Tag Archives: Christ

Loving Narcissists?!

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.

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Do You Appreciate & Respect Nature?

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?

 

 

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Some Recent Miracles That I Believe Will Encourage You

I’ll warn you up front- this post may sound rather strange to you & will be long.  That being said, I want to share my story to encourage & help people understand just how much God truly loves His children!

As I mentioned previously, my father died on Monday, October 23.  That day was strange as were the following days.

Early that Monday afternoon, a neighbor of ours came by to visit as he frequently does.  He could tell I’d been crying & asked what was going on.  I told him that my father was being taken off life support that day, & I was sick of people attacking me for not being there.  He gave me some good advice that I want to share with you in case you’re going through a similar situation.  (Pardon the bad language in advance- this is just how he talks.  He’s not one to sugarcoat things, obviously, but he has a good heart.) He said, “”Girl, you gotta protect your heart. Don’t let that s**t get inside you. Crazy a*s people need to mind their own f*****g business.  They don’t know s**t about your situation.  You do what you need to & f**k them!”  My neighbor was absolutely right.  In these situations, people do need to mind their own business (not that they usually do unfortunately)!  You also have to protect your heart & not let their hatefulness get inside you.

A little later that same afternoon, before I knew my father was gone, a good friend of mine got a word from God.  He told her that He left my father on life support for so long to try to get him saved.  My father talked to God about many things but mostly why I wouldn’t see him.  He even argued with God & even said he was a good father.  God showed him otherwise.  My father also didn’t want to die with unfinished business- he wanted to see me, & God told him that wasn’t going to happen.  He showed him Heaven & Hell & told him to choose.  He eventually repented & chose Heaven.  About one hour later, my father was dead, passing quietly once life support was removed.

While my friend got this word, I was outside with my husband & our neighbor.  I saw a monarch butterfly & it felt odd.  Usually butterflies are something my grandfather & I shared, but this didn’t feel that way somehow.  I’d also had an odd sensing off & on of my father fighting with God, as I had for the previous few days.  I came inside my house a bit later,  & saw my friend’s message.  She said yes, my father was indeed fighting in the spiritual realm for quite some time.  God told her to tell me my father will see me again one day & he’s very sorry.  Also it’s because of all the prayers he finally got saved, & I am to continue praying for my mother.  (Never give up praying for someone, Dear Reader!!  God truly hears those prayers!!)

Later on Monday, I took a shower.  When I was about to get into the tub, I suddenly remembered something important.  I’d asked God to give me a sign if my father was with Him after he died.  That was the monarch butterfly!  And, God spoke to me saying that me not having any contact with my father for his final few months served an important purpose- not only to protect myself, but also to force my father to reach out to God.

I messaged my friend with this new information once I got out  of the shower.  She agreed that I have my sign, the monarch, that my father is with God, & also to never give up praying for my mother.  God also told her those who judged & harassed me had better stop He’ll intervene.  Thankfully she also prayed a hedge of protection around me.

My friend also said she asked God,  “Why do they wait until the last minute!?”  The Lord told her, “Because they allowed the devil to take them captive to do his will,”  (2 Timothy 2:25-26  “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (NKJV) )

And, she saw this verse come up on biblegateway.com (great site, by the way!!)  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)  This is what she did for me- bore my burden on a day I needed help bearing it.

These Scriptures also came to her attention:

Matthew 19:23-30 “With God All Things Are Possible 23) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24) And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25) When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26) But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27) Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28) So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30) But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (NKJV)

My friend also said God did indeed say everything I thought He’d said.  My father didn’t want to die, especially without seeing me.  He thought he was dying too soon & didn’t realize his eternity was depending on his choice at that time.  Thankfully, he did realize the truth though!

She also researched the symbolism of monarch butterflies. Monarchs are royalty – that is why God sent me the monarch butterfly as my sign, to say that my father is now a member of God’s royal family!

Tuesday, the following day, my husband took off work.  We went out & when we were coming out of one building, I saw another monarch butterfly!  What makes that especially interesting is that earlier in the morning, thinking about everything, I asked God if it was real & if so, give me a sign.  Honestly, it was hard to believe & quite overwhelming.  So God sent me another monarch!  Then at a traffic light, I saw a little yellow butterfly & heard my Granddad’s  voice say “Good job, Kid!” I immediately knew what he meant- good job keeping up the prayers in spite of everything.

Wednesday, after quite a bit of prayer, I wanted to visit the cemetery where my father was to be buried.  I had my father’s Bible for many years, because he’d asked me to put it in the casket with him when he died.  I opened the Bible & found many cards, paperwork, etc.  I cleaned out the things that didn’t look sentimental & found a sheet of notes my father wrote documenting some of the abusive things my mother had done to me.  Then, my husband & I went to the cemetery.  The cemetery staff kindly directed me to the proper funeral home that would take care of that, & a very lovely lady helped me make this possible. She even stated that it would be placed in the coffin where it couldn’t be seen, & no one would know it was there.  And, she gave me some memory cards.  My mother was due to visit the cemetery that day but God spared me from running into her!

Then on Friday, the day my father was buried, I looked out the kitchen window & saw yet another monarch on the marigolds in my back yard.  I grabbed the camera & couldn’t see him when I got back to the window.  I saw some movement in the flowers so I went outside with the camera.  Finally as I got close, the butterfly flew out of the middle of the flowers directly towards me, then off over the house.

An interesting fact- monarch butterflies aren’t overly common in my area, let alone in October.  They migrate south towards Florida from September-November, but here, usually by October, I don’t see any.

Anyway, when I came back into my house after seeing that monarch, I asked my Amazon Echo Dot to play music by Wham!  I thought some fun ’80’s music might be good for me.  Instead, it played Waylon Jennings’ song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line.”  I don’t know this song, which is truly strange since my father loves Waylon Jennings & I thought I’d heard every one of his songs.  This song is about a guy with a vicious, hateful wife & he stays with her in spite of it all.  I remembered my father saying once my mother told him if he left her, he’d never see me again.  I knew God & my father wanted me to know that he felt trapped & unable to protect me from my mother.

Later that afternoon I decided to get out the papers I’d found in my father’s Bible.  I only found one page of notes my father kept about conversations with my mother, even though it looks like there were others (there was a part of a sentence at the top of the page).  Reading them hurt a lot, but I think I see more about why my father didn’t protect me or even really himself from my mother.  In fact, as I was writing this post & considering those notes, God spoke to my heart & said, “Your father didn’t have your inner strength.”

