Category Archives: Emotions

Toxic Friendship

Sometimes in our lives, we have to make choices. Choices that are very difficult. In fact, to us it feels like we are cutting off our right arm. That is how I felt about a certain relationship. I had become so entangled in that relationship that I had lost myself. I no longer knew who I was. I had become this other person. Oh, do not get me wrong. I remembered the things that I personally enjoyed, but I had no time to do them. I loved to read books, and do research online about the Bible. I loved studying history—especially about European countries. Unfortunately, I did not have the time. I I loved to paint, but where could I find the time.? I was consumed with this thing—this relationship. This “thing” that moved from friendship to counseling to moaning to heavy load…to dread…to wanting to hide in my room and not come out! I did not want to talk to anyone. Tears were my words instead of laughter and enjoyment. My face showed my inner sorrow and agony. Everybody but me saw what I was going through. People waited wondering how much longer I would take it before I splattered the walls of the halls with agony and pain. One day it began to happen, and try as I might I could not be the brave soldier I had put on for years to be. I lost control of it all as it all came flowing out of me like Niagara Falls. People were not surprised, but I was when I found out that I had their support.

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was finished. I was at the end of my rope. Do you get what I mean? Have you been there? Do you know what I mean? Do you really know what I mean? If you do not, I understand. Let me explain it to you. It is a deep dark place where you wake up one day wondering how you got there. You want to know how you get out of this deep dark STINKING HOLE OF A PLACE!!! Is there any hope at all? Does anybody hear me at all in this DEEP DARK LONELY PLACE!!! Can you hear me calling? Does anybody care at all… Whew!

I needed help, and I needed help fast. Where could I go? Who could I turn to and unload this heavy burden to? Who could I bear my very soul to? I was not the kind of person to trust anybody with myself–that is my inner self to. You see I do not want to get hurt. I am already hurt. I do not want to bear hurt on top of hurt. I am already bleeding all over the place. I am hemorraging profusely. I do not need kind words of sympathy or empathy! I need a surgeon, and just any surgeon. I need a specialist in the field of emotional healing. By the way, do you know of one who specializes in this field? It is a very specialized field, and there aren’t many doctors who have studied in this field. In fact, I don’t even know if I can pay their fee.

Then one day I met this woman who was temping while a woman was having her baby. She said something that made me think abou my “friendship” with this individual. I did something that I had never done before. I wrote it down in my diary on my computer. I read it and pondered it almost everyday, and prayed about it too. Funny thing is now that I’m free from that toxic relationship, I have forgotten the security code for the diary. So I had to delete the diary! Isn’t that something?  There was only one problem with her advice. I didn’t follow through…

I started going to a new church in Bolivia, NC. They took me in. They loved me and cared for me in a way that was amazing! I thought I was dreaming. I had never felt such love from a church like this before. I had no idea that this connection would bring the deliverance and emotional healing I needed in my life.

I became friends with one of the women from my new church. I realized how true she was, and how much she really loved me. She would stop by and bring a snack or some food. Sometimes she would call and ask if I had eaten dinner. She let me know that she was on her way with my dinner or lunch. Sometimes she would call and we would talk for almost an hour. We became very good friends. We stick closer than brothers. When I think of her, she is thinking of me. She is more than precious to me!

I shared many things with my newfound sister in Christ. I began to tell her about this “friendship.” She called one time, and I was crying. She asked what wrong, and I bore my soul to her. She started telling what I should do. I knew she was right, but in my heart and mind I did not have the strength to tear away from this toxic relationship.

Then I wept many days in the solitude of my room. Alone with Jesus. Understanding that this was a thing between Jesus and me. You see I still loved this person. Yes. I had poured my very soul into this person. I lived for that person. Toxic relationship. I had to face reality. I had to really face myself. I had to face the fact that I needed to break away in every sense of the word. What would I do with all the time that would now be free? All that I had known was this person. Whom would I eat with? Who would I have coffee with? Who would I talk to? Who would I laugh with? Who would I do anything with? Who? Who? I was like a lost puppy… I realized for three years my entire life had been centered on this person…

I found liberty by realizing who I was in Jesus Christ, and great friend in Christ Jesus. After I asked for a meeting with the person, slowly I began to find myself. Of course, I was too nervous to meet them alone. I knew I could not meet them alone. They would have out talked me because they were so self-centered. I would not have been able to say one word. They would have commandeered the entire meeting. Therefore, there was a mediator in the meeting. My sister-friend in Christ agreed with me that I should make a list of what I wanted to say in the meeting.

Well the day of the meeting came. For me it did not completely go as planned. This person let me speak up to a point. They thought we should have been able to come together alone and speak. They thought because we were Christians, that we could have handled it in that manner. No way possible because I knew this person would take over the conversation and not hear a word I was saying. That was how they were in the meeting! I ended up being so upset and frustrated because this person started saying “wait a minute.” The individual started interrupting me. I folded my notes, and left the meeting room in tears. It was the only way to save myself from getting sick.

