Jesus frees manager from unhealthy relationship patterns
M struggled with the fear of abandonment. This brought unhealthy patterns to his closest relationships, where he became defensive, judgmental, and prone to self-pity. Jesus lovingly freed M from the root of these patterns and drew him into perpetual fellowship with his Heavenly Father. Praise God!
I recently lost someone I loved and had a terrible, chaotic feeling of my world collapsing inwards.
My renewal prayer began with my prayer counsellors asking me how I was feeling. I told them that I had been struggling with great sadness, and feeling an immense weight of self-accusation and condemnation. There was also a deep sense of abandonment.
They lovingly reminded me that the purpose of renewal prayer is to restore my most important relationship, which is with God, to greater fullness. God never forsakes us. My renewal prayer was going to be about restoration and celebration. This brought me great comfort and gave me the peace to proceed.
We then talked about the root of my feelings of abandonment.
I told them about a recent revelation. I recalled that I was born prematurely via caesarean delivery, in a season of turmoil and great stress to the family, and that I had spent long periods alone in an incubator as a new-born. I probably felt “abandoned” and alone during my first experience in life.
Growing up, my parents also fought a lot and sometimes left the house for extended periods, days or even months at a time. Additionally, I was teased and bullied in school. My first love was unrequited and two of my first girlfriends had also betrayed me.
There had been a pattern of abandonment and separation at critical points in my life.
I had grown up with a lot of fear and frightened children are vulnerable to Satan’s lies.
Jesus’ voice is still, quiet, and gentle. But in the chaos of the fearful emotions in my heart, I had followed the loudest and most seductive voice – Satan’s. I told myself to grow up and learnt to rely on my own fleshly strength, thereby shutting out the Holy Spirit.
Then they asked me to describe what patterns of behaviour developed as a result.
I always had a feeling of deep discomfort when I had disagreements with people who were close to me, like something had knocked me off-balance. In response, I would raise my walls to protect myself, just in case something bad was coming. If I still felt attacked, I would go from defensive to offensive, becoming irritated and even angry. If I was lucky, when my anger and irritation died down, I could repent and calm down, without someone getting hurt by my response.
Other times, someone close would get hurt, often someone I really loved. When they retreated because I hurt them, I would feel abandoned. This pattern was something I learnt as a child.
These were also linked to my spiritual gifts: exhortation, mercy, faith, giving, and teaching. Out of a desire to help my parents and others, I used my gifts of teaching to counsel my parents – people I had no strength to help as a child. My gift of mercy was corrupted by the need to feel for others and dying to my own emotions. All these were burdens too heavy for a child.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I was also brought back to a childhood memory.
It was common for my parents to argue at night. On one occasion, I heard one say to the other, “I’m leaving you!” In a panic, I got out of bed and went downstairs, grabbing a hand of each parent, crying. I begged them not to leave. On this occasion, they too started to cry and stayed.
On another occasion, I begged them to stay but somehow in their rage and anger, my cries made no difference. One of them left. This scenario was repeated for a few years. I remembered the fear and panic that I would never see one of my parents ever again. Later, I no longer made any more attempts to prevent them from leaving. I remembered promising myself that when I was grown up and bigger, I would never let anything bad like this happen again.
I recalled making a vow that “I would grow up and make my own safe space where that no one could hurt me.”
As a child, I used to fantasise about being in my own spacecraft flying through the stars, with my mum, dad, brother, cat and plenty of supplies. I was the pilot and I was in control.
It was also place without Jesus, made before I knew my Saviour. Critically, I was still wired to go there. The enemy calls me back there to “beat me up” with his accusations and condemnation. I realised I had never invited Jesus into this place because it was created so long ago.
It had become a “demonic prison” filled with all sorts of death, loneliness, and destruction.
As I prayed and confessed all the dark voices in that space, I had an image in my mind of a dark red-eyed demon in a small room that looked like a destroyed bomb shelter. In Jesus’ name, I prayed for Jesus to tear down the walls, which included the deeply self-accusing voice and self-pity, and commanded all evil spirits to leave. I prayed to receive the only safe place there is, that is with God.
When I looked back into my heart and mind, I saw a destroyed structure with half a wall remaining. Instinctively, I knew I had other inner vows to let go of.
My prayer counsellors gently led me to recount all of them. Promises I had made myself included, “I must do the right thing,” “I must hold my family together,” “I must not allow myself to be taken advantage of again,” “I must protect my heart,” and “I must make sure everyone is happy.” As a child, I had made them to protect myself when in fact, they ultimately only trapped me.
I revoked every single inner vow in the name of Jesus and declared Godly truths instead.
These included that it is God who holds my family together – not me. God gives me the grace to be generous, even when people take advantage of me – just as Jesus was taken advantage of.
I also had a tendency to judge people for being proud, aggressive, and protective. When I was asked who was like that towards me when I was growing up, I realised I had judged … my dad. I had learnt to also judge others through the lens of my judgmental views of my own dad.
I had judged a man who loved me so much – and immediately repented. I acknowledged that my dad was hurt and forgave him. His aggression and over-protectiveness were likely to have come from deep woundedness and fear. I blessed my dad and asked God to create a new heart of flesh in him.
In my renewal prayer form, I had also confessed that I felt that God was cold and distant.
I hadn’t realised that I had blasphemed God’s image, where I had projected my judgement of my earthly father on to my Heavenly Father. God had released His most valuable possession for our sakes and allowed His Son to die for us. He is gentle, humble and sacrificial towards His children. I repented for judging God.
After that prayer, I had a picture of being in the arms of my Heavenly Father and sitting on His knee.
Since my renewal prayer experience, I have come to understand the love of God in new and deeper ways and His incredible redeeming power to set us free from the work of the enemy. One month on from my renewal prayer, I have a sense of how far God has brought me. The power of reading His Word and worshipping Him in song and in prayer has literally become my spiritual and physical lifeline. When I am close to Him, I can feel Him building me up. I no longer feel abandoned.
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