All of these bizarre occurrences have been extremely helpful.  It’s such a relief knowing my father is in Heaven.  I really didn’t think he’d make it.  It also showed me how kind & merciful God is.  I’d been praying for my father for quite some time.  For his salvation, I also asked God to take him before the Alzheimer’s got too bad, not to let him suffer when his time did come yet not to take him before getting saved.  Those prayers were all answered.  Every single one of them!!  God even gave me signs that they were answered- my intuition, the monarch butterflies & mostly the word from God to my friend.  And, although it was very hard for me to stay away from my father when he was dying, I know it was for an important purpose!  I’m sure many people won’t believe that since they thought I should obey them & go to him no matter what.  I know the truth though, & that is God wanted me to stay away as a way to reach my father!  God is truly amazing!

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An Update & Valuable Lessons

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)

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Why Do Bad People Seem Blessed While Good People Struggle?

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.

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Spiritual Bypassing

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)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Talking About God’s Blessings

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.

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Sharing Stories Of God’s Blessings To Build Others’ Faith

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Do People Think Of You?

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

 

 

 

 

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Everyone Has Individual Paths To Take In Life

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.

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Your Ministry

I was just listening to T.D Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” cd.  In case you don’t know it, it’s songs based on his wonderful book, “The Lady, Her Lover & Her Lord.”  One of the songs on the cd is called, “You Are My Ministry.”  You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJq1Uuvyj8  It’s a beautiful song, as you can hear.

 

The song also made a good point- your ministry isn’t only in the pulpit or serving others somehow.  Your spouse is also your ministry!

 

When you’re serving others, it can be easy to get caught up in that ministry.  It feels good to help others.  It’s very rewarding!  But, don’t neglect that wonderful man or woman you married!  That person should be your top priority, after God of course.

 

Listening to that song convicted me.  I haven’t been praying for my husband as much as I should.  I’ve been too focused on praying for my readers, my facebook group & writing blog posts.  Not that these things are bad, of course, but my world needs to expand a bit, & I need to pray more for my husband.  His job is pretty stressful, his elderly father can be very demanding & we need a lot done around our home.  He definitely needs covered in prayer on a regular basis.

 

What about you?  Are you praying for your spouse enough?  If not, maybe it’s time to ask God to burden your heart to remember to pray for him more often & show you how to pray for him.  I am doing that myself, once this post is finished.  I also may listen to that song more frequently- it’s not only a beautiful song but a great reminder, too.

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Compassion

Recently something seriously annoyed me.

 

A friend of mine shared that he was sick on facebook.  Rather than being met with compassion, he was told stories.  Stories of how awful the condition he had was, & stories of “I went through that in 2013.  Here’s what happened to me.”  No one asked how he was feeling, what did the doctor say or even said they hoped he would feel better soon.  I was the only one who said these things & that I was praying for him.

 

I’m not saying that to brag.  I’m saying this because it bothers me that there was so little compassion & concern!  This selfishness is so typical, even among non-narcissists.

 

Matthew 24:12 says, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV)  We are seeing this in droves today & it’s very sad!

 

There is so much happening in everyone’s life, it can be easy to get caught up in our own life.  It also means sometimes we’re too preoccupied to think before speaking.  Even so, Dear Reader please think of others!  If someone tells you they have a problem, don’t tell them you went through it too, you heard their condition is really painful, or about someone you know who died from it.  Take a second to consider a good response instead.   Some examples are:

 

“I’m sorry to hear that!”

“Are you ok?”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“What did the doctor say?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I’m here for you.”

 

People need compassion & understanding, especially these days when there is such a great lack of it.  Why not be one of the few who offers it to those in need?  A little compassion can make a big difference to someone who is suffering.

 

 

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Not Every Cause Can Be Your Cause

After the death of a gorilla in a Cincinnati zoo, I saw many posts on Facebook that bothered me. My least favorite comment was, “3000 babies die in America’s abortion clinics every day & no  one says a word- one gorilla dies & everyone loses their minds.”

 

For a fleeting moment after reading this, I felt guilty because in all honesty, I care when animals are put down more than I care about abortion.  Yes, I know that makes me sound like a terrible person, but please hear me out before you judge…

 

Animals, mine in particular, are very special to me, as you know if you’ve read any of my work.  Helping people overcome the pain of narcissistic abuse & understanding narcissism also are very important to me as is eliminating the stigma of mental illness & supporting those who live with it.  These are my causes, the things that are most important to me, after God & my little family of course.  While I realize there are many, many worthy causes out there that need support, I simply don’t have it in me to rally to them.

 

Aside from my mental & physical health problems limiting my energy, I believe it’s important to give as much as you can to something rather than a little bit to many things. I’d rather do two things right than ten things halfway.  Quality over quantity if you will.  It isn’t that I think there aren’t other important causes out there.  There are many!  I just chose to focus on a select few that are the most important to me.

 

Everyone has different gifts & callings.  Romans 12:4-8 states, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”  (KJV)  This tells me that everyone is different, with different purposes in life.  And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense.  If everyone did the same thing, not much would get done.  Only one area would be taken care of, but so many other things would be neglected.  Doesn’t it just make sense that people think differently & support different things?

 

Just because I support animal welfare doesn’t mean I’m pro-abortion, as the comment I mentioned above suggests.  The cause of animal welfare is simply closer to my heart, as I’m sure pro-life is closer to the heart of the person who made the comment than animal welfare.  Neither of us are wrong!  Instead, we support what is right to us.  Yet sadly, many people don’t think this way.  Instead they judge & criticize others who don’t support their causes.  Unfortunately, it seems to me so many people think “if you’re not for me, you’re against me” as I mentioned in this recent post.

 

Dear Reader, please keep an open mind & heart.  Not everyone you meet will share your passions.  Nor will you share the passions of everyone you encounter.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, so please- don’t make someone feel bad for not sharing your passions!  And, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not sharing theirs!  You are both individuals, fashioned by God’s hand for a unique purpose.

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“If You’re Not For Me, You’re Against Me!”

**I apologize to those of you who saw this post early.  I intended to save my thoughts as a draft, then get back to completing the article later.  I guess my trigger finger got happy & I hit “publish” instead of “save draft”.   Ooops.. here is the finished post**

 

So many people have this dysfunctional mindset these days, where they think if you don’t agree with their opinions or their lifestyle 110%, you are the enemy.  Obviously you must hate them since you aren’t jumping up & down with enthusiasm at their life.

