20+ years ago that’s how I started many sentences, at least until one day my wife put her foot down and said, “I can’t take your negativity anymore!”
The vast majority of our ministry is focused on trying to help trauma sufferers recover their lives and their personal identity. And while this post is way too short to cover all the contributing issues, invariably there is one that is common to all of them. It is apparently one of the favorite strategies the enemy uses to exploit a common human design trait, which is either our greatest strength or Achilles heel; the internal image we have of ourselves.
We know that our parents are the general architects of our personal identity and their failure, inability, or refusal to give of themselves to the degree that was needed, produced the trauma and lack of personal identity that we seek to resolve. For those whose parents were abusive, drug or alcohol addicted, or worse, subjected their children to ritual abuse, the results were multiplied. However it occurred, one of the fundamental elements that determine personal peace and success in life is each individual’s concept of themselves; am I acceptable, loveable, or worthy of love and success? Hence, what we think of ourselves is one of the chief element that determine happiness in life.
We are vaguely familiar with some arcane 50’s experiments where babies died because they were neither touched nor held, simply fed and changed, and several 80’s observations wherein plants that were touched and talked to prospered, while those devoid of human attention and were cursed daily, housed in identical environmental conditions, shriveled up and died as well. We humans differ very little. When we receive attention, we flourish. When we do not, we deteriorate.
The reason is the message we internalize is based on whether the attention we receive and the interaction we experience with those to whom we give authority in our lives is positive or negative. If it is positive and encouraging we register it as positive personal value. If the consistent message of all encounters is negative we register ourselves as having no personal value; hence, I m not acceptable, loveable, or worthy of love and success.
One of the major factors that determines whether a trauma sufferer will recover their life and personal identity is directly related to how well they can re-program themselves, ie., change the way their experiences have taught them to think of themselves to one that is positive and affirming. There are two Bible verses that bear this out; “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:35 ESV) and “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)
In the first verse it states that what you have swallowed will eventually come out of your mouth, and the second stated that we can tend our heart. In other words, the weeds that have been sown there by circumstances can be uprooted and thrown out, such that I can move from a place where I believe that I am not loveable and have no value, or ability, to a place where the opposite is true.
How can you make that happen? First of all the Bible says, “You can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens you.” (Philippians 4:13) So it all starts with asking Jesus about the lies you believe about yourself. Take to him all the negative things that you have thought of yourself or have accused yourself of; such as, “I’m dumb. I’m not good enough. I’ll always be poor. No one will ever love me. etc.” Let Him alter what you tell him to portray the exact lie you believe. Then renounce it and ask forgiveness for ever agreeing with it and speaking it. Then ask Him to tell you the truth. Then write it down.
Once you have the truth written down you will need to make multiple copies of it because you will be reading it aloud multiple times and in multi[le locations, for the next 30 days or more. Tape a copy to your bathroom mirror, one to the fridge, put another in your car, another in your work space, email yourself a copy, and put one in your purse, wallet or pocket. At some point during your day, at each of these stations, speak the truth out loud; “I am …” and declare it with conviction, for this is your new reality.
About ten (10) days into this routine, ask the Lord to begin to surface any unhealed wounds that are directly connected to these lies. Forgive whoever needs to be forgiven and released, and ask the Lord to heal that wound. If you need a third party to accomplish this with, by all means schedule an appointment to get it done. Don’t stop your confessions or declarations in the process.
As with all major positive Kingdom changes in your life the enemy will realize that he must counter-attack or it’s ‘game over.’ So at some point in this process, someone is going to get their nose out of joint over something trivial and make some accusations against you. Don’t retaliate or get defensive, realize that this is the enemy doing the best he can to throw you off track so you’ll give up. Just persevere through it, for there will be grace to handle it if you chose not to believe the lie again.
Before long you will find that your entire attitude about yourself and your past will give you a new perspective on all kinds of things; a new reality. You will also experience the truth of “… out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:35 ESV)
Will all this “positive thinking” solve all your problems? No, to be sure, there are a number of other important issues that need to be resolved, but you will be much happier as you stop describing yourself as a victim, and come to sincerely believe and begin to see yourself as an over-comer whose restoration work is being completed by the One who started it.
Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year and a New Life!
Jim & Pat Banks