The other day I discovered that I exhibited a particular pattern of behavior when discussing finances. I would feel a hurt inside me and get teary-eyed. This behavior was unusual as there was no cause for the tears. I knew something on the subconscious level was happening. Eventually, I had to stop and ask myself “what is causing this?” Then suddenly a memory came.

When I was a young girl I learned that I may not have been wanted because I would be “another mouth to feed” and money was scarce. Thank the heavens that the thought of my non-existence was greatly opposed by one of my birth parents. And so, here I am.

The consequence of this knowledge has had a deep rooted negative impact all my life, though I wasn’t fully aware of it. I knew I experienced anxiety around the topic only if it involved another person. The lack of funds or the inability to give or contribute financially to others was equal to being unworthy or being a failure. And there is the root of it – “unworthy” in the eyes of those who matter.

The bad news is that I am now 50 years old and the deeply hidden, false feeling of unworthiness has had many years to entwine itself around my heart like a briar patch in a neglected lot. The good news is that I am now 50 years old and much wiser about handling misguided, deeply rooted negative thoughts. Now, the goal is to uproot this thorny invasion and cultivate a healthy, true mindset about my worth as it relates to money – which has no relation at all!

Why is this important for all of us to know? We may have bad memories in the deep, dark recesses of our mind that we are not aware of except for its manifestation in a particular behavioral pattern. When these behavior patterns emerge, we must ask, “what is causing this?” When we can get to the roots of these thorny memories, we can start weeding out the bad lies and cultivate the beautiful, colorful truth in its place.

Wrapped in Bitterness

Wrapped in Bitterness

DEVOTION BY Beth Wharton POSTED 5/2/2019 12:00:01 AM ON Colossians 3: 12 NIV POSTED TO THE Spirit & Soul DevotionTherefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3: 12 NIV

Photo courtesy of pixabay.

“You’re not my sister!” she screamed at me.

She wears bitterness like a warm, fuzzy blanket. Her smile is not a smile but more like a grimace. Her laugh is not a laugh but a sneer.

I had defied my sister’s wishes in a country where the eldest sibling receives respect … regardless. Years of anger and bitterness came to a finale, and she disowned me. We haven’t spoken in years.

Family can be difficult, especially when others don’t see eye to eye or have different personalities. My older sister and I have different personalities—like oil and water, yet I’ve never stopped desiring a sisterly bond. But how do I get close to a fiery furnace and not get scorched by hot-tempered words?

Talking to someone tightly snuggled in anger and bitterness is difficult. Wisdom deflects from them like armor deflecting arrows. Arguments fly from their mouth like flocks of migrating birds darkening the sky.

Only God can reach a bitter person. Only God’s Word can advise us on how to step into the fire and not be overcome by flames. Sometimes stepping in means stepping out of the way and allowing God to take over. The only one who can pierce a blanket of bitterness is Jesus, the Power of God.

God wants us to be kind, compassionate, and gentle. Remember … bitter people are hurting people. When bitter people are too volatile to be around, sometimes all we can do is pray and wait patiently for God to slowly unwrap that bitter blanket and cover them with His love.

Trust God to protect you as you minister to bitter people.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Clutter and the Serpent

My friend and I were talking about clutter recently.  I cleaned out some junk drawers this weekend and couldn’t believe how much each junk drawer can hold … and the randomness too!  What do all these cords go to?  Why do we still have old cell phones … is that from 2001? Maybe the reason I can’t find a pen when I need it is because they’re all in the junk drawers.  How did I get all these pens? Am I the reason doctors’ offices put those obnoxious flowers on pens now?

Junk drawers are fascinating, mysterious, and frightening.  They’re the catch-all for all things that don’t seem to belong anywhere, things we might need, things we just don’t know what to do with today but might have a purpose someday, and things we simply want to avoid.

Our lives can be such a junk drawer.  It’s hard to get rid of stuff.  Stuff that’s happened to us, stuff that someone did to us, stuff that we did to somebody else, stuff that we never did and should have… stuff, stuff, stuff.  But it isn’t all bad.  Some stuff we need.  That’s why we have to discern between what to keep and what to throw out and move on.

Keeping that old pen that doesn’t work anymore is like keeping a grudge against someone that doesn’t even remember you.  Or maybe someone did something that hurt you so badly that it changed your whole life.  Well, it’s hard to throw that out because you live with it every day.  But you can still choose how you live with it.  Let me share this little story with you.

Once upon a time (corny yes, but stay with me here)…once upon a time, there was a young girl who lived in a big city.  She was invincible.  Life had dealt its many storms and she made it through each time to tell the tale.  Standing tall, smiling, and covering her many battle scars, she went on her usual pursuit of the elusive ‘Peace.’  As the rigorous journey continued, she encountered a dark serpent.

This dark serpent came on a bright, clear morning… unexpectedly… quietly.  He slithered into the girl’s most sacred place…her bedroom. As she lay sleeping, the evil in the air awakened her.  In her panic, the serpent pounced on her and ravaged her.  She was destroyed.  Afterwards, he slithered away leaving a dying spirit. 

As the days, months and years went by, the girl grew strong again in all the expected ways.  Her anger and bitterness grew so strong that only the Power of God could contain it!  And in God’s mercy, HE did.  After years of rehearsing how she would slay the serpent in the most vilest of ways, an unexpected thing happened.  She realized that she had carried the serpent with her for many years long after he had gone.  She had cluttered and consumed her thought-life with one cruel incident and kept it like a prize possession. 

“But this was no ordinary incident,” she told herself.  “It was a violation for which no one should endure.”

And in the midst of the rising rage in recalling that moment, a calmness came like a whisper.

“He took your body for a moment, but he can never take your spirit… ever.  He lives in a dark place for which you will never want to know nor will you ever know.  He is the victim of himself but you will never be. Forgive him and you will be free of him.”

Cleaning out your life’s junk drawer will not always be easy.  In fact it will probably be hard most of the time.  You will want to hold on to useless things just because it keeps you connected, but if those things have no positive, growing value to you then it’s time to cast it out for good.  It’s not your problem what happens to it after you throw it in the trash, but it could be your problem if you don’t.

No matter what has happened, you have the power to choose what to keep and what to discard.