Tag Archives: Christian

Using Christianity As A Means To Justify Abuse

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Enabling Is NOT Loving!

It seems to be a common false believe that giving someone everything they want, enabling them to do anything they want without consequences is loving & even Godly behavior. 

So many people I spoke with in my family were downright cruel to me because I wouldn’t see my father at the end of his life in 2017.  The barrage of phone calls, social media messages & emails was intense.  I barely read any of the messages, because after reading a couple, I knew how incredibly toxic the rest would be.  I thought it wiser to protect my mental health by saving the messages without reading them as evidence for police if I opted to take that route.  Anyway after my father’s death, I learned that because I refused to say goodbye, he finally turned to God!  In spite of my fears it wouldn’t happen, my father gave his heart to Jesus at the end of his life, & is now in Heaven.  (That story is on my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it)

While none of us knew it at the time, me not saying good bye to my father was for his benefit.  My family clearly thought I was a cold hearted witch who stayed away out of spite.  I knew in my heart God wanted me to stay away & going would have had terrible consequences, but I didn’t know any further details.  Me not going made him reach out to God for the first time in I don’t know how long.  If I had gone, I firmly believe he wouldn’t have turned to God.  So as strange as it may sound, not saying my final good byes to my father was the most loving thing I could do in that situation.

Although many situations are different, the basics are similar.  Someone wants you to do something that you know is not in their best interest.  It may even cause you pain or problems to do that thing, yet it is expected of you to do it.  If you do it, your actions are applauded & if it caused you problems, those problems ignored.  If you don’t do it, you’re criticized & even shamed for being selfish or unreasonable. 

This is utterly WRONG!

Yes, it’s good to do for other people.  Some people genuinely need help & sometimes you are exactly the right person to give that help.  But doing anything a person wants isn’t always a good thing.  Look what 1 Corinthians 10:23 says:


All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].  (AMP)

1 Corinthians 6:12 is similar & just as informative:

Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. (AMP)

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s for the best that you do it, either for you or for someone else.  People who are accustomed to getting everything they want are spoiled, entitled, selfish & often feel that they don’t need God.  By saying no sometimes, it actually benefits people.  They learn to be more self sufficient, they don’t become entitled, selfish jerks.  And yes, they may recognize everyone’s need for God in themselves.    

Maybe situations in your life aren’t as dire, but still, if you know that doing something for someone isn’t in their best interest or yours, don’t do it!  The good will far outweigh the bad!

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Changes On My Website

As I mentioned not long ago, I decided to stop creating YouTube videos in favor of podcasts. It’s easier for me to do podcasts & I am seriously focusing on making my life easier!

I decided to do one other thing.. I have made available on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) my notes that I used in my podcasts & YouTube videos. Since some folks have issues with sensory processing or just prefer to read rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast, I thought I would do this for them. The notes are all on this link. Feel free to download as many as you like for your personal reference. As I add new podcasts in the future, I’ll naturally add the notes to this page. If you lose the link, simply visit www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com & look at the list of links at the top of the page. You’ll see it there.

Also, I added a search bar to my website, so you can find information on there easier now. Rather than read through lots of pages, you can simply type in your search critera & it will bring up results. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the changes I’ve decided to make. I truly value your input. 💖

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My Ebooks Are On Sale!

Just a friendly reminder that all of my ebooks are still 25% off until July 31, 2020. They can be found at this link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Sale On My Ebooks Extended

My ebooks are currently on sale until May 31, 2020.  Check them out at the following link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Another Sale On My Ebooks!

From March 20-April 20, 2020, all my ebooks are 30% off.  They can be found at this link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned & Want To Share

Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary (if you can call it that.. anniversary sounds too positive) of the day I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Not really the happiest day of the year for me obviously, but at least it does make me think.  Yes, I remember the awfulness of that day but it also makes me think of the good that’s come from it all.

When I realized I couldn’t tell my parents what happened to me because they would invalidate my near death experience &/or spin it around to how it affected them, that was a big wake-up call.  I realized I needed them out of my life & began to actively pray about making that happen.  I also realized there were other toxic people in my life that needed to go as well.  Those who trivialized my experience or tried to make me think positively about it had to go.  My circle of those close to me has become very small, but they are absolutely wonderful people.  Quality over quantity, as the saying goes, & that is how I like it.  Better to have only a few very close, good friends than a wide circle of acquaintances.

What happened also caused me to realize just how quickly your life can change & change drastically.  The morning of February 27, 2015 appeared to be any other day.  By the end of that day however, I was an entirely different person.  Not only because of the brain damage & other health problems the carbon monoxide caused, but because coming close to death will shake a person up!  Yes, I knew if I died, I would’ve gone to Heaven, so that wasn’t a problem.  What was a problem is that I didn’t expect to die that day!  Coming close when it was unexpected was traumatic, even though I did survive.  Even now, thinking about it still shakes me up!

Coming close also showed me how quickly & unexpectedly a person’s life can end.  That made me realize how important it is to enjoy your life as much as you possibly can.  There are unenjoyable things that we can’t avoid of course, like getting stuck in traffic.  But, there are ways we can sneak enjoyment even into those situations.  Use that stuck in traffic time to listen to some good music or an audio book, for example.

Part of enjoying life for me is I also use my time in the evenings to indulge in hobbies I like.  I’ve come to realize that when I don’t get creative time in, I get irritable & don’t enjoy anything like I normally do.  Creative time is very important for most people, not only me.  It gives freedom to use your imagination.  It also gives down time that we all need in this often overly busy & chaotic life.  If you don’t have a creative outlet, it may be time for you to find one.  Wandering around a craft store can be a great place to start.  They carry items for almost every hobby imaginable!  And guys reading this, they even carry “guy stuff”, not just things for knitting & cross stitch.  Many carry model car & airplane kits, stuff for electric trains, wood working & more.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m looking for pity because of what happened.  I’m not.  I just believe I learned some valuable things from my experience & wanted to share them.  Although I can’t say I’m grateful for what happened on that fateful day, I am grateful for the good that came from it.  The things I shared here definitely changed my life & my attitude for the better!  I hope they can help you too!  ❤

 

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About Helping People

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you’re trained from birth to do for them.  Do what?  Whatever they want.  It’s your job to please them in every way, to listen to them, to serve them… naturally this isn’t reciprocated because you aren’t important- only they are!

