My Own Worst Bully

…we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (GNT)

For a majority of my life, my self-talk has been horrific. My own internal commentary was much worse than what anyone could have ever dreamed of saying to me. Granted some of my derogatory thoughts were formed from the thoughtless, hurtful words of others, but I embraced their words making them my mantra.

I was my own worst bully.

I constantly beat myself up mentally, emotionally, and yes, even physically. What began as my lame attempt at humorous self-deprecating quips grew into flat out bullying of myself on all three levels. My thoughts and words shaped the person I became. The meaner my self-talk, the lower my self-esteem and self-worth fell. By the time I was about to turn twenty, I viewed myself as pitiful excuse for a human being.

That had become my truth. Thanks to my constant self-bullying.

I used my own thoughts and words as weapons against myself. Phrases such as:

You are not pretty enough
You are not good enough
You will never amount to anything in this life
You stink at relationships
You are so stupid
You are lazy
You are fat
You are ugly
You are unloveable

When you hear those thoughts on a constant non-ending loop, you begin to believe them. They become who think you are…a loser. That mental and emotional self-bullying led me to a life of addictions and eating disorders. So not only was I mentally and emotionally injuring myself, I was also physically hurting myself.

I was my own worst bully.

Thankfully, Jesus knew exactly how to deal with that bully, named Kirsten. He loved me. He showed me that no matter how damaged I thought I was He could love me in the midst of that damage. He loved me through people He placed in my life. He loved me through the inner healing I received at the Glennon House. He loved me on the good days and bad days. And most importantly, He showed me how to love myself – with His kind of love!

Learning to love myself has been a process. It hasn’t happened over night. I still have brief moments where that unhealthy inner bully tries to rear its ugly head. Those are the times that I replace my words with Jesus’ words, I ask my friends to pray for me, or I get prayer at the Glennon House. Jesus doesn’t want me to be a self-bully, He wants my words and actions to build myself up so that I see myself through His eyes as His beloved daughter.

If you are your own worst bully, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for a time of individual prayer with one of our trained Prayer Ministers. Stop beating yourself up all the time. Instead come receive prayer so that you can be healed by Jesus’ love and learn to love yourself like He loves you.

Poisoned

Back at the beginning of November, Jason and I spent a wonderful day fishing on Lake Fairview.  It was the first cool day of the year.  The sun was shining with barely a cloud in the sky while the temperature was a crisp 65 degrees.  The perfect day for fishing!

I fell asleep soaking up the warm rays while the cool breeze kept me comfortable.  Jason, being the sweet guy he is, let me sleep since he knows I often struggle with sleep issues.  A couple of hours later, I woke up when he started heading the boat back to the Marina.

There was nothing out of the ordinary for the first couple of hours after we docked the boat.  Then when we were walking into Publix, I looked down at my hands which felt kind of stiff when I tried to move them.  To my shock, my hands were beet red and swollen.  I showed them to Jason and we quickly checked the rest of my body.  I was bright red from the bottom of my shorts down and everywhere my tank top had not covered.

Then as we walked around the grocery store, I began to shiver and it got harder to bend my knees to.  As we walked out to the car, I glanced down at my knees which were becoming quite swollen.  I realized that I had done a real number on myself with this sunburn.  I later found out it was most likely Sun Poisoning and I probably should have gone to the Dr. right when it happened.

The misleading part was that the sun poisoning didn’t show up right away.  Initially, I was just slightly pink in color.  It wasn’t until hours later that the full extent of the sunburn became apparent.  By the time the I could visually see how bad the burn was the damage had already been done.

I believe that the same thing can happen to us through life experiences that poison us emotionally, physically, and spiritually (e.g. betrayal, abuse, broken heart, etc.).  Often times, the damage stays dormant until a much later date when it explodes to the surface for all to see.  Like my sunburnt skin, that swelled under the pressure of the fluid from inflammation, our emotions and minds swell from the painful life experiences until we have to find relief somehow from the pain.

Addictions are often a way that we try to self-medicate away the pain that is overwhelming us. For me, I turned to alcohol, drugs, and overeating to try to alleviate the pain.  While those gave me a false sense of relief from the pain, it always came back even stronger than before.  In trying to find relief on my own, I added more pain to my already poisoned emotions and mind.