 

I’ve been on the receiving end of this hatred, being called racist & a homophob, & frankly it baffled me as well as hurt me.  I have friends of various races, genders,  religious beliefs & sexual orientation.  As much as I love animals, I’m even friends with avid hunters.  I honestly can’t say I support every single person in my life 110%.  Truth be told, they don’t support me 110% either.  But yanno something?  It’s fine!  We also don’t judge & criticize each other.  We accept the other person as they are.

 

Does this sound un-Christian to you?  I honestly don’t believe it is.  Mark 12:31 says, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (KJV)  I really don’t see anything in that verse that says we should only show love to those who think exactly as we do.  To me, as long as they are good people & not judgmental, we stand a good chance at being friends.

 

Growing up in a narcissistic environment, I honestly thought those who didn’t see things as I did were wrong, & we shouldn’t be friends.  It took growing up & getting to know God before I realized that no two people will agree completely, & there is nothing wrong with that.

 

Some people can handle being friends with those who are their polar opposites, without arguing, & even with deep respect for each other.  Then there are others who absolutely cannot handle having people in their lives who disagree with them on any matter at all.  Still others fall somewhere in the middle.

 

You need to know your feelings on this matter.  Do you object to being in relationship with people who are different to you or are you open to new experiences?  However you feel, then you need to find other people who feel the same way as you do if you wish to have peaceful relationships.

 

If you’re closed minded at the thought of having friends who have differing view points to you, then I’d like to suggest being a bit more open minded.  It’s quite interesting, the things you can learn from other people.  As an example, while yes, I’m a devoted Christian, I have a good friend who has been involved in the Pagan religion for many years.  Although I disagree with most aspects of it, I have learned that they know so much about herbal remedies.  This has intrigued me!  After all, prescription & man made medicines often have wicked side effects.  Natural remedies have a great deal less side effects & often work just as well, if not better, than their man made counterparts.  What’s not to love?  In fact, I use herbal remedies to help manage my C-PTSD & anxiety, sometimes also insomnia.  I believe God created these things, so there can’t be anything wrong with using them.

 

Before slamming someone or ending a relationship because you two disagree, why not try opening your mind a bit?  And, if you find you don’t feel their view would be right for you, this doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends.  Focus on what is right for you & accept the fact that what works for you may not work for another, or vice versa.  Ultimately, our life choices are between us & God.  People shouldn’t judge others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What You Do Always Matters

God showed me recently how valuable any small act of kindness is to people.

 

In the early 2000’s, my husband & I sponsored a young girl & her brother in the Philippines.  We wrote back & forth.  We had pictures of both kids.  Then at one point, I forget what, but something came up & we couldn’t send the money one month.  The organization we went through gave them to another family to sponsor although we were planning to send more to make up for the month we lost.

 

I wondered what happened to the kids.  We kept their pictures & prayed for them periodically.

 

Then a few days ago, I got a friend’s request & message from a young woman.  This stunning young lady is the once young girl we sponsored!  She wanted to find us to thank us for helping her as a little girl.

 

I’m in shock, but it’s a good shock!  I never expected to hear from her again.

 

For a while, I’ve felt like anything good I do isn’t really important.  It’s just what I should do as a Christian- bless & help other people.  Plus, growing up with narcissists, doing for others feels like it is just what I am supposed to do.  I’m sure you know what I mean- narcissists raise their children to do for them.  They make their children believe their only purpose is to do for them, to be used, so the children carry that belief into adulthood.  Even other people often treat them as if they owe the other people to do for them, like the narcissistic parent did.  Honestly, this is how I have always felt.

 

I guess God was tired of me feeling as if what I do for others doesn’t matter or make much difference, because hearing from this young lady really showed me it does matter.  Even small gestures make a big difference!  It didn’t cost much, what we sent to the organization, but it helped to put her through school.  I forgot until she reminded me, but I had sent her pictures of our pets.  She said she loved the pictures, as she is an avid animal lover.  Little things, but they made a big difference to her.

 

Dear Reader, please learn from this story.  Whatever you do for others makes a difference!  Even small gestures that don’t feel important, are very important.  Maybe not to you, but they are very important to someone, even if you are unaware of that fact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Be Blessed

There is an easy way to secure God’s blessings over your life, & sadly not many people will do it.  It’s called tithing.

 

I know, the word tithing doesn’t exactly encourage joy.  So many greedy preachers have demanded their congregation give them money that the word has become tainted to some people.  I get it.  I’ve felt the same way.  But, I encourage you to forget what you knew of tithing & keep reading.

 

Malachi 3:10-12:  “10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My
house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open
for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That
there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your
ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the
Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a
delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.”   (KJV)

 

These wonderful verses contain promises that I have seen in action in my own life.  Since I began tithing seriously in 2015, God truly has blessed me.  When we thought we wouldn’t have enough money to pay some bills, money suddenly showed up.  When our taxes for 2015 were done, I was sure that we would owe state & federal, as we have for the last few years, yet instead, we learned we were getting money back.  And, when doing those taxes, I had to find out the date our health insurance stopped coverage in 2015.  That day was the day after I went to the emergency room!  My trip to the ER was covered- if it’d been only a few hours later, it wouldn’t have been covered & we would’ve owed thousands of dollars we didn’t have.

 

Giving God the 10% He asks for seems to not only protect what you have, but also to make that 90% go much further.  It’s absolutely amazing!

 

When I started to tithe, honestly I wasn’t sure if it’d work for me because I don’t go to church.  Because of that, I figured the next best thing was to send money to the preachers on television I watch regularly- Jesse Duplantis, TD Jakes & Josh McDowell.  So far so good!  In fact, Jesse Duplantis is the one I’ve learned the most about giving & tithing from.  He has great revelation in this area, plus he’s not one of those televangelists who constantly tries to get people to send him money.  I thought these things made him the perfect person to learn from.

Jesse Duplantis wrote a fantastic little book entitled, “Why Isn’t My Giving Working?”  A while back, I read it & took notes on it.  I really recommend buying the book for yourself (it’s available on his website, http://www.JDM.org)  but to give you some insight into the book, below are some notes I took on it a while back.  I hope this information blesses you as much as it has me.  xoxo

 

Why Isn’t My Giving Working?  by Jesse Duplantis

 

I.What God has said:
A. God said, be fruitful- which mans always producing.
B. God said, multiply- which means always increasing.
C. God said, replenish- which means fill & refill.
D. God said, subdue- which means control your environment or it will control
you.
E. God cares about giving & honor, because they reveal the condition of the
heart.