The outcome of the meeting was good for me. It was decided that we would still be friends. We would not be BFFs (Best Friends Forever). Besides that kind of relationship would no longer be possible because that person had become engaged. I needed and wanted to be separated from them. Another thing that I got tired of was how the individual spoke to me, and how rude they were to me. Now I did not have to deal with them. Whew! I could go on, but I think I will stop here.

How am I now? I am enjoying the freedom I have in being myself. I enjoy talking and being with different people each day. If I want to be alone and do things I want to do, I have the freedom to do it. I can watch what I want to watch. Thank you Jesus! That Christian girlfriend of mine is the best friend I have ever had in years! She does not smother me. She lets me be. We encourage and pray for one another. We call one another. She is seriously concerned about me. Can you believe it? She prays that I feel better. She prays that I sleep at night. She prays when I have to go to a doctor’s appointment. She just calls to say hi! Wow! She shares with me, and I share with her. A two-way relationship. Do you see what I see? Isn’t it wonderful? God sure did come up with a great idea when He wanted us to walk along side one another. To be real and true. To carry one another’s burdens. To weep with one another. To laugh with one another. Wow! You know what? It really does work.

 

Check out this verse:

Romans 12:15 (KJV)
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

 

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The Struggle Within and Without

stuck-at-a-dead-end

In the search for wanting to know whom they are, humanity seeks for guidance from anything.  In an attempt to fill this hole, authors make money off this desperate need. They give their steps or methods knowing that people will buy their books. They are right. People will see the title, and run to the book registers and pay the exorbitant price for the book. They will sit down and consume the ink on the printed page in hopes that they contain the answers they are searching for. The purchaser religiously follows the directions given in the expensive manuscript.  They become habitual in the desperate need to become what they think they should be. They need to know what they should be in this world, and the book they hold in their hand will give them the key. They will finally find the answer and they will be happy with themselves.  All will be right with the world. On the other hand, so they think. Many, unfortunately, will be severely disappointed. They will toss the book aside or in the trash. They will visit the bookstore or another bookstore. They will look for another book purchasing it, and start the process again. The journey will begin with the same result. The cycle will be endless. They will be like Israel. Israel was in the wilderness for forty years circling and never getting anywhere.  Man can never get anywhere with the guidance of another man.  That other man only knows just so much. In reality, they are in the same boat circling the same mountain.

Who or what book does have the answer? Simple. The Bible. What you say? Yeah. The Bible. Give me a break you say.  I am sorry my friend, but that is the truth. No. Wait a minute. I take that back. I am not sorry. You need to realize that the Bible contains the answers to life itself. How? God the Father has the answers to all things because He is all knowing. He knows the end from the beginning. He is the Alpha and the Omega.  Really. I kid you not. Please do not leave me now. Stay with me a little longer. Let me prove what I am saying. Hear me out before you leave me. Okay? Then you can say hogwash if you want. That is your choice. We all are free to make our own choice. I have made my choice. Just hear me out.

Okay. In order for you to understand where I am coming from, let me tell you my story. I hope that will help you understand what I am saying. As I grew up, I found that I never fit in anywhere. I was shy for one thing. Another I just did not like some things that others my age did. I did not talk and wear clothes they did. My mother did not dress me like they did. She did not raise me to say words like they did. Even if I thought of some of the words they said, I would be embarrassed.

I was a lonely young woman. I was living during the time when the afro was in style. I had long silky hair. In an attempt to fit in, I went out and bought a black afro wig. I would wear it in an attempt to fit in. I also bought altar tops that were in fashion at the time—an attempt to fit in. I felt uncomfortable wearing it. I did it in order to “fit in.” I also started wearing “Indian” makeup in order to make myself darker because I am more on the fair skin. People did not think I was black. They thought I was Puerto Rican. I strove very hard to be black in every sense of the word.

No.  I did not buy a book, per se to seek my identity. I took myself through all the above chances to fit into the world’s standards. Was I happy? No. I hated myself even more. I hated being a phony. Every day was a time of misery. I went to my doctor and feigned depression so I could get some pills. Then I would sit in my room with the door closed, take more than needed, and listen to a blues singer. She sang a song called “Good Morning Heartache. What’s New?” Yeah. That was my theme. Until I found that Jesus like me just the way I was, and I had identity in Him alone.

I am going to stop here. You see I found out that His love was real with no strings attached. I found out that He did not enslave me. His relationship with me had benefits instead of chains. His relationship broke chains of darkness and brought liberty I had never known. Oh yeah. I said I was going to stop. This time I mean it. See you soon.

Peace and blessings my friend!

 

Definition of Worry

There is one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated as “worry.” That word is merimnao, which means “to be anxious, to be distracted” or “to have a divided mind” (merizo, (merizo, to “divide”–nous, “the mind”). John Edmund Haggai, How to Win Over Worry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 19.

