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Friday, December 17, 2010

Get to the Roots: Inner Healing Part II

by Dina Sleiman

Have you ever noticed any recurring patterns in your life? Here are some examples. Every boss I’ve ever had was out to get me. Every friend betrays me. Every teacher belittles me. Every church rejects me.

Here’s a hint. In the real world, words like “always,” “every,” and “never” almost never apply. These are classic tricks of the enemy of our soul. He loves to lie to us and blow things out of proportion. He loves to get us trapped in self-defeating cycles. For example, the girlfriend who is just waiting for this latest guy to let her down, and therefore keeps creating the circumstances in which he’ll have no choice but to let her down.

Usually, these sort of self-fulling prophecies (note big professional psychology term) originate in lies that Satan told us at some vulnerable time in our lives. Imagine them like tinted glasses that color and distort everything we see. Or better yet, imagine it like a unruly bush growing out of your heart and blocking you from properly seeing the world.

So what do we do? Well, usually we get out the pruning shears. We might seek to cut them down to size with common sense, encouragement from friends, and determination. As Christians, we might trim back these lies with the word of God, with prayer, or with wise counsel. But wouldn’t it be so much better if we could get the root of these lies instead of constantly pruning and trying to maintain some sort of normalcy, never able to let down our guard?

Of course, you might ask, why shouldn’t the word of God be enough? The reason is surprisingly simple. Words are the language of the mind, but pictures are the language of the heart. We wash our mind through the water of the word. So knowing the word and renewing our minds is always an essential step in overcoming any problem. For some people this seems to take care of all of their issues. But for many others, somehow those words fail to reach all the way to the feeling places in their hearts. At some time in their lives, usually during their childhood, they believed a lie from the devil deep in their heart that opposes the word of God in their head. There is a disconnect. So while they try to do right, something just feels terribly wrong.

We shouldn’t live according to our feelings, right? Well, no, not when they oppose God’s word. And yet, wouldn’t it be so much better if we could get down deep into that feeling level and teach our hearts to feel as God would want them to feel? Wouldn’t life become such a joy? Remember my last post? You were made for joy. You were made to live in the ecstasy of God’s presence. You were made to live freely and lightly in the flow of the Holy Spirit.

Now comes the hard part. In order to learn to live freely and lightly in that flow of the Holy spirit—in order to live life with clear vision unclouded by lies—you must dig out the roots of those lies.

How do you do that? Well, this answer is simple on paper but harder in reality. You have to ask God to reveal those lies and replace them with his truth. Because these lies are rooted in pictures and emotions, sometimes that means reentering a hard time in your life and really picturing it in your mind and allowing yourself to feel those emotions again. In that place, you ask God, what lie did the enemy tell me? What truth do you want me to know? And in that place, God can give you a new picture, new feelings, a new perspective. Often at a time of trauma or abuse, we think God isn’t there. We cling to fear or unbelief. We harden our hearts. We cling to unforgiveness. We believe we are worthless or somehow to blame. We make inner vows to ourselves.

While each of these reactions is exquisitely human, at the core, each is rooted in sin. As I mentioned a few weeks ago (click here for part 1 of this series), sin is our human attempt to relieve pain and return ourselves to joy in our own strength. No wonder God is so merciful when we sin. He understands our sin is rooted in pain. He loves us, and yet he longs for us to be free of it. Over time, these deep internal sins can begin to manifest in all sorts of troublesome behaviors, and the self-defeating cycles we long to escape.

It can be hard to get to these roots. It is painful and can even be dangerous if we get in over our heads. While it is most certainly possible to deal with these issues with only God as our counselor, a trained Christian counselor can take you so much farther and offer a sort of safety net to help return you to joy if you discover something truly traumatic.

But here’s the beauty to which I can personally attest, getting to the root creates real change from the inside out. Suddenly those areas of your life that seemed weighty, difficult, downright impossible, can become free and light. As God speaks his truth deep into your heart giving you new pictures and emotions, your brain actually begins to rewire. It’s not unusual after a significant counseling session to feel sluggish and sleepy (and a bit worthless) for several days while your brain “reboots,” not at all unlike when your computer freezes up while it works through something difficult.

