Boundaries—Why Are They So Important?

Boundaries—Why Are They So Important?

Psalm 34:18, Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16

Personal boundaries, as defined by Psychology today, “Are the limits we set with other people, which indicate what we will accept and what we consider unacceptable behavior towards us. To know our boundaries comes from a healthy view of ourselves.” When that view is distorted due to emotional trauma as children (whether we did not get the love and care from our family which is a Type A Trauma or we were sexually, emotionally, or physically abused as children which is Type B Trauma). All these experiences as children cause us to have a distorted view of ourselves, God, and others and it prevents us from maturing into healthy stable adults. (Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You, A Life Model Book)

This distorted view of ourselves especially those of us who have had abortions opens up the door to all kinds of unhealthy and destructive behavior. God created women to love and nurture their children and then we did the opposite. Our hopes and dreams as young girls are dashed, and we are now open to all kinds of unhealthy destructive coping mechanisms and ungodly behavior to deal with our pain. Our very souls are tormented and we feel desperately alone, depressed and even suicidal.

So how can we stop this destructive cycle of accepting and enabling unhealthy behavior from others? First, we must realize we have a Savior and a friend who is the lover of our soul, and His name is Jesus. He is the only one that can heal our broken spirits, our broken bodies and our broken minds. Psalm 34:18 ESV “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves the crushed in spirit.” He is the only one that can take the disaster we have made of our lives and restore order and peace. And He alone can give us a new hope, new dreams, a new purpose, and a new life. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

In childhood, I did not learn what healthy boundaries look like. I became a people pleaser at a very young age and as a result I allowed people to take advantage of me and treat me very poorly and I never said a word. I wondered why I never truly felt loved by others; what was it? I was allowing all kinds of unhealthy behavior because I didn’t love and respect myself, especially after my abortion. I now despised myself. I didn’t understand why others didn’t treat me with love, kindness and compassion. I realized they cannot give what they do not have. But that took many decades for me to come to that understanding. I also recognized that they did the best they could with what they had and I released them into God’s Hands and started praying for and forgave them.

We all have our wounds and issues from our past, which causes us to be self-consumed and blinded, and we cannot see how we are hurting others closest to us. Only God can give us awareness and the courage to stop accepting unacceptable behavior and establish healthy boundaries. For the first time, I used my voice to explain my boundaries and insist they be respected. There was some push back but I was not going to waiver. At first, putting up boundaries is hard to do. But as God heals us, we get stronger, bolder and more courageous, and we no longer want to just exist, we want to experience the abundant life Jesus came to give us. The first step in recovery is recognizing my life is unmanageable and I need God to help me.

Dear One, I want you to know that God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for you. (John 3:16) Have you received this gift of love and forgiveness from God? If not you can do that today? If you do know the Lord, then ask Him to help you to love yourself and to have courage to put up boundaries and no longer accept unhealthy behavior. He will help you if you ask Him, He did it for me and I know He will do it for you too.

 

 

Blessings,

Toni

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Focusing on the One Thing I Don’t Have

Focusing on the One Thing I Don’t Have

Focusing on the One thing I don’t have, Eve.

Genesis 2:15-3:9, and Isaiah 61:1-3

How does the enemy torment a believer? It’s very simple actually, by getting us to focus on the one thing we don’t have: it can be financial security, a relationship, good health, a job, a family, a nice home, etc. So, let me ask you, what one thing are you focusing on right now that you don’t have?

Let’s look at Eve for example, she lived in a beautiful garden in perfect harmony with her husband and all of creation and they walked with and spoke with God daily. She had everything she could ever want, except one thing; God told them not to touch or eat of the tree in the midst of the garden because when they eat of it their eyes will be open and they will know good and evil. So, what does the serpent, the devil do? He comes to Eve after observing her looking at the tree. This is not in the Bible, but we know that the devil cannot read our minds. But he and his demons observe us and how we react to things. So, he is observing Eve over a period of time and notices her looking at the tree; he slithers by and starts talking with Eve. The first thing he does is to put doubt in Eve’s mind that God doesn’t love her or else he would have given her everything, that “God is holding out on you, because he knows if you eat of it you will be like God knowing good and evil.” No, the truth is, that by disobeying God, sin entered the world and there will now be conflict between the woman and her husband, all of creation will be forever changed, and their relationship with God will be broken. They will now experience pain, grief, sorrow, shame, and guilt and Adam and Eve will be forced out of their beautiful garden to never return again. They will be cursed as a result of their sins. That sounds pretty harsh but that’s how evil sin is, we like to justify sin so it doesn’t sound so bad, but the truth is sin is destructive and it separates us form God and others.

