Have you ever felt like you were fighting to find something to be thankful for?
We have all failed in appreciating God as we should. The fall of man came when Adam and Eve became unsatisfied with all that God had given them. Eve allowed the whispering of the serpent to put doubts in her mind about who God really was. The first lie she believed was that God would withhold something good from her.
Psalm 84:11 says, ” For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Eve could have looked at the whole garden and all that God had given her and her husband Adam and seen that her life was good, she had all that she needed.
But, the serpent’s whispering in her ear moved her focus to that one tree, the one tree that she didn’t have. Instead of opening up the lenses to see all that she did have, she instead zoomed in on the one thing she did not have.
I think we are all guilty of this at one point or another. Like my anger with God for not stopping all of the pain I had to endure for two years and failing to fix my marriage the way I wanted.
I was zoomed in on the one person I was losing and being hurt by instead of opening up my focus to all that God was providing for me and more importantly, what He was doing in my life and inside of me.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, ” in EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Perspective is a powerful thing. My mom used to always tell me, “Instead of complaining that the rose bush has thorns, why don’t you be thankful that the thorn bush has roses.”
Do we dare believe that the painful thing we’re going through can be used for good? Do we dare believe that the major desire of our heart that is being withheld from us is for good? Do we dare believe that everything we have right now is all that we need?
Do we dare believe that this life is nothing but a vapor, a mere blip on the map compared to the eternity we have with God in heaven?
We will not live our best lives now, but we can live blessed lives now, the best is saved for heaven. If you’re sitting here still wondering, “what do I have to be thankful for?” I’ll tell you…
You have a God whose love can fill that emptiness you feel inside, you have a God whose grace can heal the shame that holds you down, you have a God who says, no matter what is in your past, you are worthy, you have a God who has a plan for your future and a purpose for your life and he says that it is for GOOD!
You have a God who can take the pain, the abuse and the brokenness and use it for your good, you have a God who calls you son, daughter, friend, justified, a new creation, free, forgiven, redeemed, accepted, blessed, you are the righteousness of God.
Here Are The Reasons Why You May be Dating People You Need To “Fix” or “Save”…
Either, you are this woman or you know this woman. If you are this woman you think, “why do I always attract the same type of guys??” If you know this woman you think, “she has horrible taste in men!” I was this woman so I have a bit of insight after a lot of self-reflection and reading up on subjects relating to relational issues. Maybe you’ll see some of these same things in your own life… Hope it helps!
I came from a dysfunctional family and never learned what boundaries were. I come from a family of alcoholism and codependency (I’ll explain what this word means later). Healthy relationships weren’t exemplified for me growing up which lead me to be an unhealthy person. I had no clue what a boundary was or why I needed them. (I’ll explain boundaries further down).
I had very low self-worth. I was rejected as a child because of the alcoholism and the extra attention my parent needed because of their own issues which left me feeling unimportant and unsupported. Both parents were too busy with the addiction and codependency that they weren’t able to fulfill my emotional needs as a child. This led to depression and very low self-worth. I felt completely worthless and treated myself as if I were.
I used relationships to feel like I had purpose and worth. I wanted to be the girl he changed for. I wanted to be the “better half.” I (subliminally) wanted to be his god, his savior, his everything because that would mean I was special and worthy. I needed to prove to myself that I was worth something. Again, this directly relates to my low self-worth and trying to fill that emotional void from childhood.
I couldn’t be with a healthy person because I wasn’t healthy. In order to be in a healthy relationship with a healthy person, we need to be healthy ourselves. I was attracted to men with issues because I had my own issues. I struggled with my very own codependency. I didn’t know what it meant to be responsible for only myself and responsible TO others… not FOR them. The complete lack of boundaries made me more focused and controlled by other people’s feelings than even recognizing my own.
I was codependent. What does that mean? It’s something I have learned and studied deeply; this is what codependence is: Belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where we enable another person to maintain their irresponsible, addictive, or underachieving behavior. We don’t allow irresponsible people to live with consequences, we’re too busy trying to fix and save with the end goal of being loved for these things we do.