Then one day, you’ll look at the world with clear eyes, and suddenly it will all make sense. Like when you get a new pair of contacts or glasses and say, “Oh, so this is what the world is supposed to look like. I’m actually supposed to see leaves on the trees and not just swaying blobs of green.”

Does it hurt to pull out the roots? Yes, the process can be painful, but it is the most worthwhile process you can ever undergo. Get to the roots in your life.

For more info visit Christian inner-healing resources like http://theophostic.com/ , http://www.cwgministries.org/2-How-to-Be-Emotionally-Free.htm , http://www.christianinnerhealing.org/ , and http://www.elijahhouse.org/ , http://lifemodel.org/. If you feel like you would benefit from a trained counselor, study the issues first so that you can make a wise informed choice. I recommend counseling with a strong Christian trained in both prayer ministry and psychology.

Have you had any experience with Christian inner healing, prayer counseling, or bondage breaking ministries? What have you found that brings about true change in your life? Are there any self-defeating cycles that you long to escape?

15 comments:

  1. Very nice, Dina. I wish everyone out there could read this post but I pray God brings it right to someone who needs this word today.

    Sometimes the only way to get at a root that needs excised to expose everything above it. Here's something cool- to transfer large trees, they should be "root pruned" prior to moving. If done at the right time, they then have the ability to adapt to their new surroundings better because they make new roots just at the right time. It's probably a shock to their system but it makes long term success more likely when they are replanted. I see that as a parallel to your post today.

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  2. So if I understand correctly, Deb, basically you're saying sort of slowly work backward, dealing with things along the way. Sounds interesting and definitely parallels.

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  3. Wow I so needed this today Dina. I have been working on inner healing with things related to my childhood and wow things that I thought were buried and dead have been surfacing like crazy.I guess it is time to work through things rather than bury them.

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  4. Thanks for this thoughtful post, Dina. You've articulated some important principles well, with practical application, and I know of a few areas where I need to implement them. I echo the prayer that God will bring someone else here today who needs to read this.

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  5. Louise, it can be kind of messy and crazy in the process, but I think it's worth it.

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  6. Amen to that, Susanne. I know this might not be the most fun or exciting topic, but I do hope it will bless someone.

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  7. Wonderful, Dina! Here was my Oswald Chambers quote TODAY!
    Secret of abiding in Jesus.
    Test as to whether to give an emotion its rein by pushing it to its logical outcome. If the outcome is something God would condemn, allow it no more.
    When God gives a vision, transact business on that line, no matter what it costs.

    Emotional healing, like all healing, hurts at first, huh?

    Been there, still there!!!
    Patti

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  8. Hi Patti, I love Oswald Chambers. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for sharing that thought with us. This part, "When God gives a vision, transact business on that line, no matter what it costs," especially speaks to me today.

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  9. Dina, this is lovely, and definitely blessed me.

    Deb, I like what you said about root-pruning.

    God prunes us, too. And I recently heard someone say that sometimes he prunes us where we're most effective, so that we could be even more effective.

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  10. Good thought, Suzie, and good to remember when we're in those uncomfortable times.

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  11. You're right, Dina. It is good to remember when we're in difficult times, but it's so hard. That's why I think it's so important to do what you suggested and get to the roots and create change from the inside out. Then when we're in difficult situations, we can truly praise God (as he asked us to do) because we'll be able to see so clearly that he's there with us and loves us so deeply.

    Very good post, Dina.

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  12. Thanks Dina.
    In my prayer time this morning I asked the Lord to show me what big lie I have believed from childhood. It came to me so clearly (like never before) that I started to cry out from the core of my being in pain.

    The good thing was that it was a lie!! I asked Him to reveal the LIE and He did.

    He is faithful to answer and to heal. Just be really gentle with yourself if you try this.

    The Lord is gentle and gracious.

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  13. Wow, Cheryl. What an amazing testimony!!! I'm so blessed to hear that.

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  14. Amen, Dina. Our pastor taught us that those words are key indicators that we are not holding to 1 Cor 13 (love keeps no account of a wrong suffered). Learning to leave those inflammatory words out of our marital disagreements made a huge difference in our relationship!

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  15. Yes, Niki, that's a good way to check where your thoughts are coming from too.

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