Many of us chose abortion, drunkenness, drugs, promiscuity and lying, as a way to cope with all of the pain and destructive choices in our lives. We were spiraling out of control, until one day we met the Savior, who had mercy on us and saved us from the path of destruction we were on. He exchanged our ashes for something beautiful, He took our mourning and grief; he gave us joy and exchanged our rags for a beautiful pure white garment. He gave us a new life, a new destiny, a new song, and a new purpose. I don’t want my old life back because that person is dead and gone. I have been made new and I no longer desire the things I use to do.

 

Let me ask you what are you struggling with today?

 

What thing is the enemy causing you to focus on?

 

Have you ever asked Jesus to forgive your sins and to become your Lord and Savior?

 

How can we pray for you?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Philippians 4:8-9

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, brining every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV

“Finally, brethren whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received, and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with.”

All of us know a person who can suck all the air out of a room because every word that comes out of their mouth is negative. Have you ever experienced that before? It is emotionally draining to be in the company of a negative person for a long period of time, before we too are dragged down into the pit with them. Are you plagued with negative thoughts?

The enemy is continually trying to trip us up, because his goal is to get us to focus on the negative things, instead of all the things we should be thankful for. Do you have a gratitude list? If you don’t, I suggest you do one today, and write down all the things you are thankful for. When you feel a negative thought coming on, just get out your list and remind yourself, God is still on the throne and He is in control and He is aware of everything that is going on in the world. He uses all of it for His purpose and plans in all of our lives. We must remember God is good all the time, and He is love, that is His character. He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The battlefield truly is the mind, that is where spiritual warfare starts and that’s where we have a choice to take it on or not. Right now, we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic, many are fearful, but as believers we need to be seeking the Lord even more now, so we have His perspective on this. What are you focusing on now? Do you feel peaceful and hopeful or depressed and hopeless?

I have a list of Biblical truths that I read over every morning to remind myself that I am adopted and loved by God. This is how I put my armor on to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy.

Who I am in Christ, to Combat Rejection.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am accepted.

I am adopted.

I am confident and competent.

I am a child of God.

I have the Holy Spirit within me.

I am victorious in Christ.

I have a home in heaven.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

I am valued by God, I am His precious child, I have a home in heaven.

I will fear no evil!

When I read this every morning it protects my mind from the lies and negative thoughts that the enemy wants me to focus on. When I don’t read my list, I am vulnerable to the enemy’s devices; I am impatient, unkind, and easily frustrated. Lord You are showing me that today in fact, I must make time with You each morning; You are my priority, reading Your Word daily is food for my soul, praying is a time for me to hear from you and to talk to you, and journaling is a time when I go even deeper with You seeking your wisdom and wanting so much to hear from you to lead and guide me in my life and in all I do, because I want my life to be pleasing to you and I want you to be glorified through it. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me and convicting me of that today.

Father in heaven, I pray for each woman on this call and for the women on-line reading this blog. I pray they will seek you with their whole heart. Show them how much you love them in a very real and tangible way. Protect them from the lies and negative thoughts of the enemy and help them to focus on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Renew their minds daily as they read Your Word. Heal them and bind up their wounds as only You can, for you only, are their Mighty Counselor and Great Physician. Meet them where they are and lead them by Your righteous right hand. Forgive all of their sins and heal them Lord. Thank you for Your love, mercy, grace, and compassion upon them. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts?

How often are you plagued with these thoughts?

Is there a person or situation that causes you to start thinking negatively?

What have you done to help protect yourself from this kind of negative thinking?

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of God

Stinking Thinking: My Distorted View of God

Proverbs 23:7a, Romans 2:4d, 1 Corinthians 6:20, and John 3:16

 

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

First, the Word of God says in Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” What we think about ourselves dictates how we see ourselves, God, and others, and how we respond to things. If we see ourselves as children of God, loved, cherished and adopted into God’s family, we will see we are truly special, set apart by God for good works. We will have a more positive view of the world. If we feel we are unlovable because of our past sins, and not a person of value, we will feel depressed, lonely, and hopeless. Can you see that what we think determines how we feel?

My first distorted view of God started when I was a very young child around 6 or 7 years old. I saw God as an angry God who was unapproachable. I was told as a child, if I did something wrong God would punish me, I was constantly waiting for the hammer to drop on my head every time I did something wrong. The church was old and had beautiful stained-glass windows, but inside it was dark, cold, and people spoke in Latin. I did not see the love of God there. All I saw were strict rules and harsh punishment for disobeying. I saw students hit with rulers on a regular basis. This kept me hiding again, like I did at home, when my father was having one of his angry outbursts.

