Most of us think of Christmas as a time of sharing and enjoying the company of friends and family. It is a time of year that is different than any other time filled with festivities and good cheer. We tend to feel more at peace and content.
Unfortunately, Christmas does not bring about similar feelings for everyone. There are many believers who spend Christmas Day alone. When it comes to friends and family they have either withdrawn or have been casted aside.
There are no gifts under the tree (in fact there may not even be a tree). There is no aroma of a turkey baking in the oven. There is no kissing taking place under the mistletoe. There are no smiling faces looking back at them. Continue reading
Sally was a victim of child abuse growing up. Sitting in the counseling office she explained how she hated the verbal and physical abuse her mother inflicted upon her as a young child and into her early teen years. “I hate her for how she treated me,” Sally said with tears swelling in her eyes. “I could do nothing right when it came to her. I was never smart enough; never pretty enough; never clean enough. It was always something. Always something!
“But the worst part is I can’t forget it,” she continued. “Here I am 20 years later and I still have nightmares about her standing over me hitting me with a wooden spoon or whipping me with an extension cord. I am nervous all the time like I am expecting it to happen again at any moment.”
Sally is a victim of “bad memory flow”. That is when past traumatic events repeat over and over into our minds like an endless loop. These are events that we can’t put behind us because our brains have a difficult time rationalizing them. There is no closure or relief from the emotional pain that has been imprinted in our psyche. In turn, leads to endless anxiety, stress and acting out in destructive behaviors. What these troubling thoughts serve to do is to keep us as victims. Continue reading
As believers we are taught the Holy Spirit is our counselor. The Spirit resides in us as an amazing gift from God to enable us not only to feel His presence in our lives, but to assist us in our journey of spiritual transformation.
Photo Credit: Taylor James
But if God is in us, why do we continue to struggle with a sinful nature? Why do we continue to suffer from shame? Let’s examine several reasons. Continue reading
Every day in my counseling practice I deal with individuals who are suffering from shame and low self-worth. In many cases it is due to the irrational beliefs and lies they were told as children, which became part of their worldview on how they see themselves. “You are stupid.” “You are worthless.” “You are clumsy.” “You are lazy.” “You’re just like your father – a loser.” The list is endless.
Helping individuals suffering from shame and low self-worth not only involves identifying these mistruths but more importantly assisting them in removing their shame and re-building their identity. One way to get people to improve acceptance of themselves is accomplish through the development of what I call “pillars”. Continue reading
Over the years, Bill’s mind had been planted with negative seeds. Raised by an angry and hostile mother who never recovered over his father leaving, she took her frustration out on the little boy by breaking his spirit with relentless criticism and contempt. The negative seeds she planted took root as he came to believe her insidious lies. Bill was taught he was worthless and would amount to nothing. His was to be a wasted life.
We may feel as though we are suffering alone. But God is shedding tears with us. There is a purpose to our suffering.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:2-5
The pain we suffer often leads to shame or increases our existing shame. Understand you are not suffering alone. God is with you. Turn to God and seek His guidance and love. Turn to God to have your shame washed away. Turn to God and understand the true meaning of love.