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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

People Pleasers Pay a High Price

One day, in eastern Turkey, while shepherds ate their breakfast, one sheep mindlessly walked off a 45-foot cliff. The rest of the flock followed. According to The Washington Post, 1500 sheep mindlessly stumbled off the cliff; 450 sheep died. The rest were cushioned by the woolly pile of those who jumped first.

The Bible often refers to human beings as sheep. Easily distracted and susceptible to group influence, we’d rather follow the crowd rather than the wisdom of our Good Shepherd. “What will you think of me?” is an extremely powerful motivator. Our longing for positive self-worth and self-esteem may lead us to do things that are equivalent to jumping off a cliff.

One enduring attribute of most human beings, particularly women, is we obsess about how people view us and our family, and our general appearance. We characteristically seek the approval of others. I can’t do this or wear that…What would they think of me! Most often we don’t realize it is an obsession, but it is. We are approval junkies shaped by other people’s opinions, real or assumed. The bad news is this obsession affects more decisions than we realize.

The desire for approval begins when we’re toddlers. Every child seeks recognition. “Look! See what I can do!” Most everyone has been caught in the trap of approval addiction, which is to live in bondage to what others think of us. Approval addiction is when a person compulsively seeks the acceptance and favor of others.

When a person has an excessive need for approval, they constantly seek out validation from others. This can take the form of always agreeing with or doing things for others, while at the same time ignoring their own feelings and needs. Personal boundaries become blurred and they aren’t able to prioritize what is truly important in their lives.

Being addicted to approval is not the same as having a healthy need for praise. There is nothing bad in applauding someone for a job well done. In fact, it is important in building self-esteem. Everyone needs to feel valued. We all search for significance, but some not always in a positive way. And, what I’ve learned is that most people are not sizing you up. They are too busy thinking about themselves, thinking what they’re going to say next to impress you or the other person!

I can’t recall a time I didn’t seek others approval. Truth be told, today, it surfaces its ugly head on my Facebook fan page. If you “like” my post I feel approved of, possibly even admired. If few people “like” my posts it’s tempting to believe no one likes me. A fact of life is we won’t always be liked by everyone. It has been said that ten percent of the people you interact with will not like you, no matter how nice you are.

Others see what we do, but God see why we do it. Jesus said, "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. …. but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1;18).

The gaping hole in our soul gets bigger when we substitute another person’s approval for God’s. Ask yourself, “Who am I following?” and “To whom do I belong?”

This is an excerpt from the book "Something Happened On My Way To Hell" by author Kimberly Davidson

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Love me! Relationship Addiction: “the hidden epidemic”

Society’s Myth: Love is all you need. The right person will make you complete.
Could you be addicted to love or be a relationship addict without even knowing it? Psychologists say "Yes!"

In 1986 Robert Palmer made these words famous: “You’re going to have to face it, you’re addicted to love.” Our culture is addicted to love. Sentimental love songs, enticing ads for romantic getaways, hordes of romance novels, and sappy movies are evidence. The yearning to be cherished by a special someone is a God-given desire. But for some women, this poses a significant problem. Because of insatiable cravings for love, they will do anything to find it and ultimately land in destructive addictive relationships. In a search to fulfill my deep, unmet needs, I was sexually assaulted numerous times. The shame, confusion, guilt, and breakdown of personal boundaries left numerous scars which carried over into later relationships.

God’s Word says the person who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives (see 1 Timothy 5:6). My soul died. If you were to take off my mask, there’d be no face. If you empathize with my story I want you to know: you’re not damaged. You can’t be damaged because you’re made in the image of God Almighty! For this reason, you have great dignity, not because you’re so good, but because you’re made up of his essence which is capable of making God’s goodness visible through you to others.

Healing requires we break the invisible bonds of deception, shame, and fear; such as, All men want one thing only. All men are alike. I had become calloused to any endearing qualities in men…until I met Jesus. Jesus showed me there is a kind of love so pure it can wash away all my sins, no matter how unsightly the stain and permanent the scars.