-To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive. [Ibid.]

-To worry is to block the flow of creative energy in your life.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)

 

The concept of worrying is conveyed through Scripture by numerous words and phrases.

–to be fretful

–to be anxious

–to be concerned

–to be weighed down with cares

–to be heavy-hearted

–to be without peace

–to be distracted

–to be troubled

–to be distressed

–to be despairing

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)

 

Introduction to Worry

Worry is a destructive habit. It is so common that it is seen as natural as breathing. It is such a skilled and deceptive intruder that its victims don’t know they have been robbed of peace, of time, of mental energy and of emotional well-being.

 

“Worry is like a thick braided headband that puts pressure on the mind–a confining cord interwoven with three strands–the distresses of yesterday, the trials of today and the fearful “what if’s” of tomorrow. This vice-like grip of worry tragically compresses your joy, cramps your peace and confines your freedom. But this constriction can be conquered!”

 

June Hunt

 

Note: These lessons are taken from June Hunt’s work entitled “Biblical Counseling Keys,” which is a part of WordSearch’s database on the subject of counseling. It should be noted that these lessons are a condensed study of this subject.

Causes of Envy and Jealousy

We will first look at surface causes of these twins.

 

Envy:

–desire for selfish gain

–comparison

–emphasis on personal rights

–unrealistic expectations

Jealousy:

–lack of trust

–low self-image

–guilt

Situational Setups

Envy

-affluence (money)

-achievement (honors, awards)

-appearance (looks, clothes, etc.)

-abilities (talents)

-advancement (promotions)

-activities (trips, social invitations)

Jealousy

-sibling rivalry

-friendships

-marriage relationships

-adult parent/child relationships

-competitive work environment

-legalistic church environment

“I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.” Ecclesiastes 4:4

 

The Characteristics of Envy and Jealousy

  • Envy–burning desire to have–coveting what another has: empty hands that crave to be filled; usually involves two people.
  • Jealousy–burning desire to keep; possessive of what one has; full hands that fear being emptied; usually involves three people

 

What we need to discuss now is what the “surface symptoms” are. This portion of the study will help in identifying any personal characteristics we may possess.

 

Envious

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

Encourages envy in others: boastful

Needs to put down others: critical

Vengeful feelings toward others: resentful

Internal pain over the success of others: begrudging

Overachiever: competitive

Unfulfilled desires or cravings: greedy

Self-exalting: demanding

Jealous

“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)

Judgmental of others: performance-based acceptance

Exclusive expectations: not allowing outside relationships

Anxiety/anger over potential loss: threat of losing relationship

Leaning on the identity of others: emotionally dependent

Overly possessive of others: controlling spirit

Unable to trust God: insecure

Suspicious of the normal behavior of others: distrustful

 

Disguises for Masking the Traits

  • Making an issue of the unfairness of life.

Pretending apathy or indifference to people or situations

Feeling self-pity

Avoiding problems or people that could produce envy or provoke jealousy

Idolizing certain people by placing them on an unreachable pedestal

Offering false praise and congratulations

Dropping unnecessary, negative information about another

Projecting jealousy or envy onto another

Developing a superior attitude toward another

Becoming a martyr

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16

 

Envy and Jealousy Characteristics

  • Envy–burning desire to have–coveting what another has: empty hands that crave to be filled; usually involves two people.
  • Jealousy–burning desire to keep; possessive of what one has; full hands that fear being emptied; usually involves three people

 

What we need to discuss now is what the “surface symptoms” are. This portion of the study will help in identifying any personal traits we may possess.

 

Envious

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)

Encourages envy in others: boastful

Needs to put down others: critical

Vengeful feelings toward others: resentful

Internal pain over the success of others: begrudging

Overachiever: competitive

Unfulfilled desires or cravings: greedy

Self-exalting: demanding

Jealous

“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)

Judgmental of others: performance-based acceptance

Exclusive expectations: not allowing outside relationships

Anxiety/anger over potential loss: threat of losing relationship

Leaning on the identity of others: emotionally dependent

Overly possessive of others: controlling spirit

Unable to trust God: insecure

Suspicious of the normal behavior of others: distrustful

 

The Definition of Envy

What is Envy?

Envy is resenting the advantage of another, with a desire to possess the same advantage.

Envy is coveting what another has.

The Latin word for “envy” is invidere, which means, “to look at with enmity.” American Heritage Electronic Dictionary

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17)

Question: Is envy always wrong?

Yes. Scripture never portrays envy in a positive light. God is never depicted as an envious God.

“Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time, they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him” (Matthew 27:15-18)

 

Principles from Elijah’s Experience concerning Stress

Filling Your Emptiness

-Spend time alone with God

-Receive God’s rest and physical nourishment

-Seek communication with God.

-Wait on God’s response.

-Respond honestly to God.

-Place your trust in God.

-Rely on instructions from God.

-Be ready for God’s blessing