It wasn’t until, I came to the Glennon House for prayer appointments that I actually found true relief from my inner pressure and pain.  While other methods masked the symptoms of my pain, they never addressed the root of my pain.  Opening my heart, mind, and body to Jesus to heal me from the inside out was the only way that I found freedom from that pressure that dwelt within me.

If you feel like the internal pressure of your hurt and pain is building up inside of you, I encourage you to call the Glennon House for an inner healing appointment with one of our Trained Prayer Ministers.  They will walk beside you on your healing journey as Jesus relieves that painful pressure so you can walk in freedom.

Random Thoughts

Where the mind goes…the man follows.
Joyce Meyer

The other evening I was watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager in which the crew was visiting a planet where random thoughts (especially violent thoughts) had been banned.  Someone ran into one of the crew members who then had a violent thought of pushing the person back in retaliation.  That one random thought spread a string of violence
throughout the community.

While here on our Earth our thoughts don’t spread like that.  However, our thoughts can lead to actions that result in behaviors.

Most addictions begin as thoughts in our minds.  We think about the object of desire to the point of obsession.  Our thought obsession then manifests itself as an action.  When we repeatedly indulge in that action it becomes a seed for behavior.  That behavior gives birth to the addiction.

Before I was born, my dad was a prolific smoker.  He had begun smoking as a teenager.  He continued to smoke until the day I was brought home from the hospital.  He had a pack and half habit (behavior) per day that ruled his life.  He never let his pack of cigarettes out of his sight.  He bought his cigarettes by the carton.  The moment his carton got down to one pack of cigarettes he panicked.  No matter what time of day it was he had a compulsion to go buy another carton of cigarettes.  Even if it was the middle of the night he would drive around looking for a 24 hour store that sold cartons of cigarettes.  His thoughts of what would happen if he ran out of cigarettes drove him to take action.

While you might not be able to relate to the thought progression that rules the life of an addict, I’m sure you can easily think of something that has popped up in your mind that caused you to take some form of action.

Have you ever had something come up that has made you worry? (e.g. a scary diagnosis, strange symptoms, loss of a job, etc.)  It seems like the harder you try not to worry the more you do worry!  It is a known fact that a state of constant worry leads to stress which can cause all sorts of
emotional and physical problems. If you don’t intentionally focus your mind on something else you will most likely continue in your action of worrying becoming more and more stressed.

Needless to say our thought lives are very important.  The good news is that when you became a Christian you were blessed with a transformed mind. (Romans 12:12)  That means that you no longer have to be
conformed to your old way of thinking!  A transformed mind means that instead of thoughts of worry you can have thoughts of peace that Jesus will take care of you.  And thoughts of peace will lead to lower levels of stress in your life. The end result of your new peaceful thoughts brings you to emotional, physical, and spiritual healthy behavior.

Yes, that is often easier said than done.  But what you can do is recognize when your thoughts are going down the path towards worry.  At this point make an effort to think of something other than worry.  God knows your heart and thoughts.  He will honor your effort to stop following after the negative ones.

Your Song

And I am the One Who wove the lyrics and the melody into the fabric of your life.  So, My child sing My song.
~ Jeanie Miley
I think of each of us was born with a unique song in our hearts.  It is the song God intended for us to share with the world.  That song that dwells in our heart is nurtured by the way we love and the way others love us.  Over time the notes of our song join together to form a melody that we sing as we live our lives.
In a perfect world everyone’s heart song would flourish.  Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world that tries to steal our songs before we have a chance to sing.  Sometimes others actions rob us of our songs.  Sometimes our own actions steal our songs.  And sometimes it is a combination of others actions and our own actions.
Regardless of whose actions are to blame many of us are walking around with our heart songs silenced by the pain that we carry.  Here is part of a poem I wrote quite awhile ago that talks about the seeds of song in our hearts:
…The fertile soil of my heart watered
my seeds of song as they sprouted.
Leaves reaching for the light of love
Blooms spread open in song.

