HEALING HURTS :: 7 Truths to Overcome Inadequacy

Inadequacy, Inferiority, Low Self-esteem, Poor Self-worth, Self-loathing… 

These and other related emotional issues are prevalent in our society today not just among young girls, tweens and adolescents, but women of all ages from all walks of life.


Feelings of inadequacy usually have their roots in childhood hurts and wounds, a dysfunctional family environment, emotionally abusive parents, critical or shaming authority figures, and cruel peers.


The media and culture has created unattainable standards of beauty, power, wealth and fame that also trigger feelings of inadequacy. Even though we’re healthy and have all our basic needs met, we obsess over our body, clothes, job, and possessions, worried that they don’t measure up.
Inadequacy causes us to drift along in life with no purpose or meaning. We build our lives on philosophy, self-reliance, human morality, ethics, wealth, power, or self-interest and find ourselves on a shaky foundation with nothing of substance holding us up.

Do you struggle with inadequacy, low self-worth, inferiority? Are you…

  • Self-critical
  • Fearful of failure and avoid taking risks
  • Desperate for approval from others
  • Unable to set boundaries
  • Ashamed of your background
  • Unhappy with personal appearance and achievements
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others

How can we get off this treadmill of torture, depression and despair?

Overcome self-defeating statements, acquire a positive self-image and learn to value yourself as God does. 

Read aloud and receive the following 7 truths about yourself:

  1. I accept God’s Word that I am created in His image. (Genesis 1:27)
  2. I accept myself as being acceptable to Christ. (Romans 15:7)
  3. I accept what I cannot change about myself. (Romans 9:20-21)
  4. I accept the fact that I will make mistakes. (Philippians 3:12-14)
  5. I accept criticism and the responsibility for failure. (Psalm 32:5)
  6. I accept that I will not be liked or loved by everyone. (John 15:18,20)
  7. I accept the unchangeable circumstances in my life. (Philippians 4:11)

Looking at life through eternal lenses changes our whole outlook. Seeing God’s purpose and plan in all things daily can help us accept who and where we are, to be more stable in the now – for the future.  

The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, his treasured possession. ~ Deuteronomy 7:6

In 2005, fresh out of addiction and feeling completely unworthy of God’s love, I was blown away with the revelation that I Am A Friend Of God. This is still one of my favorite worship songs. I hope you enjoy this music video by @IsraelHoughton as you soak up God’s love for you! Blessings! http://youtu.be/ZXFi6lUUz5s



Resources:
Biblical Counseling Keys: Self-Worth by June Hunt www.HopeForTheHeart.org
Life Recovery Bible
www.bible.org

Virtues ~n~ Vices :: GRATITUDE

Virtue: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.


Vice: a practice of wrongdoing, corruption of virtue; an unholy habit.

GRATITUDE: the gracious response to a kindness performed or gift given. 


ENTITLEMENT: the state of being entitled; believing one deserves certain privileges.


We don’t hear much talk about gratitude unless it’s near Thanksgiving, then it’s an expected topic. What does it say about our culture, when gratitude is only discussed once a year?

On the other hand, entitlement is rampant, in conversation or not, it’s everywhere… big corporations expecting the government to save them from consequences of poor management, individuals filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying off debt, single mom’s having multiple babies to get more government subsidies, students expecting new cars at 16 and full college tuition from their in debt and over-worked parents.

This may be a soapbox topic, but it’s no laughing matter, it’s a serious problem in our culture, government, businesses, schools, and families. Most importantly, what is it teaching our children?

Addicts are some of the worst with a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude. Many addicts are dependent on others, rarely does an addict supply their own drug of choice. The worst thing is taking life for granted, escaping from reality by slow suicide in some form.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melodie Beattie

When we are grateful we take nothing for granted, we are constantly awakened to God’s goodness around us. Gratitude cannot be feigned or faked, it in itself makes us sincere. It comes only by personally experiencing the hand of God’s love and mercy working in our life.

Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love. ~ Thomas Merton

Many traits and emotions are important to our well being, but gratitude is unique. In studies it’s been found that people who are more grateful are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and relationships. Grateful people are less likely to avoid problems, blame themselves or cope through substance use. They sleep better because they focus on positive thoughts before going to sleep.

Amazing that such a simple thing, an attitude of gratitude, can effect so many areas of our life!


How can we live with Gratitude?

  • Thank God every morning for the new day, commit to live it well.
  • Focus on the good in our lives and on the good in others.
  • Recognize all the good we have in ourselves and while trying to improve daily.
  • Don’t complain about what we don’t have or what we’re not.
  • Think of others and use the gifts we have to help them.
  • Thank others for the work they do.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thess 5:18

What can you do today to improve your Gratitude quotient?


Enjoy this video as you Give Thanks with a grateful heart! http://youtu.be/IBpv-ZzcQD8

BOOK REVIEW ~ Strength in Weakness by Andrew Comiskey

Strength in Weakness: 

Healing Sexual and Relational Brokenness

by @AndrewComiskey

InterVarsity Press 2003






I first read Strength in Weakness in 2007 when I was in the throws of understanding my struggle with same-sex attraction. It helped explain the roots of my pain and answered many questions.


Although Andrew Comiskey writes about his struggle with homosexuality, this book isn’t just for people who are overcoming same-sex attraction. Strength in Weakness is for anyone, male or female, who have experienced broken relationships and need sexual healing.

We all suffer the consequences of the Fall and often don’t understand how that affects our relationships.


In Strength in Weakness, Mr. Comiskey lovingly navigates the wounded to identity, an identity not found in what our culture says we should be, an identity not found in who our childhood wounds tell us we are, but an identity found at the foot of the Cross.

Only through Christ will we find healing for our brokenness, only then will our weakness be transformed into Kingdom Power that reaches others with God’s love.


Are you hurting because of broken relationships? Struggling with areas of weakness?


Instead of falling backward into further sin, fall forward into Christ. 


Read Strength in Weakness by @AndrewComiskeyI found healing in its pages, you can to.

Working the Steps: Step 6

Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Having completed Steps One through Five, we may be tempted to stop here. But some of the most important work is yet unfinished. In Steps One and Two, we recognized our powerlessness and came to believe in a power greater than ourselves. In Step Three, we turned our will and our life over to God. In Steps Four and Five we faced the truth about ourselves and then admitted that truth to God, ourselves and to another person.

We are now aware of our faults and realize the need for their removal. God can’t change us until we’re willing and so far we haven’t asked Him to change us. In working Step Six we become ready to have God bring about the needed changes in our lives. This step isn’t an action step but rather spiritual and emotional work, preparing us to release our weaknesses to God.

These needed changes require cooperative effort. God plants the desire and provides direction. We bring a willing heart ready for the action required. We mustn’t try this alone but instead let go and let God. He is the only one who can change us.

As we work the program one day at a time, our willingness to surrender will increase. We may be fearful of giving up our trusted coping skills; faulty or not, they got us through many painful times in our life. We must trust God to reshape us; He won’t remove any character traits we need.

God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. ~ Phil 2:13

Take a moment. Close your eyes and put yourself in God’s hands.


Trust the Master Craftsman, He only wants the best for you. 

Take it Step by Step with @Bryan_Duncan http://youtu.be/swNgb9ya6WM 

Coming in June from Reaching Hurting Women

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Working the Steps: Step 6

Having completed Steps One through Five we may have the illusion that life is OK now. We set ourselves up for a fall and most importantly, we will miss the freedom and healing if we don’t continue the work ahead.

         
                                                                 

BOOK REVIEW: 

Strength in Weakness: 

Healing Sexual and Relational Brokenness 

by Andrew Comiskey

Our weaknesses can be “a threshold for holy power” the place where God meets us for healing and equips us for service in the Kingdom.                                                  

     

                      

Virtues~n ~Vices :: Gratitude

An absence of gratitude for what we have leads us to seek an impossible ideal that can never be achieved. We must appreciate life before we can really live it.