Once you’re an adult, this “you’re here to do for others” mentality sticks with you.  And, other people pick up on it.  Users & abusers can sniff this mentality out a mile away.  Other Christians can even pick up on it & use Scripture to back up why you should do for them or other people.

The truth is that no one can help everyone who crosses their path.  It’s too much!  You could ruin your physical & mental health, & even ruin yourself financially if you helped every single person who claims to have a need.  You truly need discernment & wisdom to know who God wants you to help, who He doesn’t, & who he simply wants you to pray for.

When you come across someone in need, the smartest thing you can do is pray.  Ask God for guidance, & to show you what this person’s position in your life is going to be.  Maybe it is to help that person in some way, but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe your position is simply to pray for that person or to guide them to someone who can help them.  Maybe you need to lead that person to Jesus.  Or, maybe you need to set boundaries & refuse to help this person because he or she tends to use people & needs a lesson in the fact not everyone is here to do for them.  Until & unless you ask God, you won’t know for sure.  So ask!  He will guide & help you!

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My Ebooks Are On Sale For The Entire Month Of July

My ebook publisher is having a sale on my books for the entire month of July.  25% off!  Check it out at the link below

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Some Red Flags That Actually Sound “Christian” At First

I have the comments on my blog set up so that anyone who has commented previously can post comments with no problem.  Anyone who hasn’t, their comments must be approved by me.  Their comments are emailed to me & I either can select “approve” or do nothing & the comment sits in my “pending” folder until I approve or delete it.  It’s a wonderful feature!  It helps me eliminate spam or even abuse by my “lovely” family.  It also helps me to eliminate the garden variety narcissist, flying monkey or invalidating person, which is the point of this post.

So, a few years back, I posted this post about how I was angry with my narcissistic mother.  If you read the post, you’ll see that the reason for my anger was valid & even normal.  The comments on the post show several people understood & validated my feelings.  One person apparently did not agree with my feelings when reading the post a few months ago.  This person hadn’t commented on any of my posts before, so it was a comment I had to review to approve or not before it would post.  I read it & didn’t approve it.  Only recently did I realize it was still in my “pending” folder.  I approve almost every comment so there’s rarely a need to visit that folder, which is why this comment sat there for so long.

Upon realizing said comment was still in my pending folder recently, I was surprised.  I figured I’d deleted it long ago.  Oops.. yea, my memory is really bad.  My first thought when I realized it was still there was to just delete it, but then I realized this could be a good teaching tool.  Why not use it as such before deleting??

Without further ado, here is the comment….

I do not know you, or your family all. I found you through a search asking, “how a Christian can honor our narcissistic parents”. And the first article with that title I thought was kind of helpful—but I got a whiff of anger there. So, I went to your next article. And I just have to say that I’m not really seeing a Christian response. I am seeing a very human response. And I understand that response, believe me! My friend, I don’t believe you are walking in the victory I was hoping to find. I believe you are very bitter, and very angry. This blog post shows, now I’m being very honest here, because I do not know you, and I’m coming at this from the outside, you wrote the article—-and yet I do not believe that you are portrayed very favorably in this article! Not showing your mother the common courtesy of answering her greeting, does not seem Christlike. The Bible tells us to bless our enemies. Jesus said to bless our enemies and turn the other cheek. In that context I believe we must choose not to be offended, period. We answer to God for what we do in this life. Not for what was done to us. You are angry, (a sin according to Jesus himself) at everyone in this story, and bitterly vindictive. In your eyes you are the only faultless victim. We know what that thinking reflects when those around us act in that manner. Your whole life, certainly all your writing, seems to revolve around a passive/aggressive “outing” of all our family’s faults. In studying narcissism, I have read that this is a symptom of the disorder. When we become a Christian and except Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior over our lives, we give him our rights—because He put aside all of His rights to be the atonement for our sins. Now we belong to Him. We were bought by His precious blood! We give him our human frailties, and ask for the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and make us a new creature! This way we can have God‘s Holy nature, which is much stronger than our human nature; —the nature that is full of bitterness and anger. And then we can love people and see them the way God sees them. And the Holy Spirit can heal our hearts! And here is something you might not know: God is able to cure even a narcissist! I pray for you, that you can move on and out, away from anger and bitterness and accept your healing, and love like Jesus loves! Please pray for me too!

This sort of thing happens when you have survived narcissistic abuse. So many of us have heard it all before.  Unfortunately, many of us also have internalized the faulty messages, which is unhealthy.

I decided to throw out some thoughts on these comments for your consideration…

Anger is not a sin.  Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.” (AMP)

Even Jesus was angry at people who behaved badly.  Matthew 21:12-13 “12 And Jesus entered the temple [grounds] and drove out [with force] all who were buying and selling [birds and animals for sacrifice] in the temple area, and He turned over the tables of the moneychangers [who made a profit exchanging foreign money for temple coinage] and the chairs of those who were selling doves [for sacrifice]. 13 Jesus said to them, “It is written [in Scripture], ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.'” (AMP)

Discussing abuse isn’t a bad thing or sinful.  Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.” (AMP)

Forgiveness doesn’t mean “forgive & forget.”  While Jesus did suggest we “turn the other cheek,” He also said this which proves that forgiveness doesn’t mean giving someone a free pass to be abusive: Matthew 18: 15-17 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens and pays attention to you, you have won back your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector.” (AMP)

Jesus didn’t tolerate things quietly & spoke openly of wrong doings.  Matthew 3:7 “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the [divine] wrath and judgment to come?”  (AMP)
Matthew 12:34 “You brood of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  (AMP)

By sharing this comment & my thoughts, I’m not trying to “out” the person who made the comment.  If I was, I’d share the person’s name wouldn’t I?  I’m also not being “passive/aggressive” or anything else.  My purpose to this post was simply this:  When a good example of something bad comes along, why not use it to help yourself & others when possible?!

