If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.
My print books can be found at the link below…
If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.
My print books can be found at the link below…
My publisher is having another sale on all of my print books. Use code SELL15 at checkout & get 15% off until April 23 , 2021
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2 Timothy 1:7 in the Amplified Bible says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” It can be so hard to remember that God has given us a healthy mind sometimes! Having lived with many symptoms of C-PTSD for as far back as I can remember then almost all since 2012, there have been more times than not that I have doubted that very Scripture. Clearly I’m not proud of that but it’s true. Waking up during panic & anxiety attacks, the way sometimes anxiety runs roughshod over logic & the crippling agoraphobia I lived with for well over 20 years can make that happen.
If you can relate, then you too may be controlled by a spirit of fear as I have been. There are ways you can identify if this is indeed the problem or not.
Do you have the urge to hide from everyone, even God? Fear can become a self made prison, creating the urge to avoid everyone. Most introverts are fine with plenty of alone time but even so, fear can make even the most die hard introvert spend too much time away from other people & become lonely. It also can make even the most devoted Christian pray less & less.
Is your faith becoming weak? If so, you may be living with a spirit of fear. Fear can create a hindrance for believing in what God has to say. It can make you think irrational thoughts such as all of those promises in the Bible aren’t for you, that God meant them for other people. It can make you doubt the call on your life to the point of not following through with it. It also can make you forget what you know the Bible says or what God has spoken to you.
Fear can consume your thoughts. When fear takes over, all you can think about is the issue that makes you afraid. You neglect relationships, doing a good job at work, caring for children & pets & more.
Fear can skew your judgment. Because fear is so tormenting & miserable, you can become desperate for a way out. This means you may listen to people you normally wouldn’t listen to for advice. You may consider or actually do things you know you shouldn’t do.
If you can relate to these, then you may be operating under the control of a spirit of fear. Don’t lose hope though! You don’t have to live this way any longer!
To start, refocus on God. Read your Bible more often. Subscribe to a daily devotional or Bible in a year email. Listen to Christian music that makes you feel close to God & do it often. Ask Him for help whenever you feel fear. And when you don’t, thank Him & ask Him to help you to live with this type of peace more often.
Consider your situation logically. Ask yourself why this situation makes you so afraid. Is there a valid reason to feel fear? Can harm come to you or someone else? Doing this can help you refocus & accept that there is no real reason to be scared.
Force yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes. It really will help you to have more self confidence which will in turn reduce the amount of fear you feel. When my mother died & I learned I was her personal representative, I didn’t think I could do it. I had no choice though. I legally couldn’t pawn the duties off on anyone else. I literally had to force myself to do things that were miles out of my comfort zone. I did them though. I tried to reward myself almost every time I did something, too. It didn’t have to be anything big. I like driving while listening to good music so I would take a long route home & just enjoy the music. Sometimes I picked up dinner rather than cook. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone helped me to gain more & more confidence, & the rewards helped to cement good feelings in my mind. Try to do the same! Start small & do bigger, scarier things as you feel able, & don’t forget to reward yourself after for a job well done!
In time, you can stop living with that spirit of fear & start living with the sound mind that God has given you!
This time, my publisher is offering 15% off all print books. Simply use code READER15 at checkout until March 26, 2021 to take advantage of the sale. Visit the link below to see my books…
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Those of us who have suffered through narcissistic abuse know trauma, depression, misery & even what it feels like to consider suicide. We have gone through such horrific events that it can feel nearly impossible to find any good in life. Yet we are still blessed! Not because of the abuse, of course, but in spite of it.
Victims of narcissistic abuse always feel weak in the midst of their suffering because they are powerless, but truly, they are strong. It takes an incredible amount of strength to escape the abuse against all efforts of the narcissist to keep you in the relationship. It also takes a great deal of strength to escape with no self esteem, & when you believe you aren’t able to survive without the narcissist in your life. Having such strength, especially in spite of the narcissist’s efforts to destroy it, is a huge blessing!
Victims of narcissistic abuse are also incredibly brave. Narcissists aren’t always physically abusive. They don’t have to be. They can terrify victims with a simple look that can make a victim fear or their life. Going against someone that appears to be incredibly powerful & capable of causing you great pain & suffering is extremely brave! Being so brave is another huge blessing.
Victims of narcissistic abuse are very appreciative. After surviving horrific abuse, victims have a different mentality than the average person. Victims know how bad things can be & how cruel people can be. They have learned to greatly value all of the good things in life. Living life with an appreciative spirit is a wonderful thing that can bring a great deal of joy, & is another blessing.
Victims of narcissistic abuse are loyal. When someone who claimed to love you abuses you to the point of destroying your personhood, it’s hard to trust other people. Once a victim trusts someone & that someone is good to them, however, they are incredibly loyal. Good people are exceptionally precious to those who have suffered narcissistic abuse. Victims will adore & protect these people fiercely, which is why they often make wonderful friends & romantic partners. Friend & romantic partners appreciate such loyalty, so again, this is another blessing.
