Remove falsehood and lies far from me.
Do the following lines sound familiar?
“I’m not perfect, so I’m no good.”
“I’ve been rejected; something must be wrong with me.”
“I’m not happy because things are always going wrong in my life.”
“I am a failure because my parents didn’t do a good job of raising me.”
As a counselor, one of the first things I do is try to counteract lies like these which clients have told themselves about themselves. To function healthily, we must learn to see the true picture of ourselves and not a distorted one. We often ask patients to wear a rubber band around their wrists and tell them to snap the rubber band every time a lie about themselves goes through their heads. But sometimes it takes a lot of counseling just to get them to the point where they can identify the lies. Clients who have had a childhood of continual put-downs will carry those false messages in their heads for a lifetime if they’re not interrupted and the lies replaced with the truth.
One of the main goals we, as women on the journey, should have is to change our view of ourselves. May we learn to surround ourselves with people who support us in our quest for truth.
Prayer: Lord, help me to see myself as you see me, “positionally perfect” through the blood of Christ in spite of my imperfections, and help me see my self-deceptive lies.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The failure rate for human beings is 100 percent. We all sin. We all make mistakes. We all fall flat on our faces. And we all have the potential for every imaginable evil.
This truth was illustrated graphically to me when my son was five years old. It was the day before Halloween, and he and his friend were sitting on the porch swing, their masks pulled up on top of their heads. They called to me, asking for some cookies, and I said no. They helped themselves anyway. I could hear the metal lid being put back on the cookie jar. So I followed them back out on the porch. As if on signal, the two little boys pulled their masks down over their eyes. Then, when they realized that I knew, they vehemently blamed each other. Young as they were, they were no strangers to guilt and deception-sin.
I, too, tend to hide behind masks and blame my guilt on others. I need to look long and hard at Calvary to see that I have the same potential for evil and deceit as the people who caused Christ to be crucified and the people who have abused me.
Thought: Remind me, Lord, that heaven is for those who know they sin and hell is for those who think they are pretty good.
I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, “Seek me in vain”; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
The secrets that separate us from friends and family make our relationships essentially dishonest. Bulimia is often totally hidden. No one may suspect the gorging and purging; frequently parents or even husbands don’t have a clue. But God knows every problem even when we deny that anything is wrong.
When we are on the recovery journey, the real test is trying to be honest with ourselves . This means admitting mistakes to ourselves, forgiving ourselves and asking for help. It means giving up on expecting others to read our minds and know what we need. No one should have to drag things out of us anymore; it is our responsibility to tell others what is bothering us or what we think, feel, or want.
Like any addiction, bulimia creates a false identity. Revealing the true us is scary but, if taken very slowly, results in the blessing of true intimacy. This is exciting since we don’t have any big secret to hide anymore and we really want to be close to people. Just being able to be ourselves, with nothing to hide, is a new freedom.
Prayer: Father, help me to develop intimacy by being honest about what I really think and feel with those you show me I can trust.
Casting all your cares upon him, for he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7
Jesus Christ is such a healthy example of a care giver. When He deals with us, he comes alongside us. In fact, he became a human being and related to us as human beings. We didn’t have to become more spiritual to reach him. He became human to touch us.
When he was on earth, Jesus accepted his human limitations. He chose twelve disciples to assist him in his work. He took time to rest, to eat, to relate with friends, and to renew himself. He often would pull away to pray even when people were pressuring him to give more. When he did give to others, it was out of fullness rather than emptiness-out of love, not duty.
Jesus respects our boundaries. He never forces himself on us, and he never pressures us to see things his way. He supports us and loves us even while he allows us to face the consequences of our choices. Because Jesus is this kind of care giver, we feel enriched after being with him, and our self respect is increased.
Not only is Jesus an incredible model for each of us as we give care to others, he is a trustworthy Lord on whom we can cast our burdens.
MY PRAYER: Jesus, today as I reach out to others in my life, help me to model my care giving after yours.
If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 17:20 A tightrope walker had decided that for his next publicity stunt he would walk across Niagara Falls. The event was advertised nationwide, and people gathered from miles around to watch. The tightrope walker waved at the people and stepped on the wire. Not a sound was heard from the crowd as he inched his way across that great divide and back again. Then, when his feet were once again on terra firma, the crowds started cheering.