If you struggle with codependency you find it hard to identify your own feelings but are always aware of the feelings around you. You sacrifice your own well being to fill the emotional and self-esteem needs of a dysfunctional person. You use manipulation to keep the love of another person and to avoid rejection. You can be controlling, sometimes in a subtle way. You struggle with having healthy boundaries or don’t know what boundaries are.
What are unhealthy boundaries?
If you have unhealthy or no boundaries you feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame your own on someone else. You allow a lot of disrespect and mistreatment and stay in bad relationships longer than you should. When we have healthy boundaries and they are repeatedly crossed or disrespected, we are able to be more realistic about whether the situation we are in is healthy or not.
A boundary is an imaginary fence around our hearts that has a gate we can use to allow good, healthy things in and keep bad, unhealthy things out. It is the property line of self. I know what feelings belong to me, along with my own actions and I’m aware that other people need to own their own feelings and actions and cannot throw those onto my property.
When I learned what I was worth to God I was finally able to let go of the people who were no good for me. I was able to live alone and be content with God and feel secure in who he created me to be. I am reading a book called “Boundaries in Marriage.” The two authors are Christian Psychologists and have taught me SO MUCH about boundaries. They have many boundary books where you can learn how to have them in every relationship.
I believe the main root of this behavior is low self-worth and putting our identity in someone other than Christ. Reading God’s word and the truth of who he says I am and knowing that I have a purpose that he created me for and that I am deeply loved fills up every hole I was trying to fill with dysfunctional men.
And never ever feel ashamed to join a group or to start counseling. These things help so much in digging up past wounds to understand yourself more and heal correctly with God helping you along the way.
How to Forgive a Toxic Person | I forgive you but, I don’t trust you. I forgive you but, I need my space. I forgive you but…
Is forgiveness truly forgiveness if it has a ‘but’ at the end of it? What does forgiveness look like? Does forgiveness equal reconciliation or trust? One thing we can all agree on is this, we must forgive others. God makes that crystal clear. So why is it so hard to forgive a toxic person?
This blog is going to focus on “toxic people” because this is where forgiveness gets a little confusing. By “toxic people,” I mean abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, controlling people who hurt you over and over again. Having to forgive these people has turned into a cycle of hurt and trying to forgive but never having enough time to breathe from the last time they hurt you.
Let’s start with weeding out what forgiveness is NOT:
Forgiveness DOES NOT always equal reconciliation. When dealing with a “toxic person” it is best to create healthy boundaries and make it clear as to what you will and will not allow in the relationship. Putting some space between you and the constant hurt they put you through is a good thing. This time can be spent focused on God and healing the hurt that has piled up through the years… or months.
For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
2 Timothy 3:2-5
What is a healthy boundary? Boundaries are fences we keep around our property. They keep us safe from bad things by keeping them out, and has a gate we can use to let the good things in. It is the property line of self. I know what feelings belong to me, along with my own actions and I’m aware that other people need to own their own feelings and actions and cannot throw those onto my property.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Forgiveness DOES NOT equal trust. We are commanded by God to always, always, always, offer our forgiveness freely to others. But trust is a different story. Once trust is broken it must be built back up by the perpetrator. God did not call us to be foolish and naive when it comes to manipulators and liars.
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
So, what is forgiveness?
Even if you weren’t able to reconcile the relationship and decided that it was better to separate yourself from the significant other, friend or family member, you can still be loving and tenderhearted from afar.
Forgiveness is refusing to be bitter or resentful towards the other person. It’s being able to pray for good things for them. It’s refusing to gossip and put them down in front of others. It’s refusing to take revenge but instead leaving it in God’s hands.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Unforgiveness will single-handedly assassinate YOUR character. Unforgiveness will keep YOUR growth stunted. Unforgiveness will block YOUR purpose.
You will never reach victory while remaining a victim. Yes, it takes time to feel the forgiveness and you may still need to heal from the wounds that were inflicted on you. The important thing is that you work it out with God. Come to him willingly, put your broken heart and back stabbing wounds into his hands. Allow him to heal your hurt and let go of the resentment towards the person who hurt you, while putting up fences to protect your heart from continued hurt.