Victims of narcissistic abuse who turn to God have an extremely close relationship with Him. Of all of the things I have mentioned so far, this is the most wonderful one, in my opinion. I saved the best for last. In typical narcissist fashion, narcissists do their best to convince their victims to believe as they believe. The narcissistic atheist expects their victim to share their beliefs. There are also narcissists who know enough about the Bible to be able to twist Scripture around to the point of justifying their abuse. Such behaviors often convolute a victim’s view of God. For someone to survive this yet come away with faith on any level is impressive, but many have an extremely intimate relationship with God. He blesses these people greatly, too. Isaiah 9: 2-3 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” (NIV) I can’t help but think God has a special place in His heart for those who have been abused, which is why He blesses victims in this way.
By sharing these thoughts, I’m not saying that any victim of abuse should be grateful for their traumatic experiences. I am saying though that it’s good to look at these blessings in your life & be so grateful for them. Be grateful that in spite of the narcissist’s best efforts, he or she couldn’t take these gifts from you. And, be proud of yourself for surviving all that you have! That, as you well know, is no easy feat!
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It seems to be a common false believe that giving someone everything they want, enabling them to do anything they want without consequences is loving & even Godly behavior.
So many people I spoke with in my family were downright cruel to me because I wouldn’t see my father at the end of his life in 2017. The barrage of phone calls, social media messages & emails was intense. I barely read any of the messages, because after reading a couple, I knew how incredibly toxic the rest would be. I thought it wiser to protect my mental health by saving the messages without reading them as evidence for police if I opted to take that route. Anyway after my father’s death, I learned that because I refused to say goodbye, he finally turned to God! In spite of my fears it wouldn’t happen, my father gave his heart to Jesus at the end of his life, & is now in Heaven. (That story is on my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it)
While none of us knew it at the time, me not saying good bye to my father was for his benefit. My family clearly thought I was a cold hearted witch who stayed away out of spite. I knew in my heart God wanted me to stay away & going would have had terrible consequences, but I didn’t know any further details. Me not going made him reach out to God for the first time in I don’t know how long. If I had gone, I firmly believe he wouldn’t have turned to God. So as strange as it may sound, not saying my final good byes to my father was the most loving thing I could do in that situation.
Although many situations are different, the basics are similar. Someone wants you to do something that you know is not in their best interest. It may even cause you pain or problems to do that thing, yet it is expected of you to do it. If you do it, your actions are applauded & if it caused you problems, those problems ignored. If you don’t do it, you’re criticized & even shamed for being selfish or unreasonable.
This is utterly WRONG!
Yes, it’s good to do for other people. Some people genuinely need help & sometimes you are exactly the right person to give that help. But doing anything a person wants isn’t always a good thing. Look what 1 Corinthians 10:23 says:
All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. (AMP)
1 Corinthians 6:12 is similar & just as informative:
Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. (AMP)
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s for the best that you do it, either for you or for someone else. People who are accustomed to getting everything they want are spoiled, entitled, selfish & often feel that they don’t need God. By saying no sometimes, it actually benefits people. They learn to be more self sufficient, they don’t become entitled, selfish jerks. And yes, they may recognize everyone’s need for God in themselves.
Maybe situations in your life aren’t as dire, but still, if you know that doing something for someone isn’t in their best interest or yours, don’t do it! The good will far outweigh the bad!
So many people I have spoken with were abused under the guise of Christianity. Parents abuse their children because they think Proverbs 13:24 basically saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child” means parents have the right to beat their children. They are also often the same parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them by refusing to tolerate their abuse. There are also husbands who demand blind obedience from their wives because Ephesians 5:22 says wives should submit to their husbands. There are even those active in their church who abuse other church members. Some sexually abuse children, others ostracize other members for not fitting their ideal of what they should be & more.
There are so many things wrong with such situations!!
Personally I believe that as wrong as abuse is, when it is done using God as a justification or as a way to lure victims in, that somehow makes the abuse even worse. The person in this situation not only has the fallout of the abuse to deal with, but also is going to have a lot of spiritual damage as well. They may believe God doesn’t care about them or maybe that He simply doesn’t exist at all because what happened to them was so horrific. I felt the same way. My mother went through a phase when I was a teenager of telling me that she knew she was going to Heaven when she died because she was such a good person. I, however, was terrible to her so I was destined for Hell. I thought no God could exist & let me go through what I was going through, but if He did, I clearly wanted no part of Him if that was truly how He was.