II.The four types of giving:
A. The Tithe
B. Firstfruits
C. Alms
D. Seed

III.The tithe:
A. The tithe is God’s portion; it is our connection to the blessing, which is our
portion.
B. Tithing holds God to His promise to open the windows of Heaven & to
rebuke the devourer. The devourer is anything that comes up that makes you
spend money you don’t want to spend.
C. God is trying to get us the blessings He talks about in Malachi 3:10-12:
“10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My
house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open
for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That
there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your
ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the
Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a
delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.”
D. Use this verse to remind God of His promises when you pray about your
tithe. Have faith He will keep His promises.

IV.First fruits.
A. First fruits are the first part of an increase. Example: you get a raise at
work that means you’ll get $50 more per week. Give God the first $50 raise.
B. Proverbs 3:9-10 “9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with
the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with
plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
C. First fruits are only given once- the first of any increase, not income.
D. The first fruits offering is heart-driven, & given as a direct form of
gratitude to God.

V.Alms
A. Alms are given to the poor & those in need.
B. God’s rate of return is “repayment” on alms, not abundance. Proverbs
19:17 “ He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay
back what he has given.”
C. If I give alms but don’t tithe, even the repayment God promises could be
devoured on its way back to me.
D. Give quietly- don’t advertise your giving or make the recipient feel bad or
that they owe you for your generosity. Protect the dignity of the recipient!
Remember, God sees what you’re doing- let that be enough. Alms should be
given with love, not for attention from man or God.

VI.Seed
A. The motivation is faith & reward. It is the only way the 30, 60 or 100-fold
harvest can be received, provided you sow into good ground. Mark 4:3-9
(Jesus speaking) “3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it
happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds
of the air[a] came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it
did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no
depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it
had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the
thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell
on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and
produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And He
said to them,[b] “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
B. Good soil is a place that is growing & doing what it has set out to do.
C. Seed sowing is the best route to debt cancellation. Not only in cash
received, but debts being cancelled miraculously.

VII.Miscellaneous Notes
A. Sow with purpose- to be obedient & to love God.
B. Haphazard giving leads to haphazard results.
C. Never dismiss the blessings God gives you. Praise & thank Him for them!
D. Be joyous in giving, wondering what God is going to do for you & others
next.
E. While waiting on God to make good on His promises, stand strong knowing
He will do what He says He will. Ephesians 6:13-14 “13 Therefore take up
the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your
waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
F. Don’t mix up your giving. For example, don’t take your tithe, & give it as a
seed.
G. Don’t be moved emotionally into giving something you purposed for another
area. Tithes stay tithes, alms stay alms, etc. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “7 So let
each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity;
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
H. If you do not give God’s way, He is under no obligation to bless you in the
way you want to be blessed.
I. To start giving, start tithing. Give more as you can afford to do so, no
matter how small your giving may be. Amount isn’t important. God will bless
your giving.
J. Don’t worry if your seed is small- it does not have to be big to work so long
as your purpose & motivation are accurate.
1. The tithe: motive is obedience.
2. First fruits: motive is generosity.
3. Alms: motive is compassion.
4. Seed: motive is faith & reward.

 

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One Way To More Inner Peace & Joy

Matthew 5:44  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”  (KJV)

 

Lately, the “pray for them which despitefully use you, & persecute you” part of this Scripture has been weighing heavily on my heart.

 

Praying for those who hurt you can be extremely difficult for even the most devoted Christian.  I’m certainly no exception to that, so when God recently put it on my heart to pray more frequently for my mother after yet another difficult conversation, I was less than thrilled.  I prayed for her sometimes, but not daily.  Not even as often as it came into my mind that I should pray for her.  It was too difficult to sincerely pray for my mother since she’s hurt me so much in my life. Once in a while, fine, but that was really about the best I could manage.  Yet, God was telling me to change that.

 

In obedience, I decided to set a daily reminder on my cell phone to pray for my mother every morning.  Once I started though, I realized that daily prayer was becoming easier & more sincere.  Shortly after, God put it on my heart to add my father to the daily prayer.  Once I was feeling pretty comfortable praying for them both, He wanted me to add my in-laws.

 

*sigh*  Really?  The in-laws?  After all the awful things my mother in-law put me through?!  The nastiness of my sisters in-law, including them updating my husband on his ex for many years after we were married?!  Ok, fine.  They’re on the prayer list too, although grudgingly at first.

 

God then expanded my prayers even more, by asking me to pray daily for a former friend of mine who hurt me deeply almost six years ago.  Oh come on, God!  Seriously?!  Fine… added this person to my morning prayers.

 

Then, the icing on the cake was asking me to pray for someone who harassed me for over two years.  I did that the other night for the first time.  It was hard, but I did it.  Already, that’s getting easier.

 

I’m glad I’ve started this daily prayer, even though it was hard at first.  What the Bible doesn’t mention in Matthew 5:44 is that praying for people who have hurt you creates a deep peace inside.  I feel more relaxed & less anger or hurt when I think of these people now.  I also feel even closer to God than I did before starting this which has brought me more joy.  It’s absolutely wonderful!!

 

I know it can be somewhat overwhelming to think about doing this, Dear Reader, but why don’t you give it a try too?  It really is worth it!  Pray for the person who has hurt you a great deal in your life, just because you love God & want to please Him.  If at first you pray through clenched teeth, God will understand!  If you tell him you’re only praying for that person because you know He wants you too even though you don’t really mean it right now, He gets that too!  The more you pray, the easier it becomes, & the more peace & joy you will feel.  You will be blessed!

 

Try it today, Dear Reader.  Pray for your abuser.  Ask God to help you to do so if need be.  What do you have to lose?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Enjoying Life

I keep getting a message lately in various forms. so it’s safe to assume it’s very important….

 

Enjoy your life.  Enjoy the little things like an unexpected hug or getting caught in a spring rain.  Thank God for allowing you to wake up this morning.  Spend time just sitting in His presence, thanking Him for whatever you are grateful for & allowing Him to love you.  Complement freely- not only does it bless the person you’re complementing, but it also blesses you when you make them feel good.  Take care of yourself, physically & emotionally.  You’re no good to anyone (including yourself) if you’re sick or depressed.  Play a game or resume a hobby you enjoyed as a child.  Have fun, don’t just work from the time you wake up until the time you fall asleep.

