It is easy to take credit for all the talents we pass onto our children, however it is often much harder to admit that we pass on our curses also. This valuable piece of understanding has been the main motivator for me to accept my faults, identify my curses, and work towards change within myself and my life. For the sake of my children, my two precious girls, I wanted more for them than the dysfunction I have lived with.
The main breakthrough at the beginning of my self-journey was discovering that my filter was broken.
You may be asking what on earth is your Filter?
The filter, as my psychologist titled it, is the part of our brain that tells us what to let out and what to keep back, what to let in and what to block out. For one example, it is the part of our mind that determines what is important, what is worth getting upset about and alternatively what is not worth getting upset about. I am not simply talking about the experience of internal emotions, I am also talking about the external voicing of our emotions, the times we show our anger, the times we lose our cool, the times we raise our voice, or force another to hear our unpleasant thoughts and feelings. I am talking about our considered self-talk, the conversations we have with ourselves that analyses our reactions and our paradigm.
This filter also helps us read others accurately. It determines when a situation calls for hostile opinions to be voiced or when discretion is required. It helps us determine if someone has actually wronged us and to what degree of intent, or if we have assumed the worst due to our insecurities or previous experiences. Our filter helps us decide whether being aggressively assertive is required, or if a more subdued form of confrontation would have more beneficial results, or if deflecting the situation and letting it go is best. It helps us discern if someone’s feedback is valid and worth application, or considering if it is merely an outburst without the use of their own filter.
There are numerous causes for a broken filter, only individual, psychological investigation can help determine the cause, and along with an honest relationship with God, it is also the only way to fix a damaged filter. There are countless issues that reverberate throughout the life of one with a damaged filter. It will effect all relationships, possibly career opportunities, and disrupt our sense of inner peace. And of course, sadly, it can cause these issues to transfer into the lives of our children, especially if we have not address it and passed the damage down the line.
I understand how difficult it can be to step back and take inventory of our reactions and responses, it can be daunting to re-evaluate yourself, your life and why you do what you do. Inner enemies encourage us to stay broken, they empower our resistance, preventing us from accepting our broken filter, which can impede us from pursuing the healing we require. A healthy filter prevents so much of the drama that seems to flood our lives, it helps us keep a safe healthy barrier from those who create problems and helps us understand how to best navigate the waters of relationships to bring more contentment and fulfillment.
If after reading this post you too wonder if your filter is broken, I thoroughly recommend praying for God to help you find the right therapist to address it. Be prepared to get very honest with yourself and after some tough work, look forward to the benefits of a healthier mindset. When we realize that our filter is broken, it can be tempting to use its damage as an excuse to deflect responsibility for our outbursts, bad reactions and the chaos that is usually partnered with this issue, rather than something we must take accountability for. But if we think it may be broken then we may be effecting others negatively, and it is unfair to all parties to leave it untreated. We must take ownership and accept the filter is part of us, we need to sincerely apologize to others whenever it misfires and make steps towards healing.
I have seen the fall out of this issue so often in myself and many around me, and I pray with my whole heart that the Lord reaches in and encourages our Inner Angels to fight against the enemy and the curse that is a broken filter. Not only for our sake, but the sake of those we love and the next generation.
I watched the blockbuster “Lucy” some time back and enjoyed it immensely. Some of the quotes that came out of it were extremely profound. I will have to do a bit of research to capture all of them but one in particular stood out to me. It was spoken by the main character Lucy, who was unlocking areas of her brain no human had used before. The quote came prompted by Morgan Freeman’s character who stated.. “All this knowledge, Lucy — I’m not even sure that mankind is ready for it. Given man’s nature, it might bring us only instability and chaos.” to which Lucy replies….
“Ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge.”
This quote sits heavily upon me as I look back throughout my life. I recall the many previous ignorant versions of myself that lacked knowledge in certain situations and the chaos that surrounded me. I lived in a perpetual state between insecure co-dependance and arrogant self-righteousness.
While I struggle with arrogance and ignorance from time to time, I have become overwhelmingly grateful for the knowledge that came from each new learning experience and each mentor, helping my life transform to a much more peaceful one. A life where I can accept my short comings and hunger for strength of mind. Learning not only about the world systems, but the spiritual ones and learning about myself and experiencing the unknown.