Daughter, receive the love of God! The thought that anyone could really love me like this—unconditionally, no strings attached, overwhelmed me. I fell at his feet and pleaded for forgiveness. He forgave. The Savior gave me what no hustler could—genuine love; love that would be mine forever, not just for one night.

Listen to God and refute the lies you’ve come to believe. Believe in the goodness of who you are and what you’re becoming. You’re not a victim. You’re God’s child—already complete in Christ (see Colossians 2:10; Ephesians 2:13-14; the term “in Christ” refers to the vital spiritual union we have with Jesus Christ which produces peace).

When you are in Christ you have direct access to God Almighty (see Ephesians 3:12). When you are in Christ, Satan has no power over you. You can break the chains of bondage and claim genuine freedom! When you are in Christ you can’t stay in turpitude for very long. It becomes a place of discontent. Regardless of what the culture or enemy tells you, keep focused on the goal of becoming a healthy victor in Christ.

A good article to read is: The Telltale Signs of Relationship Addiction by EHarmony. They've included a "Love Addict Quiz" to guage emotional intensity.

This is an excerpt from the book Something Happened On My Way To Hell"" by author Kimberly Davidson

Sunday, March 10, 2013

We All Love Something Too Much

You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied. –Proverbs 21:17, The Message

Insatiable cravings. Nasty habits. Vices. Addictions. We’ve all got them. We all love something too much. We all want more. More pleasure. More love. More chocolate. More affirmation. More money.

Most of us know that an unquenchable desire for drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food, shoplifting, and gambling can destroy lives. However, multitudes of people are hooked on things that don’t fit the addiction stereotype: love, work, sports, people-pleasing, shopping, exercising, dieting, watching television, even pain and chaos. Add to the list: technology, religious activities, risk taking, celebrity worship, gaming, tattooing, tanning, even love for pets and children.

It has been said that to be alive is to be addicted; that life in America is so stressful that it is impossible not to become addicted to some object. One Christian psychiatrist suggests “we are all addicts in every sense of the word.”

We live in the great age of excess which breeds an unsatisfied yearning for more and more. You need. You deserve. You must have. Misplaced affections and insatiable cravings often become addictions. Completely unaware, we harbor an infestation of hidden dependencies because they have silently invaded our lives. And they don’t have to be grandiose or visibly evil to do great damage.

Behind every craving is a compelling urge to pursue pleasure—to feel terrific while avoiding pain, physically and emotionally. From the brain’s perspective, whatever we do to produce feelings of euphoria, is worth repeating. Ultimately, we end up mastered by those things.

Surely you’ve noticed that the number of television shows developed around the topic of addiction and compulsive behavior has increased. Today we’re restless, stressed, irritable, discontent, and obsessed. We distract ourselves and medicate our anxiety with activity, mood-altering substances, entertainment, and relationships, because we’re unable to simply be present with ourselves. We may love God, but deeply rooted habits take control. Our focus rests on our objects of attachment instead of on him.

The church culture is not immune either. Christians, as well, hide and deny their behaviors. Many believe the church propagates addiction. The church, however, is in the unique position of becoming its own recovery center.

I have a message of hope: We are not confined to or defined by our insatiable cravings and compulsive behaviors. God is genuinely interested in your problems. He is in the business of changing lives. Turning to him empowers healing and transformation. We study the Holy Bible because it is God’s personal Word to us, literally “God-breathed” (see 2 Timothy 3:16).

Unlike what the pop culture presents, the Bible always tells the truth. It gives us exactly what we need. God intends for us to learn from the people portrayed in the Scriptures (the text of the Bible is referred to as scripture). We can see reflections of ourselves in their messy and troubled escapades. We share the same Father who declared, “I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).

This is an excerpt from the book "Something Happened On My Way To Hell" by author Kimberly Davidson