When comments like this are made to a victim of narcissistic abuse, they can sound really good.  Scripture was referred to, which can make any Christian rethink their actions.  I certainly did when I first read it.  After some prayer & thought though, I realized this person twisted Scripture around to use it in a bad way.  And that, Dear Reader, is a very common tactic used by flying monkeys & other narcissists.

If someone says similar things to you that this person said to me, then please, don’t blindly accept it!  You need wisdom & discernment!  Consider the Scriptures used as they are in the Bible, not as a stand alone verse as the person uses them.  Pray.  Ask God to show you the truth.  Think about what makes sense to you.  Trust your instincts too.  If something doesn’t feel quite right, then it most likely isn’t right.  Even the most well meaning people can make mistakes.  And, even the most innocent acting narcissist can be extremely manipulative.

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My Ebooks Are On Sale

From March 3-9, 2019, my publisher is having a sale!  All of my ebooks will be 25% off.

Come check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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A Really Amazing Story To Encourage Your Faith

Recently, hubby & I have been looking into changing our car & homeowner’s insurance company to a place where we can get a fairer rate.  We found it, I’m very happy to say!  It also got me thinking of something I haven’t shared in a while…

Some of you know, my beautiful ’69 Fury once belonged to my wonderful granddad.  He gave the car to my father in 1976 when his car was stolen.  In 1979, the transmission & rear end were going out, & he didn’t want the expense of replacing them both.  My father sold the car to a local junkyard instead.  I was only 8, & still remember the day this happened.  My mother followed him in her car to the junkyard.  He talked with the guy there briefly, & gave him the keys.  Then he got into my mother’s car & we drove off to pick up his next car from the dealer.  I remember staring out the window, watching the Fury get smaller & smaller in the distance.  I’ve always loved cars, & for some reason, that one in particular, so it made me sad.  My father even gave me a spare set of keys that I kept for years.. possibly they’re still in my parents’ house, I don’t know.

Anyway in 2005, my husband & I went to a local flea market.  After parking, as we crossed the parking area, we saw this gorgeous green 1969 Fury!  I was excited & told him it looked just like my father’s & granddad’s!  My husband said, “Why don’t you leave a note on the car?  Maybe the owner wants to sell.”  On a whim, I did.  A couple of days later, the owner called me & said he was considering selling the car for about 2 weeks.  He sold me this beautiful car.

Shortly after, my father came by my house.  He looked at the car & said, “This is my car!  I remember this bit of silicone on the windshield trim.. I never could get rid of that.  There’s that dent in the back bumper where a guy on a motorcycle rear ended me!”  I thought that is impossible.  His car had to be crushed years ago.  Still, it’s very interesting…the same exact dent in the bumper?  Silicone on the chrome in the same place?  And, come to think of it, the keys the seller gave me said “Taylor” on them like my father’s keys did.  They weren’t the original Plymouth keys, but copies.  It got him & I both thinking.

After going home, my father called me.  He found the maintenance records he had for his cars.  Although he got rid of the ones for his Fury, he still had the VIN that he wrote down when he had the car during the latter part of the 1970’s.  I compared it to the VIN on my car.  It was an exact match!!!  I was the proud owner not of a twin to my father & granddad’s car as I expected, but their exact car!  Check this out.. the above VIN is what my father wrote down in the 1970’s.  The bottom is the VIN off my car that I wrote down…

Christina's VIN

I know a lot of people who read my work probably aren’t car buffs like I am.  But, I do believe many of you can appreciate this story anyway.  This amazing car is such a wonderful display of God’s kindness & love!  Getting this beautiful car is not something I ever expected to happen.  It never even crossed my mind.  It crossed God’s though.  He was working on this back in 1979 apparently.  The guy at the junkyard easily could have simply crushed the car, but he didn’t.  He repaired the transmission & rear end.  In fact, in 1990 I remember seeing the car at a traffic light, & wondering if that was the same car I had known.  Apparently one former owner also had engine work done, so the engine is in fantastic shape.  The car was also painted & the interior reupholstered.  I not only got the same car, I got the same car in great condition!

If God could orchestrate all of this just to get this car to me & in such great shape, I think that is proof of how incredible He is!  I mean, this plan was in place for 26 years, & all just because I always loved this car.  Isn’t that mind blowing?!  And, the Bible says in Acts 10:34 that God doesn’t show partiality, so this means if He can do something so amazing for me, He can do something amazing for you, too.  xoxo

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The Closer You Get To God, The More Challenges You May Face

Have you ever noticed sometimes that the more your relationship with God improves, the more bad things seem to come your way?  Suddenly it seems like everything is going wrong, & the things that are going wrong are big challenges.  If only they were simple ones like having a flat tire.

This is because the closer you get to God, the more the devil hates you & wants to steal your peace & joy.

I have seen this in my own life recently.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent a good part of my day in tears & praying about a big problem happening in my life.  That afternoon, one of my wonderful, Godly friends texted me.  She reminded me that with God, all things are possible & that He loves me.  The amazing part of this is that I didn’t tell her anything that was happening until after she sent me the text & I explained why this meant so much to me that she did that.  This incident caused my faith in God to grow by leaps & bounds.  Since then, I’ve been experiencing more nightmares & flashbacks than usual which causes my health to be worse, my husband & I have been getting along worse & even my cats have been fussing with each other a lot which is highly unusual for them.

