Thursday, April 27, 2017

DENIAL DEFINED

Once upon a time, in the midst of a self-made-mid-life crisis, when my frustrations and delusions overwhelmed me, I had a slight glimpse of truth, a heart exposing revelation. That in my campaign to change people, I trampled over boundaries as I pridefully criticized world leaders, my family, friends and the church! Denial kept me blind to my foolish attempts to control people and my environment.  My world of contempt ended when I realized that I was not God and my only option was to surrender my will to His will. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." 1 Corin 10:12 -  In 1997, as I sat in a church in Santa Cruz, I began comparing the joy and peace I witnessed in others, with the sad truth that I was not happy.  I could not stop the tears!  Who was this woman named Grace that Pastor Chip Ingram was talking about?  I so wanted what they all seemed to have, but at that time, I was unable to be healed, because of my stiff necked DENIAL.  Wishing I could be anybody else, my heart silently grieved, and my happy-all-is-well-in-my-soul mask finally cracked.
My fake smile began to pucker under the pressure to APPEAR perfect. "Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor." Jesus went on to say "Happy are the merciful, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, and those who mourn." His sermon on the mount certainly shed much needed light on the foolishness of my ways. The prison of DENIAL had me locked behind the bars of obsessive thinking!  Whose thoughts had I been churning?  Furious thoughts tossed back and forth in my head like a heated tennis match.  "The world should, my mate should, my kid should, the church should, that government should, that politicians should, and that God should change His silent, patient ways and just fix it! "  These demanding thoughts were NOT from God!  God is forgiving and He issues grace daily, whether I recognize and receive it or not. His mercy is new every morning, and His grace was sufficient to save a wretch like me!  What a NUISANCE I was to myself and everyone around me!  Because I "shoulded" all over God, and all over everyone else, I had to admit that
I was the creator of strife in each relationship, including the chasm I caused between the One true and Holy God. In retrospect, my deepest despair was in the trouble I had in accepting and loving others as they are...and the world as it is... as Jesus does..... and NOT as I demand. People who are in DENIAL, want what they want, and they deceive themselves in thinking that they have the ability to change others, and the world, according to their will, ways and perfect preferences. As an overly critical person, for way too long I DEPENDED on myself, NOT GOD,  to initiate all the needed changes so that I could be happy.  I was DEPENDENT on the perfect behaviors of my loved ones for peace to rule in my heart...this was a huge burden for everyone in my life.  When my futile manipulations, subtle suggestions, my blatant blaming, my fits of rage, my all consuming judgements of others became unmanageable--- I collapsed and admitted, I need help.   Today I celebrate my recovery from the stinking thinking of a co-dependent. A co-dependent person depends on people to make them happy. They demand external changes, or insist that others change in order for them to FEEL peace.  The co-dependent me that I was --- HAD TO GIVE; my opinion, my advice, and my help.  My idolatrous devotion to obtaining perfection was nauseating. After honest self-examination, I had to admit that I was pitifully self-sufficient, self-serving, not humble, not kind and not loving and merciful like Jesus. I was certainly NOT reflecting the Light of the world. My aggressive ways to satisfy my NEED to be VALUED and RESPECTED as a person,
eventfully brought me to my knees before the mercy seat of Jesus Christ.  By working the 12 steps and applying the Beatitudes, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, I was enabled to overcome my hurts, habit of stinking thinking, and hang up or hope that the world would change so I could be happy. The saving power of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, established and restored His peace in me.   My part was to surrender my ways, my heart, my desperate needs over to the capable care of Christ.  "Christ in me, His hope for glory"  HALLELUJAH! Admitting that I was powerless to change myself, others or the world was to step out of DENIAL and into RECOVERY.  TRUSTING God with my messy life, REQUIRED that I surrender my hopes, dreams, and desires to His perfect refining purpose in my suffering. God NEVER wastes a single tear or torment. By His conviction to confess, obediently to one another, we are healed.  "Confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed." James 5:16 --- The amazing Grace of God pursued me and He transformed me from an incessantly hungry, unqualified caterpillar, into a butterfly set
FREE from a cocoon of shame. My story: Barbara Sue Alley's ability to trust my father was fractured at the age of 7 when dad molested me and DENIED it. My shocked mother sent me direct to the priest to confess my sin. Shame replaced my innocence as I bowed my head and hoped to be forgiven. My dad rejected me and said "I will never touch you again. You are dead to me."  The consequence of telling the truth to my mother, resulted in my dad's lifelong avoidance of me.  Looking for love in wrong places, at the age of 16 a baby girl was born, removed from my body and adopted away from me. We left the hospital and my mother instructed "We will never speak of this again." My voice or my presence unwanted by my parents,  I chose a life of DENIAL and SECRETS.  Acting as if I was happy became the character I played as the youngest of three kids. My silenced reality was shoved down so deep that I became a natural liar to God, myself and others.  A mighty fortress was erected unconsciously around my heart of stone.  Compassion, mercy or grace were impossible for me to give as I was not open to receive.  My heart grew cold in my secret chamber of fear.  Married or divorced, I regularly and silently sat in Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist and Unity church pews feeling like an impostor. No matter the denomination, when an alter call was given,  I went forward and got baptized again, and again even after accepting Jesus in 1985 at a Pentecostal church.  "It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe." Proverbs 29:25 - Fear of what church folks would think of me,  IF I confessed my shameful past,
