“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found those dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” ~ Vincent van Gogh
You cannot overcome something you have not yet admitted is there. There’s a bumper sticker that says, “Life never seems to turn out the way you think it will 90% of the time.” Why is life so hard? We’ve got impressive, timesaving computers and gadgets, yet we are over-stressed because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we want.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, when women are stressed they cope by opting for unhealthy habits. The most common are eating (39%); shopping (25%); smoking (17%); drinking (15%); and gambling (4%). (“Stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.”) This is bondage.
Though difficult, it is necessary to ask God to do spiritual surgery on us. How can we heal from something that we have not yet even recognized? We must see and then admit to what is actually going on in our hearts and minds, thus, begin a journey that will lead us into complete freedom.
Healing requires that we take an honest look at ourselves: our thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and false identities. It is normal to minimize self-defeating behaviors, all-consuming negative thoughts, and our own desperate need for help. By acknowledging our struggles, we can begin to try to change the thoughts that underlie our behaviors. That is our choice.
Do you think it is possible for our deepest thoughts and emotions to lie to us?
The prophet Jeremiah certainly thought so when, inspired by God, he wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9)?
Being in denial about a struggle is one way we deceive ourselves. We believe it is not that bad: it’s only temporary and will not always be this way. It is easy to feel defeated during the discouraging days, but hopeless thoughts only feed the devil.
Choices are always before us. We may choose to continue our journey or give up, to focus on God or focus on ourselves, to take steps forward or take steps backward. We also may or may not choose to learn from the decisions we make in any particular moment. As we travel with the Lord leading the way, we will be strengthened and encouraged during difficult times. Ultimately, he joins with us to declare victory – and we celebrate together.