If things are suddenly going badly in your life, this may be why.  Did you have some sort of spiritual breakthrough recently?  Are you feeling closer to God than usual due to an answered prayer or display of His favor & love?  That may be why things suddenly took a turn for the worse in your life.

During these trying times, I’ve learned that as hard as they are, there can still be peace.  On the outside, nothing has really changed in my life at all.  Things are still challenging.  However, I know beyond any doubt that God is still in control.  He still loves me, He still has my back.  Even during the bad times, He is still with me.

That goes for you too, Dear Reader.  Even when it doesn’t feel like it, & it seems like God is a million miles away, He’s still with you & taking care of you.  And, the only reason things are going badly at the moment is the devil is mad that you’re closer to God.  He’s trying to destroy your faith, to make you think things like, “If this is what happens when I get close to God, I’m done believing in Him!”  Don’t give him what he wants!  Stick even closer to God!  It makes a big difference!  Maybe not in your circumstances immediately, but you’ll be better able to handle the bad things, you’ll have more peace & less anxiety & depression.  One thing that helps me too, is to remember Psalm 23:4

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (NKJV)

I have found these Scriptures to be comforting & helpful as well…

Psalm 33:8 “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”  (NKJV)

Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, ” (NKJV)

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.” (NKJV)

Remember, you are NOT alone, Dear Reader!  God is in your corner with you, no matter what.  xoxo

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Think No Contact Is Wrong? God Disagrees

One of the things I love so much about the Bible is it never gets old.  Even if you’ve read it countless times, you still will see something new.

This Scripture came to my attention a few minutes ago…

Titus 3:10  “After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],”  (AMP)

I thought about how this relates to no contact.

 

Many people think those of us who have gone no contact did so on a whim.  The truth is that we struggle a great deal with no contact.  It’s a VERY big & difficult decision!  Some people go no contact but then later resume the relationship when the narcissist gets word to them that they need help, are sick or maybe even they simply wear down the victim by constant stalking & harassment.  Many people who have considered or gone no contact also think it’s not Godly.  You can’t be a Christian & sever ties with an abusive family member or divorce an abusive spouse.  This thinking is completely wrong though, & Titus 3:10 proves that!

 

If you’re in this situation, then I urge you to consider your situation.  Have you prayed about it?  Chances are, if you share my faith then you have.  A LOT!  Yet, you still are leaning towards no contact or you have followed through with it… doesn’t that tell you that it’s ok?  I mean, if it wasn’t, God would find some way to let you know it’s a bad idea.  At the very least, you’d have a feeling inside that it’s not a good solution.  God’s voice may not always boom loudly in our ears, but He does have the Holy Spirit quietly let us know if there is something we should or shouldn’t do.

 

Also, have you done as this Scripture said?  Have you spoken with the narcissist in your life, explaining that their abusive behavior has hurt you?  Again, chances are you have.  Every single person I’ve spoken with who has survived narcissistic abuse whether it was at the hands of a parent, spouse or relative tried talking things out with that narcissist many times.  They didn’t simply end the relationship, & I’m sure you are the same way.

 

Everyone has their limits, & there is nothing wrong with reaching the limits & eliminating toxic, abusive people from your life.  The above Scripture from Titus is only one of many that say this in the Bible.  Here are other Scriptures that show God wants us to be in good, healthy relationships.:

 

  • Psalm 1:1 “Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],Nor stand in the path of sinners,Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers).”  (AMP)

  • Proverbs 13:20  “He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise,But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.” (AMP)

  • Luke 9:5 “And as for all those who do not welcome you, when you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet [breaking all ties with them] as a testimony against them [that they rejected My message].” ” (AMP)

  • Luke 17:3  “ Pay attention and always be on guard[looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him.”  (AMP, emphasis added)

  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (AMP)

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (AMP)

  • 2 Corinthians 6:17 “So come out from among unbelievers and be separate,” says the Lord, “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will graciously receive you and welcome you [with favor],”  (AMP)

 

 

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Pity & Narcissists

As some of you may remember, my late mother in-law was a covert narcissist.  She also was exceptionally good at what she did.  My own husband didn’t believe me when I told him of many of the things she said & did to me.  Like everyone else, he was fooled by her innocent act.  I can’t blame him entirely for that.  Like I said, she was VERY good.

During the time she was in my life, I knew something was wrong, even though I had no understanding about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at the time.  It blew my mind how, like my mother, she could appear one way to other people, but the moment we were alone, the fangs came out.  That just isn’t normal & you don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know that.

Then one day when my husband & I were at his parents’ home, visiting his parents.  My mother in-law said something, & my father in-law said, “Shut your stupid mouth.  Nobody wants to hear what you have to say!”  I’d never seen that side of him before, only heard about it.  He & my husband went outside shortly after.  My mother in-law & I were left alone.  I don’t remember exactly what she said, it was probably over 20 years ago by now, but I do remember that she was especially mean to me that evening.  I figured she was just upset by how her husband spoke to her & taking it out on me.

The anger I usually felt at her because of her nastiness softened a lot.  I felt bad for her for what just happened.  And, for some time after that, I put up with her nastiness without complaint.  I figured she obviously has no real coping skills, so maybe being mean to me is the only way she can deal with the hurt & anger she felt inside.  I didn’t like it but I figured if it helped her somehow, fine.  If I could live through the horrible things my mother said to me, I could handle the mother in-law.

This didn’t last long, a couple of months tops.  I realized it wasn’t helping her, it was really hurting me & frankly, it wasn’t fair.

Situations like this are no doubt why so many people say you should never pity a narcissist.  It means you will tolerate a LOT of abuse.  Well, that is a very valid point.  I tolerated so much more than I should have because I felt pity for my mother in-law.