Also, it seems to me when people twist Scripture around, if you look at the Bible, somewhere there is at least one nearby verse that clearly proves their interpretation is wrong. Look at Ephesians 5:22 for a second. Yes, it does say that wives should submit to their husbands. It also says in the verse immediately before that a couple should submit to each other. It clearly isn’t one sided, but you won’t hear an abusive husband mention Ephesians 5:21. The same goes for abusive parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them. The Bible also mentions in Ephesians 6:4 & Colossians 3:21 that parents shouldn’t provoke their children.
Truly toxic, abusive, narcissistic people will use the Bible or the label of “Christian” to justify their wicked behavior. To combat this, you have to know the Bible at least a bit. Nowhere in there does it justify any form of abuse! If you have any doubts, do your research with a good concordance or the internet. It won’t take you long to see how wrong the abuser is.
People also claim they are Christian to be underestimated, so people will feel safe with them or if they’re on the fence about something, they will think it’s OK because this person said they’re a Christian. Most people hear someone say they’re a Christian & somehow think those people are impervious to mistakes or bad behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth! EVERYONE makes mistakes for one thing. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need Jesus. And for another thing, no true believer is going to be deliberately abusive towards someone else.
Rather than take someone on their word, observe a person’s behavior. Any true Christian’s behavior should show that they are doing their best to live a good, Godly life. Sure, they make mistakes, but they quickly try to fix them. If they hurt someone, it isn’t done intentionally, they are fast to apologize & change their behavior so it never happens again.
There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, looking for innocent victims. Remembering the points in this article can help you to avoid them.
Since my mother died, I’ve been concerned about her Salvation or lack thereof. I’d been praying for her for years now, but saw no evidence of any change. I asked God for a sign last Saturday if she was saved. No signs happened & I was discouraged.
Monday, hubby & I went to the funeral home to settle things. The guy who owns the place is a Christian. In his office, I saw a small model boat on a bookshelf. The boat’s name was Bailey. I thought that was interesting.. something felt strange though when I noticed that. I couldn’t put my finger on that feeling.
We had a nice long chat about our faith. As he was talking, he suddenly said, “The Lord is putting something on my heart. He wants me to tell you your mom accepted Him.” I had told no one I’d asked for a sign, but that was a big one!
A few minutes later, he said, “He wants me to tell you too, that everything is going to work out somehow. Trust Him. Everything is going to be just fine.” I left feeling a lot better than when I arrived.
And, I decided against a funeral. The people my mother was emotionally the closest to are physically far away. They’re also in failing health or elderly or both, so they won’t be able to attend. She only wanted a graveside service anyway, but still, there isn’t a point in having that for only a few people. My mother was practical so I believe she’d have been fine with my decision. Family members, however, I didn’t think would be. I was afraid of telling them of this considering how awful these people treated me when my father died.
Thank God, among all these awful people, He blessed me with a couple of good ones. One of my cousins said he would take care of telling my father’s family what happened & tell them they are NOT to contact me. So far, not a peep…
As for my mother’s family, I remembered I had an email for one of her cousins. That was the only contact information I had, so I used it. We’ve been talking & she’s been quite helpful. She’s dealt with my mother’s side of the family, so I haven’t needed to. The best part is when I explained there wouldn’t be a funeral & why, she said she thought it was the best solution since so many of her friends & family wouldn’t be able to attend. Whew…
God is truly working in this situation & blessing me beyond description right now. My mother’s salvation being the biggest blessing of all!
I hope this encourages you, Dear Reader. All things truly are possible with God! If my mother could turn to Him, that alone is proof all things are possible!
From March 3-9, 2019, my publisher is having a sale! All of my ebooks will be 25% off.
Come check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
Recently, hubby & I have been looking into changing our car & homeowner’s insurance company to a place where we can get a fairer rate. We found it, I’m very happy to say! It also got me thinking of something I haven’t shared in a while…
Some of you know, my beautiful ’69 Fury once belonged to my wonderful granddad. He gave the car to my father in 1976 when his car was stolen. In 1979, the transmission & rear end were going out, & he didn’t want the expense of replacing them both. My father sold the car to a local junkyard instead. I was only 8, & still remember the day this happened. My mother followed him in her car to the junkyard. He talked with the guy there briefly, & gave him the keys. Then he got into my mother’s car & we drove off to pick up his next car from the dealer. I remember staring out the window, watching the Fury get smaller & smaller in the distance. I’ve always loved cars, & for some reason, that one in particular, so it made me sad. My father even gave me a spare set of keys that I kept for years.. possibly they’re still in my parents’ house, I don’t know.
Anyway in 2005, my husband & I went to a local flea market. After parking, as we crossed the parking area, we saw this gorgeous green 1969 Fury! I was excited & told him it looked just like my father’s & granddad’s! My husband said, “Why don’t you leave a note on the car? Maybe the owner wants to sell.” On a whim, I did. A couple of days later, the owner called me & said he was considering selling the car for about 2 weeks. He sold me this beautiful car.