Too many people are miserable.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity in life- Lord knows there is plenty of it everywhere!  Just turn on the news & you can be overwhelmed with negativity in record time.  And, if you’re like the bulk of my readers & have experienced narcissistic abuse, that certainly can make you negative & miserable.  It’s hard to find good in the tremendous amount of pain it causes.  Even so, there is still good to be found.  You can celebrate the fact you survived the abuse that was meant to destroy you.  You are strong- you got out alive & sane!  I’m seeing more & more how tough I am to survive what I’ve been through, & I thank God for helping me get through it even though I didn’t believe in Him at the time.  It’s a miracle to survive narcissistic abuse- never forget that!  Embrace the fact you’re a walking, talking miracle for surviving something so heinous!

 

Whatever you do, just please, Dear Reader, enjoy your life as much as you can.  After all, Jesus came so you can enjoy your life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)  So why not get to enjoying your life?  You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

God Gives Families To The Lonely

So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse end up abandoned by those closest to us once we start to open up about what we experienced.  Family & friends don’t believe us.  They accuse us of being overly dramatic, attention seeking, vindictive & other awful & untrue things.  They abandon us.  I’ve experienced it, too.  As a teen when my mother’s abuse piqued, her friends who once liked me no longer would give me the time of day.  My own friends offered me no support.  I also lost all friends except one once I opened up about what I experienced with my ex husband.  Most people thought he was a great guy, & I was the ungrateful, evil wife who mistreated him so.

There is good news though!

Psalm 68:6  “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.  But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”  (NLT)

It’s true!  When you feel abandoned & lonely, God will send the right people into your life.  He certainly has done it to me!  In 2000, I finally began to face my issues with my upbringing.  At the time, I had no real friends & no family I could talk to about such things, & it hurt.  I prayed a lot during that time, more than usual.  I eventually felt I should contact my granddad who I hadn’t spoken to in years due to my mother & ex telling me my grandparents hated me.  We ended up very close for the first time & he quickly became my best friend, not only my grandfather.  He even gave me a computer because I’d said I wanted to get one, & thanks to that, I met some wonderful friends online.  For the first time, I had a family- not all blood related, but I was very close to them nonetheless.  In fact, I’m still close to many of them.  God sent me even more wonderful friends into my life since, including old friends I had lost touch with many years ago.  Truly, He has given me a family!

God can do the same for you.  He loves you & wants to bless you.  All you need to do is trust that His word is true, & ask Him to give you that family.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

God’s Love For You

On this day ten years ago, I was blessed with one of God’s best gifts. My car. Maybe that sounds odd, so just read on- it will make sense.

My granddad had a beautiful 1969 Plymouth Fury when I was born in 1971. Four years later, my father’s car was stolen, & Granddad gave my father this car. In 1979, my father sold the car to a junkyard because he didn’t want to replace the failing transmission & rear end.

In 2005, my father was in the hospital. One Saturday morning, I woke up early, & couldn’t go back to sleep. It was too early for visiting hours, so I suggested to my husband we go to the local flea market, then the hospital.

Once we arrived, I saw a beautiful car at the other end of the parking lot. A green 1969 Fury that looked identical to my granddad’s. My husband suggested I leave a note on the car, saying I’d like to buy it if the seller was interested in selling. I’d never done anything like that before, but decided why not.

The seller did want to sell! He called me two days later. My husband & I met up with him to look at the car better, & decided to buy it. Unfortunately we were refinancing our mortgage so our money was tied up. Thankfully the seller was understanding & patient.

November 23, 2005, I was able to get the car. It was a wonderful day, but things got even better…

My father came by one day to see the car. He said it was his car. I thought he had to be mistaken but he was adamant. Shortly after, he showed back up at my home with an old log book where he had written down maintenance records on some of his cars. He had torn out the pages on the Fury after getting rid of the car, but he had missed the page with the VIN on it. We compared it to the VIN on my Fury, & they were identical! I couldn’t believe it- my car was also Granddad’s car! It was (& still is) a miracle to me that this car is back in my family after 26 years. And, not just any car- my favorite car that either my granddad or my father had. I’ve always loved cars, & there was always something special to me about this one.

I’m telling you this story today, Dear Reader, not only because I love sharing it, but hopefully to inspire you. God is capable of great miracles. All things are possible with God.

God is also very well aware of your deepest desires, even if you aren’t aware of them. I had no idea how much I would love having this car, but God knew & sent her to me. Driving this car is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, & I had no idea until God arranged for me to have her.

God can do the same for you. He can grant you a special blessing too amazing for you to comprehend! Ask Him to bless you! You aren’t being greedy or selfish- you are simply asking Him to do something He wants to do. You will be amazed at what happens!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

Just Because Someone Is A Christian Doesn’t Mean They Are Perfect

It seems to me that people who aren’t Christians think those of us who are should be perfect, never making mistakes or having bad things in our past.  I assume this mindset is perpetuated by the holier than thou Christians who act as if they never made a mistake before.

The truth though is Christians make mistakes.  Before & after we became Christians, we’ve made mistakes.  It’s part of being human.  Accepting Jesus as our Lord & Savior doesn’t change the fact we have made mistakes & will continue to do so until the day we die.

I’m no exception.  I have a divorce in my past that I’m not exactly proud of.  I cheated on my ex husband too.  I’ve also hurt people & I’m not a particularly good daughter.  Do these things mean that I’m a hypocrite or a bad Christian?  I don’t think so.  They show I’m human.

One of the most inspiring pastors I’ve heard preach is a lovely woman whose first book I edited. When I saw her preach, I was moved to tears.  She is a powerful woman of God, yet in her earlier years, she was a drug addict.  Now?  She is an inspiring pastor who helps & inspires countless people on a daily basis.  God is obviously at work in her life.

Don’t let it bother you when people pick apart your walk with God because you have made mistakes in your life.  Everyone makes mistakes, especially before accepting Jesus into their life.  Even after, you’re still going to make mistakes because you’re human & therefore not perfect.  What is most important is that you are trying to be like Jesus.  Your effort counts with God.  He knows you are imperfect, & only expects that you try your best.

Also, don’t forget to apply this to others as well.  Other Christians are just as imperfect as you, so they too will make mistakes.  They may even have sordid pasts.  Don’t let that affect how you treat them, however!  I’ve found the people with the worst pasts are often the most grateful for God’s love & try the hardest to please Him & treat people well.