However, that being said, I still don’t regret feeling that pity for her at that time or at any point.  Probably that makes me sound crazy, but hear me out…

I realized some time later that the ability to feel pity for someone who was so cruel to me showed that in spite of all of the narcissistic abuse I’ve been through in my life, it didn’t destroy my ability to feel compassion for others.  It can be so easy to turn bitter & angry when you’ve been through narcissistic abuse.  I also didn’t turn into a narcissist like a few victims of narcissistic abuse do.  I am grateful that neither happened to me.

Feeling pity for my mother in-law motivated me to pray for her, & all Christians know God wants us to pray for others, including our enemies:

 

Matthew 5:43-48
“43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [a]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (AMP)

 

I prayed for her quite a bit over the years, albeit not as much as I should have.  All of my prayers for her were answered.  My mother in-law did come to know Jesus, so she is in Heaven now instead of Hell.  She also died in her home rather than a nursing home, as she wanted.  She even died in her sleep, peacefully.

 

Praying for her also was good for me.  It helped me to release the anger I’d felt at her for so long.  I eventually got to the point of feeling nothing for her beyond wanting her to come to the Lord & not to suffer at the end of her life.  Sorta sad, I admit, but it sure beats hating her like I once did!

 

My point in telling you this story is this.. some people find it easy to feel pity for people, even narcissists.  When you know that the narcissistic person in your life has suffered, in spite of how awfully they treat you, there’s probably a little part of you that pities that person.  It’s natural to want to shut that part of you down when the object of your pity is so abusive.  Instead, why not acknowledge it?  Accept that feeling as it is- just a feeling.  Also, you can take the feeling as a sign that person needs prayer & you need to be the one to pray.

 

However, please, PLEASE do not get all crazy like I did & let the pity you feel be a reason to tolerate abuse from the narcissist.  It’s very possible to feel pity for someone while still maintaining healthy boundaries & distance.  I did with my mother in-law & still do with my mother.  Please learn from my mistake in this area!

 

Lastly, if you don’t feel pity for the narcissist in your life, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad Christian.  Many people don’t feel it & there is nothing wrong with that!  Even good, loving, faithful people don’t always feel pity towards narcissists.  It happens, & it’s ok.  This post is simply directed at those who may feel differently than you.  🙂

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God Is So Good!!

So over the last couple of weeks, on top of dealing with my husband’s father’s sudden passing, one of our beautiful kitties, Zippy, got sick with a urinary tract issue plus a reaction to his medication.  On our way to the vet’s offie, we hit an unusual amount of green lights & little traffic.  We were only there a short time.  And, as usual, there was no emergency fee (I think it’s $65) because our vet is more concerned with caring for animals than making huge profits.  I truly have the most awesome, wonderful vet in the universe  🙂

 

On the good side, as I’m writing this, Zippy is doing well.  It’ll take him a few days to get back to normal, but praise God, he’ll be normal again!

 

Also as I was writing this, my husband called after his dad’s funeral service was done.  Naturally it was tough, but the good thing is our neighbor showed up to be there for him.  How sweet is that?!  As if him & his wife baking a couple of cakes for the wake wasn’t kind enough.

 

The past week has been incredibly rough but while I was thinking about it, I realized yet again how true Psalm 23:4 is….

 

 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  (KJV)

 

The reason I’m telling you about this is to encourage you.  I know during hard times it can feel like God is nowhere around.  It sure can feel like you’re walking alone in, “the valley of the shadow of death!”  I’ve felt the same way myself the last few days.  But, whether or not you feel His presence, God is there, listening to your prayers & working out your situation.  Somehow, some way, God will help you get through even the hardest of times.

 

This was hardly the first time God has helped us & no doubt it won’t be the last, so I feel assured in telling you that if you’re going through hard times, even if you feel totally alone, you really aren’t.  God is there with you, in your corner, working things out somehow for the best solution to the situation.  You’re never alone in those dark valleys of the shadow of death!  Keep praying, keep believing & He will show up in ways you never expected.  xoxo

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Is No Contact “Un-Christian”?

Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things.  One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving.  These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent.  It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely!  After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!

Hahaha.  No.

I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian.  I am well aware that I don’t.  But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect.  Far from it.  If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.

Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different  from loving people’s way.  God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest.   Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior.  Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim.  However, it is not your place to force them to change.  It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.

 

But it’s certainly NOT easy!  Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior.  As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it.  Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love.  They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one.  People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.

I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love.  Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things.  However, love also must be tough sometimes.  God proves that!  He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior.  He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions.  As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) 

Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone.  Many people have been, including me.  When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (AMP)  As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you.  He will reward you one day!  Those who said such cruel things however??  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].”  (AMP)

 

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)

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What The Bible Says About Tolerating Narcissistic Abuse

I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month.  This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of  narcissists.

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?

 

It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God.  What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says.  If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.

 

If you think that I’m just overreacting,  consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…

 

Matthew 10:34-37  (MSG) (emphasis added)

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” 

 

Reread the part I underlined.  “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”  That’s pretty clear, don’t you think?  God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!

 

For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say.  God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you.  He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)

“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4  (AMP)

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”

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Leaning On God, Even With Dealing With Narcissists

Two  years ago yesterday was a big argument with my parents.  The biggest ever.  That’s saying something because there have been some very ugly fights over the years.