kept me silent. A voice, not of God persisted "You will never be acceptable to God" I was unable to trust God with my whole heart, and I held onto my secret shame tightly. For 13 years of church bench warming, endless retreats, seminars, and perfect note taking (all which God used to soften my rocky soil), it was not until 1998, when I was 47 years old, did HOPE begin to rise.  After hearing other broken-hearted, imperfect, hurting women....in Celebrate Recovery, confess their raw hurts, honest fears and feelings of hopelessness... I was moved by the Holy Spirit, to voice my nightmare. God mercifully guided me into Santa Cruz Bible Church, and into a 12 step study for sexually abused women.  After ten months of weekly meetings, and hours with my accountability sponsor, much prayer, and the Holy Spirit showing me truth in scriptures....I came to the END of myself, my pride, my ways. My life long, self-sufficient, leading lady role was over! Gladly I surrendered completely into the capable hands of Christ.  Accepting the Truth that the King of Kings, had not only chosen me, but that He had legally adopted me, as His daughter....that FACT gripped and crushed my stubborn hardened heart.  Loving and forgiving others as I had been by God...with no regrets, no bitterness, completely forgotten, and forever erased...was how God set me on fire for His ability to restore all who FEEL unworthy of His love. I was FREED from shame and the enemy's vicious trap of lies --- for Almighty God's purpose: that I can now courageously share my story, without shame, for what Christ has done in me. "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." Lamentations 3:40 - Obediently, I tested my ways and was convinced that my way of concealing my pain for over 40 years was foolish. Our Father wants to take our burdens and heal us, but we must submit, we must obey, we must trust Him, with the entire contents of our heart. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." Colossians 3:16 - Today I thank God for every struggle, for all things that drew me to Him, and for the tremendous compassion muscles I gained in my suffering. It took the hearing of the word, and the honest confessions of other believers to loosen my tight grip on my shame, and to TRUST GOD. When I chose to truly LET GO and LET GOD, my heavenly Father, have His Holy way "in me", only then was I able to FEEL real JOY for the first time.  Living fully forgiven, and fully restored, I wear His robe of righteousness, and I am enabled to receive His ongoing stream of GRACE and experience His Holy Presence.  His abiding Peace TRULY surpasses all human understanding. Celebrate Recovery is a biblically based 12 Step Program to RESTORE your relationship with GOD and the church, or anyone who may have rejected, hurt or abandoned you.  IF you fear rejection, or IF you are ashamed of your doubts about God's mercy, IF you are addicted to sadness, TV, food, shopping, drama,
or being in control, to stinking thinking, or to convincing others that you are worthy of respect because of all your good deeds....When your inability to love and forgive yourself as God does ..hurts enough, when your DENIAL gets too heavy, and your broken, ineffective life crumbles, I encourage you to hold on to HOPE in Christ. Find a SAFE PLACE with a small group of honest struggling people. All Celebrate Recovery meetings are anonymous. Celebrate Recovery Groups in your area. STEP ONE is to step out of DENIAL and into RECOVERY. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction to: controlling circumstances, people, and the world. We admit that our compulsive behaviors have injured relationships, and that our lives have become unmanageable. We came to the conclusion that without God, we were doomed to live an empty life, without purpose or meaning. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."  Philippians 2:13 --- and we humbly submit to the Truth of this holy scripture:  "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Romans 7:18 and with the help of the Holy Spirit we grab onto God's undeniable TRUTH which will destroy all DENIAL...because the truth is:  only the TRUTH will set you FREE...
"Brothers (and sisters) loved by God, we know that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you NOT simply with words, but also with POWER, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:4 --- We TRUST God's living Word to enter our brokenness and restore us to wholeness "We have NOT received the (critical) spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us......For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?....but we have the mind of Christ."  1 Corin 2:12-16 We are chosen and given every spiritual blessing "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For HE CHOSE us ' in Him' before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His PLEASURE and will - to the praise of HIS glorious GRACE, which He has freely given us in the One He loves." Ephesians 1:3-6

