It’s easy to ignore our issues. Like the disabled man in John 5 who waited for years by a pool to be healed, so we are looking for a magical cure to make us whole. But healing doesn’t come instantaneously. In fact, it takes hard work to stop reacting and turn to Christ who encourages us to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” (John 5:8).
Let’s face it: Our issues are huge! However, we try to make ourselves feel better by saying that they’re small. Admit the truth, and you will be on the road to recovery. The Living Bible puts it this way: “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there,” (Jeremiah 6:14).
Our greatest enemy is fear. We’ve been abused for years; therefore, we’ve been taught to comply. If a fear of man controls you, consider Proverbs 29:25 which says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare.” God doesn’t want your pain to drive you away from Him; He wants it to drive you closer to Him.
It’s hard for us to seek out healthy ways to meet our needs. In fact, you often turn to unhealthy ways to get your needs met. Why does a man turn to pornography day-after-day? Because it’s familiar to him. Remember the warning in Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to his vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” To stop living a reactive life, you’ll need to stop adhering to unhealthy ways to meet your needs.
It’s difficult to face reality, right? So, we deceive ourselves with lies such as “I’m worthless…God doesn’t love me…I deserve this!” You need to stop believing these lies and replace them with the truth that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalms 139:14).
Our way of relating to others is to placate. After all, we are people-pleasers. If you’re a recovering alcoholic and go to a party where everyone is drinking, you drink, too. As believers “We are not trying to please people but God,” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). The bottom line is this: your purpose should be to please God, not people.
Shame causes us to react. As Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame, we try to cover ours. Tell God about your pain; He will still love you. Romans 8:39 says, “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We react by doing the wrong things for the right reasons. So, we let our unemployed, adult child live in our home for years. If you have a hard time setting boundaries, learn to say “no“. Even Jesus set boundaries with Peter when He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me,” (Matthew 16:23).
Others have treated us like doormats. But we have reacted by becoming control freaks. Be real and admit that you argue and fight to get your way. The apostle Paul warned believers to “Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way,” (Romans 16:17). If you want to find peace, you’ll need to make peace with God and others.
We have been traumatized. As a result, we react by hurting others. We are quick to criticize, complain, and show contempt. If you are always on the attack, you need to rethink how you relate to others. Follow the advice given in James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Our greatest fear is that we will be abandoned. Again. So, we withdraw and never get close to anyone. If you are isolating yourself, stop reacting and break free from the pain of your past. Remember, God will never abandon you. Joshua 1:9 give us this promise: “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”