Shortly after, my father came by my house. He looked at the car & said, “This is my car! I remember this bit of silicone on the windshield trim.. I never could get rid of that. There’s that dent in the back bumper where a guy on a motorcycle rear ended me!” I thought that is impossible. His car had to be crushed years ago. Still, it’s very interesting…the same exact dent in the bumper? Silicone on the chrome in the same place? And, come to think of it, the keys the seller gave me said “Taylor” on them like my father’s keys did. They weren’t the original Plymouth keys, but copies. It got him & I both thinking.
After going home, my father called me. He found the maintenance records he had for his cars. Although he got rid of the ones for his Fury, he still had the VIN that he wrote down when he had the car during the latter part of the 1970’s. I compared it to the VIN on my car. It was an exact match!!! I was the proud owner not of a twin to my father & granddad’s car as I expected, but their exact car! Check this out.. the above VIN is what my father wrote down in the 1970’s. The bottom is the VIN off my car that I wrote down…
I know a lot of people who read my work probably aren’t car buffs like I am. But, I do believe many of you can appreciate this story anyway. This amazing car is such a wonderful display of God’s kindness & love! Getting this beautiful car is not something I ever expected to happen. It never even crossed my mind. It crossed God’s though. He was working on this back in 1979 apparently. The guy at the junkyard easily could have simply crushed the car, but he didn’t. He repaired the transmission & rear end. In fact, in 1990 I remember seeing the car at a traffic light, & wondering if that was the same car I had known. Apparently one former owner also had engine work done, so the engine is in fantastic shape. The car was also painted & the interior reupholstered. I not only got the same car, I got the same car in great condition!
If God could orchestrate all of this just to get this car to me & in such great shape, I think that is proof of how incredible He is! I mean, this plan was in place for 26 years, & all just because I always loved this car. Isn’t that mind blowing?! And, the Bible says in Acts 10:34 that God doesn’t show partiality, so this means if He can do something so amazing for me, He can do something amazing for you, too. xoxo
So over the last couple of weeks, on top of dealing with my husband’s father’s sudden passing, one of our beautiful kitties, Zippy, got sick with a urinary tract issue plus a reaction to his medication. On our way to the vet’s offie, we hit an unusual amount of green lights & little traffic. We were only there a short time. And, as usual, there was no emergency fee (I think it’s $65) because our vet is more concerned with caring for animals than making huge profits. I truly have the most awesome, wonderful vet in the universe 🙂
On the good side, as I’m writing this, Zippy is doing well. It’ll take him a few days to get back to normal, but praise God, he’ll be normal again!
Also as I was writing this, my husband called after his dad’s funeral service was done. Naturally it was tough, but the good thing is our neighbor showed up to be there for him. How sweet is that?! As if him & his wife baking a couple of cakes for the wake wasn’t kind enough.
The past week has been incredibly rough but while I was thinking about it, I realized yet again how true Psalm 23:4 is….
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (KJV)
The reason I’m telling you about this is to encourage you. I know during hard times it can feel like God is nowhere around. It sure can feel like you’re walking alone in, “the valley of the shadow of death!” I’ve felt the same way myself the last few days. But, whether or not you feel His presence, God is there, listening to your prayers & working out your situation. Somehow, some way, God will help you get through even the hardest of times.
This was hardly the first time God has helped us & no doubt it won’t be the last, so I feel assured in telling you that if you’re going through hard times, even if you feel totally alone, you really aren’t. God is there with you, in your corner, working things out somehow for the best solution to the situation. You’re never alone in those dark valleys of the shadow of death! Keep praying, keep believing & He will show up in ways you never expected. xoxo
The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.
Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home. Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him. Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age. Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live. Friday, June 22, his father died.
Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.
The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.
First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change. When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die. Never take anyone you love for granted! Enjoy every moment you can with them. Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them. I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.
Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible. Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable. Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible. Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love. Do whatever benefits your peace & joy. No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?
If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times. Animals do love us & want to help if they can. Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures. He called just as I took the last picture. Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them. I really believe they knew what was going on. And, when my husband got home, they proved it. The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night. They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!
I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering. This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October. I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year. It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think. I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet. I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.
If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too. Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.
So, that’s what has been happening recently. I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you. xoxo
Two years ago yesterday was a big argument with my parents. The biggest ever. That’s saying something because there have been some very ugly fights over the years.