Of course, if someone is deliberately hateful to you, there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.  In fact, I believe that to be loving, Christian behavior.  God wants what is best for His children, & sometimes “no” is what is best.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Miracles Still Happen

I know many people don’t believe that miracles still happen.  They were just for Biblical days.  I respectfully disagree!  There is no time limit on miracles!

Yesterday I was looking at facebook.  One of my old posts popped up from October 15, 2013.  It was the day I took our cat, Pretty Boy, in for his annual check up.  Since he has diabetes we have to keep on top of his health.  I expected the normal results- he’s doing fine, just check his glucose levels & email us a report.

That isn’t what happened though.

The vet said he lost almost 2 pounds.  She also said something felt odd & she wanted to do an ultrasound.  Blood was drawn, then an ultrasound was done.  A while later, she came back into the exam room with the results of both.  She said Pretty Boy had liver carcinoma, & probably wouldn’t be around much longer.  His liver was enlarged & his red blood cell count was only 25 (it should be 35-45, she said).  I took him home, & prayed for him often.

Then this past February 9, we took Pretty Boy in for his check up.  Another vet, the owner of this hospital who I’ve known for many years, saw him since the first one had changed jobs.  He kept saying Pretty Boy looked “great” & my little guy had gained 2 pounds.  Another vet talked to us about the diabetes he’s lived with since 2011, & said she thought Pretty Boy was going into remission.  The first vet then told me to call him the next day for the results of his blood work.  I did, & was in for a surprise!  He said three times that Pretty Boy’s blood work was “perfect!”  I asked about the liver carcinoma.  He asked what I was talking about, so I explained the previous exam’s results.  He said, “She must have made a mistake- Pretty Boy is doing great.  His blood work is absolutely perfect.”  Prayers were answered, & God healed our sweet kitty!

Pretty Boy’s healing was a miracle, as far as I’m concerned.  As I’m typing this, he’s lying on the sofa, a couple of feet away, grooming himself & looking content.  I’m so grateful to see that!

Healing cancer, whether for a cat or a human, is a miraculous event!  It’s also proof that God still does miracles,  answers prayers & loves His children enough to care about what we care about.

Dear Reader, please be encouraged today.  What God did for my furbaby, He can do for you.  Or if you need a financial miracle instead of a healing , He can do that too.  Praying for the salvation of a loved one?  He can save them as well.  Whatever your need, God has the answer.  All you have to do is ask & know that He is your answer.

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Free To Be You

I have learned that something rather magical happens to many folks when they hit 40.  Suddenly they no longer have the patience for abusive people & will confront them on their behavior.  They become more outspoken without being hurtful, & more free with their praise.  They begin to practice self-care for the first time.  They are more compassionate & caring, because they have seen & been through some pretty rough things.  They finally are freer as well.  Free to be themselves, & free to do as they like without caring about the criticisms & judgments of others.

It’s a wonderful thing!!

If you aren’t 40 yet or if you passed 40 without experiencing this, don’t think you need to be 40 to experience this.  It’s never too early or too late to improve yourself!  Ask God to help  you change however you need or want to.  He will do so gladly.  He wants you to be happy & if changing will help you accomplish that, He will be glad to help you.

Also think about some things & ask yourself questions.  You don’t really need to worry about what other people think of you, so why does it matter to you what others think?  Are you putting others before yourself constantly?  Why?  If you were raised by a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you believe (as I still battle with sometimes) that everyone else is more important & you don’t deserve to do good things for yourself.  That is a lie!  You DO deserve to do good things for yourself & take care of yourself.  In fact, if you want to help others so much, you need to take care of yourself.  If you don’t, you won’t have the physical or mental strength to help other people.

Do some soul searching.  Ask yourself the tough questions like the ones in the previous paragraph & honestly answer them.  You may surprise yourself.  You also will become aware of some  changes you need to make to help yourself live a happier life.

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Why Christians Should Love Animals

I’ve been noticing something disturbing lately.  So many Christians openly hate animals.  This bothers me terribly, because there are so many Scriptures that show God loves the animals that He created & wants people to care for & appreciate them.  Some examples are:

  • Proverbs 12:10  “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”  (KJV)
  • Ecclesiastes 3:18-21  “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.  19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (KJV)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?”  (KJV)
  • Psalm 145:9  “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”  (KJV)

These are only a few examples.  There is much more in the Bible on the topic of animals.  I found enough for me to write a book on this topic several years ago.

It hurts my heart that so many devoted Christians openly hate animals, hunt only for sport or even think humans are so much better than animals.  Ecclesiastes 3:19 clearly shows people are not better than animals.  Read that verse again: “19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) (emphasis added)

How can anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian truly feel this way about animals after reading that Scripture??  Yet, many people do every day & harshly criticize those of us who feel differently.

It’s simply wrong.  Obviously, God loves animals.  After all, He created them.  Hating them is no different than hating other people.  Personally, I’m not fond of bossy people, but that doesn’t mean I hate them or wish them harm.  If I did, I would be criticized for it.  “Love your neighbor as yourself,” people might say.  However, if I hated animals, hunted them only for sport, called them “just dumb animals”, etc. most Christians wouldn’t bat an eye.  Do you see how wrong this is?

If you are one of these people, I urge you to reconsider your position.  I’m not saying you need to become a vet or stop eating all meat.  Instead I’m suggesting you give animals a chance.  They are intelligent, caring, empathetic companions.  Get to know some animals, maybe friends’ or relatives’ pets.   I have 10 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch, all of whom make my life better each day.  This morning, for example, I sat on my bed.  I’m having a very bad day, & I just needed a few minutes to refocus.  My cat Zippy joined me, showing me a great deal of love while purring loudly.  He often is the first one to show he cares if I am upset, sick or even having a flashback.  In fact, after becoming very sick in February, he has become my shadow.  Once I got home from the hospital, he didn’t leave my side for a good 2 days.  Since, he stays close to me at all times, watching me closely.

Animals can teach you so much, too.  I learned how to be a good pet parent from my first cat, Magic who was a naturally loving father.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat, taught me not to take the little things for granted, but to appreciate them instead.  Jasmine, my snowshoe siamese, had 4 strokes in her final 2 years of life, & watching her fight to regain her faculties after each one was an inspiration.

God has blessed humanity with a wonderful gift in animals.  I would like to encourage you today not to take that gift for granted.  Instead, appreciate it & have fun with it!  Animals truly are a gift from God in many ways.

