As I look at the many definitions of "wait " in the dictionary, I see these:

  • to stay in place in expectation of
  • to remain stationary in readiness or expectation
  • to look forward expectantly

These are all things I need to learn.

First, when I wait, I learn to expect God to act. If He is going to act, then I am not going to act. I am going to wait on Him to act. That seems so simple, but the fact is, if God doesn’t do what I think He should do, then often I move ahead, doing it instead. And, of course, I only make a mess of things. In waiting for Him to act, I learn to live content in the situation itself (Phil. 4:11), trusting Him to make the changes He deems necessary at the time He deems right.

Workshop: Acceptance the Pathway to PeacePremium Content

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.

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The Serenity Prayer: A Weeble Lesson

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:

Life Choices: Thermometer or Thermostat?

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.

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