Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Unlock Your Heart!

There are a myriad of ways people attempt to shield themselves from pain, disappointment and emotional wounding. Some people use humor or sarcasm to deflect their true feelings. Others may develop an addiction of some sort, feeding that painful place in their emotions with shopping, gambling, sex, alcohol or drugs. Some people throw themselves into their work, leaving little or no time to cultivate deep, meaningful relationships into their life. Others turn to alternative lifestyles, run hard into rebellion or find other ways to act out the pain that they harbor deep inside. All of these behaviors, however, are indicators of a life of avoidance; one that will leave a person feeling burned out, empty, unfulfilled and longing for real intimacy. People long to be known and they long to be accepted, and they will search for it in any place they think they will find it. Often though, the real deception is how far away from God they are willing to travel for just a hope or a glimpse of what they feel is their promise land.

There have been many times in my own life where I felt the sting of rejection, the pain of failure, and the deep emotional wounding of betrayal and abuse in personal relationships. Like many people, I was born into dysfunctional family with a lot of problems. A mentally ill father, alcoholic grandparents as caretakers and a mother who worked hard to support the family but was absent emotionally left children that grew up dealing with a host of emotional problems. Each one of us carried the fear, rejection, feelings of abandonment, inferiority, insecurity and anger into our relationships. Normal conversations were interpreted with a filter of suspicion, distrust and fear of repeated rejection. Those that are impacted by a lack of control over negative situations tend to overcompensate by feeling a need to control (not just their own life but they also try to exercise that control over others) until what remains are dynamically challenged relationships charged with resentment, fear, anger and lacking in the ability to foster healthy, loving communication with others. I repressed feelings until I was reduced to emotional breakdowns, and manifested anxiety over every little issue because I never learned healthy coping mechanisms growing up. No one in my family was emotionally healthy so there was no role model as an example. The brokenness that I felt as a child was reproduced over and over again until I brought it into my adult relationships. I married young to a man that was equally broken and emotionally incapable of giving and receiving love in a healthy manner. Driven by fear, abuse naturally followed - and repeated in every new relationship; because, you see, broken people will only ever attract other broken people into their lives. There is a demonic presence that acts like magnets, attracting more of the same elements and wrong spirits into the lives of those that suffer from unhealed emotional wounds. These became the patterns of my life and relationships. Over and over again the cycles seemed to repeat themselves until what was left was a very broken, devastated individual with a lot of trust and abandonment issues, fear, and a whole lot more.

It is easy to convince oneself that the problems are in others, when the reality is often tied to facing the ghosts of our past. We all have areas where we need to be healed. The question is, “Will you allow God to get close enough to set you free?”

There were many times in my life where I told myself I would never allow another person to hurt me like I had been hurt before. Sometimes I said it out loud; other times it became a silent vow of my heart, but the words were still binding. It is like a legal contract that holds our soul in captivity. Our heart becomes chained. As we lock others out, we ultimately put up walls between ourselves and God, too, because often He chooses to work in and through others He brings into our lives. He can send someone with a message of hope, but if we refuse to unlock our hearts and resist the message, we will stay just as much in captivity as we have always been. We may think they are innocent words - protective even, yet these are unrighteous vows that need to be broken if we are to be healed. If you are reading this article and find that these words bear witness to your own need for healing, I encourage you to make the choice to unlock the door to your heart and allow God to touch the shattered places in your soul. There is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved. Jesus can heal you like no one else can! Vows made in a moment of passion and stemming from bitterness of heart are intended for self preservation; yet what they produce is a heart that is unable to fully heal. We lock the door to our heart from the inside, and as much as we may try to change or pray for the ability to change who and what we become as the result of our pain, the reality is, we are the only ones that can make the choice to unlock the door. It’s a choice we have to make, to either retain the insecurities of our past, or move forward into a new day. Until we do, we retain a heart that is locked behind stone walls, gradually hardening towards insensitivity and one that is unable to give and receive genuine love and affection. These are the vows that must be renounced.

I tell you this because I have been there too. I know how painful it is to have your heart hang in the balance, weighing the odds between allowing yourself to be become vulnerable to God and others once again. It is worth it to put your trust in God. He can take a broken heart, a wounded heart, and one that has lost hope, and fill it up again. He can make you whole. The alternative is a heart that slowly becomes hardened, deceived and independent of God. Ultimately, the heart that refuses to trust; the heart that lives by self rule, is destroyed by the instability of becoming our own god. Pride becomes the chameleon we must learn to recognize and take authority over, with a determined focus to allow God to handle all that we cannot. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can learn to trust God with our heart and let Him handle those that are beyond our control. Yes, you take a chance, but it is the only way to become truly alive. You learn to trust and take baby steps towards those that you genuinely desire to be a part of your life. If you are persistent and determined not to let your fears hold you captive, intimacy in your relationships will develop and begin to feel “normal” and not strained. Isn’t it time you began to live? Isn’t it time to renounce those ungodly vows that you once made in a moment of emotional crisis and fueled by bitterness? Today can be your day to turn it all around and unlock your heart. Today is a day to push beyond the barriers and break through into a brand new day!

Father God,

I confess that I am guilty of making ungodly vows. In moments of emotional turmoil, I either made a vow to myself or I spoke it out loud that no one would get close enough to hurt me and make me feel that kind of pain again. Today I ask you to release me from that vow. Please release my heart as I release my heart to You. I am making a choice today to trust You with my heart, even if I don’t have complete confidence that I can trust others. Please help me in situations that I cannot control. I release the people in my life to You and I ask that You help me to experience the joy of living without emotional constraints. Take the shackles off of my heart, Lord. Please heal my heart, my hope, my trust issues and my faith. I make a choice to truly forgive and release anyone that I have held responsible for breaking my trust, rejecting me, hurting me, or bringing disappointment or offense into my life. Bless them Lord, and help them to receive healing too. In Jesus name, amen.