I knew something ugly was brewing.  My husband’s mom died 5 days prior, & he’d warned me there was an obituary in the local paper that my parents read religiously.  I knew they would call about it, & I figured it’d be  something like, “she was such a lovely woman” & other nonsense.  My parents knew perfectly well that I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002.  I’d told them that she was cruel to me (a covert narcissist), & they only met her twice.  I didn’t think her death would be of any major concern to them.  Comments praising her supposed sainthood were expected, & that was it.  I did NOT expect the huge blow up it turned into.  In fact, I’d prayed when I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID, asking God to help me behave & not blow up.  That didn’t happen.. I blew.  I blew big time.  When both of my parents made it clear that they were mad at me for not telling them she died so they could go “pay their respects”, I blew.  I felt betrayed by that, & by the fact they didn’t understand why I felt betrayed.  I spelled out my feelings & they didn’t get it.  (I don’t know why I even wasted my breath doing that when I know better.)  I remember each of my parents defending themselves, & I kept saying things like “you know how she treated me”.  They responded the same.. “But that’s Eric’s MOTHER!”  I always responded with, “But I’m YOUR DAUGHTER!”  Nothing.  They said absolutely nothing in return to that, as if that fact was unimportant & the only thing that mattered was that this person was my husband’s mother.

What was odd is after I hung up & was praying, I knew God wanted my parents to see me that angry.  I started out saying I was sorry for how I acted.  I’d yelled at & cussed at my parents!  That was awful & I was so sorry for not letting God lead my behavior.  He said it’s ok- they needed to see their normally calm, reasonable daughter livid because of what they did (I’m still not sure why exactly).  This argument also opened the door for no contact.  I finally felt the time was right after wanting to do it for over a year & knowing in my heart the timing wasn’t right.  My mother gave me the silent treatment anyway for standing up to her, so that was easy.  My father was tougher since he always demanded I talk to him whenever he wanted, no matter what I had going on.

It’s strange the way things worked out for the best in spite of how much that incident hurt me.  Good came from it!  It taught me to trust God more, since He clearly helped me that night to accomplish what needed to be done.  He truly knows best & it’s amazing how He guides you when you let Him.  It also helped me to realize I can stand up for myself, which is something I never felt well equipped to do.

I guess my point in sharing this, Dear Reader, is you really can trust God to enable you to do whatever you need to do, & that includes standing up to narcissist.  I know, that is incredibly difficult to do.  But, it’s also very possible.  Trust Him- He won’t lead you wrong!  He’ll give you the words you need to say as you need them.  He’ll give you strength & courage.  He’ll help you to be quiet when the timing is wrong for standing up to them & help you when the timing is right.  God is truly a loving, caring Father.  He always has your back!  xoxo

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Life

Three years ago today, I suffered the most terrifying trauma of my life. I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. My husband & I didn’t know it that day, but apparently somehow a bunch of debris suddenly gathered behind my chimney’s flue, pushing it slightly closed. Not enough to smoke up the house when the fireplace was lit, but it was just enough to fill it with carbon monoxide after hubby left for work.

As seems to be my new February tradition, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this recently. Coming close to death definitely makes you reevaluate your life. Plus the damage to my brain changed my personality a great deal, which is actually a good thing in some ways. I’ve gotten better at self care & not tolerating abuse among other things, so I’m still getting to know this new me & what I want & need.

One thing that I realized that I need to remind myself of frequently is life can change drastically or even end in an instant. (I certainly didn’t wake up on February 27, 2015 expecting to nearly die that evening or that it was going to be the first day of a new life full of weird health problems & a lot of brain damage.) I think it’s an excellent idea to life life without regrets, because you don’t know when or how your life will change or even end.

I realize living every day like it’s your last isn’t quite possible. You still have a job, housework, budgeting, family obligations & what not to consider of course. But, I think it’s an excellent idea to get in any joy in life where you can, to do things you want to do or try new things as often as possible. Even little things can make a big difference. Go for a drive without a destination in mind & blare your favorite music on the radio. Grab a milkshake once in a while. Buy a new color of nail polish (one of my favorites) or dye your hair a fun, funky color. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, why you love them & do it often. Make time for a hobby you love or pick up an old hobby you once abandoned. If time is an issue, look over your schedule & streamline it. I have a routine for my housework that helps me to maintain a clean home with spending the minimum amount of time on it. Doing a little almost daily is easier for me than doing a lot a couple of days each week since I run out of energy quickly. It also allows me more time available for writing, hobbies, spending time with friends or whatever I want.

It seems to me that society values being busy, but that just isn’t healthy or conducive to enjoying every moment in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being productive 24/7! Even God took a day of rest after creating everything, & then told His people to do the same! (see Genesis 2:1-3) He did NOT create people to be non stop busy. He created people to work & also to take time to enjoy their lives. When you get to the end of your life, don’t you want to think about what a well lived life you had & not what a busy one you had?

Another thing society values that I realized isn’t healthy is being overly positive. Yes, positivity is good. It can help you avoid depression. However, being too positive can set you up for disappointment. Did you know many people who commit suicide are known for being optimistic? They became depressed when they were repeatedly disappointed.

Being too positive can set you up for feeling shame, too. If you’re very positive yet end up feeling negatively or unable to find good in a situation, it can make you feel terrible shame. That’s not good! If you know very positive people, you also know you can’t tell them you’re sad or disappointed, because they’ll make you feel ashamed of yourself. They’re not people you can be real & honest with, & that’s not good either!

I’ve found I have much more peace & less stressful being realistic. Sure, I look for the good, but I’m also not ashamed for getting depressed, angry or disappointed sometimes. I’m also not ashamed to say sometimes, things just stink & I can’t find anything positive in the situation.

Another thing to consider… your relationships. While soul searching after my awful experience, I also took the time to evaluate the relationships in my life. When I realized that through the complete delirium of the poisoning, I still had the sense to tell my husband as soon as I saw him never tell my parents about this, it was a huge wake up call for me. I knew anyone who wouldn’t care that I nearly died couldn’t be a part of my life, & they wouldn’t have cared. I also realized some friends weren’t good for me or at least they weren’t what I wanted in a relationship. The relationships were too one sided & some didn’t even care about what I experienced. Saying, “You’ll be fine”, “But you didn’t die!” or “Glad you’re ok.. so anyway *subject change*” after such an experience showed me how cold & uncaring these people were.