Then one day a shadow stranger
Paid a visit to my heart garden.
He blocked the light of love
Stealing lyrics from my song blooms.

The stranger crushed the petals
Blowing their dust from his hand.
The lyrics scattered on the wind
Lost to my heart’s perception…

The scattered petal dust of my song
Awaits the return of the light of love,
Who has the power to change petal dust
Into the seeds of song once again.
As I re-read that poem, I thought how the “shadow stranger” could be an addiction, disease, depression, an unhealthy relationship, a lost job, or any number of negative circumstances that cause us to stumble in life.  While the stranger is determined to destroy what is good in our lives he is not ultimately successful.  Because the “light of love” has the power to heal what was destroyed and make it whole once again!
That is the hope we can have in the Lord.  He is the “Light of Love” that heals us…making us whole.  He is the One Who takes what has been destroyed and makes it brand new!  The Lord is the One Who gives us our new song to sing!
 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3 NLT

Best Day Ever

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
 Psalm 118:24
The other evening during the Testimony time at the Healing Service, a woman stood up telling us her testimony.  During this time, she offered up praise for her time with her grandchildren.  She then mentioned what one of her granddaughters says to her each day,
“This is the best day ever!”
I think that is a fabulous way to approach each day of our lives.  And I would love to be able to tell you that I’ve said the same thing every day, but that would be a lie.  Frankly, there are some days that I was much more likely to be heard saying, “This is the worst day ever!”
I remember reading the story in the Bible that told about the time when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison.  About midnight, they were heard praying and singing to the Lord.  The other prisoners were in their cells listening to them when suddenly there was a violent earthquake that caused the prison doors to fly open and everyone’s chains to break loose. (Acts 16:25&26)
My initial thought upon reading that story for the first time was, “Are they crazy? Why on earth would they even feel like singing when they were just beaten and in prison?” But then, I realized that it was after they were praising and singing that not only were they set free, but so was everyone else who could hear them!  I am pretty sure that all the prisoners in the jail that night were saying, “Best day ever!”
While I have never been in an actual prison, I have been a prisoner to a multitude of situations, addictions, and relationships in my life.  Before coming to know Jesus, it never even entered my mind that I should (or could) do something other than grumble and complain about those things.
I don’t believe that Paul and Silas were singing praises to the Lord for being beaten and imprisoned.  I think that they were singing praises, in the midst of their pain, because they knew that worshipping Him would set them free from their prison in some way or another. In this instance, they were physically set free, but at other times Paul was set free spiritually or emotionally from his prison instead.
Paul and Silas chose to praise the Lord while they were still prisoners.  It might not have been an easy choice, but they decided they would praise in the midst of pain.  That is a choice each of us has before us when we are in pain.
I can tell you from experience that it is sometimes the hardest choice I’ve had to make.  And sometimes, I don’t do such a great job at choosing to praise Him when I’m in the midst of turmoil.  What I have found is that if I will choose to find something, no matter how tiny it may seem, to be thankful for in the midst of pain it helps to redirect my focus onto God instead of my problem.
One of the simplest praises I’ve ever uttered is, “Thank you Lord for this moment.”  It’s nothing deep or eloquent, but God knows my heart.  He knows that at that exact moment it is the only thing I can say and He is there with me as I take the first step towards being able to greet each day saying,
“This is the best day ever!”