While I appreciate all this learning, and the ability to research any topic my heart or mind desires, I am aware that there are many who actually avoid knowledge. Some dismiss it, ignore it, some even defend against it.
The scriptures gives us clear guidance towards wisdom.
Proverbs 2:10-11 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.
If ignorance brings chaos, not knowledge, is it likely then, that those who reject knowledge, are simply too used to their chaos to want to change it?
I think a major key to receiving learning, is being able to tell the difference between an opinion and knowledge. It is respectful to hear opinions and accept everyone’s right to have their own, and it is also perfectly acceptable to avoid applying opinions you disagree with, but knowledge isn’t an opinion. We must learn to discern where knowledge differs and see the value in it.
Another key to receiving learning is having the humility to be teachable, knowing that as long as we are confined to our earthly walk we will always have something to learn. That even if we know a subject inside and out, there is still the possibility to discover something new about it. I admit it is hard to keep a teachable spirit. It is much easier to stay in one spot, tell yourself you have done enough, you can handle where you are, and not pursue the hard work of change.
Asking the hard questions and being willing to change can be daunting and a long process, however nothing quite compares to looking at yourself after a while and saying “Wow, I have grown. I am different, I am better. How awesome!” It makes the hard work truly worth it.
While visiting the amazing country of Tanzania earlier this year I noticed some very distinct differences in the attitude the people had while going about their daily life. These are people with very little creature comforts, they have what they need and they are very grateful for that. I watched closely as they praised God for letting them meet us, they praise him for the meal on their plate, they praised him for the health of their family. As the days went on we noticed that things don’t always go the way you want in Africa. The 3 atm’s in the area may not work, the road ahead may be filled with elephants and you can’t get home after a very long day, until they decide to move. The people didn’t gripe and whinge, they laughed, “T.I.A” they would say which means “This Is Africa!” And everyone breaks into laughter when they here this.
The people also showed me how considerate they are towards each other. One guy who served us at one of the lodges told us he had saved enough from tips and planned to buy his daughter a new bike, but his neighbour had had a tough year. So he put off buying his daughter the bike because he didn’t want to rub his good fortune in his neighbours face. He told us it wouldn’t make him happy to know his happiness may cause his neighbour to be unhappy. It touched me deeply, and I wondered when we came to think our plan is what makes us happy?
When I got home to western society I saw how irritable and lacking in tolerance and gratitude we are as a culture and it saddened me deeply. We have more than we can ever need, and yet we are wasteful and we take the simple things in life for granted. Many of us get extremely angry over the small stuff, it’s as if we planned our whole day to perfection, expecting things to go exactly that way, and surely enough as the day goes on things go wrong, someone may cut us off in traffic, the kids spill their milk in the car, there is a long line at the checkout, someone finished an ingredient we needed for dinner, and we hadn’t planned for any of this. So by the end of the day we are miserable and wrung out, reactive and aggressive, not grateful, not peaceful.
I caught myself mid-flight as I overreacted to an annoyance and I stopped myself, I couldn’t believe how badly I handled a small trivial hiccup in my day. I caught myself again when my daughter showed me a broken usb filled with pictures from our trip, the horror in my voice at the sight of the usb was a complete shock to my daughter and myself. It wasn’t holding the only copy of the photos, we can afford to buy another one, we have a car to go get another one if we want. What a silly thing to get horrified over! I had an epiphany.
If we stopped spending so much time planning our day to precision and we factored in the things that are sure to go wrong, just like they do in Africa, “T.I.A”, then maybe we wouldn’t be so uptight. We would be able to cope when we face inconveniences, when the unexpected grates on our tolerance. If we watch ourselves closely we may recognise when we are trying so hard to control the people and the situations around us in order to try and prevent our anger. Then we can make a decision, to aim all that control towards our anger so that the people and the life around us don’t have to be perfect, and so we can be grateful for the fact that all our needs are met.
Precious metals are refined in the furnace, and yet we spend so much time being angry at the heat that is actually meant to help us improve. Isn’t it time we paid attention and changed the direction of what we try to control?