The tightrope walker made his way to the microphone and asked, “How many of you believe I can walk across Niagara Falls?hands were raised. Then the tightrope walker made eye contact with one gentleman. “You sir, do you believe I can walk across Niagara Falls?” “Yes, yes” was the reply. The tightrope walker said, “Then you get into this wheelbarrow, sir, and I’ll wheel you across.” Never has a man disappeared into a crowd so fast.
It isn’t enough to say we believe. We have to be willing to risk getting into the wheelbarrow-to act on our belief. This applies to our relationships and even with our own journey. It is not enough to know that there is the possibility of help out there; we have to be able to commit ourselves to the process of the journey before we can be healed.
Prayer: Lord, I want to risk. Make me willing to be willing.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
As a therapist I would have lost heart in the face of man’s cruelty to man…
I would have lost hope in the face of marriages that seemed to be crumbling…
I would have lost joy in the face of depression and despair…
I would have lost courage in the face of fury and rage…
I would have lost perspective in the face of anxiety attacks and panic…
I would have lost honesty in the face of denial and secrecy…
I would have lost patience in the in the face of defense and deception…
I would have lost self-control in the face of drug and alcohol abuse…
I would have lost peace in the face of personal disintegration…
But I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
I didn’t lose anything.
Prayer: Help me see your goodness today, Lord.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
Someone asked, at my twenty-fifth college reunion, how many of us were now doing what we had originally trained to do. In our group, the answer was “No one.”
I started out to be a kindergarten teacher. Then, after teaching awhile, I entered graduate school. That led to teaching education and psychology on the college level, which I enjoyed immensely. Then my husband went back to school for his doctorate, and his studies took us to Southern California, where I resumed my teaching. Enter the United States Immigration Service, which told me I couldn’t teach because I was a Canadian taking a job away from a U.S. citizen.
At that point, I went through a dark period which required me to face the reality that I didn’t feel validated without my career. Then I started teaching women’s Bible studies, leading retreats, and writing. These pursuits made me aware of the need for further education and for counseling skills. That resulted in my entering the fields of counseling.
Never would I have envisioned the interesting path my life would take. If you had told me in college what was to take place, I wouldn’t have believed you. I don’t have any idea what the future will hold, but I do know who holds the future-it is God who directs my path.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that trough the ups and downs of life, you are directing my path. I want to keep my eyes on you.
For my mouth will speak truth.
Mind reading is a magic trick that few of us have mastered. Yet that is exactly what Racquel and Peter expected each other to do. “If you loved me you would be able to read my mind. You should be able to anticipate my needs without me having to express them.” These two assumptions were a real hindrance to growth in their marriage.
“Love is magic. If it isn’t magic, it isn’t love.” Every couple must eventually realize that a good marriage is not to be had by magical thinking, but by honestly discussing needs, expectations, and priorities. Some items will be a source of negotiation. Racquel and Peter had some disagreements about how to handle some items on their lists of expectations, but eventually they developed verbal contracts with each other that they both chose to live with. More important, they learned good communication skills that enabled them to be lovingly assertive and to speak the truth in love. It sure beats “magical” mind reading!
Thought: Today, I will be honest about my needs and expectations and not expect my mate to read my mind.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
What other people say about you usually reflects much more about them than it does about you. Your reaction to them, however, usually says much more about you than it does about them. Think about the last confrontation you had. Instead of taking it personally, step back and analyze what really happened.
Say, for example, that it is late on a Monday afternoon. You’re traveling the speed limit in the right-hand lane on the freeway, and a car behind you starts honking. You continue to drive within the limit, and he continues to honk and ride your bumper. The driver of the car behind you is telling you by riding your bumper that you are going too slow. But what is he saying about himself? He’s saying he wants to disobey the law and he feels you are keeping him from it. By not being swayed by the honking and the tailgating, you are saying, “I’m not going to do what’s right for me no matter how much pressure I get from you.”
The man on the freeway was riding your bumper was probably not mad at you. He was probably mad at the authority figures he grew up with or the people he thinks limit him in his life now. But he is taking it out on you. Don’t take it personally. You’re a great driver of your car and your life.
Thought: I will not be offended today by other people’s problems. I have enough trouble of my own to deal with.