I knew something ugly was brewing. My husband’s mom died 5 days prior, & he’d warned me there was an obituary in the local paper that my parents read religiously. I knew they would call about it, & I figured it’d be something like, “she was such a lovely woman” & other nonsense. My parents knew perfectly well that I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002. I’d told them that she was cruel to me (a covert narcissist), & they only met her twice. I didn’t think her death would be of any major concern to them. Comments praising her supposed sainthood were expected, & that was it. I did NOT expect the huge blow up it turned into. In fact, I’d prayed when I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID, asking God to help me behave & not blow up. That didn’t happen.. I blew. I blew big time. When both of my parents made it clear that they were mad at me for not telling them she died so they could go “pay their respects”, I blew. I felt betrayed by that, & by the fact they didn’t understand why I felt betrayed. I spelled out my feelings & they didn’t get it. (I don’t know why I even wasted my breath doing that when I know better.) I remember each of my parents defending themselves, & I kept saying things like “you know how she treated me”. They responded the same.. “But that’s Eric’s MOTHER!” I always responded with, “But I’m YOUR DAUGHTER!” Nothing. They said absolutely nothing in return to that, as if that fact was unimportant & the only thing that mattered was that this person was my husband’s mother.
What was odd is after I hung up & was praying, I knew God wanted my parents to see me that angry. I started out saying I was sorry for how I acted. I’d yelled at & cussed at my parents! That was awful & I was so sorry for not letting God lead my behavior. He said it’s ok- they needed to see their normally calm, reasonable daughter livid because of what they did (I’m still not sure why exactly). This argument also opened the door for no contact. I finally felt the time was right after wanting to do it for over a year & knowing in my heart the timing wasn’t right. My mother gave me the silent treatment anyway for standing up to her, so that was easy. My father was tougher since he always demanded I talk to him whenever he wanted, no matter what I had going on.
It’s strange the way things worked out for the best in spite of how much that incident hurt me. Good came from it! It taught me to trust God more, since He clearly helped me that night to accomplish what needed to be done. He truly knows best & it’s amazing how He guides you when you let Him. It also helped me to realize I can stand up for myself, which is something I never felt well equipped to do.
I guess my point in sharing this, Dear Reader, is you really can trust God to enable you to do whatever you need to do, & that includes standing up to narcissist. I know, that is incredibly difficult to do. But, it’s also very possible. Trust Him- He won’t lead you wrong! He’ll give you the words you need to say as you need them. He’ll give you strength & courage. He’ll help you to be quiet when the timing is wrong for standing up to them & help you when the timing is right. God is truly a loving, caring Father. He always has your back! xoxo
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for]your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (AMP)
When it comes to loving narcissists, it feels like an impossible task. They aren’t easy people to love, because of all the cruel & horrible things they do to their victims. How can you feel all warm & fuzzy towards someone who deliberately hurts you?!
You can’t. But, the good news is God’s kind of love isn’t always about the warm & fuzzy feelings. Reread the above Scripture again if you don’t believe me. It says that “love is unselfishly seeking the best or higher good for someone.” You can do that without feeling warm, fuzzy feelings.
Probably about two years ago by now, God put it on my heart to pray for some people who have hurt me a great deal in my life. Then, He kept wanting me to add to the list. Daily I pray for many abusive people who have been in my life, including my narcissistic parents. Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle for me to pray for such mean people at first, but it’s gotten much easier as I’ve gotten in the habit of praying for them each morning. I even set a reminder on my cell phone to remind me to pray each morning.
It has helped me too, to realize it’s possible to love someone without liking them. We are called to love people, not like them, & there is a big difference. Loving someone means you want the best for them while liking someone can be more about the “fuzzy” feelings.
You may not believe it, but it’s possible to love narcissists God’s way. Simply wanting the best for them is Godly love. You may not be able to stand the sight of someone, yet love them God’s way.
In fact, there are loving behaviors that most likely narcissists won’t think are loving, but they truly are. Setting boundaries, for example. Boundaries not only protect you, but they encourage the other person to behave in a healthy way. Sometimes even ending a relationship can be a loving thing to do if you think about it. Just being in the presence of a narcissist can stir up strife. Removing yourself from their life means you are also removing one person for them to abuse. It can be a very loving thing to go no contact for yourself as well as a narcissist.
Remembering these things has been helpful to me. Aside from enabling me to pray for them, & God wants us to pray for our enemies, it’s given me peace. I’ve been accused of hating narcissists that I have ended relationships with, which left me feeling shame. Thankfully God showed me the truth though, & that truth is that I do love them, I just don’t like them. That is important to know because it eliminates guilt & shame that have no place in your heart.
I have friends who follow the Pagan religion. Naturally, they follow Pagan pages on Facebook. Often they share things that inspire them or that they like. It’s not often “join our religion, it’s awesome!!” type posts. In fact, that is rare. 99% of the time what they share are stunning nature themed pictures. A white owl, baby foxes playing, a pretty path in the woods, a wildflower meadow, a starry night… beautiful scenes.
It just crossed my mind that the Christian pages I follow don’t share such images. They share lovely & inspiring things, of course, but I haven’t seen anything like what the Pagan pages share- simple beauty in nature.
