Abuse is sin. And all sin is a lie.
The lies of verbal abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse…they crush you because they POUR lies on your life and heart and mind and leave you wrestling with your identity.
Jesus came to redeem our lost identities. To remind us of who we are and to rescue us from the crushing burden of sin. Without him we are lost. Without him we are hell-bound.
God so desperately wants to heal us. He is the Great Restorer. And when we let God heal us, our stories point to him. We are the evidence of the Gospel’s power! Without us, without the stories of the broken being made whole, what proof is there of the resurrecting freedom of Jesus? You guys. We are it!
Abuse is a lie. And the remedy is truth.
THE LIES & THE TRUTHS:
1. You regularly have debilitating nightmares. TRUTH: physical and emotional boundaries are God-honoring and vital to your recovery. When you allow yourself the freedom of boundaries you will find healing. Why? Because you can’t heal when you’re still surrounded by, and at the whim of, evil.
2. You struggle with depression, self-hate, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. TRUTH: our bodies respond physiologically to pain and suffering. If you are struggling with these behaviors and cannot seem to get on top of them, go see a Dr. and/or a counselor and join a local Celebrate Recovery. As you begin to heal emotionally and spiritually remember that there is a very real physical component to your healing. Often, this looks like rest and adopting healthier lifestyles.
3. You have incredibly low self esteem. TRUTH: you are infinitely loved and valued. God created you on purpose! Don’t be afraid to take care of yourself. Do activities that bring you joy and delight. Eat more fresh produce. Get outside every single day and soak up the nature God created for us to enjoy and care for. Memorize two scriptures to speak over yourself when you feel completely invaluable. Refuse to let anyone speak lies over you. You are worth the blood of the God of the Universe. And don’t forget it!
4. You have a hard time trusting people because you’ve learned that even the prettiest of people wear masks. TRUTH: it’s ok to make new friends slowly. As trust builds, so should vulnerability.
5. You are tough, because being vulnerable means you will inevitably be wounded. TRUTH: vulnerability is essential to healthy relationships. You cannot have one without the other. It is OK to struggle with vulnerability. Most people do. But strive to grow in this area! Do not over analyze your conversations and gestures. Not everyone you speak to is going to use what you say against you.
6. You view police as last-ditch protectors. TRUTH: Police are for emergencies. If you are living in a constant state of emergency, something is wrong. Leave. Get out. Fight for your safety.
7. You fear disciplining (and especially swatting) your children, even for common/dangerous childhood behaviors, such as biting or running into the street or drinking windex. You do not understand “loving discipline”. And you do not understand discipline without shame…you have no idea what that even looks like. TRUTH: discipline is vital. God-honoring discipline does not shame and it always seeks restoration. Read my blog post here about parenting.
8. You probably never learned practical life skills like how to pay a bill or budget or grocery shop or how to cook or bake. TRUTH: you are 100% capable of learning these practical life lessons on your own. The world is at your fingertips! Refuse to make excuses for yourself and learn to be responsible. It’s hard. But you’re no longer a child. You are a grown adult. Act like it. Put your shoulda back, look yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m amazing. And I’m gonna change the world by first changing myself.”
9. You tend to try to earn love. You might even be a really hard worker or very good at makeup or decorating. Anything to win approval that can be “measured”. TRUTH: value is intrinsic. It is God-given at conception. While you might be able to increase your value on a particular subject or skill…your value of personhood never changes.
10. You do not believe that people genuinely love and care about you. You view yourself as an inconvenience. TRUTH: it takes a very unhealthy person to view another as worthless. Find healthy people and surround yourself with them. Ask God to bring you healthy relationships. Once you learn what a healthy relationship looks like, you’ll be able to be that for someone else.
11. Any type of criticism crushes you. TRUTH: constructive criticism is healthy and good. Hateful words are just hate. But a loving correction is the sign of a true friend.
Dear One, you’ve got this. And God’s got you. You can do this. Your value isn’t in your family or your friends or your skill set. Your value rests in the open palms of an eternal Savior. Rest in that truth. Dare to believe that and then actually live like it.