Your deepest wounds need God’s power to be forgiven, don’t attempt it on your own. God loves you and wants to take the weight off of your shoulders and give you rest.
Yes, you heard it right, “happily ever after” doesn’t exist.
I grew up dreaming of a knight on his white horse who would come rescue me from my loveless life that I merely endured. Plus Disney set me up for the expectations of a prince charming who was near perfect. So I searched and searched for this near perfect man who would forever obsess over me and build me my dream house, you know, like Noah from The Notebook. This lead to major let downs and hurting some of the men who loved me. I was searching for something that didn’t exist.
Don’t worry, this isn’t some emo, pessimistic blog as the title may lead you to believe. You see, “happily ever after” doesn’t exist HERE on earth. I was longing for something that exists in heaven. I had false expectations of the men in my life because I tried to put them in Jesus’ shoes. Let me tell you, a lover makes for a horrible god!
After many failings on my part in being a good woman and let downs when the man I loved wasn’t flawless, I FINALLY learned that Jesus was my knight in shining armor who came to save me from the wreckage of my life. That’s when everything clicked for me. I was able to give grace and love more freely knowing that I was perfectly loved by an amazing God who built my dream home in heaven and soon I’d be able to go there and live happily ever after.
I married the man I was with since I was 16-years-old and though I knew we’d have work ahead of us and that love was a choice not a feeling, I still expected a “happily ever after.” You know, the white picket fence, four kids, a dog and my husband. One big happy, christian family. It didn’t wrap up so neatly.
If you’ve been following my blogs you’ll know that I felt very worthless at one point in my marriage because my husband had an affair with another woman for two and a half YEARS. It was the hardest most painful time I had ever gone through as a christian. I was so frustrated with God. I listed all the good I had done in my marriage, all of my loyalty, honesty and faithfulness towards my husband. My good deeds, me, me, me. I thought I deserved a perfect godly marriage but I was living in a nightmare.
At this low point in my life God had taught me SO MUCH. I was able to leave the mess that I so badly wanted to be my “happily ever after” here on earth. I learned to love myself and God grew me up into a more confident woman. I once hid in the background and didn’t really have a life outside of being a mom and wife and now I am fully emerged in an awesome ministry called “The Journey,” helping other women go from pain to their purpose.
Long story short, my husband eventually wanted to reconcile. I had imagined this moment in my head so many times and it was always reminiscent of a fairy tale. I thought he would return to God like the prodigal son and miraculously all of his dysfunctional qualities would fall away. Another “happily ever after” fantasy.
When we hear testimonies from other Christians they seem so miraculous and quick… Really they fit a lifetime into maybe 30 minutes. I’ve come to learn that change in Christ doesn’t happen over night.
Yes there are some things that he’ll remove miraculously but we are still left with other hurts, habits and hang-ups that we have to really take time and work through. Our life here on earth is a refining process to help us become more Christ like until we are finally perfect in heaven. And so, here I am, struggling daily to continue to forgive my husband for the unspeakable things he had done.
I’m trying to figure out how to love when I’ve been hurt so deeply. I am not an easy woman to be with at this moment. I have no trust and a lot of bitterness that I didn’t know was still hiding in my heart. I use coldness and distance to protect myself from pain. He isn’t the completely healed man who knows my every desire in a relationship. No, we struggle and we are learning to DAILY turn control of this situation over to God.
So I take delight in the little, daily victories. This will not be fixed overnight but little things improve each day and I’m thankful for that. Like an onion God peels off each layer that doesn’t belong on his children. This walk with God takes a whole lot of patience and faith even when it seems things aren’t changing. Progress may be slow but each year you’ll see the accumulation of change God has so delicately orchestrated in your life.
Your life won’t wrap up neatly with no loose ends for the perfect “happily ever after” fairy tale, you won’t live your best life now but you can live a BLESSED life now. The best is waiting for us in heaven. The true “happily ever after” fairy tale is in heaven with our perfect man Jesus Christ, where we’ll no longer deal with the negative affects of sin. That is what our hearts long for, that is the missing piece that causes us to run after this type of love in all the wrong places.
Let your weary heart rest in God, the safest place, the “happily ever after.”