I understand that Paganism has entirely different fundamental beliefs than Christianity. That’s why I’m Christian & not Pagan- Christian beliefs make sense to me, Pagan ones don’t. That being said though, there is one thing that I think Christians need to learn from Pagans. They appreciate & respect nature. They enjoy its beauty & what it has to offer. They understand that herbs & plants have healing properties & use them. (True, they can be used for spells & such, too, but simply to enjoy the healing benefits, there isn’t any magic involved.)
Why don’t more Christians do that same thing? I mean, we obviously believe God created everything- why don’t more Christians take the time to appreciate what God has created? Why aren’t more Christians concerned with animal abuse? And, why do so many object to herbal remedies when they are often much safer & more effective than pharmaceuticals?
It’s sad to me how few Christians think that way. I actually unfollowed one Christian page on Facebook some time ago because so many said terrible things about animals- how stupid they are, we don’t need them, “the only way I like animals is barbecued” & other awful things. And, those who professed to love animals were mocked & shamed.
Personally I don’t see anything at all wrong with appreciating & respecting nature. I love staring at the sky on a clear, starry night. A full moon is also one of my favorite sights, as is the colors of changing leaves in the fall. I also love the sounds of a thunder storm or quiet beauty of a blizzard. Obviously, I love animals- I brag about mine plenty! lol I also use valerian root capsules & lemon balm for anxiety & St. John’s Wort capsules for depression rather than prescription medications, & have mentioned that in several of my books.
Doing such things hasn’t compromised my faith in God one bit. In fact, it makes me feel closer to God when I stare in awe at the moon & stars. Taking in the beauty of nature helps keep me grounded, calms my anxiety & makes me very grateful for the wonders around me. Being close to my furkids makes me grateful that He has seen fit to bless me with these adorable critters. They bring me an incredible amount of joy. I’m also grateful for the natural remedies to help my mental health, especially knowing I don’t run the risk of awful side effects so many prescription anti-anxiety & anti-depression meds have.
Dear Reader, I hope if you haven’t considered these things before, you will now. God made the Earth & everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What could possibly be wrong with using & appreciating the beautiful, useful things He has made, even thanking Him for them?
Remember my recent post about my father? Last Monday, October 23, my father passed away.
I didn’t visit him once in the hospital. As I’ve said before, no contact means no contact, no matter what. It’s been very hard though. I wished I could’ve said goodbye, but I knew not doing so was my only option. Every time I doubted & asked God if I should go, not only would He tell me no, signs came out of everywhere telling me not to go. It was pretty incredible! He told me mentally & physically, I couldn’t take it. The stress as well as the vicious people involved would be too much for my mental & physical health. Even so, staying away was still hard. Apparently it bothered others as well judging by the many hateful messages I’ve gotten from people who don’t even know me. Little did I know that more was happening, & staying away truly was the right thing to do in many ways, not just for myself.
I’ll discuss it in more detail in the next post, but I received a word of knowledge that my father was born again at the very end of his life. Me staying away was a part of why that happened, because it meant my father finally cried out to God.
The reason I’m telling you this, Dear Reader, is not only to give you an update, but also to let you know that God is truly good & faithful. If you know in your heart He wants you to do or not to do something, listen to it! Even if you don’t understand why, know He has a very good reason. Don’t cave into pressure from anyone! They don’t know your situation because they haven’t lived it- why would their input have any value? They also aren’t you, so even if they know your situation, they would handle it differently because you two are different people. They don’t know your heart & mind well enough to know what is best for you. God, however, does. Listen to & trust Him & only Him! He is well worth listening to & trusting!
Also, never give up praying for someone. You may not see them give their life to Jesus, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. It happened with my father one hour before he died, while comatose. If that was possible, isn’t anything possible? After all, Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (KJV)
Something I’ve wondered about & I’m sure many others have as well is why does it seem like so many bad people lived charmed lives while the rest of us struggle on a daily basis. I mean, just look at most narcissists as one example- they often go through life with few health problems, while those around them have illnesses & diseases of all kinds. Many narcissists are very successful in their careers or financially comfortable. They also never seem to have any consequences for their evil actions. Meanwhile, their victims are often sick, living with mental illnesses such as C-PTSD, depression & anxiety & often broke financially.
I know, the Bible says we aren’t to worry about this. Psalm 37:1-4 says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (KJV) I do trust God, & don’t get mired down in envying such people. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been curious over why things are this way.
Recently, the movie “God’s Not Dead” came on television & answered this question for me. What a fantastic movie!! If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Anyway, there is one scene where a very successful man visits his aging mother with dementia in the nursing home. As he visits her, he says that he doesn’t understand why this happened to her. She prayed & was a very good person, yet this happened to her. Meanwhile, he had no problem lying or cheating to make his money, & living the good life. His mother had a moment of clarity, & told him the devil leaves some people alone so they never feel the need to reach out to God for anything. She quickly returned to her sad, catatonic type state after saying this. The scene was quite moving.