Healing Hurts :: Inadequacy 

Plagued by severe feelings of inadequacy some women completely drop out of life. Let’s find help for this debilitating inhibition.





Look for helpful articles each week on Reaching Hurting Women!

Photos courtesy 123rf.com

Are You Hiding Behind Your Baggage?

When we hide behind our baggage we limit ourselves, our relationships and our future.


How much baggage do you have? Can you carry it with one hand or do you need a handler to assist you? Either way you’ve come to the right place!


This month we’ve been dealing with a lot of tough issues. We started by working Step 5 Admitting to God, ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Next we reviewed Anne Paulk’s book Restoring Sexual Identity. In week three we focused on the Christian Virtue of Integrity, pressing against the hypocrisies that creep into our lives. And last week we learned how to overcome Identity Crisis

Today’s topic relates to all the above issues. If we: can’t confess our wrongs to another person, aren’t confident in our sexuality, walk with hypocrisy in our daily life, have doubts about who we are or why we’re in this world, then we’re probably carrying some seriously heavy baggage!

What are you carrying in your baggage? 

  • Childhood hurts and wounds
  • Addictions overcome or recurring
  • Poor choices with painful consequences 
  • Failed relationships
  • Beliefs of inadequacies, insufficiency, entitlement
  • Hurt feelings, loneliness, anger, resentment, disappointments
  • Unhealthy coping skills,  etc, ad infinitum…


How are you handling your baggage? 
Hiding it in the closet, hoping it will disappear on its own?
Buried and smashed by the weight to the point of severe depression?

A few tips for baggage handling…

  • Face it. By accepting the truth of the past, we take away its power over us.
  • Call a trusted friend or family member. Talking it out relieves much stress and pressure.
  • Turn to Jesus. There’s no one more qualified to carry our burdens than Jesus Christ.

If you’re tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28 

Our past and its baggage has made us who we are today. So we mustn’t live with total regret. We can choose to have a new perspective on our past. Rather than focusing on the negative, identifying ourselves with our shameful mistakes, we can look and see where God was at work. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. ~ Psalm 23:6 


God was there. Even though we might have made terrible mistakes that forced us and our family into bad consequences; even in our darkest days of sin, God was watching us. He knew our heart’s deepest desires before we did. He knew that one day we would want out of that mess. So He gave us His Grace and Mercy. When we look back and see Grace, God’s goodness and mercy instead of the darkness, pain and mistakes, we’re able to see God’s Presence in all things.

So where do we go from here? Let’s choose to...


Live a life of greatness not mediocrity!
1. Step Out. Don’t make God have to drag you out. Receive what He has for your life!
2. Step Up. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Choose to believe in yourself!
3. Step In. Don’t wait for something to seem official. Destiny calls for faith!

When you look at your past where do you see God? Can you see His mercy at work?


See God’s goodness in your life. Enjoy @Israel Houghton’s video: http://youtu.be/OKs0aPWGTVk


Photos courtesy 123rf.com

Healing Hurts :: 5 Steps to Overcome an Identity Crisis



Life today is lived at a break-neck speed. We’re sophisticated, educated, wealthy; going, doing, acquiring. Our cluttered minds are numbed with the social, news and entertainment media available at our fingertips every waking moment.


The world is off Center and dragging us with it. With lives so focused on caring and living for others, no wonder women wake up one day and suddenly find themselves dizzy with doubt about who they are.

Who’s got time to stop and think? 
To ponder self and life’s meaning? 

Identity Crisis shows up in all seasons of life, often brought on by sudden life changes and displays various external behaviors depending on the person.

Adolescence, midlife, empty nest, divorce, death of a spouse, career change, Perimenopause, sexual or gender confusion, etc… Let’s look at these tough times of life and find answers that bring relief and peace.


What is an Identity Crisis?

