Saying “No” is easier for some of us than others. However, when we learn how to use this word, it probably means that we are growing in our emotional and mental health, and learning how to set boundaries. Saying “No” doesn’t translate over to being mean to others. As a matter of fact, the inability to say “no” is being unkind to ourselves. We end up running ourselves ragged pleasing everyone else, and then we are joyless ourselves.
We forget that we do not have never-ending amounts of energy. What we don’t say “NO” to today, will say “NO” to us on tomorrow. This is usually when we start saying “No!” It is when God gives us a time-out. Either we can willingly learn the skill, or we are forced to learn it because our physical health ends up taking a plunge.
When we are able to say “No” to some things, we open ourselves up to being able to say “Yes” to others. These are the things that we have been gifted for. These are the things that involve our spouses, life-giving friends, and children. It also invites our “NO” to become someone else’s opportunity to step up and say “yes”. So, then why is it so hard? It is hard because we have been trained to help others by completely sacrificing ourselves in the process. Helping others requires the sacrifice of dying to ourselves. Sometimes we can get too caught up in our own problems and our family’s problems. We forget that there is a whole ‘nother world outside of us.
However, there is a balance. This is where self-awareness and realization of our limitations come in. It is also hard for us to say “No” if we grew up in a family where we were served guilt for exerting boundaries or having feelings of our own. Initially, it will be difficult. However, the more we practice saying it, the more we are free to prioritize what God wants us to do.
So, let’s practice saying “No”, so that God can say “Yes!” to using us as only he can!
Sabotage Our Healing with Busyness and Instability
Sabotaging Our Healing by Allowing Shame and Perception Of Others to Reign
Sabotaging Our Healing by Surrounding Ourselves with Clutter
Lastly, we Sabotage Our Healing by Refusing to Do What We’re Told
Good morning! Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness. And today we are recording Episode 23: Sabotaging Our Healing. When we think of the word sabotage, it suggests the following: “getting in the way, damaging, intentionally interrupting, preventing something from taking place. When we think of sabotaging our healing, it means that we are harming or preventing ourselves from healing. Since the rewards of healing is astronomical, why would we want to prevent ourselves from doing it? There are several reasons why:
We’re afraid to face the pain.
We don’t want the work.
We don’t want to use our free time to do it.
We really don’t want to be free because we have been in bondage for so long, and so, the bondage that we know is better than the freedom that we don’t.
There are several ways that we sabotage our healing:
Sabotage Our Healing with Busyness and Instability- We will fill our days up from morning till night being busy so that we don’t have to sit long enough to feel. If we work outside the home, we spend hours shopping after work before going home. If we work inside the home, we make sure that we are busy from morning to night. We think that we can outsmart our mind and emotions. I have been guilty of doing this one myself. What I noticed is that one of three things usually happen.
Situation 1: When we finally lay down to go to bed, our minds are going 100 mph with anxiety. We start going over all the things that we did during the day. The feelings start coming up. Our past starts knocking on our door. Unhealed brokenness starts bleeding out. Obtrusive thoughts start settling in. Then, we end up not being able to go to sleep for several hours because our minds are trying to process everything that we didn’t allow it to process during the day. Several days of this can turn into weeks, and then weeks into months. And if we didn’t have trauma before, there is definitely a chance of developing it then. We can only go so many days like this. Our bodies can’t sustain this lifestyle without breaking down.
Situation 2: We conk out as soon as our heads hit the pillow. Because we haven’t processed anything, we are running on empty in every area. We keep putting off dealing with certain things until they are a must. And when we have to deal with it, we end up shutting down, or having a complete emotional meltdown/tantrum. This can play out at work, school, home, church wherever.
When we are on emotional and mental overload, there is no way to control when and where it will come out. Even now, I have to remind myself to take a break from work and give myself thirty minutes to lay down and think about nothing. This became an issue for me after the trauma that occurred within the last seven years. Believe it or not, as soon as I begin to relax, I can feel emotions coming up. I also like to have reflection time in the morning when I wake up. If I am in a rush and have to leave out an emotional mess from backed up grief, my emotions only intensify as the day goes on.
Situation 3: We become consistently inconsistent at everything. Lack of structure gets in the way of our healing. When we are all over the place, our minds are all over the place, and then our lives and relationships are all over the place.
Sabotaging Our Healing by Allowing Shame and Perception Of Others to Reign-This is also one that I am guilty of having to watch myself. If I allow my brokenness of perfectionism and the shame that it’s friends with to kick in, I am more tempted to want to hold off sharing with my life-giving friends or therapist about what is going on now, or a situation that happened in the past.
