Monday, July 15, 2013

Bitter Roots (Part 2)

How do you get to the root?

 I.          Identify the source

Getting to the root issues requires some real soul-searching. You must dig into your past to identify the source of you pain.

-          Were you abused as a child – sexually, physically or emotionally?
-          Did you witness domestic violence?
-          Were you raped?
-          Were you raised in the foster care system?
-          Did you have an abortion?
-          Have you lost your parents or a child?
-          Have you experienced trauma as an adult such as divorce, abuse, or domestic violence?
-          Are you estranged from your parents, a child or another family member?

This list cannot cover all the possibilities of the ways Satan will attack your life. You must seek God for revelation of yours. As women, we tend to bury the hurt and think that we are over it. But burying it is what causes the root of bitterness to grow.

II.   Grieve

Once you identify the root, you must grieve. If you don’t grieve and feel all the emotions about the pain in your life, you will never get over it. This is hard. It can hurt so bad to go back and revisit the pain. No one wants to feel that. But it is the only way to true healing.

There are many stages to the grief process as initially documented by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. These stages are for any type of trauma or loss, not just death.

The first stage is shock, in which you are paralyzed about what has happened. You then move to denial, burying the pain and refusing to deal with the effects of what has happened; many people get stuck in this stage.  During the grieving, you also get angry and you might lash out with very strong emotions. At some point, you try to bargain or try to get out of the pain. You might also fall into a depression, sometimes lasting a very long time. Eventually you test out solutions and finally accept your situation and move on.

These stages do not provide a straight, linear path. They can come in waves, in any order, and sometimes repeat themselves. You might go back and forth through multiple stages several times before you reach acceptance. But one truth stands: until you go through the cycles, you will never completely eliminate the root.

III.                Break through with force!

Pastor Stan Ellis of Christian Life Center taught once about breaking through barriers and invading the unlimited. He spoke on Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Pastor Stan said the word “violent” means forceful aggression (spiritual, not carnal). We must use force to break through our past. It is a fight! It will not come easy and the enemy is relentless.

“Our struggle is not against the flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

You must fight in the spirit every minute of every day. You must make the choice over and over again to do things differently. You must seek God for strength and perseverance. He will walk with you through the battle.

IV.                Get help

Pastor Stan went on to suggest that to break a barrier you need two people: an intercessor and a predecessor. I believe this is true when breaking through our past as well.

You need an intercessor – someone in whom you can confide and who will lift you in prayer on a regular basis. Remember, it is a battle and you need all the support you can get.

You also need a predecessor – someone who has been through something similar and has broken through. They can give you advice, support and, most importantly, hope – if they can break through, so can you! In addition, they can also help you identify pitfalls and challenges that will come your way as you force your way to breakthrough so that you can keep your guard up and stay strong in battle.

You may find a predecessor in an individual relationship that God sends your way. You may also seek to join a support group to be around multiple people who are going through or have been through a similar experience. At Christian Life Center there is group called Celebrate Recovery – a program designed to help you get over whatever is holding you down. I encourage you to attend. (Go t0 to find a location near you.)

In addition, you may need to seek the help of a professional counselor. A professional counselor can help you dig into deeper issues while maintaining objectivity to guide you through the healing process. 

Whatever path you decide to take, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone has been through something and we are all on this journey together to help one another.

V.                  Embrace the reality of who you are in Christ and who He is to you:

a.       You are God’s daughter, a princess, the apple of His eye.
b.      You are forgiven, righteous and whole in Him.
c.       He is your peace, your protection, your provider, your healer.
d.      He is with you always and He is not mad at you!

 John 10:10 starts by stating:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

That is only half of the verse. Jesus goes on to say:

“…but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

God wants good things for your life: joy, peace, prosperity, abundance! I encourage you to dig into your past, eliminate the roots of bitterness, and become all God created you to be!

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