  • Conflict when the visible you doesn’t match the “real” you. 
  • Disillusionment when roles or relationships are removed or changed.
  • Confusion possibly brought on by childhood trauma or abuse. 

What Are The Emotional Symptoms?
Anxiety –– Who am I?
Depression –– My life is hopeless.
Self-doubt — I can’t do anything right.
Low self-worth — I’m no good.
Self-conscious — My body is unacceptable.

What Are Some Outward Symptoms?
Attitudes and behaviors turn negative 
Unhealthy friendships are prominent 
Sexual immorality / Substance abuse 
Poor choices and impulsive decisions 
Can’t set long-term goals for future

Women are always putting themselves at the bottom of the list. We’re so concerned with taking care of everyone else that when we finally do have time for ourselves we’re too exhausted to care anymore! Without realizing it, we find our identity in doing rather than being; life is about others vs. life with God. If continued long term these unhealthy habits may set us up for a hard fall.

Often people in the church give the pat answer, “If our identity is in Christ, we should be fine.” Well, that is true and sounds good, but even a believer can find herself suddenly drowning in life changes that bring about an emotional upheaval. 

How can a Follower of Christ stay strong during these troubling times? 

1. Examine Your Center
How do you start your day? Checking email on your phone before you drag out of bed? Try going to bed and getting up earlier so you can spend time with God in prayer and meditation first thing! I suggest at least 15-30 minutes of silence with the Lord before reading the Bible or a devotional. If we don’t fuel our spirit in silence and solitude, we’ll have no strength available when turmoil comes. 
2. Examine Your Health
Often our emotions get the best of us in times of stress because we are nutritionally and physically deficient. Too much sugar, caffeine and fast-food, combined with not enough sleep and no exercise can leave us vulnerable.
3. Examine Your Dreams
What about life brings you joy… bird watching, gardening, reading? Do you have old interests left unexplored? New ones unchallenged? Have you always wanted to paint, sky dive, go to college? What are you waiting for? “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than your think!” 
4. Examine Your Relationships
It’s possible that not all your relationships are healthy. Do you have co-workers or family members who are so negative that it drains you to be around them? Take a step back. Find people who make you smile or laugh. Spend more time with them.
5. Examine Your Self
If reading this you find yourself in a state of despair over your life situation, past mistakes or what appears to be a hopeless future, please find a counselor, trusted friend or family member to whom you can share your pain. Often just talking it out resets our mind, energies and path. As always, feel free to email me if you need a friend!

Your real life is hidden with Christ in God. ~ Colossians 3:3


Find strength for the journey with the @Newsboys   http://youtu.be/z8j-YLb37Yk




Resources:
Biblical Counseling Keys: Identity: Who Are You? by @JuneHunt www.hopefortheheart.org
Embracing Your Second Calling by @DaleHansonBourke 
Twelve Steps to Inner Freedom by Joan Chittister www.joanchittister.org


Virtues~n~Vices :: INTEGRITY

Virtue: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.
Vice: a practice of wrongdoing, corruption of virtue; an unholy habit.

Integrity: Honesty and reliability in all things; consistency in the face of difficult circumstances. Integrating truth and action with body, mind, spirit and heart.

Hypocrisy: Pretending to have virtues or moral beliefs that one doesn’t actually have.



We get the word Integrity from the Latin adjective integer which means whole, complete, in sound condition. So for our discussion, integrity is wholeness in qualities as honesty, consistency of character.

What does it mean to live with integrity in our modern world?



Some people think they “have integrity” as long as they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they clam to hold. That’s not necessarily a good thing because those values and personal principles may be immoral.


While living in addiction, I insisted on being honest with my kids about my lifestyle so as not to be a hypocrite. I was living consistent with my values and beliefs but it was a life far from integrity!


This month we’ve been working Step 5: Admitting our wrongs to God, ourselves and another human being. We’ve also looked at Anne Paulk’s book Restoring Sexual Identity. Coming clean to another person about your most shameful wrongs and stepping out of an unwanted lifestyle require tremendous Integrity. 

Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. ~ Psalm 25:21 NIV


We think we can be accepted as long as we try to be what others want us to be. Deep down we want to be different but fear and cowardice stop us. Only with God’s help can we stop pretending, living a self-divided, not knowing who we really are.  


“Integrity is a natural wholeness that opens the door to supernatural holiness.” ~ Donald DeMarco


Once we desire to live a life pleasing to God and not man, we will learn His requirements and strive to live by them. Integrity – being what we say we are – keeps us from claiming to be upright while living as if we don’t know God. 



Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~Roman 12:2 NLT


Do you struggle with integrity in certain areas of your life? 


Reach out to God for strength as you watch or listen to Travis Ryan’s video below… 


Be Fearless with Integrity. Watch Travis Ryan http://youtu.be/e2ZtkVpx0F0






Resources: 
Christian Virtue by Patty Woodmansee
The Heart of Virtue by Donald DeMarco
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Wikipedia

BOOK REVIEW: Restoring Sexual Identity by Anne Paulk





Restoring Sexual Identity: 
Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction
by Anne Paulk
Harvest House Publishers 2003
269 pp

Let me start by saying I first read this book in 2007 when I was at the forefront of my own SSA (Same-Sex Attraction) battle. I was ready to leave behind a lifestyle I’d been involved in for several years and I didn’t know how to deal with the emotions, the feelings and thoughts in my mind. Like many women in my position, I had many questions… Why do I have these feeling? Will I struggle with this forever? By reading Restoring Sexual Identity I came to understand the root of my SSA and learned how to manage my emotions, work through my feelings and heal my relationships.

Here’s a sample of what you will learn from Anne Paulk:

  • Where Same-Sex Attraction comes from.
  • How lesbian attraction develops.
  • How to overcome past abuse.
  • The importance of a support system.
  • How to have healthy relationships with men and women.

I highly recommend this book to any woman struggling with unwanted Same-Sex Attraction or for any parent with a daughter who struggles. This is an excellent resource that deals with real life questions and answers them with Christ-centered solutions.

Working the Steps : STEP 5

Step 5: 

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 

This step is probably one of the most challenging. It’s one thing to take our moral inventory in Step 4, but it’s quite another to admit our wrongs to another person. While living an addictive lifestyle, we’ve gotten very good at keeping secrets, hiding our shame in lies and denial. Now it’s time to come clean with God, ourselves and another human being. 


Here are some tips to help with each area of Step 5…


Admitting wrongs to God:
It’s easy to justify not really working this part because after all, doesn’t God know everything I did already? Yes, that’s true. But not the point. We need to sit down and have a personal conversation with God, using our listed inventory from Step 4 if necessary. But more importantly, be open and honest about the things we did, that caused harm to ourselves and others, directly to God. It will probably be emotional, but that’s part of the healing.


Admitting wrongs to ourselves:
OK, didn’t I do this when I wrote out my inventory? Yes, and no. Most likely your inventory was taken in silence, with pencil and paper. This work needs to be audible. Sit down in front of a mirror, looking at yourself, going through the inventory list, honestly admit to yourself the wrongs done. If you’re anything like me, dealing with myself in the mirror is always painful. But often pain comes before healing.


Admitting wrongs to another human being:
The first two parts of Step 5 were rough, but this one is the clincher. Start first by carefully choosing a trustworthy person who won’t use your past against you. Find someone dependable, who will provide unconditional acceptance and not be shock or offended by what your reveal. When you’re comfortable with the person, sharing will be that much easier. Refrain from unnecessary detailed explanations. 


Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.~ James 5:16

You make be tempted to procrastinate on this painful step. Don’t. The sooner you get Step 5 behind you, the faster you’ll be on the road to full and complete healing. Don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions. 


Also, here are some excellent resources:


Life Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians 
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice
The Solid Rock Road




Take it Step by Step with @Bryan_Duncan http://youtu.be/swNgb9ya6WM