Lord help us change the aim of our control, and keep this as our goal. Amen!
You may read this post and not believe it. In fact I can hardly believe it myself but every word is true. The reason for such a lengthy gap between posts is because I was busy jumping off cliffs and bridges, flying in hot-air balloons and meeting the most amazing people and some incredible wildlife up close in Africa. ME? You ask? The one who writes about panic attacks and anxiety disorder! Yes ME!
I was invited to Africa on a family vacation, all expenses paid. Yep! So what do I say? Ummmm let me think about that while I swallow the lump of anxiety in my throat.. Of course not… I may have some crazy in my blood but I am not that crazy! I know an invitation into God’s will when I see one.
This is a trip my husband and MIL have wanted to take for as long as I have known them so it was always kind-of on the cards, but it’s not until you are actually applying for passports and getting your travel shots that you begin to accept the reality of such a task!
To cut a very long story short I had some Godly signs pointing to the bridge jump over the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls. I knew I would be walking distance from this death defying treat whilst in Africa and told myself I would always regret it if I didn’t do it. God had something in store, I knew it! So I went….praying my backside off mind you.
The guys asked me to speak into the video camera before I jumped the 111m toward the river below, so I spoke clearly “Goodbye Anxiety, Goodbye Fear, Goodbye Panic Attacks, Goodbye Control, GOD HAS GOT ME, One one one!” (111 is my special Godly number). I had a 10 seconds free-fall before the rope caught me and swung me out across the gorge, and let me tell you it was incredible, empowering, freeing, and freaking insane! As I swung at the bottom of that rope, surrounded by nothing else but God’s stunning artwork, I sang….. I sang my heart out! “I sing because I am happy, I sing because I’m free, His eye in on the sparrow and I know He watches over me!”
I cried….. Tears of gratitude and joy. Tears of Love for my Heavenly Father who gave me the courage to face myself and my fears, to give total control to Him…. Africa was all about this awesome sense of gratitude!
When I got home to Australia I was telling this story to a friend, and his son. It was the first time I had met the son who was in his early 20’s. He heard me mention panic attacks and told me he used to have 5 panic attacks per day and wouldn’t leave his house. He told me the only way he learned to prevent these attacks was to demand more. Sounds strange I know, but it makes sense. If a panic attack is caused by fear of fear then by facing the fear head on you have only fear not the fear of fear. By telling fear you know your body can handle your heart pounding, your body can handle uncontrollable tears, your body can handle sweating and dizziness, you begin accepting the fear, and you can’t really be afraid of something that you accept, something you know you are equipped to handle even if you pass out. You will wake up. Even if you cry your eyes out, you will not die from crying. Even if you need to change your underwear afterwards. You have more clean underwear somewhere. Do you hear me out there?!?!
This is exactly what I was doing when I jumped off that bridge, when I agreed to go to Africa at all! I decided that I may feel fear but my body can handle it. God made humans the most adaptable species on the planet, if we can only learn to accept what is happening around us, instead of fighting against it.
So I have tried this new technique a few times since I’ve been home. I tried it when I got cut off in traffic and wanted to snap angrily but decided I can handle people who cut in. Bring it on! I tried it when I felt a painful twang in my stomach and difficult memories of IBS came flooding back. Bring it on I told myself. I can handle this, I have survived this for a long time. When I’m excited by a group of people and begin to ramble nervously, just go with it I said to myself you’re not hurting anyone. God watches over me! He has got me! I can tell you in all honesty it all just fades away. Like it was never there! Amen!
I am yet to try it as the passenger to my learner driving daughter but I am feeling the triumph building within and I am very curious to see if I can ask for more fear whilst driving with her. I must try to tell myself that I may have been in a bad car accident before, but I can handle it! Bring it on!
I am not a thrill seeker, my jump was never about chasing the thrill. It was a leap of faith, a test of my trust! I am not now looking for fear but I am aware that it lurks around me trying to trip me up and this concept is to remind myself that I can take it when it comes! To challenge it to try it’s best because God has got me!
There are so many things I learned about myself and God whilst on this trip and I look forward to sharing more on here soon. I’m just excited to go live with this new self and really enjoy the changes God has brought about in me. Blessings to you all!