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Thinking Of Making Some Changes

Lately, I’ve been thinking.  (Scary huh??  lol)

I really would like to be able to expand the topics I write about.  In all honesty, I’m tired of thinking so much about narcissism.  Not that I want to quit writing about it entirely of course- I’d just like to talk about other things sometimes too.  Be a bit more diverse

I’ve asked God to guide my writing.  I ask God to show me what to write about (admittedly, probably not as often as I should..) which is where my blog & book subject matters come from.  I’m going to be praying more about this topic though & would appreciate your prayers as well.  I’m sure this urge to cover other topics isn’t only me- it’s God guiding me, probably preparing me for something else that is on its way.

I’ve started a little.. I’ve decided once my current book on recovering from narcissistic abuse is done, my next book project will be finishing the fiction book I started a few years ago.  That book is maybe one third done..it’s time to finish it.

I also added some information about my experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning on my website.  I’ve read a lot about it since I went through it last February, & what has struck me as truly sad is how many others who have been through it feel so isolated.  People don’t seem to grasp just how serious & horrible it is to live with the disruptive symptoms.  Writing about it is my attempt to help these people feel less alone, & less crazy.  It also seems to have helped me a little to write out my experiences.  (Bonus for me!)  If you know someone who has suffered through carbon monoxide poisoning or you would care to read it, then click this link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Carbon-Monoxide-Poisoning.php

Maybe I could write some about natural/herbal things.  I know many people associate such things with casting spells & such, but I don’t.  I believe God created herbs & plants with the properties they have for a reason & for our use.  Why shouldn’t we benefit from them?  I love herbal remedies & beauty recipes.  I’d love to share what I know as well as learn from others.

If there are other topics you would like me to write about, I’m open to suggestions.  I may not use them, it will depend on what I believe God wants me to do, so please don’t be offended if I don’t write about what you suggest.   Anyway feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments of this post, or email me at:  CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com  I look forward to hearing from you!  🙂

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My Favorite Story Of God’s Tremendous Love

God keeps encouraging me to be open, which is a real challenge for me.  I’m so introverted it’s tough to talk about private things. But, I’m trying..

One very private thing I felt like I should share has nothing to do with the usual topic of narcissism, but we all need a break from that negative topic anyway.  I wanted to share a story with you that shows how gentle & loving God is during our times of greatest need.

When I was growing up, my narcissistic mother did her best to keep me distant from my father’s family.  I wasn’t allowed to play much with my cousins or spend the summer with my grandparents.  When my parents & I visited family, I had to stay at my mother’s side most of the time.  As a result, I was never very close to my paternal grandparents, although I loved them dearly.  Then at age 17, when the abuse was at its peak, my mother told me how they were deeply ashamed of me for how terribly I was acting.  I knew better, or so I thought, but even so, when my ex husband later agreed with my mother, I thought I was wrong.  After all, he hated my mother as much as she hated him- if he is agreeing with her, she must be right.  As a result, in my early 20’s, I drifted out of their lives.

Several years later in 2000, I wrote a letter to my granddad.  (Grandmom had passed in 1996).  Shortly after, I went to visit him at his home.  I was nervous, but that faded immediately.  As soon as he opened the door & gave me one of his bear hugs, I knew all was fine.  We ended up being very close by the time he died on May 31, 2003.  He was not just my grandfather- he was my friend, confidant & cheerleader.

His death hit me very hard.  I could barely function for the first month after.  I asked hubby to drive me to Bristow, VA to his grave about one month after his death.  I hoped maybe it’d help. Besides, the drive was beautiful- Bristow is a peaceful, country town.  The cemetery there is among the prettiest places I’ve ever seen.

Off to Bristow we went.  For the first time, I saw his headstone, & it tore me up.  It made his death final.

valley view cemetery (2)

Hubby left me alone for a while, & sat in the car. I prayed, telling God how painful this was & how much I missed Granddad.  Suddenly the most bizarre thing happened.  I heard my granddad’s voice speaking to me as if he was standing beside me.  He said, “I’m always with you- in your heart.  I love you.  Whenever you see a butterfly, I want you to remember that.”  at  this point, I looked up & there were 2 pale yellow butterflies fluttering together about 5′ from me.  “You tell Eric to take good care of you.  I love you.”

This incident shook me up at first.  I wondered was I crazy?  But no, I wasn’t crazy.  Hearing his voice one last time helped me to start healing.

Some people have told me I only heard what I wanted to hear, or God doesn’t do things like that, but I disagree.  God knew what I needed when I didn’t, & provided that.  Plus, since then, a few times when I’ve seen butterflies, God has spoken to my heart & said things like “Your granddad is thinking of you & wants you to know he loves you.”

Since that day at the cemetery, I’ve seen butterflies.  Lots of them!  I even saw one during the winter once, in my car.  I was particularly stressed at the time since hubby was sick, & on my way home from the hospital, a little moth appeared in my car!  There was no earthly reason for that, as butterflies & moths only survive in the warm weather.  When I work on my car (which was once Granddad’s car), butterflies often appear. If I’m upset, I can guarantee I’ll see butterflies in the oddest places.  Once in a store, I saw butterflies on t-shirts, dishes, stuffed animals, dishes & books.  That was the day that God told me Granddad had been thinking of me.

If you’re in a painful place, please know  God still loves you.  He will comfort you if you allow Him to.  It may be in a completely unexpected way like what happened to me, but it will be just what you need.  And, if you’ve lost someone you love, don’t doubt their love for you has vanished or even changed just because they’ve passed away.  They still love you & think of you often.  Nothing, not even death, will change that.  Take comfort in that.  It truly helps.

As for me, I’ll continue to smile every time I see butterflies, because I know it means my favorite person is sending me his love.. 🙂

Granddad at 50th anniversary party

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Are You Always The Strong One?

There is a saying that is pretty common, but especially here in the South.  “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I believe it to be very true.  The very things that have been meant to kill me, such as narcissistic abuse, have instead strengthened me in the long run.

But, the truth is, in spite of being grateful for the strength I’ve gained, I’m pretty tired!  Tired of the nonsense I’ve lived through, & mostly tired of always being the strong one who carries other people can fall apart.

Many people, especially those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse, are a great deal stronger than we realize.  This doesn’t usually escape the notice of other people, however.  They notice it right away & often, don’t hesitate to use our strength to help themselves out.  Even when they know we’re going through a crisis, they’ll come to us for comfort, advice or to meet some other need, often without even asking how we’re doing.  When faced with a difficult person, we are the one who is always supposed to be understanding or the “bigger person”, & let the offenses go.  People know we’re strong & can handle bad situations, so they assume we never need help, a shoulder to cry on or, well, anything really..

