15/03/2019

The Devil Made Me Do It

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:32 pm by The Water Bearer

Have you ever reached a point of anger that has become uncontrollable? Has it made you act in ways you never thought you would?

Have you ever felt so much pain and fear that defensive protection mechanisms caused you to say terrible and hurtful things to people you love?

I sure have.

I do understand how powerful emotions can make us want to lash out. I lived it for the first 20 years of my own life. I blamed everyone around me for my own feelings of disappointment and anger, I accused people of being unloving if they failed to meet my ideals of what love should look like. I called people I love names like “F’ing Asshole” and “F’ing bitch” and pointed out all their failings with nastiness, and then I shared all of their misgivings with anyone who would listen. I wrote letters outlining all the reasons I felt mistreated, all the reasons they were wrong and I was right.

Worst of all, I believed I was justified. I believed my emotions were valid. I believed my behaviour was not as bad as what they had caused me to feel. I believed that they had asked for it, that they deserved it. I took zero responsibility for my emotional outbursts, and in return I expected and longed for close happy relationships.

The real trouble with blaming, accusing, name calling, put downs, backstabbing etc is that once they leave our mouths or are written and sent, they break the precious trust that is needed to be close in that relationship.

Each time we say these things we feel, and they are directed at someone as a personal attack, more trust is broken. Broken trust creates distance, division, stress, triggers, defensiveness and many mental health problems like anxiety, depression etc.

The only way to repair that broken trust is to own up to the nasty things said and done and truly apologise, to feel the remorse of having said and done these things to someone cared for. Truly feeling the remorse of becoming untrustworthy and not being as close as before, and to promise to try not to do it anymore, while accepting that they get to choose whether or not to give another chance. Then to do everything possible to alter feelings and behaviours so that the pattern stops happening.

It is very hard to break patterns of emotion like this but it is possible, with time, therapy, faith and techniques that build self-awareness. This whole blog Inner Angels and Enemies, is dedicated to empowering us to succeed.

Being held hostage by powerful emotions that push us to treat the people we love that way, is not how I wanted to live my life. I saw this pattern in myself and my family and I desperately refused to pass the curse onto my daughters. And for the last 20 years I’ve been working hard to break this cycle.

I had to realise that not all my emotions are valid, and there is a devil who can create emotions within me, I was his puppet and emotions were his strings. Then I would be his weapon against people and all I had to say was “its not my fault its how I feel”. But what we say and how we act is our responsibility, and yes there is more than enough grace to cover all our failings, yet God can’t forgive based on the excuses that our ’emotions made us do it’, which really means ‘the devil made me do it’.

However God mercifully forgives our confessions, which is when we’ve taken responsibility and showed true remorse.

It is the devil at play, but we can overcome the devil through Christ’s example and He will help us change and break the devil’s hold. So then it is possible to gain control over our emotions more and more. Its a constant war. This is the spiritual war. This is what its ALL about.

“These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures” Galatians 5:17

The constant battle within each of us between the devils powerful emotions, and God’s forgiveness and power over those emotions. So we can move into Freedom from all the devil’s games and find real lasting unity with others.

Selah!

07/03/2019

Shifting The Blame

Posted in Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 1:05 pm by The Water Bearer

I’m pretty lucky to have found a select group of people who defy our current untrustworthy culture. The people I trust in this world are far from perfect, none of us are. The reason this group are trusted is because they own their own shit. They have the courage to have the hard conversations, to admit when they’ve let their emotions get the better of them, to recognise when they deserve the consequences for those times they refused to listen to their conscience, and to face someone to address issues without resorting to abuse, gossip or slander.

These people give me so much hope! Though sadly, they are few and far between.

Our culture is so warped, it has become too scared to admit its faults (possibly for fear of a liability suit) that we’ve lost the art of conflict resolution. Its far more common to make excuses or ignore personal faults and magnify these same faults in others, than to seek resolution to conflicts with a little honesty, humility and compassion.

The masses of legal action pointing fingers at human errors has gotten way out of hand, and had some serious consequences on they way we resolve societal problems. It’s almost as if we find our flawed humanity as far too big an inconvenience that we no longer accept it as part of reality. We are now shocked beyond words when we suffer at the hands of someones mistake, and allow that shock to catapult our emotions into condemnation and worse. The rage increases when they refuse to own up, surely denial adds to the injustice, and yet saying sorry now admits liability, so we just don’t hear it.

But there is something profound about a genuine apology, it can resolve so much tension. Maybe we would hear more apologies if society just remembered how to accept one, without always demanding compensation. There is no denying that we all mess up royally from time to time, and people get hurt, yet there’s something wonderful about being able to admit your flaws without fear of ridicule and rejection.

It has only been in the last half of my life that I got to experience the value of these things. Once I understood the grace of Christ, I knew I could be honest with myself and with Him. This gave me the courage to be honest with others as well.

It was just over 18 years ago when I hit the bottom of my shame pit. My behaviour had gotten so out of hand, I was the worst version of myself and the shame of it almost killed me. I clearly remember sitting down with a friend and confessing it all. I’m not sure why I felt I could open up and tell this guy my innermost skeletons, but I still did it. I expected shock, horror and a lot of guilt trips, but instead he barely battered an eyelash, he listened, he understood and strangely enough he still saw my value. That man showed me what its like to not have to hide my flaws out of fear of rejection, instead I felt loved like I never had before. See, people often ‘love’ our best selves, yet hold our worst self against us, like a trophy of our worthlessness. A trophy that gives them permission to berate and belittle and condemn. Not this guy. He saw my absolute worst and ended up marrying me anyway! (Go figure)

I’m not sure how we can undo the damage this blame culture is having on our relationships and our lives. We have become bound up by so much red tape that no one knows who is accountable for what anymore. The lines of accountability are so blurred that we no longer know which way is up!

So once again I fall at the feet of Our Saviour and plead with Him to help us learn how to love each other at our worst and not be so offended by human faults, and to bring back the beauty of self-awareness. Then we may no longer have to hide our sins, no longer have to pretend we aren’t scared and broken and capable of hurting people. Can we see ourselves through God’s eyes and claim our limitless worth and face our demons, for we all have both. None are innocent, yet all are loved.

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