This journey of self-awareness and self-discovery, which I have been on for many years, has seen many breakthroughs, each one adding a small piece to the puzzle that is me. One of the more perplexing areas of me, is my relationships with those I love most, or rather the emotions that drag me into places I have no memory of choosing to go, and my family members are usually the catalyst.
Emotional control has been at the forefront of my motivation since my mid 20’s. Prior to that I was extremely emotionally manipulative and reactive, I had no idea how destructive uncontrolled emotions could be. However, this journey has taught me that emotions are fickle and can’t be trusted to influence all my actions and decisions.
I often wondered why my family had such uncontrollable emotional surges, and by faith I came to suspect that an emotional generational curse has been our inheritance. Desperate to overcome and break curses since I can remember, I knew if I didn’t break them, then I would pass them onto my children, which was and is completely unacceptable to me. The curse needed to reveal some specifics for me to fully understand what was being passed along. During a recent session of NET (Neuro-emotional technique) I received the confirmation I was looking for, along with some details to help identify and address this long term issue.
One of the main problems that arises from this curse is an emotional domino effect. Powerful feelings don’t only affect the person experiencing them but attempt to knock over each person who comes into contact with them. We find it especially hard to validate ourselves and our feelings without everyone else feeling the same way. I call this Emotional Co-dependence. It is the inability to be alone is your own feelings.
After some wonderful counsel from a distant relative who has learned to tackle similar issues, I began to trial the concept of staying on my own emotional ground. In other words, if I don’t feel guilty about a decision I have made on my own, even if members of my family don’t approve, I need to validate my own reasons and not allow their perspective or guilt trips to move me from the stance I choose to take. I also need to stay calm when a family member is irrational and emotionally out of control. I try to stay positive even when someone is being negative. And most difficult of all, I hope to stay sure of myself even when being challenged to be different, without getting defensive.
This is not easy by any means. It takes a lot of self-awareness and self-control to undo the automatic responses that have been woven into your nervous system since before your birth. The keys are persistence and patience. I may not always succeed in staying on my own emotional ground, however I am aiming for quality over quantity at this stage. I may feel alienated for a little while, I may seem aloof and uncaring to those I used to jump into the emotional boat with. Yet I have seen evidence within my family that if I stick to my new strategy, and wait patiently for the initial emotions to pass we can connect again in much healthier, independent ways.
I realise that undoing strongholds with such deep roots will not happen overnight, and I try to give myself grace when I slip back into old habits. I feel rejuvenated by these new understandings, and grateful to God for His strength to help me when I am weak, and His mercy when I fall. I pray this curse will not be so difficult for my children to overcome now that God is helping me undermine some of its power. Amen!
I needed this reminder.
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
So often many of us want to crawl into a hole when faced with the reality that we aren’t perfect. There are so many more complex points I could write on this topic, but in this post I will just try to touch on a few basics. There is a cloudy grey area between being perfect and being good enough, and many of us feel if we fall short of perfection we must not be good enough. Sure we tell ourselves over and over again the cliche that “Nobody’s Perfect”, we try to convince ourselves that we are ok with that, but it only seems to distract us for a moment and before long we are back wondering how we can feel good enough for longer?
Self-indulgence seems the most common way to distract ourselves for longer, things like overeating, retail therapy, casual sex, drinking, drugs, gambling, any form of…
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I lost my Dear Dad to cancer a few years ago. Many of you will have read about this on my “About” page and in various posts. He had been separated from me for all of my teen years and early adulthood. When we finally reconnected we became extremely close and the lessons I learned from him changed me and saved me. I was called by God to put our story into book form a number of years before he passed and we began to work on it together.
I was working on a section of our book this week, specifically the chapter around the time we reconnected. I was detailing how we would meet up for lunch once a week and he would arrange times to call me on the phone at least once during the rest of the week.
I had been writing for a large part of the morning, and once I was happy with this section I took a break to have some breakfast. About an hour later I thought it would be good to do some research on Dad’s spiritual perspectives. He was a pedantic document hoarder and I still have many folders and files of his research, along with some personal letters, articles and clippings etc.