5 comments:

  1. My dear sister-in-Christ Lorene shared this appropriate quote: "The one may be someone who has lived a life of crime that has landed him in jail. The one may be someone who has willfully hurt another. The one may be selfish, addicted, immoral, and arrogant. He or she may be a mocker, scoffer, murderer, or prostitute. If our example is Jesus, we should remember that he stood up for a woman caught in adultery, a greedy, dishonest tax collector, and the thief hanging on the cross next to him. Jesus didn’t distinguish between those lost because of circumstances beyond their control and those who willfully and willingly put themselves there.

    God’s heart beats for every lost person every single second of every single day. That’s what he wants us to remember. We, too, were once lost, but now we are found. And because we’ve been found, he has called us to be part of his search-and-rescue team.” Christine Caine

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  2. Another dear sister in Christ, Lorraine emailed Barb this encouragement: "Hi Barb, I just read you blog. it is an amazing story and one that needs to be told. thank you so much for sharing it. you quoted all my favorite verses....the song that came to my mind was: Grace, Grace, Marvelous Grace.....we are continuing to write our stories. blessings my friend and trust the Lord will continue to use your for His Glory. lorraine"

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  3. Christ MUST live through us. Faith that He is leading the Way, as His ways, are not our ways. Our job is to simply TRUST and OBEY, to walk through the doors He opens for us saying "Yes Lord, Yes Lord, yes, Yes Lord."

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  4. ANONYMOUS April 3, 2017 - just when I was FEELING that my life, my testimony, my faith was futile, worthless and drifting down into a spiral of depression. I get this ANONYMOUS private message: "Thanks Barb. I read your testimony at your blog. Amazing Grace! I am 10 weeks into Freedom Session -- a version of Celebrate Recovery, also a 12 step faith based program. I just found my sponsor and am digging things up that are enlightening, painful and freeing. Thank you for sharing your journey of healing so transparently." The person who wrote this is an amazing woman of faith and recovery that I respect and admire abundantly. Her email to me is more than precious, to me it is a sure SIGN from GOD, that I should keep posting transparently, whatever I am feeling...to the GLORY OF GOD! "Are ye content being still?" NOPE....I now "choose" to say YES to GOD and I am willing to do what He leads me to do. AMEN

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  5. FROM CONNIE CAVENAUGH's blog: Rick Warren. He adds “surrendering is never a one-time event. …There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment-by-moment and lifelong….It will often mean doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.” As we surrender, by choice, over and over, we change the way we think. For every message of defeat that Satan sends into the heart of the recovering wanderer, there is a message of hope from God. (Excerpt From Faking it to Finding Grace)

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