I get caught up wondering what the person will think of me, how I will be perceived, and the list goes on and on. I also get caught up in wondering whether or not I will possibly “lose it” and have an “ugly face” cry in front of others. I have to remind myself that these are safe people, and if I cry, so what! I ‘m human. We’re all broken. Satan will try whatever way that he can to discourage us from being vulnerable. Vulnerability in a safe environment with time and space chips away the stone of shame.
Sabotaging Our Healing by Surrounding Ourselves with Clutter-We fill up every knick and cranny of our homes and our cars with clutter. It prevents us from being able to gain clarity about anything. It prevents us from having structure and space to feel. We also have problems making decisions because the clutter is serving as an emotional pacifier. As soon as the clutter starts being lifted, then we can be tempted to go back again. Our addictions take the place of feeling the hurt and pain that we are holding keeping at bay. Being surrounded by excessive clutter takes the place of being able to dig into our feelings. Therefore, we often go back to our addictions. The pain becomes too much to bear. And instead of pressing in, we press out to comfort.
Lastly, we Sabotage Our Healing by Refusing to Do What We’re Told-If our therapists, coaches, friends, pastors, or others give us godly counsel in regard to our behavior, we have already come up with 50 excuses as to why we can’t begin to make changes. We are intent on doing it the way that we want to do it. However, nine times out of ten, our way isn’t going to work. If it was, we would have started making changes.
Naaman went to see Elisha in order to be healed from leprosy. He almost sabotaged his own healing because he didn’t want to do what he was told. He wanted Elisha to come out and do a powerful healing ceremony. He thought that he was “too good” to stoop to Elisha’s healing instructions. Elisha instructed him to wash in the Jordan seven times. He finally did it, with some prodding from his servant. But, he definitely wasn’t happy about it.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
Naaman almost missed out on his healing because he wanted it “his way”. What happens when we want things our way? We miss out on everything God has to offer and more. God uses wise people to lead us to make wise decisions. However, he will not beg us to do our part.
So, what is the solution to combatting sabotage? Desiring a life that thrives over a life of stagnancy. No one can give us the desire and motivation to heal. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula. The comfort is that Jesus will be there with us in the fire. We can teach our kids and leave a legacy behind that stops the generational sins of our fathers.
God bless! Thanks for listening to Episode 23: Sabotaging Our Healing
If you are ready to heal from Trauma or Any Brokenness, and you are tired of the Sabotage Cycle, check out brokenpieces.teachable.com for Two Courses: Broken Pieces: From Survival Mode to the Life of Thriving & De-Clutter Your Home, De-Clutter Your Mind, and De-Clutter Your Life
In case you missed our last podcast episode, The Sin of Complaining, you can find it here. Today’s podcast deals with the Comparison Trap. It is the issue that is ripping families, churches, and friendships apart. Yet, we still can’t seem to find a way to get out of it. Let’s explore the topic a little bit further to see how destructive it can be, and what solutions we can implement in order to get out of it.
The last six months have been filled with trials, unexpected trauma, and a whole lot of gratitude. This gratitude involves the realization that I have life, strength, and decent health. It makes me think of all the things that God made possible that I thought that I may never do again. It is also gratefulness for a new calling in life. I realize that nothing can be taken for granted.
Background on Gratitude Check
After just coming out of a trial on Wednesday of last week, I was looking forward to taking it easy on the weekend. So I thought. I had just attended a meeting at church for the Sunday School volunteers. My daughter and I were headed home.
We made a complete stop at the intersection around the corner from our house, waiting for eastbound traffic to clear so that we could make a left turn. While we were sitting there, I had the words “crash and rental car” to come into my mind. I tried pushing those thoughts out of my head. I began to make a plan for what I would do when I got home: rake the leaves, go for a walk, write out my podcast speech, etc. The next thing that I knew, we were hit. It kind of happened in slow motion.
After about an hour and fifteen minutes of pictures and paperwork, we were able to go home. To be honest, I had to stop and ask God “Why?” I had just recovered from last week’s drama, only to end up with more trauma from the accident. As I sat there, at my kitchen table, I acknowledged that I was mad. There was no point in pretending. Stuffing leads to more trauma, so I wasn’t going down that aisle. I acknowledged that I didn’t feel like making the calls to the insurance company. Then, I had to acknowledge the trauma from the accident that was starting to kick in.
It took me two more hours before I could call and report the accident. What was my gratitude check for Saturday?
