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At Healing Wings, we recognize that beliefs drive behavior. As a man thinks, so he is. This is Biblical Truth.
Perception alone is provocative. To make sense of things, perception scans through past filters that are often faulty. The result is a re-active response. We find ourselves back in old behaviors. We play on repeat, only to shake our heads in shame.
Challenging flawed beliefs is a key building block in Recovery. So is learning - or more relevantly, un-learning. It is only the Truth that can offer us a secure slate on which we can re-build our lives. And, no matter the ashes, we can choose to believe in our beauty.
As part of our Relationship Theme, we are exploring what it means to embrace our Identity in Christ. We invite Megan Goring to share her personal journey.
In the article below, she warns against assessing life’s experiences through a subjective lens. It is only Truth that can reflect an objective reality; and offer us something steady and enduring to root into.
The external is never the answer. Our inner life must become rock solid. It is only then that contentment can supersede circumstances. Another Biblical Insight.
It best to weigh-up all we experience through the filter of fact, not feelings. This offers us a wisdom window - or, in the least, a more secure point-of-view.
We should also avoid the allure of illusion. The temporal will never outlast the eternal. There is no competition.
No matter that five years have passed since I began my journey of Recovery, I still catch myself locking into my insecurities. This is despite knowing only too well that these are dangerous moments that demand discipline; that depend on the intervention of big truths.
At these times, I lose all perspective about who I am. My thinking goes south and I start gathering my evidence from all of the wrong places. I stop looking straight ahead.
I have learned that whatever I look for, I will find. If I choose to dig up my old flawed beliefs, I just need to turn my attention back to The Bad. It’s an emotionally-charged default setting I developed, one that lies dormant. It is powerless until I engage.
Tapping back is much easier than facing reality, or looking to the Truth. When I engage with lies it is The Bible that assures me of my value; tells me I am chosen.
Neither the past, nor the world will give us any worthy answers. When we entertain either shame or illusion, we sell ourselves out. For me, it’s like prostitution. We start hustling our worth to find false comforters. We look to quick fixes to soothe our unsettled hearts. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.
We long for freedom, but we don’t want to believe what The Word says about us, and so remain imprisoned in our own minds. The shitty things we have done do not define who we are. Yes, they are etched into memory, but are not our identity. We are children of God. Fact!
I admit I have done some terrible things. My behavior affected many people, including my family. I still do wrong. No doubt I will continue to do wrong. I am human. What has changed is I am no longer leading a lifestyle driven by drugs and dysfunctional behavior. I am no longer damaging myself; no longer leaving my loved one’s feeling hurt and hopeless.
We have all participated in shameful activities that have hurt others. But is the answer to dwell in the shame and guilt? Does doing so excuse us from the extent of our impact? Enable us to avoid accountability?
It is hard to accept ourselves. To avoid facing up to what our choices have cost us, we dumb down our conscience; hiding behind denial. We even become delusional. This self-serving charade keeps us drifting, even stuck. Instead of standing to account, we take desperate detours to deny how we have ruined our own lives. We persistently refute evidence that is so blatantly obvious.
The option to surrender always awaits us. Reality will continue to stand slap-bang in front of us, it will not budge. It’s our fleshly nature that persists with our charade.
Is it that ‘Damaged’ is a more dramatic identity? Or does this label allow us to avoid our responsibilities as functioning adults, enable us remain in the past, be ever dependent on others? Are we mainlining illusion? Perhaps illusion is our ultimate narcotic.
I say we become attached to the pay-off denial offers us.
The cool part is no matter the wreckage, there are options available to us. We can choose to do better than we did. We can choose to believe what The Word says about us.
Our flesh loves big emotional reactions. Our flesh wants us to have a big responses; our flesh wants to allow our emotions to rule; to allow our emotions to say “hey, John over there hates my guts, that’s why he looked at me that way.” Now I get to feel rejected and use misdirected emotional power to smash up my room, or hurt the next person I encounter.
Rather than react from the pain of rejection, we need to regulate our emotions. Learn not to bottle up.