What about your relationships? If, God forbid, something terrible happened to you, could you count on the people in your life being there for you? Would they be care about your pain & suffering or would they brush you off? If they wouldn’t be there for you, then it might be time to consider whether or not you really want them in your life. You deserve good, loving people with whom you can have an equal & loving relationship. There is nothing wrong with refusing to settle for less than that!

John 10:10 is beautifully said in the Amplified translation: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus died not only so we could spend eternity with Him & have a relationship with God the Father, but also so we can enjoy life while we’re alive here on this planet. There is no good excuse not to enjoy your life! You deserve it! Jesus obviously thought so too! So why not start thinking about ways you can add more joy to your daily life?

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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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About Judgement

If you notice, many Christians are terrified of being called judgmental.  They often quote Luke 6:37 which says, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (KJV)

 

While the Scripture & others like it are certainly good, there are other places in the Bible that mention we should judge.  Did you realize that?

 

  • Leviticus 19:15 “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”
  • John 7:24  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” 
  • Acts 4:19 “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”
  • 1 Corinthians 2:15 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

 

This is no conflict in God’s word.  In studying what it means to judge & praying about it, I think I figured this topic out.

 

Being judgmental is looking down on someone.  As an example, being an author, books have always been an important part of my life.  If I looked down on those who don’t like to read or thought I was smarter than them, that is being judgmental.  Thinking less of a person who is covered in tattoos or has a lot of piercings than of someone who dresses conservatively is also judgmental, as is thinking someone with an expensive new car is better than someone driving a 27 year old compact car.

 

Then there is the activity of judging.  Judging is more like discerning.  Before trying something new, when you decide whether or not that activity is good for you, that is judging.  It’s also judging which car to or house to buy.  Deciding which job offer is going to be the best one for you to take is judging.  Some people also have a natural inclination towards judging in their personality.  I am one of them.  I judge about every situation automatically.  Even if a friend wants my advice about a problem.  I tell her what options I think she has, which I think is the best one for her situation & why I think it is her best option.

 

There is nothing wrong with judging.  In fact, it is necessary to make good decisions.  Being judgmental though?  It’s not good at all.  It not only hurts people but it goes against God’s will for His children.

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About Forgiveness

True forgiveness has been very warped by people.  So many thing it means “forgive & forget” & if you can’t do that, you’re no Christian & a terrible person.  I really don’t believe that however.

 

Yes, the Bible states that we are to forgive those who have trespassed against us (Matthew 6:12, 15; 18:21; Luke 7:47, 11:4, 17:3;  John 20:23; 2 Corinthians 2:10).  But, nowhere in the Bible does it state, “Forgive & forget.  Let abusive people continue to abuse you with zero consequences!”  Quite honestly, I believe that is just stupid to do when a person shows no remorse for their actions!  If you don’t remember what they did to you, you open the door for them to abuse you over & over.

 

A good friend recently showed me what forgiveness really means, & this “forgive & forget” thing people preach isn’t it.

 

If you forgive someone, it means they no longer owe you a debt.  For example, if you lend someone $100, but they can’t repay it, you can opt to forgive their debt to you by telling them they no longer need to repay you that $100.  You act as if they never borrowed that money from you, you don’t bring it up again.  However, you may decide never to lend them money again since they didn’t repay you the first time.

 

If someone hurts or abuses you, they should “repay” you by apologizing & making things right if at all possible.  Chances are slim that will happen if you’re dealing with a narcissist or even if that person is simply selfish &, well, a jerk.

 

This situation leaves you with 2 choices- wait for that apology or forgive them the debt of owing you that apology.  Personally, I opt to forgive, & quickly.

 

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV).  Nowhere in this Scripture does it say doing this will make you feel warm & fuzzy!  God basically says you just need to release the need for that person to make it up to you for what they did.  Once you realize this, you also realize that in time your emotions will catch up, that you won’t feel angry any longer.

 

I think there is also a common misconception that when your emotions catch up, even thinking about what happened will no longer upset you.  However, I don’t believe that is quite the case.

 

It isn’t a sign of unforgiveness if what they did to you stirs up some emotion.

 

I don’t think or talk about my late mother in-law very often.  She passed away last year & prior to that, I hadn’t spoken to her in 14 years.  She was a very skilled covert narcissist, & after tolerating her abuse for the first 8 years of my relationship with my husband, I simply couldn’t take anymore.

 

Yesterday, I was working on a book I’ve been writing.  I mentioned how once in 1999 (I think anyway.. around that time), my mother in-law wanted me to do something for her.  I had an appointment that day, so I told her I couldn’t do it.  Granted, I probably could have moved some things around & been there for her, but I didn’t want to.  She was horrible to me- why would I want to help her?  As soon as I said I wasn’t available, my mother in-law tried to find out why.   She used guilt, shame, & even demands to find out what was so important that I couldn’t help her.  I refused to tell her.  Not only was it none of her business but she would have told her daughters what was happening with me (not their business either) & she probably would’ve found some way to use the information I gave her to hurt me at some future date.

 

Remembering this incident still angers me to a degree.  I thought it must be a sign that I haven’t forgiven her.  But, once I thought that, God quickly revealed to me that is not the case.

 

Forgiving someone completely doesn’t necessarily mean you never feel emotions over the awful things they did to you.  You can forgive someone completely, yet still feel some anger about the fact that they hurt or used you.  If you didn’t feel that way, chances are you would ignore signs that show you are about to be used & hurt that same way again.

 

So, the next time someone tells you that you need to work on forgiving someone, remember what I said, Dear Reader.  Chances are, you have forgiven that person as God wants you to.  xoxo

 

 

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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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Are You Judgmental?