God is good.
The car was still drive-able.
We didn’t suffer any major injuries.(My daughter is sore from the accident).
God had a praise song in my head while we waited for all the pictures and paperwork to be done.
The car wasn’t going any faster than it was.
We found out that we were missing some major coverage on our car insurance.
The other driver had insurance.
This accident reminded me of God’s answer to our thoughts and our plans:
8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
As Christians, we know that the best example we have for living is Christ. We love because he first loved us. We forgive because he has forgiven us. We give grace because we have been given grace. But, the question is, when is grace no longer grace? This is the question that I have had to revisit several times in the last few years.
Grace is no longer grace when we have gotten to the point of disrespecting ourselves. How do we know that we our disrespecting ourselves? It is usually when our needs, thoughts, well-being, and boundaries are ignored. Boundaries exist emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
One of the ways to know if we are disrespecting ourselves is to pay attention to our “gut reaction”. A lot of times our bodies know that something is wrong before our emotional, mental, and spiritual knows that something is wrong. When I first met a neighbor at my last residence, she seemed nice. Although she seemed nice, there was still something that didn’t allow me to feel 100% safe. During the course of talking to her, she almost fell. She grabbed on to me to recover her balance, and my whole body locked up. If you live with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis, then you are very familiar with the stiffness of the body as a reaction to trauma/stress. Because of trauma victims having a negative charge, we are even more sensitive to detecting something wrong. We are magnets to certain types of energy. Had I acted on this warning, I could have avoided a lot of heartache. When you have a gut reaction about something, it is your body’s warning that your boundaries are being crossed, or that something said isn’t right.
We all have bad days. We are all broken, and because of our brokenness we are going to sin on a daily basis. However, it is important to pay attention to how often we are giving excuses for behavior.
We are not to keep score, however, it is important to know that there is give and take in any relationship. If we are on the giving 90% of the time side, this is a sign that grace is no longer grace. This will manifest itself through feeling drained emotionally during or at the commencement of the relationship. This isn’t a normal reaction in a give and take dynamic.
You are working to prove your value and worth all the time. Jesus’ death cut out all the legalism of work. If we are striving for approval or value from others, or we are given the hidden meaning to keep hustling for someone, grace is no longer grace. I love this verse in Romans that makes this so clear: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
Grace is no longer grace when we allow ourselves to to be controlled. Control can be subtle or obvious. When you find yourself in a toxic dance, your gut feeling is not right, and you are going around in circles, this is a sign you are being controlled. It can also be a matter of having the things that you say or do be used against you. For example: Person A says : Do this. Person B: Does this. Person A says: Why did you do this? And then this repeats over and over again. The only way to come out of the dance is to eliminate your action as person B.
One of the best ways to determine whether grace is no longer grace is to look for patterns. These patterns will give a clue into whether or not there was a misunderstanding on our part, or if there is a pattern of sin on the other person’s part. If it is hard to detect, then one of the best things that we can do is to pray. Prayer for wisdom and discernment will allow us to receive what God wants us to know. As much as we hate conflict, it is something that we can’t avoid. The podcast on handling conflict can be found here. We are told in scripture how to handle the conflict of sin:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
What I have come to figure out myself is that if the scripture verses above were put into effect in all of my situations, then the draining/toxic effect could have been avoided or lessened. We cannot save or fix others. It is Satan’s job to make us believe that we can, to the point of disrespecting ourselves, where grace is no longer grace.
Last week, our podcast was focused on “Conflict Among Broken People”. You can find the podcast here. This week’s topic is “Broken People Judging Broken People”.
What is brokenness?
What is judging?
What does Jesus say about judging?
Judging Others Matthew 7: 1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.”8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
When we’re waiting for something to happen, there are several things going on:
We want to know when things are going to take place.
We want to know where things are going to take place.
We want to know how things are going to take place.
We want to know if there is something we can do to make things move faster.
After all of the above happens, then we usually go back to the first thing on the list: We want to know when things are going to take place. Sometimes when we are in the waiting process, there are tangible things that we can do, but we find ourselves just sitting back and saying, ” Well, I’m just waiting on God.” There are other times when there isn’t a thing that we can do, except pray and know that God is in control, he loves us, and knows what’s best for us.
Rushing also involves several things going on:
We can’t focus.
We react instead of respond.
We do things out of character.
We forget about involving God in the matter.
We make things even worse.
We suffer severe consequences.
God promised Abraham at a very old age that he would have a son. When Abraham thought that this son would come from one of his servants, God reassured him that this is not what was going to happen:
Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This one will not be your heir, but one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” And the LORD took him outside and said, “Now look to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able .” Then He declared, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:4-6, Berean Study Bible
After waiting for so long, Abraham and Sarah, his wife, went from the waiting stage to the rushing stage. Sarah decided to take things into her own hands, and have her handmaid to sleep with Abraham to have God’s promise come quicker:
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar;so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said.So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Genesis 16: 1-4, NIV
I wish at this point there was some good news to tell, but there isn’t. Things went from bad to worse. Hagar got a little too close for comfort, and Sarah began despising Hagar for her pregnancy. Not only did she despise Hagar, but she blamed Abraham for the plan that she came up with on her own:
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
The exciting part about it is that we got a chance to ride the school bus to 55th and Cottage Grove, and race on the track there. All the kids from the projects in my area were going to be there. Three weeks before the race, my mother bought me some new gym shoes. On the morning of the race, right before my mother left to go to work, I was so excited, that I decided to try the gym shoes on again. To my surprise, they didn’t fit. They were so tight, that I was in excruciating pain.
My mother told me that she would have to take the shoes back, and that I would have to race next time, and that there was no point in me going since I only had sandals to wear. Next time meant next year. I wasn’t going to wait till next year.
As soon as all the kids got on the school bus, I hopped myself on too. My mother was gone to work, and I figured I’d be fine racing in sandals. When we got there, they grouped all of the kids according to age. The announcer called out. “Get on your mark. Get ready. Get set. Go!” I took off running like crazy in my sandals. I didn’t get far before I fell and injured myself. My knees were cut open and bleeding. My arms and hands were bleeding. the inside of my wrist was cut and bleeding, since when I fell, I used my hands to protect myself. My older cousin came over and walked me off the track as I was crying and humiliated.
This story of my race wasn’t so triumphant at all. I disobeyed my mom. I hurt myself. I suffered a permanent scar on the inside of my wrist as a reminder today of the sacrifice that I made. Praise God for his mercy and grace, and the redemption that he has for every one of our lives!
We praise you for who you are. We ask that you would help us to consult you in the waiting, and to pray like never before for endurance and perseverance. We know that your plan for our lives is the best plan. You are God alone, and you don’t need our help for you to give us what you have already promised us.
In your name we pray,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
My mother loves perfume. She absolutely loves it! The funny thing about it is that ever since I was a little girl, she has been in love with perfume. As a child, we had special days when we would go downtown to look around. I liked window shopping, but my mother took this to a whole different level. To be honest, I wanted to look around for a little bit, and then get to the fun part: going to Beef N’ Brandy on State Street for a lunchtime sandwich and french fry special.
We usually looked around for a good three to four hours before she decided that we would eat lunch and head home. Those four hours entailed several makeup counters, jewelry counters, and finally the perfume and cologne counters, making sure that she had several samples of facial products and cologne by the time we finished shopping. Every blue moon, she had saved up enough money to buy herself the fragrance that she had been smelling for months. My mother has smelled so many fragrances over the years, that believe it or not, she has become a specialist at knowing her colognes. Whenever we are out and about, and she smells a familiar scent, she might strike up a conversation with a person, and then ask them, “Oh, is that such and such? I love that fragrance.” There are very few fragrances that she is unfamiliar with.
“The Christ Fragrance”
As Christians, we are supposed to be a fragrance of Christ. What fragrance are we giving off? Do they ask us what cologne we are wearing? Or, are we giving off any scent at all? Do people stand next to us and want to run because of our attitudes or behaviors, or do they want to stay and “smell” a while, because their noses are filled with the overwhelming fragrance of Christ?
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 2 Corinthians 2:15
Tonight, I sat at the kitchen table hoping and praying for God to give me the words for a poem. Three days ago, I felt him nudging me about writing a poem on the power of our tongue. For those of you who write poetry, you know that you can’t just write a poem. The words have to come to you. You have to feel the words and the rhythm. Then, after they come to you, you have to write them down before they’re gone.
I sat and waited, and God delivered.
The Flow of the Tongue
It’s our mouths we can’t control.
Full of poison, can’t make us whole.
Giving the cursing and the blessing,
Giving our faith for sure a testing.
Filled with bitter and the sweet.
Asking for life for us to repeat.
Setting on fire the pit of hell.
Sharing the gospel that it entails.
Filling with power, and hate, and love.
Edifies sisters and brothers from above.
Knowing that it is one of our members.
Showing our grace, our warmth, our tenders.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3: 6-12, NKJV