Tag Archives: Christianity

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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Everyone Has Individual Paths To Take In Life

Recently, I was talking with a dear friend.  She’s been having trouble with her sister, & handling the problem very well.  She’s showing God’s love & grace in this difficult situation.

 

I felt bad as we spoke, because I knew if that was me in her shoes, I’d be very angry.  I felt like I wasn’t being a good Christian because of that.  Immediately, God spoke to my heart.

 

This friend has told me that growing up, she spoke up to her narcissistic mother.  She never stifled her anger.

 

I however, was her polar opposite- I learned early on never to show any anger.

 

Growing up, my mother would holler at me for my “Bailey temper” even if I was simply frustrated.  I learned very young it was better to stifle my anger rather than show it & be shamed.  It’s only been the last couple of years I’ve been letting myself show anger.  In fact, I can’t stifle it any longer.  I get over it & forgive the other person quickly, but it still feels somewhat foreign to get angry.

 

I can’t really compare myself to this lady because we’re so different.  God wants me to show my anger, I believe, so I’m not wrong when I feel it or show it.  For her, she chooses not to get angry with her sister & that is what’s right for her.  Neither of us are wrong or bad.  We’re simply doing what is right for us.  And, both of our solutions are Biblical.  Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies & forgive them, which is what my friend is doing in her situation.  Various Scriptures tell of times when Jesus Himself got angry (Mark 10:13-16, Mark 11:15-17, etc).  Being angry is not a sin!  It’s what you do with your anger that can be sinful.  Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (NKJV)

 

Realizing all of this was so freeing!  It helped me to feel I’m on the right path for me, just as she is for her.  It also helped me to stop feeling shame for when I get angry like I did at first (old habits truly die hard).
This situation also goes to prove that we all have very individual walks with God. Sure, there are some basic things He wants from all of us, like following the 10 commandments. But beyond that?  We all have very unique & individual paths to take. Don’t compare yourself to another person.  Instead, enjoy your own path, & enjoy the freedom there is in that.

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Some Thoughts On False Teachers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Humans & Animals Have Equal Value

Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)

 

I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals.  I respectfully disagree though.  God loves the animals He created.  Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)  The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,”  so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.

 

Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:

  • Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
  • Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
  • Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
  • Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
  • Mark 16:15  “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (KJV)

 

Animals are a wonderful blessing to people!  They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal.  I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any!  Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count!  They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.

 

I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do.  If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!

 

And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post.  Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them.  Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too!  They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Ministry

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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20% Off Two Or More Print Books!

My publisher is having another great sale on print books.  20% off if you buy two or more.  Simply use code 2FORYOU at checkout.  Sale ends August 7, 2016.

 

Find my books at:

 

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

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Compassion

Recently something seriously annoyed me.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“I’m sorry to hear that!”

“Are you ok?”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“What did the doctor say?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I’m here for you.”

 

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

 

 

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Another Book Sale!

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

 

My books can be found at:

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

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Not Every Cause Can Be Your Cause

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Sale!

My publisher is having a sale again.  15% off all print books & free mail shipping through May 16, 2016.  Use code MAYSHIP15 at checkout to take advantage of the sale.

 

Go to the link below to see my books:

 

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

 

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What You Do Always Matters

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Be Blessed

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Why Isn’t My Giving Working?  by Jesse Duplantis

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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One Way To More Inner Peace & Joy

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

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

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

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

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

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

Harboring anger, however, is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showing Compassion To Strangers

Many of us who have been abused in some way have learned that other people, even strangers, like talking to us.  I’ve had people in the grocery store or laundromat strike up a conversation & tell me their entire life stories.  (One lady caught me twice in two different stores about six months apart- she apparently didn’t remember me from the first time)  It’s strange to say the least, but I think it’s because some people are so desperate for some compassion, they’ll try to find it in a stranger.

 

Since many of you are also introverts like me, I know this can be uncomfortable.  You probably want to just duck into a place, do what you came to do & leave quickly with minimal human interaction.  (I even use the self-checkout lanes to eliminate interaction with one more person.)   When a person decides to chit-chat, it can be annoying, especially if you’re in a rush.

 

I have begun to think a bit differently about this “annoyance.”  I believe when this sort of thing happens, it is God putting you in a place to be a blessing to someone.  Just listening to someone talk for a little while may make their day better or lighten the burden of the problem they discussed with you.  Why not let the person talk for a while?

 

One evening recently, I saw my parents.  I wasn’t in a good mood after leaving them.  On the way home, I went by the post office to mail something out after hours yesterday using the machine in the lobby rather than dealing with people during regular business hours.  A lady came in & dropped off a package while I was at the machine.  Out of the blue, she told me about her day at work, which sounded very frustrating.  The conversation lasted maybe five minutes, but it seemed to help her mood a bit.  It also helped mine some because I had a distraction from my own situation for a few minutes.  It was a small one, but I think a blessing for both her & I.  And, as I’m writing, I also remembered to pray for her- I may not know her needs, but God does.

 

The next time you are in that somewhat awkward position of listening to a stranger, then why not just go with it for a while?  You may be helping that person more than you know.  You might even help yourself.

 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

God’s Love For You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Miracles Still Happen

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

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

That isn’t what happened though.

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers

You Are Where You Need To Be

It seems like human nature to envy where other people are in life.  Many people envy their friends’ financial status, work position or even their prayer life.  When you’re healing from narcissistic abuse, you also may envy others who seem to be so much farther along in their healing.  I’m not immune to it- I feel the same way sometimes.

The problem though is there is no good reason to feel that way.  If God wanted you to be in the same position as another person, He’d put you there & nothing could stop Him.  God has you where you are in life for a reason.

So what is the reason?  Honestly, I don’t know.  However, I do know that part of the reason is to bless you & to bless others.  I’m not saying God is like a faery godmother, granting wishes.  Instead, He uses things that happen in life, good & bad alike, to help you to learn & grow to be more like Jesus.  And, He uses you to help others to do the same.  Even your mistakes can help others.

I encourage you today, Dear Reader, to stop griping about where you are, & to ask God to help you see the good in it or the good that will come of it.

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Free To Be You

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

It’s a wonderful thing!!

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

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

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

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Filed under Narcissism

Why Christians Should Love Animals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Thinking Of Making Some Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Writing