The simple truth is that even the strongest among us need help sometimes.  Being strong can be hard enough, but feeling as if you’re completely alone in your struggles with no one to help, & you have to be strong all of the time for others is incredibly hard.  It’s extremely depressing, because you know you can’t count on anyone else to let you lean on them.  It’s also mentally & physically draining.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you understand this all too well.  I would like to encourage you today to make self-care a priority.  Take breaks as needed from work or from other people (especially the ones who lean on you without reciprocating).  Set & enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.  Do nice things for yourself often.  What makes you feel good?  Make it a priority to do those things as often as possible.  Participate in your hobbies often.  Express your creativity often.

And, remember- sometimes you need to lean on others as they have leaned on you.  It’s actually a good thing for a relationship- it makes you depend on each other instead of the relationship being one sided.  It also increases intimacy in the relationship, because asking for help makes you vulnerable.  I understand that it is very hard to do, but I encourage you to step out & try it.  Ask God how to do this & who to ask- He won’t guide you wrong!

And, speaking of God, don’t forget to lean on Him as well!  He loves you so much, & wants to help you in every way you need help.  I’ll never forget what happened when I was sick at the end of February.. I was relaxing, just playing a game on my tablet, & I couldn’t get past this one level.  It was frustrating me.  I muttered & asked God to help me get past this stupid level.  Suddenly, I did it!  I started to cry.  Granted, I was super emotional because of the concussion I got only a few days prior, but even so, it was a lovely moment.  I knew God helped me to win that game because He loves me so much that He even cares about something so trivial that means something to me.  He loves you just as much- allow Him to show it.  Trust Him & lean on Him.  He won’t disappoint you.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

Last night I had a very bizarre dream.  I dreamed that there were a bunch of small children in my yard, making a lot of noise.  It was irritating me (I like peace & quiet) & I went to chase them off.  As I was getting my coat, I heard them in the backyard as well & was becoming more irritated.  Who were they & why were they on my property?  I went outside & they were gone, so I came back inside.  I looked at a shelf & found they’d left me things I need, like soap, cleaning supplies, food & even my favorite perfume from my teen years.  I knew they weren’t actually children, but angels when I saw this.

Upon waking up from this bizarre dream, I had no idea what it meant, but it reminded me of a Scripture…Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (KJV)  

I wonder how many people really believe this Scripture?  The actions of most people don’t really show that they believe it.

I’m not saying that we have to cater to everyone we meet, ignoring our own needs.  Not by any stretch.  I’m saying just be civil & kind to one another.  Be an example of God’s love- patient, kind, caring, all while exercising healthy boundaries.  Believe it or not, sometimes saying “no” is actually the most loving thing you can do for another person.  If it wasn’t loving behavior, God wouldn’t tell us no sometimes, would He?

I just wanted to take a moment today to make you think about how you treat people, even the strangers you pass on the street or the cashiers at the grocery store.  Simply smiling at a stranger can make their day.  So many people are rude & unpleasant to strangers, so why not be different?  Be nice instead.  Be polite.  Ask how someone is & wait for an answer that you genuinely care to hear.  Don’t give the impression you’re only asking to be polite- let the other person know you really care how they are.  Little gestures like this truly make a person’s day.  They say, “I care about you” & there is a great shortage of caring people in the world.  Be one of those who do care!

Since many of you reading this are also adult children of narcissists, I can’t help but think you may be hoping I don’t mean include your narcissistic parents in this niceness thing.  Well, sort of I do.  What I said about exercising good boundaries?  That is extremely important when you deal with narcissists, & truly, boundaries are very loving.  They mean you won’t enable certain behaviors from others.  Narcissists don’t think boundaries are good or loving, but they really are in God’s eyes, & that is what really counts!  😉

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

I was talking with a good friend recently.  She told me about something traumatic that happened to her a while back.  She also said that many of her friends & relatives told her that she needed to get over it & trivialized her awful experience, rather than offer her compassion & support.  Naturally, it upset her badly that people she expected to be compassionate were instead cold & unfeeling.

Unfortunately I understand her feelings all too well.  Since I got sick at the end of February, I’ve experienced this same thing first hand more times than I can count, starting at the hospital.  Apparently even a potentially deadly illness isn’t enough to warrant compassion from most people.

There is a terrible lack of love, empathy & compassion in the world today.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].  2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].”  (AMP)

I firmly believe this is what is happening today, why people are so indifferent to the suffering of others.  Look at how people behave.  Money & things mean more than people & relationships.  Animal & child abuse are commonplace, as is hypocrisy.  And most importantly, God is rarely invited into, well, anything.  Not many people have God as their top priority in life.  Without God, it’s impossible to truly love people God’s way- full of compassion, caring, & great empathy.

Dear Reader, I’m certain you have been on the receiving end of this hurtful type of behavior. Your pain has no doubt been trivialized or even invalidated.  (This is especially common for adult children of narcissistic parents, since our parents didn’t always leave bruises or broken bones like physically abusive ones did, & they act like good people around everyone but their own children.)

While there is certainly no way to control how people act & completely avoid their coldness, you can remember that a person who acts this way has a problem.  That will help you not to internalize their words, thinking something is wrong with you for being upset over whatever trauma you experienced.  You need to remember that, because you are not wrong, crazy, oversensitive, etc. for being upset when something bad happens to you.

And, also remember that people with problems naturally turn self-centered to varying degrees.  Some people become so self-centered that they don’t have it in them to care about others who are also suffering.  Remembering this too will help you not to internalize being treated so poorly.

I would like to also encourage you to consider how you react when someone tells you about a painful or traumatic experience.  Do you offer compassion?  Empathize with their pain?  Or, are you so wrapped up in your own problems you refuse to see anything or anyone except what relates directly to you?

If you are the type to have a hard time empathizing when you too are suffering, it may be time to change that.  Aside from the fact that behavior can be hurting others, being good to others also is good for you.  It takes your mind off your problems, even if only temporarily.  You also may learn that this person & you share a common problem, & now you have someone to talk about your problems with.  You may be able to help each other!

Don’t know how to change this about yourself?  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to increase your empathy, to make you more aware of the feelings of others  & to give you wisdom on how to help those He puts in your path & wisdom with your words.  God will honor your prayer, & bless you for wanting to help others.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism