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He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds
-Psalms 147:3

God has the power to heal every place that is hurting and every part of you that is broken. Take a moment to think about how great and amazing our God is and that he would take the time to take care of us all. I know many of you are experiencing hard times, specifically in terms of relationships. I pray that this post can be of assistance to you. In case you weren’t aware the next couple of posts are specifically geared towards women who have been in abusive relationships. However, I do believe that a lot of these tips can be applied even if you have never experienced one.

Before I get into the topic of respect and boundaries, let’s look at a couple definitions of the word abuse.

Abuse:
1.  use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse.
2. treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.
3. speak in an insulting and offensive way to or about (someone)

All of these definitions are correct but it still feels like something is missing. I would also include that abuse is a pattern of behaviors used to gain and maintain control over a situation or person.

As a survivor, it can be difficult to regain control over your life. Your basic human rights were once stripped from you, making life feel like a never ending battle to reclaim what you lost at the hands of your abuser. Thankfully, we don’t have to keep chasing that feeling of power. God can fill us with a greater power, the Holy Spirit, and until you come to this realization you will continue to fall short. Recovery involves many steps but for the sake of this post, I will only discuss two and a few others in my next posts.

Two of the major issues that survivors struggle with are respect and boundaries. As Christian women, how can we set proper boundaries and establish how we want to be treated by others in a healthy way? Respect and boundaries are heart issues. Have you sat at the feet of the Father and given your heart to Him? Have you surrendered your hurt, malice, baggage and desire to be in control? Have you allowed Him to pluck out things from the world that have taken root within you? Have you allowed God to remove your hardened heart and replace it with a heart of flesh sensitive to Him and His teachings? If you have, that’s great and I am excited that you have started the journey to growing in Christ. If you haven’t, what is preventing you from doing so?

If we have submitted ourselves unto the Lord, we have to remember what is commanded of us in Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Are you guarding your heart? Do you know what your triggers are? Can you spot traits of an abuser or someone who lacks self control? Now is the time to get your house in order.Take this time to learn about yourself, what you can and cannot tolerate. Ask God to reveal those areas to you.

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit–PROTECT IT! It is so easy to believe that everyone is your friend once you get out of an abusive relationship. Learn to discern between who is for you and who is not. Who is looking to get the tea on you and who is looking to take advantage of you. Wolves in sheep’s clothing love to prey on vulnerable people. Discern between what is a friendship sent from God versus a distraction from the enemy. Receive your instruction from the Lord and not your fleshly feelings. This is one of the many ways that survivors can get trapped in cycles of abuse. Who are you listening to? Hearing from God and being able to discern His voice is an important part of your walk with God. Being in tune with His counsel can also help us learn how to properly govern ourselves. Go deeper with your prayers, continue to press into God’s presence and listen for His sweet still whisper.

You might be thinking at this point that I am being a little harsh or that I just don’t understand how hard it is to trust people. Trust me girl I get it. Don’t put a wall up and harden your heart towards everyone around you. When I came out of my situation, as a defense mechanism I became cold hearted and built a wall between the world and I. I believed that everyone was out to get me and that by never opening up to anyone, this was how I could effectively set my boundaries.

Closing yourself off is a product of fear. It’s a tactic that the enemy uses to keep you in bondage and keep you from seeking God. The voice in your head telling you that no one will ever love you after this or that you can’t trust anyone but yourself is a lie from the devil himself. 1 John 4:18 says, there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Any voice that prompts fearful emotions is not of God. We don’t have to act out of fear of punishment anymore, God has already freed us from our bondage and He has already paid the price on the cross for us. We don’t have to cower in front of the one who saved our souls, we can stand bold before Him and open ourselves up to receive the love that He freely gives. The question is, are you willing to accept Christ and His love? Are you willing to turn away from the comfort of fear and walk into the new life that God has for you?

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