The wisdom in that lady’s statement made so much sense to me! It answered a question I’ve had since I became a Christian over 20 years ago. These people aren’t blessed. God isn’t blessing them in spite of the bad seeds they sow. The devil is simply not opposing them like he does with many people. Instead, he allows these people to live successful lives, so they won’t feel the need to reach out to God. Most of us became Christians in dark times so it seems logical to have some people avoid dark times thus making them feel no need to reach out to God.
Believe me, I’m not one to blame the devil & his demons for every bad thing. I believe his power is limited, & he isn’t an impressive foe. However, I do believe he tries to influence people & creates some bad circumstances with his limited repertoire. It makes perfect sense to me that he would think this way.
Honestly, I can’t say this is true, or back it up with Scripture. I’m just saying I think this may be the case. Since I found it interesting, I thought I would share it with you, Dear Reader, in case you think so too.
I recently read about a term called spiritual bypassing. It was coined by a psychologist named John Welwood in the 1980’s. The term is used to describe when a person uses their religious beliefs to avoid dealing with uncomfortable things, healing old wounds & meeting important psychological needs.
While the term applies to all religions, I thought of it as to how it relates to Christianity since I’m not overly familiar with most other religions & most of my readers are also Christians.
Also, please know that I’m not trying to judge anyone. I’ve been guilty of doing some of these things myself.
Becoming very active in church activities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being active in your church, but when you spend more time at church than with your family, something is wrong. It needs to be done in balance. Otherwise, resentments can build & trouble starts in your relationships. You may even develop a superior attitude because you participate so much in your church.
Judging people for being angry or hurt. The Bible says we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger. Jesus said we are to forgive those who trespass against us in the Lord’s prayer. Seems obvious to me that we’re going to feel angry or hurt sometimes, otherwise the need to forgive wouldn’t be mentioned in the Bible. Remember, there is nothing wrong with anger or hurt. They are God-given emotions that tell us when something isn’t right. It’s what we do with the emotions that can be wrong.
Ignoring your own anger or hurt in favor of saying you forgive that person. Maybe you think it makes you holy to claim forgiveness rather than facing your negative emotions, but it only sets you up for problems. Emotions demand to be heard, especially the strong ones like anger. If you ignore them, they will find another way to be heard, & most likely, not such a good way.
Being too positive. So many people in the world emphasize the importance of thinking positively. Positive confessions are stressed as very important. People are criticized for “being too negative” if they admit they are struggling or hurting. In fact, people can be downright shamed for discussing abuse since it’s so “negative”. I’ve been told I need to “get over my childhood hurts” for example, which at the time, was extremely painful to hear. I felt ashamed. I felt like I was making too big of a deal out of being abused. I felt like a bad Christian for not just forgiving & forgetting. The truth is though, that when I tried to be positive, not talk or think about what I’ve gone through, & to “forgive & forget,” I was miserable. Now that I’m open with my experiences, & facing things head on, I’m not so miserable. I started using good boundaries. I’ve gotten a more balanced view of my situation- bad things happened to me. Horrible things, really, but God brought me through them & is helping me to heal. He’s also helping me to write about my experiences to help others which I love doing. I can’t honestly say I’m grateful for my bad experiences, but I’m grateful good has come from them.
Claiming to be happy 100% of the time. Yes, in God’s presence is fullness of joy, according to the Psalms. Yes, Jesus told us to “be of good cheer.” However, no one is above feeling bad sometimes. It’s not a sin to feel sad, scared, hurt or angry. They are natural reactions to abnormal circumstances. Jesus wasn’t exactly happy in the Garden of Gethsemane now was He? Or, when He flipped over the vendors’ tables in the church. He also got frustrated with the apostles & their lack of faith. Even Jesus wasn’t above feeling emotions other than joy.
Trying to be perfect all of the time. People are NOT perfect! If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus now would we? ’nuff said!
Seeing the best in people. I have given up looking for the best in people, & instead, look for the real in people. If you only see the best, you can set yourself up to be taken advantage of or victimized in some way, because you’d feel guilty for being negative or judgmental. It just makes sense to be realistic about people. There is nothing wrong with that! Jesus basically told His apostles the same thing. Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)
Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.” (TLB)
Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell. This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people. Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there. Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.
Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian. Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it. I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”
Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.
Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them. One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.
If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them. They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity! Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work. Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better. If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!
Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them. Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.
By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well. Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.
Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you. Why don’t you try it? Share stories with your friends & family. Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.
Romans 15:2 “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)
One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small. Doing so encourages others. It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone. That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.
I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers. For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times. For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them. They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell. Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away. I believe most people are that way as well. Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word. I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.