It’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4d) One method to modify behavior is through fear of judgement; the other is through love. God wants us to obey Him out of love and not out of fear. If you love someone and they love you, you want to spend time with this person, but when you think of someone as a harsh person, this is not someone who you feel safe and comfortable with. Do you see the difference? God is love, and His grace is undeserved. Because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, the least I can do is serve Him and obey His Word. I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20); the precious blood of Jesus paid the penalty for my sins and the sins of the whole world.

I did not see the love of God evident in my old church. It wasn’t until I was 34, when I attended a small Baptist church in NJ, that I heard the gospel for the first time. The building was very plain, no stained-glass windows. There was a cross in the front where the preacher stood and a piano. But one thing I did see displayed was the love of God that these people had. That’s what drew me to Jesus. It was the preaching of the Word of God through the Bible and the love of God in the words and actions and on the faces of the people who attended that small church.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son… ” He loved us so much He gave His Son to die for you and me; that is a picture of sacrificial love. Thank you, Jesus, for willingly dying on the cross for us, I know it’s your love for the world that held you on that cross.

I believe the enemy is hard at work to distort our view of God, to make us doubt that He truly loves us and cares about us. Look at Eve in the garden, the snake (Satan), the deceiver and father of lies, trying to plant seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind regarding whether God’s Word can be trusted. I can imagine she was thinking, “God is holding back something good from me, He does not really love me because if He did, He would give me everything I want.” Adam and Eve did not know what was best for them, and it’s the same with us; we do not know what’s best for us either. God told us not to have sex before marriage. Was He holding out on us? No, actually He was protecting us, especially those of us who would abort our babies. He was trying to protect us and our babies.

I realized that it was out of love that God did not want me to have sex outside of marriage, because He wanted to protect me. If only I had trusted God and invited Him into my decision-making process and believed that He would provide for my baby and I, then perhaps I would have had courage to choose life for my baby. Instead my distorted view of God made me fearful to approach Him with my needs, which was the enemys plan. If the enemy can cause us to panic and not seek Gods wisdom, provision, and protection, then he has won the battle.

What were your distorted views of God when you were younger?

How do you see Him now?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!

Why Is Forgiveness so Important to Our Well-Being

Why Is Forgiveness so Important to Our Well-Being

Matthew 6:14-15, Hebrews 12:14-15, Proverbs 16:24 and 17:22

God commands us to forgive others. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Unforgiveness toward another person is a sin and separates us from God. If God can forgive me of all the evil I have done, how can I not forgive others? When we are in sin, we give the enemy a foothold. To prevent the enemy from gaining this access to our lives and tormenting us, we must confess our sins. If I hold onto unforgiveness, I become resentful, and then eventually bitter. Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…”

Unforgiveness left unchecked will defile all my relationships including and especially, my relationship with God. By releasing an individual into God’s hands for the offense they have committed against me or my family, I am handing them over to God for Him to deal with them. I then pray for that individual, continually asking the Lord to help me see the good in them and to help me forgive them. Forgiveness is a process. Keep asking God to help you forgive others.

In my family of origin, forgiveness was not demonstrated. Instead, we would just cut people off. For many years I didn’t see my cousins from my father’s side of the family because of some dispute. I picked up on that as a child and learned it as normal behavior. There is no grace and no forgiveness, only harsh words, actions and broken families. My family doesn’t apologize for things. They simply avoid bringing these things up for discussion, leaving the issues unresolved. Over time, I am supposed to forget about the offence because people will never apologize. However, I am a believer and am held to a higher standard; I am commanded to forgive others. I must obey God. He knows what is best for me. Holding onto unforgiveness destroys my peace; it controls me and torments me. On the other hand, when I forgive someone, they no longer have power over me and I am set free.

The Bible says that our words should be life affirming and encouraging to the hearer. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” In Proverbs 17:22 we read, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” We represent God to a world sitting in darkness and torment. The world does not know what the truth is; it is deceived by the evil one.

The people I need to forgive who were involved in my abortion decision:

  • The nurses and doctor for performing my abortion
  • Law makers for making abortion legal
  • My boyfriend for not fighting for our baby
  • Myself for thinking it was ok to tell my boyfriend we didn’t need birth control

Who do you need to forgive?

Forgiveness leads to freedom. It sets me free from holding others responsible for the wrongs they have done. By releasing them to God, they no longer have power over me. I choose to let go and to forgive them. This is not always easy, but it is critically important for my peace with God and others.

—Toni

Further reading on this topic:

Forgiveness

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!