Tools the Enemy Uses to Keep Us in Bondage (Part 1): Fear
by Toni Weisz/ Recovery Tools
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given me the Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Question: What is preventing me from recognizing I have a problem?
Fear is a tool the enemy uses to keep me in my dysfunction: the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and fear that if I do change, I will lose a relationship.
What are your fears? Make a list of them all.
What is preventing you from truly looking at your life and asking God to help you change?
When I truly ask and seek the truth, God shows me my wounds and the lies I believe about Him, myself, and others. Once He shows me those areas, I accept them and seek His wisdom to change the things I can.
My areas of woundedness were once fear of rejection and abandonment, and believing the lie that if I was perfect, I would be loved. These fears caused me to become a people-pleaser and made me think I had to earn love from others and God.
I believed God would not forgive my sin of abortion, that my sin was too great. Now I know that was a lie from the enemy to keep me in bondage. I also believed I deserved to be emotionally abused because of my sins.
All this unhealthy thinking kept me in emotionally abusive relationships, isolation, depression, and hopelessness. But God in His mercy and grace filled my heart with His unfailing love, giving me the courage to step out of the darkness into His beautiful transforming light.
He helped me recognize the root causes of these lies and how to shred those lies to pieces using the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
How can we pray for you?
I pray this topic has helped you to discover and conquer the fears and the root causes in your own life. Please reach out if you need prayer or a word of encouragement. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are loved,
Tools the Enemy Uses to Keep Us in Bondage (Part 2): Busyness
by Toni Weisz/Recovery Tools
Be still and know that I am God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I was always busy with so many things that I didn’t have time to think about the toxic relationships I had with some close family members. I was so involved in my children’s school and after school activities, teaching and serving at church, and raising my family that I did not have time to look at myself and recognize that I was enabling unhealthy behavior.
It was fall of 2001, and I was pushing myself hard physically so I could compete against 24-year-olds in tennis at the age of 42. I would be exhausted, but I forced myself to work out anyway.
We attended a church where obeying the rules was the most important thing. It was all a show, and in the meantime, my spirit was so grieved I could barely feel the Spirit of God in me.
Then came September 11, and my husband was flying that day from Philly to CA. For many hours, I did not know where he was or how he was. When I watched planes crash into the Twin Towers, I just remember going into shock. John’s family was calling, and I had no information on his whereabouts.
Shortly after that in October, I fell on the tennis court and hurt myself so badly that I had a huge bulge in my right hip area. As time passed, it got worse, and I could not walk after a while because the pain shot through my entire body. From Thanksgiving through New Years, I was confined to laying on the couch because I was unable to stand or walk for long periods of time.
I couldn’t do anything for several months. For the first time, I had to allow others to do things for me. It was very humbling. I had a complete mental, physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown. My children were in high school at that time, and they would sit at my feet on the couch and do their homework. I thank God for that special memory.
It was during the time of my confinement that God whispered to my heart, “I love you regardless of whether you serve me on all these committees at Church or you lay on the couch for the rest of your life. I love you the same. My love for you never changes. My love for you is not based upon your good works or being worthy to be loved; My love is based upon My Son’s death on the cross for your sins.”
God knew I was working for acceptance from others and Him. I was raised in a works-based religion, and I felt because of the sins from my past—all the drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage and my abortion—that I needed to make an atonement for my sins somehow. I didn’t understand that there was nothing I could do to earn salvation; it was a gift from God (Ref. Ephesians 2:8–9).
It took 10 years for that truth to finally make its way to my heart. But once it did, it changed my whole world forever. I finally felt loved and accepted by God. I didn’t have to be good enough or check a box to be loved and accepted. I realized I needed to believe God’s Word. I can now say with confidence that I have been adopted by God, I am His child, and nothing can separate me from His love (Ref. Romans 8:15–16a, 38–39).
Questions to Take to Heart:
- What are you doing to keep yourself so busy that you are not dealing with your stuff?
- What are you running away from?
- How can/did you stop the busyness in your life?
- How can we pray for you?
I pray this topic has been helpful for you. Please reach out if you need prayer or a word of encouragement. Email: email@example.com.
You are loved,
Tools the Enemy Uses to Keep Us in Bondage (Part 3): Blind Spots
by Toni Weisz/Recovery Tools
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of Your Law.”
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you will be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”
Blind spots are areas in my life in which I have been wounded and where I cannot see my character defects, sins, and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
My life was filled with destructive choices, all of which contributed to my woundedness and blind spots. Only God could show me these blind spots and help me to see what areas in my life I needed to work through and change.
In the past, a blind spot for me was being overly protective of my children. When I was a young mom and not a believer yet, I was fearful that God would punish me for my past abortion and take one of my children. I remember when my children hit three years of age, I thought, “Oh good, I don’t have to worry about that.”
But I still parented out of fear because I didn’t want my children to make the same mistakes. They were not permitted to participate in many activities their public school friends participated in because of the church we were attending at the time.
God’s Word shined light in these dark areas that were hidden for so many years. This light set me free from my fears, helping me to trust Him to release my children into His capable hands and allow them to make their own choices.
Later on, I had to apologize to my children for not allowing them to do certain things but also for being way too protective of them. They knew my heart, and they forgave me.
Another area that I had a huge blind spot was in my relationships with others. I did not see how I was allowing others to take advantage of me by manipulating and controlling me. I never developed a voice because I was fearful of rejection and abandonment, which caused me to accept this unacceptable behavior.
I felt I deserved to be abused because of my past sins, which was a lie from the devil. I hated myself and did not respect myself. So, how could I expect others to love and respect me? I allowed others to control and manipulate me because I put their opinions above God’s in my life.
My people–pleasing was out of control, and I could never say no because I didn’t want to disappoint others. So, I ran around like an idiot, exhausted physically and emotionally drained and all along feeling very empty and unloved inside.
Why was I doing these things? Oh, yes, so others will see value in me and love me.
Well, that never worked. The only one who ever saw value and worth in me was God.
Over time, God was removing the blindness, and I started seeing my unhealthy thinking. As I was seeking Him more and the truth about my past, He started revealing things to me that I did not see before.
I am so thankful for the day when God filled me with His love so completely that I finally stopped looking to humans to approve of me or love me. I was content solely in my relationship with the Lord. He was the only one I needed. This perspective changed my life forever. I am so grateful for God showing me my blind spots so I could know the truth, confess my sins, repent and be set free.
Ask God to show you what your blind spots are.
What areas has God revealed to you that were blind spots?
Can you share them with the group?
How can we pray for you?
I pray this topic has helped you to discover blind spots in your own life. Please reach out if you need prayer or a word of encouragement. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In His love and service,