I pulled out a familiar file, however a clear plastic sleeve came along attached to the back. In it I found a single letter and some photos of my Dad. Ones I had not seen before. I began to read the letter, which had been written to his brother about 10 years before he died. Dad was thanking his brother for the music they had shared and various other things. Then I read the last paragraph, where my Dad specifically mentions that He and I had begun meeting regularly for lunch and even talking on the phone!!! He also said that he was encouraged by my keenness to learn from him, that my faith was growing and how he knew God was in the middle of it all.
I am not ashamed to admit that I began to weep for joy. I praised God while tears soaked my cheeks. It was a truly special moment.
It blows my mind to wonder how many times God held that letter out of my sight so I would have to wait to read it until the very morning I was writing about the exact same thing!
I got a letter from Heaven this week! I praise God with all my heart that His detailed plan includes me, and is often shared with me. How miraculous a God we serve and know!
My psychologist recently explained to me a statistic regarding the families of origin of a person in therapy. He said that when a family have had a difficult childhood or shared a major disruption in their home life, then many family members develop foundational issues well into adulthood. Ranging from nervous/mood disorders to depression, addiction, psychosis, violence, crime, and so forth. He explained what happens when one of these family members goes into therapy and begins to make healthy changes to their self-awareness, their self-control and their lifestyle, helping to manage many of these types of issues to cause less and less dysfunction in their lives.
Then he said….
“It is almost always extremely difficult for that person in therapy to maintain close relationships with the other members of their family of origin.”
He explained that, in a subconscious way, the family members find it uncomfortable to be around the person who has changed. They have become unfamiliar, which is unsettling. He said “Often certain ‘set-ups’ are created to attempt to bring out the old habits of the changed person, thus trying to make the person recognizable once again.”
In my understanding of inner angels and enemies, it seems obvious that these ‘subconscious set-ups’ are the work of inner enemies. Inner enemies are always at the forefront of family disputes, as they attempt to destroy the family unit which God originally designed. Inner enemies don’t want to encourage us to change and become stable functioning adults. They have their own agenda, to cause dysfunction.
The types of set-ups my psychologist was talking about, are commonly forceful disputes over both trivial and serious matters, usually in an attempt to challenge the opinion, behaviour or perspective of the other person.
I believe his statements go both ways….
Someone who has been on a journey of self-discovery long enough, will usually have developed a variety of new boundaries of what they believe is acceptable behaviour. With the aid of their inner angels, they may have changed their own behaviour according to these boundaries. This can cause them to struggle immensely when spending time with anyone who behaves in ways they have worked hard to avoid in themselves.
My Mother used to say, “You are who you hang with”. From experience I know this to be true. When I hung around people who did a lot of drugs and slept around, my internal moral compass changed and I found myself desensitised to behaviours that I had once found unacceptable. Growing up around yelling, name calling and nastiness created a common fall back reaction in disputes of all kinds.
I woke up one day discovering that I found my own behaviour unacceptable.
As time has gone on I have removed myself, or God has removed these types of people from my life. I am blessed to now be surrounded by people who understand boundaries and treat each other with emotional decency and respect. They also treat themselves with self-worth, and a healthy self-accountability for their own flaws.
As I explained before, this means it is very difficult to spend any length of time with people who behave in ways I have distanced myself from. I do not accept uncontrollable anger, sexual immorality, violence and abuse as healthy influences in my life. I find it equally difficult to be around those who blame others for their actions, as a way of avoiding their own accountability.
The thing that is most difficult regarding families of origin, and the statistic my psychologist explained, is the deep affection and connection you share. You see all the good in them and remember the good times, and you want desperately to share many more happy times with them.
Unfortunately sometimes, no matter how much you focus on the good in people, there comes a time when you must open your eyes to the whole picture and accept that their destructive issues may never improve. Then a hard decision must be made. Sharing history, blood and love doesn’t always mean you must automatically share your time, your trust and your life.
We must continue to pray for those who we may not be able to have close relationships with. I believe wholeheartedly in a God who can restore and completely alter a person’s heart, attitude, behaviour and lifestyle, but it takes time and a joint effort. I pray for all of us to embody the respect, and love that God intended us to have amongst each other, so we can show those inner enemies what a family under God looks like. Amen!