As people, we are deeply concerned with rejection. It leaves a deep, hurtful sting. But what is the reality? Are we being rejected? Case in point: I am newly married. If my husband does not greet me in the morning, I find myself deeply affected, and by default I dive down into my own emotional drama. Sometimes, depending on the state of my own heart, I am able to instantly deny myself this self-indulgence, or the luxury of making it all about Megan. Other times, when I entertain the old thinking, I can go right from the innocence of his diverted attention to the big idea that he obviously hates me and I have done something so wrong; in just five short seconds.
We are way too sensitive. We like to perceive that certain things are happening to us, when nine times out of ten, our conclusion is an absolute lie. It is a figment of our own imagination, or perhaps a reflection of our own insecurities. The question to ask here is what pay-off are we benefitting from? Why are we getting stuck in stuff that is not our business, has no real value, for any individual involved?
Our victim mentality loves to perceive that we are subject to the unfair effects of others; it loves to re-shape a simple backward glance and turn it into a competitive challenge; or decide a distraction is a rejection. All the while, we are undermining our identity, and coming to negative assumptions about ourselves. If The Truth assures us we are each a Magnificent Masterpiece, why are we allowing our minds to mess with us? Why are we not rejecting the lies that blind us?
Fact is we experience our world way too deeply and take things way too personally. We need to begin to understand what is really happening, and what is not; stop being so insanely self-obsessed. People are selfish at their core. They honestly do not put that much effort into making subtle personal attacks at us. Every one of us struggle with low self-esteem; even the extroverts, despite their swagger. They think the lowest of themselves. We all wear masks. Worship singer Josh Garrels speaks of “dangerous dysfunction in disguise.” We have all been there. Guilty as charged.
We need to start forcing ourselves to believe the truth. The Bible says we are to take our thoughts captive. This means no more reactive impulsivity. It means understanding our true nature as a child of God. It means knowing in our bones that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. It means denying our feelings and disciplining our inclinations to dance with old damage.
What measuring stick are you using?
How are you managing the thoughts you are thinking about yourself, or those around you, your life, or your relationships with others? If it is not The Word, you may as well use a leaf from the garden and trust that; make that your be-all and end-all.
We often care way too much about things, or way too little. What really matters is the question we should be asking, the reality we should be living? Care less, but also care more, learn to differentiate and discern. This sounds contradictory but when you get it, it will set you free. Recognize what matters. Keep your focus off others. Be concerned about your own beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Work with what is actually true and who you actually are. Go to The Word before your feelings.
Balanced emotions provide wise personal guidance. We must develop our capacity to weigh-up and measure social data accurately, so we can respond maturely and coherently. No matter our previous dependencies, we are now grown-ups who are expected to uphold our relational responsibilities. We cannot continue to go into conversations guns-blazing, nor allow our assumptions to become excuses. In all this, what we believe about ourselves is the hot factor. The good news here is once we get our own identity issues straightened out, our imaginary enemies will fade away. We will see they were figments of our own imagination.
Self-Denial is one of the main things that saved my life. Disciplining my thinking and denying myself dramatics brought me to a place where I am actually able to be alive, sober and functioning. Now my past experiences have valuable data that can offer others insight.
To end, be careful of offense. We like to get offended when we are called on the stuff that is keeping us small. The truth is meant to challenge the lies we believe about ourselves; chip away at the walls we build and destroy the defenses we design. It is tough and does burn. It will hurt until you are willing to hear it.
I say step into it. Remember, you are fearfully and magnificently made, by no-one other than The King of the Universe. Never sell yourself out again.
When Joshua took over from Moses and was given the green light to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land, God assured him that He would fight Joshua’s giants, He would go ahead.
So I say, step into this Truth in your lives. Live it. Reject any thoughts that contradict God’s pre-destined purpose. This is what God told Joshua. It remains relevant for each one of us today:
Be strong and courageous. Mediate on The Truth day and night. Do not be intimidated. Do not be dismayed.
No matter what you feel, you can choose to believe. I did.
After a year on the Adult Female Program, Megan dedicated a further year to ongoing personal growth. After giving back as a Volunteer, she became a member of Healing Wings’ Multi-Disciplinary Team. She now acts as Program Co-Ordinator for the Youth Girls.