Yesterday, I went to the doctor.  The nurse I saw was new to this office.  She seemed very friendly, thorough & pleasant, which was a nice surprise.  Many nurses there who came & went over the years were far from any of those things.  (Not all were bad of course, but there have been a few rather mean ones.).

 

While the experience wasn’t terribly unpleasant, one thing really ticked me off.  She was judgmental.

 

I admit, I do need to lose some weight, about 20-25lbs.  Not a lot, but my word.. the way this nurse & others I’ve came into contact with at that office act, you’d think I need to be hoisted out of my bed with a crane!  She told me how I need to start making healthy choices for a change.  Really??  How does she know I don’t?  Because of the extra pounds?  Just because I carry some extra weight doesn’t mean I live on pizza & burritos.  In fact, I had a small amount of cottage cheese this morning & nothing else until I came home from the office after 2.  This is pretty typical eating behavior for me.

 

Also, my blood pressure was unusually high today, & I got a lecture about that & how I need to see a doctor asap.  A doctor can give me meds to fix me right up, she said.  I told her before she took it that I had a panic attack on the way to the office, so of course it was going to be elevated & my pulse racing.  She told me again to see a doctor & take care of this, he’ll give me pills that can fix the C-PTSD, blah blah.  And, losing some weight would help my blood pressure too.  All I need to do is go window shopping (she said she LOVES window shopping- I hate it), walk around the mall, walk to the stores sometimes instead of driving (I live on a major highway- that’s just dangerous), & put down the chips & dip (she said she loves that- it’s not an issue for me like it sounds like it is for her).

 

What got me was how she just assumed such things.. assumed I snarf down chips & dip constantly, assumed I can get out with no trouble & assumed that a doctor can give me a pill to fix my C-PTSD.  Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin to judgmental people.  I could feel shame starting to kick in, but quickly realized it was wrong.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Shame is what judging makes a person feel.  A deep shame that something is extremely wrong with them or that they are stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, etc etc.  If you’re judging someone, this is exactly what you are doing to them.  You’re making them feel all of those horrible things.  It’s not right!  Would you want to feel that way?!  No?  Then why do it to someone else?  It’s cruel & there is no good reason for it!  God doesn’t want us to judge each other, yet people do it on a daily basis, even Christians.  In fact, as an adult child of a narcissistic parent, it can be very easy to be judgmental.  We grow up watching our narcissistic parents judge, criticize & ridicule others & imitate that behavior once we grow up.

 

If you realize you judge people, just stop.  It’s not right, it causes people unnecessary pain & there is absolutely no reason to do it!  In fact, I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to ask God to show you if you’re judgmental & if so, to  help you to stop.

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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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Some Thoughts On False Teachers

I’ve seen quite a few articles over the last few months about false teachers.  One article even claimed a famous television evangelist I like very much, Jesse Duplantis, was a false teacher.  While wondering if the articles were correct about false teachers being so prominent, I decided to ask God for help & discernment on this subject.  He showed me some things..

 

Some claim false teachers preach about God’s blessings & prosperity.  The fact is, in the Bible, God says He loves His children so naturally He wants to bless them.  See Jeremiah 17:7-8 & 29:11, Numbers 6:24-6, Exodus 23:25, Psalm 34:8, & Matthew 5:6 & 9 as a few examples.  If the Bible clearly spells out how God wants to bless His children, how does it make sense that someone who teaches about this topic periodically is a false teacher?  Prosperity & blessings shouldn’t be the only topic one preaches about, but discussing them sometimes?  What could be wrong with that?

 

Some claim false teachers focus on the “lighter” topics such as God’s love rather than the “heavier” topics such as the need for Salvation.  There certainly are a great deal of preachers who discuss God’s love, how He supports His children & the like.  I don’t believe these preachers are necessarily bad, though.  I remember before I became a Christian.  Hearing people tell me I was going to Hell if I didn’t accept Jesus as my Savior right at that moment certainly did nothing to make me want to accept Him.  In fact, it pushed me away.  What eventually did make me want to accept Him was hearing about His deep, unconditional love for me.  As a new Christian, the “fluffy” teachings about God’s love & desire to bless me helped to draw me to Him.  Going through narcissistic abuse, I think that was especially important to help me not to think God was just another unloving parent figure, only concerned with what I could do for Him.  Getting to know God better, I moved away from wanting to hear that & wanting to hear about more heavy topics.  I really believe that “fluffy” teaching doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a false teacher.  In fact, I believe preachers who focus on such issues have their place in the church.  Their place is to draw people to God, to help new Christians understand God’s love is the basis for Christianity & help encourage those in dark places that may be wondering if God really loves them.  I believe those who don’t focus primarily on these “fluffy” topics might want to consider doing so periodically to encourage their followers.

 

Good teachers also can back up what they say with Scripture.  That is one thing I love about Jesse Duplantis- he can back up anything he says with Scripture & does so often.

 

Good teachers don’t just tell you what God can do for you.  They also focus on things like how to live a holy life, & being a good witness for your faith to the unbelievers.

 

Good teachers tell it like it is.  They don’t sugarcoat things.  For example, they call sin, sin, rather than “making a mistake” or “slipping up.”

 

A very good indicator that you are listening to or reading the teachings of a good teacher is you feel comfortable with what the person says, it feels right in your heart, even when it’s on a difficult topic such as sin.  What they are saying feels right to you. Even the best of teachers may make mistakes sometimes, & no one will agree with any other person 100% of the time, but you will feel this person’s teaching makes sense most of the time.

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Another Book Sale!

My publisher is offering another sale.  15% off all print books with free mail shipping until July 31!  Enter code “SHIPSAVE16” at checkout.  The code is case sensitive, so enter it exactly as it appears between the quotes.

 

My books can be found at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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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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