Unashamed: Christine Caine

Shame… prompts us to toss away the good gifts we are given…

Hiding my feelings had already become a way of life for me [as a child]. Shame does that. It teaches us to hide ourselves… Shame… pushes you down and prevents you from becoming all you could be…

When you are abused, at first you are ashamed of what is happening to you. Over time, though, you begin to think it is because of you that it is happening…

…I thought, there must be something very wrong with me. I must be at fault. I must be a bad person. I am not worth protecting. God must not love me. I guess I’m not worth His attention. Shame does that: it whispers lies to your soul…

I had no concept of the difference between the shame of what was being done to me and the shame of my own actions… I worked hard to be sure that all those frightening feelings were locked away and invisible… 

I was a child damaged by shame, shackled to it, and I dragged it with me from childhood into adolescence and then into adulthood. Most likely, you have done the same…

~ from Unashamed by Christine Caine

This is a rather large set of quotes to put in a single blog post, but I do hope Christine Caine will forgive me(!). I bought this audiobook last week. I sensed that I needed to read it. In just one chapter I have recognised so much of the broken parts of myself that I am in awe. Christine does not share the exact same past as me. Our stories are different, yet everything that I’ve quoted above was so descriptive of my situation that I felt I could have written it. Much of it consists of things I never knew how to put into words. Even now, with all the hard work I’ve done as part of my recovery, I also realise that some of these things – well, I thought it was just me who thought like that. Shame does that: makes you think you’re the only one because you’re somehow responsible, even when you know that, logically, you’re not. Which shows I still have a way to go, because I thought I had changed these negative beliefs.

This is what I think God is trying to tell me (and who knows – maybe He’s needing you to know it, too): humility is good. Humility looks like Jesus. Humility is not the same as feeling worthless or useless. That’s not humility; that’s shame. Shame has no place on the shoulders of one who belongs to the King of Kings.

God be praised for His perfect timing.  I can’t wait to hear more!

Grace: Enough

While the prosperity gospel is limited to a certain segment of Christianity, some of the ideas weaved their way into mainstream evangelicalism. This book is not a critique of the prosperity gospel but of the ‘positivity gospel’ that developed in relation to it… Christianity can be presented in a ‘therapeutic’ sense with God being like a personal cheerleader whose primary concern is our success in life.

~ from Positively Powerless by L.L. Martin

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Jesus is our personal saviour, but that doesn’t make me more special, or more loved, or more favoured than anyone else. Jesus didn’t devote years of His life to teaching about God and the godly life just for my sake. In fact, pretty much everything He did was other-centred. While this is not a cause for co-dependent behaviour it is reason to think, if I consider myself a follower of Christ, that becoming more like Him means losing the worldly, self-centred aspects of myself. As Mama Maggie said, give and give and give until it hurts. I don’t think I’m there yet, but at least I know where I’m going and what to aim for, by grace.

Also, we have what Jesus called our helper, which is the gift of God’s presence within us: His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is able to bring about far more than we can ever even hope to accomplish on our own. When I stop asking God to help me get what I want, when I stop asking for Him to do what I think best, in those frail in-between places He performs miracles.

…I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations… At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

… And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Extract from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Message)

Just Ask

Ask and it will be given to you…

Matthew 7:7

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Don’t stop. Don’t give up. God never withholds. This is the God of abundant grace. If I’m asking for what He’s in the business of giving, I’ll get it. And then some.

So today I’m asking for the strength and patience to get a certain young man to school and for the endurance to do what needs to be done, because I am fatigued.

 

 

He Calls Me Blessed

ac9af76b11e249efb960735acd22f7f7I woke after strange dreams – echoes of ghosts from the past – and trembled. I reached for my Kindle, where my audiobooks are stored (reading tires me, listening not so much). Yesterday I bought David Suchet reading the NIV and while I’m not a fan of the NIV, David Suchet has a voice that is surely a gift from God. I know I’ll be able to listen to him read even the boring bits and not switch off. So I found the gospel of Matthew and clicked play.

I listened to these words and again realised He calls me blessed and I wouldn’t swap that for anything. My treasure is slap bang in the middle of the muddy field. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3 (NRSVA)

I’m still trembling, and part of me hates mornings like this, but I will go through today praying at every step and I will try to get done what needs to be done, because He calls me blessed.

Reblog: Self – Justification/Humility

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Humility: the most overlooked virtue? Humility should be our starting point.

Excellent post from A Pastor’s Thoughts:

A Pastor's Thoughts

Abba John said, ‘We have put the light burden on one side, that is to say, self-accusation, and we have loaded ourselves with a heavy one, that is to say, self-justification.’

He also said, ‘Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues.’

Abba John gave this advice, ‘Watching means to sit in the cell and be always mindful of God. This is what is meant by, “I was on the watch and God came to me.” (Matt. 25:36)One of the Fathers said of him, ‘Who is this John, who by his humility has all Scetis hanging from his little finger?’

—-ABBA JOHN THE DWARF


The two competing margins of any man are self-justification and humility. We all have a great drive to be the controllers of our own destiny. To achieve that destiny we must find ways to justify our actions. There are many people that are…

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Reblog: Twitter sheds light on non-physical forms of abuse

Abuse has many faces. For many years I stayed with the highly abusive man who was my first husband because of teachings like this (see video below). My children learned that it was ok to be nasty to mummy. They were being brought up in a miserable, soul-destroying home. It is not the abuse towards me that breaks my heart to recall, it is the fact that they were there too. I have no words to describe the abject horror of the seemingly innocuous words from John Piper on this issue. This teaching is not just wrong, it is wicked.

The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors

The Twitter handle #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou, started by the BBC, has given victims of emotional, spiritual, financial and other forms of abuse a platform to share a glimpse into their experiences.

Often, the pain and trauma of non-physical abuse is dismissed or ignored.  Because the bruising to a victim’s psyche and soul are not visible, they do not receive the help and healing needed or the support to leave.  Slowly, they are beaten down to a place of low self-esteem and self-doubt and they begin to believe the lies of their abuser.  They experience symptoms of PTSD or anxiety or other conditions from their distress and this gives their abuser the added ammunition to claim they are the crazy one, they are the cause of the abuse.

Sadly, these types of abuse are very common in…

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Limiting Beliefs

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Self-preservation is an understandable human instinct. My sister once jumped out of an aeroplane. I don’t think she will ever repeat the experience, but it gave her something far longer lasting.

Sometimes I test your faith, daughter, because it develops perseverance in you, which you need to be mature and complete, not lacking in anything… I know how much you hurt for these children. I hurt for them more. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world… 

~ from  Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

It takes courage to trust God with everything. It’s so simple, yet so unbelievably difficult. But take heart: God is good, and God never changes.

I have been listening to a self-hypnosis mp3 aimed at discovering and overcoming self-limiting beliefs. A self-limiting belief is one where you, consciously or unconsciously, tell yourself you cannot do something that you can, in fact, do. The narrator puts it like this: it is truthful to say ‘I can’t speak Japanese’, but if I say I can’t learn Japanese, that would be a self-limiting belief.

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you may face persecution, but take courage; I have conquered the world!”

John 16:33 (NRSVA)

As I wrote last week, I use hypnosis as a tool, and I use it prayerfully. One thing that has struck me after listening to yesterday’s session, and after hearing Katie’s words above, is that often I have what could be called God-limiting beliefs. My faith, and my opinion of myself, is such that I can accept – or perhaps gloss over – self-limiting beliefs, but God-limiting beliefs? That’s not good.

What self-limiting or God-limiting beliefs have you had?