Also, sharing your stories encourages you too. It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love. You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself. What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?
Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith. While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself. How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (KJV)
There are people watching you every single day. Other Christians may be comparing your faith to theirs while unbelievers are judging you to see if you’re the real thing or not. I also personally believe our loved ones who have passed on & are in Heaven now are aware of what is happening in our lives.
Do you think about the kind of image you present?
I’ve learned a couple of very valuable things on this topic since I became a Christian in 1996, & I’d like to share them with you today.
People don’t respond well to the “holier than thou” types- they prefer people who are real. As a new Christian, I quickly learned this one. Those who looked down on me because I didn’t grow up in the church, because I was divorced, because I had once dabbled in the occult or because I was a new Christian really got under my skin. Their “I’m better than you” attitude made me feel insecure & even doubt God’s love for me. But, people who told me things like, “I was a drug addicted prostitute before I met Jesus” or admitted their current struggles encouraged me. They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you. And, you can be a Christian & still make mistakes or deal with struggles. Being saved doesn’t mean life is perfect & if it isn’t, something is wrong with you. It means you’re human! Admitting your faults & struggles helps people see you’re like them- flawed, but trying to improve yourself. And, if Jesus can love imperfect you, then just maybe He can love imperfect them as well!
Closely related to being real is letting your behavior witness to others more than your words. People can say anything- it’s their actions that speak volumes about what is inside of them. Let your actions show that you are trying to live a Godly life. If you quote Scripture yet steal, lie, cheat, judge, criticize or hurt people, you’ll be viewed as a hypocrite. This can turn other people away from not only you, but God as well. Unbelievers see you proclaiming your faith yet acting worse than atheists, & will want to run as far from God as they can.
Bragging about the blessings God has given you is a good thing! Whether God healed you from a fatal illness, restored a broken relationship or provided you with something you needed, people are encouraged by these stories. They build the faith of Christians & entice non-believers to learn more about this God of yours. As many of you know, I have my late Granddad’s car thanks to God providing quite a miracle. (The story is here if you care to read it: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/gods-love-for-you/ ) I absolutely love telling the story of how I got it. It’s interesting because you can tell by people’s reactions who is a Christian & who isn’t. Christians praise God & unbelievers look puzzled. Either way, the listener is usually uplifted by such a cool story.
Never be ashamed of your faith. Some Christians are very hesitant to mention their faith. They act embarrassed about it. Why? There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of! I’m not saying you have to talk about nothing but Jesus, but there is nothing wrong with saying you’re praying for something or bragging about something God has done for you. Your faith is the central focus of your life- why not mention it when you feel it’s appropriate? Just use common sense & speak in balance about it. Unbelievers can be very put off by Christians who speak of nothing but God, their faith, their church, etc. I remember that feeling- I thought those people were crazy. I understood that God was important to them, but I never understood why they didn’t seem to have room for anything else in their lives.
If you’d like more information on this topic, I wrote a free ebook on it. It’s available at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/documents/AWitnessOfFaith.pdf
Recently, I was talking with a dear friend. She’s been having trouble with her sister, & handling the problem very well. She’s showing God’s love & grace in this difficult situation.
I felt bad as we spoke, because I knew if that was me in her shoes, I’d be very angry. I felt like I wasn’t being a good Christian because of that. Immediately, God spoke to my heart.
This friend has told me that growing up, she spoke up to her narcissistic mother. She never stifled her anger.
I however, was her polar opposite- I learned early on never to show any anger.
Growing up, my mother would holler at me for my “Bailey temper” even if I was simply frustrated. I learned very young it was better to stifle my anger rather than show it & be shamed. It’s only been the last couple of years I’ve been letting myself show anger. In fact, I can’t stifle it any longer. I get over it & forgive the other person quickly, but it still feels somewhat foreign to get angry.
I can’t really compare myself to this lady because we’re so different. God wants me to show my anger, I believe, so I’m not wrong when I feel it or show it. For her, she chooses not to get angry with her sister & that is what’s right for her. Neither of us are wrong or bad. We’re simply doing what is right for us. And, both of our solutions are Biblical. Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies & forgive them, which is what my friend is doing in her situation. Various Scriptures tell of times when Jesus Himself got angry (Mark 10:13-16, Mark 11:15-17, etc). Being angry is not a sin! It’s what you do with your anger that can be sinful. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (NKJV)
Realizing all of this was so freeing! It helped me to feel I’m on the right path for me, just as she is for her. It also helped me to stop feeling shame for when I get angry like I did at first (old habits truly die hard).
This situation also goes to prove that we all have very individual walks with God. Sure, there are some basic things He wants from all of us, like following the 10 commandments. But beyond that? We all have very unique & individual paths to take. Don’t compare yourself to another person. Instead, enjoy your own path, & enjoy the freedom there is in that.