Tag Archives: Christianity

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

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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Spiritual Abuse

Narcissists abuse their victims in many ways –  emotionally, mentally, financially, physically & sexually.  Some also abuse their victims spiritually.

Spiritual abusers aren’t only those who are preachers, deacons or others who are active in their church.  Anyone can be a spiritual abuser.  When my mother’s abuse peaked when I was in my late teens, she became very spiritually abusive.  She frequently told me that I was going to hell for the terrible way I treated her.  She never was active in a church or taught me anything about God.  In fact, she always said she hated Christians.

If you’re wondering if the narcissist in your life is abusing you spiritually, there are some signs to look for.

 

  • Twisting Scripture around or eliminating parts of it to suit their agenda is a big red flag.  A narcissistic parent who tells their child the commandment says to honor your parents, yet never considers where the Bible says parents shouldn’t exasperate their children is guilty of this behavior, as is the narcissistic husband who says wives should submit to their husbands while conveniently forgetting the rest of the verse says husband should also submit to their wives.
  • Narcissists also may lie to the victim, saying they are doing God’s will by abusing the victim.  This can do a tremendous amount of damage to a victim.  It can turn someone against God, or destroy their faith in Him.  I did not believe in God as a child, since I had no real teaching about Him, but my mother using Him as a weapon to hurt me made sure I didn’t want to know anything about Him either.
  • Someone who reminds victims of the imperfection of human nature as an excuse to abuse is being spiritually abusive.
  • Claiming a victim shouldn’t get angry because it’s not Godly is spiritually abusive.
  • Anyone who tells a victim to “forgive & forget” the abuse, to stay with an abuser no matter what or gets angry when a victim gives an abuser consequences is being spiritually abusive.
  • Some narcissists are quite active in their church, making themselves very valuable to the church with their service.  They will recruit enablers who are also in the church, so when their victim speaks out, they shun the victim.  The logic is something like, “He couldn’t be like she says!  Look at all of the good things he does for our church!”
  • They also may tell people that the “good” people at church are disappointed in the victim for behaving so badly, whether or not this is true.  This can leave a victim feeling unable to reach out for support.

 

Coping with spiritual abuse isn’t easy, but it can be done.

 

  • Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?  If not, I really suggest you turn to Him now because you truly need help!  There is information available on my website at this link: Salvation Through Jesus Christ.
  • Learn what the Bible has to say.  Use an easy to understand translation like the Good News or New King James version.  The more you learn & the closer you draw to God, the more truth you will see & the more you will see the narcissist has been lying to you.
  • Question things the narcissist says to you.  Not necessarily out loud, but to yourself at least.  “How does this coincide with the Bible?”  “Is there Scripture that backs up what he/she is saying?”
  • Pray.  Pray often & pray a lot.  Ask God to show you the truth & to give you clarity.  While God is holy, He is also a very loving & gentle Father.  He will guide, teach & even correct you while never making you feel badly about yourself.
  • Do you have good Christian friends?  If not, it’s time to find some!  If you know someone who has been a Christian for a while, & is actively trying to be a good example of their faith, this person can help you to keep focused on the truth.  If the narcissist prevents you from having friends (as so many do), see what you can find online.  There are many online forums & groups.  You can find friends there that the narcissist doesn’t know about.
  • Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you a great deal.  He does NOT want you suffering & miserable.  He does NOT condone abuse nor does He want victims to suffer in silence.  Speak out & protect yourself.

 

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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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My New & Improved Websites!

After a couple of months of struggling & attempting to drive myself crazy, my new websites are now live!!

I’m going to guess there are still some bugs in there because I never seem to make a website without a bug or two once it goes live, but I’m working on fixing any & all bugs as soon as I’m aware of them.  Please bear with me!

I added a lot of information about NPD to my site as well as other things such as some pictures.  I enjoy photography even though I’m not particularly good at it, so I thought why not add some pictures?  Beauty is always a nice distraction from NPD anyway…

Come check out my site at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

Don’t forget my companion website, www.TheButterflyProject.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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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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What’s Been Happening Lately

The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.

Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home.  Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him.  Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age.  Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live.  Friday, June 22, his father died.

Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.

The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.

First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change.  When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die.  Never take anyone you love for granted!  Enjoy every moment you can with them.  Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them.  I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.

Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible.  Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable.  Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible.  Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love.  Do whatever benefits your peace & joy.  No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?

If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times.  Animals do love us & want to help if they can.  Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures.  He called just as I took the last picture.  Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them.  I really believe they knew what was going on.  And, when my husband got home, they proved it.  The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night.  They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!

I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering.   This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October.  I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year.  It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think.  I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet.  I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.

If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too.  Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.

So, that’s what has been happening recently.  I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you.  xoxo

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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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Forgiveness

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Praying For Others Can Be A Blessing

Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October.  (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now.  It’s quite a story!)

 

Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot.  One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.

Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible.  She’s a narcissist.  We all know how they are- they know best about everything.  This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception.  In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”

*sigh*

 

This can be very discouraging.  On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement.  While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well.  Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father.  James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  (KJV, emphasis added)  

As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.

I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do.  Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….

 

Matthew 5:43-48  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  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; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (KJV)

 

I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol  They certainly weren’t mine for a long time.  Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me.  Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them.  As time passed though, it got easier.  Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more.  At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning.   And you know something?  It’s not hard to do anymore.  In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off.  Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.

Praying for these people is something I look forward to now.  Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever.  Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.

It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people.  I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work!  Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore.  (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation.  It means I released the anger I felt at them, period.  Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)

I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them.  Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life?  I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010.  She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are.  Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends.  There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me!  That to me is heartbreaking!  And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well.  So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them.  You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life!  I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.

 

I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it.  Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life.  If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!

 

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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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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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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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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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Not Everything Good Is Good For You

Recently, God began dealing with me about something.  I tend to say yes too quickly.  I agree to help people or do favors when I’m tired or busy way too often.  He put in my heart that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.

 

This makes a lot of sense to me.  There have been plenty of times I decided to focus on my latest book, yet didn’t do it because someone needed something from me.  Not that what they needed was anything bad, nor is it bad to help someone, but for me, I should have focused on my writing instead.  Other times, I wasn’t feeling well & just needed to rest, yet didn’t because someone said they needed me.

 

Does this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader?  Do you do the same things?

 

I’d venture to say it’s pretty common with adult children of narcissistic parents.  We were trained from birth to put ourselves last, & that training doesn’t stop just because we’re grown up.  We’re also told it’s selfish to put ourselves first.  Taking care of others above ourselves has become such a habit, often it happens without even thinking.  We simply do it automatically.  We may do it even when everything in us says, “NOOO!!!” just because it’s what we feel we’re supposed to do.

 

Today I want to encourage you to have more healthy boundaries & balance.  It’s certainly good to put others ahead of yourself sometimes, but only in balance.  You deserve to be your priority too!  There is no shame in taking care of yourself or your duties.  In fact, it’s a must to do so.

 

Starting to do this can be difficult after a lifetime of being so out of balance, I know.  I recommend prayer as the best place to start, as usual.  Ask God to help you know what you should say yes to & what you should say no to.  He will!  That is what I’m doing, & so far, so good.  I slipped up by not praying this immediately, as soon as I realized what God wants to teach me, & ended up saying yes to something I probably shouldn’t have.  Since, I prayed for God’s help & things are going better.

 

And remember Dear Reader, just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.  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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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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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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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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