The Hurt Closet

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Awhile back, I watched a movie called 27 dresses.  It is about a young woman who is always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  She has been the bridesmaid in over twenty-seven weddings.  In her apartment, she has a closet that is literally stuffed to overflowing with these dresses.  She refuses to throw a single dress out.  Every time she looks at the closet, she is reminded that she has never been the bride.  When she has this thought, she becomes sad and depressed.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a closet that caused me sadness too.  It was an emotional hurt closet.  In this closet, I stored up all the times someone hurt me emotionally.  I piled one hurt on top of another in that closet of mine.  My closet overflowed with all the hurts.  I would try to keep the door shut, so that I wouldn’t see the hurts, but when someone else did something hurtful the doors would swing open.  Not only did I feel the pain from the current hurt, but all the past hurts would tumble out of the closet.  This doubled the pain I was feeling.  It never even crossed my mind to clean out my hurt closet.  I just simply kept tossing more and more hurts in there.  Until one day, the doors of my bulging closet wouldn’t close at all.
I couldn’t put it off any longer; I had to clean out my closet.
The pivotal moment came when a friend of mine hurt me one time too many.  She was going through a really rough time.  I became collateral damage in the war zone of her life.  I had stopped all communication with her because I didn’t want to keep being hurt over and over again.  Our lack of communication caused a ripple effect in our family and friend’s lives.  No one knew how to handle the situation and it was causing stress for everyone.  I was praying desperately for the Lord to tell me what I should do about the situation.  I knew that He didn’t want me to bear the brunt of her pain that was causing her to behave in hurtful ways.  I also knew that I had to set up healthy boundaries in the relationship.
I kept adding the continued hurts that she tossed my way into my closet.  Every time I tossed a new one in there, I saw all the old hurts that were already hanging up.  This amplified the new hurt.  It was beginning to get harder and harder to close the doors of my closet.  It often seemed that I stayed in a perpetual state of hurt during that time of my life.  Pretty soon, I felt like everything everybody was doing or saying was hurtful.  It was no longer just my friend that was doing hurtful things…everybody was.
When I was at my lowest, God answered my prayers.  There was only one thing to do.  I had to forgive my friend – completely.
The only way this could be accomplished was for me to do some Spring Cleaning in my hurt closet.  With God by my side, I waded into that overflowing closet of mine to begin throwing away all the old hurts that were hanging up in there.  The more I forgave her, the easier it began to toss out those hurts.  He also showed me that my expectations of my friend were unrealistic.  She was not in a place where she could be there for anyone.  She was in survival mode.  I had to accept her where she was in order to remain in relationship with her.
My responsibility in all of this was to not collect hurts in a closet again – not to keep a record of the hurt.  Instead, when I feel hurt by someone, I need to immediately take my hurt to the Lord.  He wants to take this burden from me.
God has transformed my hurt closet into a forgiven closet.

Flaming Heart

In my devotional the other day, there was a great quote from Mary Lou Retton:
“Heat is required to forge anything.  Every great accomplishment is the story of a flaming heart.”
I grew up spending my summers in the woods.  I know all about the logistics of starting a fire and keeping the flame burning.  I can even start one without matches.  (Well, technically, I haven’t done that in years, but I’m sure it would come back to me.)
To start a fire, without matches, you must apply enough twisting pressure to a piece of wood to create a small spark.  Once you get that faint smoking, you have to add more fuel (wood shavings, moss, etc) to get a burn going.  Soft breaths will fan the flame causing it to grow.  Once you’ve got the “starter” burning, you then place it on a pile of kindling.
The kindling is essential.  It is these small pieces of wood that allow the larger wood to catch flame.  In order to keep a fire burning, you need to have a steady supply of wood.  This wood supply is what you will use to feed the fire to keep it flaming.  If you starve your fire, you will end up with a small burning ember – a fire barely left alive.
I must admit that there have been times in my walk with the Lord where my heart was just a burning ember.  These were the times when I was just “too busy” to spend daily time with the Lord.  I had so many things demanding my attention each day that I let my time with God slide away.  I’d spend an hour or so with Him once a week at Church and then basically ignore Him the rest of the week.
I’ve come to realize that there is a correlation between the amount of time I spend in relationship with the Lord and the size of my heart fire.  I don’t want just a burning ember in my heart for the Lord.  I want a flaming heart!  Yes, this takes some effort on my part, but it is well worth it!
In order to create a fire and keep my heart flaming, I have to add fuel to the spark that the Holy Spirit has placed there.  Reading God’s Word, going to Church, doing Bible Studies, and being in fellowship with other believers are all “kindling” to start that burn going in my heart.  I need to stay in relationship with the Lord so that I have a surplus of kindling and wood available to feed my heart fire.
If you want to get your heart flaming for the Lord, I encourage you to come to one of our Tuesday Evening Healing Services or join us for some of our weekly activities at the Glennon House.

Listen, Love, and Pray